Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Beauty, Beauty, Beauty (part 1)

I used to think inner beauty was all that mattered. Now, I realize not only is that not true but it's basically deceitful and in a sense, undermines much of how we human beings were created.

We've all been told our whole life that it doesn't matter if we're not as pretty or cute or gorgeous as our compadre and friend sitting next to us in school. After all, external beauty will fade but interior beauty will last forever! Some may even call beauty "meaningless," and say it is a "luxury" and not something we humans should be primarily concerned with. But what if there was something within us that made us care? What if it wasn't just cultural influences, social hype, magazine centerfolds, or oppressive glamour standards forced upon us by evil TV executives that caused us to want and desire to possess the latest style or simply look beautiful?

It gets tricky to talk about because right away, people assume you are shallow and that you're just some crazy, image-obsessed American consumer who thinks about what hair product to buy all day long or whether or not this Prada handbag goes with your new Diesel jeans. However, I think my own thinking on the subject of beauty is shifting. I used to have little sympathy for people spending $5,000 for a monthly face lift but now I'm beginning to step back and weigh the bigger picture. Obviously, most middle-class Americans would call this outlandish spending but how is it different than our own feeble attempts to look, feel, and maintain the feeling of 'being hip and stylish and savvy and pretty?' The fact that I'd rather go to a thrift store to buy a Banana Republic t-shirt may make me a minimalist, but it still says something about what I like to wear and what I think will make me look good, essentially. I may not be forking out five grand a month on clothes but I'm still choosing to care about how I look as opposed to--oh, let's say--not caring.

People who say they don't care how they look or what they wear are liars I think and really just in a state of self-denial (i.e., I think many of us Christians were raised to talk like this). Because sooner or later, given the option of wearing something absurdly ugly compared to something just 'normal,' I dare such a person to pick to wear the absurdly ugly. Even the most least fashion-conscious guys and girls I've come across care about how they look. Even if your own judgments made on these people would have you believe that they could not possibly care becuase if they did, 'why on earth would they wear that top with those shoes,' I'd still argue these people care, even if your opinion of their personal taste would say otherwise.

I understand that people get obsessed with style, how they look, and often it morphs into abnormal, near-addictive-like behavoir when all you think about is looking good, but I'm not saying that's a good thing (in fact, it's a totally different issue really). I'm saying I believe--after this last Fall and after much reading on the subject--that the inner need to look good and feel beautiful or good-looking, may be a totally natural, God-given, human gift. So to say it's wrong to want to look good is what I really have a problem with I guess. This need--in and of itself--is not evil, even if beauty sometimes can be a cover for something evil.

More parts to come in the future I'm sure, so let's just keep this "blog essay entry" open.


Chalupa said...

These are some good thoughts. You brought up a couple things I haven't really thought too much about before.

~Kat said...

So true. Just because someone doesn't fit into our tiny little mode by doing/wearing things that we deem "good" doesn't mean squat. In fact, it just means that they are human just like us, and further, are a unique creation with unique thoughts.

The woods would be a very quiet place if only the birds with the prettiest voices sang.

Thanks for sharing your "shallow," "crazy," "image obsessed" thoughts with us "normal" people.

In His Love,

nateshorb said...

Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!

Neville said...

Yes Nate, but I don't think that's the appropriate time to use such a phrase. After all, wasn't it Jesus who said everything in creation mattered to Him? Even the sparrows, even the hairs on our head, even the little children who come unto Him? Obviously, nothing compares to knowing Him, and all of life would seem meaningless without Him and compared TO Him, BUT....as the famous contemporary theologian/musician Glen Phillips would say, "There's nothing that doesn't matter."

answer-man said...


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