Raising daughters in today’s world takes a little extra attention. Girls as young as six have been diagnosed with eating disorders, and the trend to dress suggestively starts early. As they grow, they are exposed to the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce. The message is to dress provocatively and outrageously.
Women of all ages turn to expensive surgeries, spas, and other means to enhance their appearance. For all the strides made in the advancement of women’s rights, they remain trapped in a dark hole of self doubt. What is God’s plan for women? Does He approve of this cultural addiction? Just what is beauty, and how do Catholic women stay focused on that without getting caught up in destructive fads?
Princess Diana presented herself as an engaging, fashionable icon to the world. She was one of the most photographed people in modern times (leading, unfortunately, to her premature demise), but how did she feel about herself? She struggled with bulimia, self doubt, depression, and suicidal thoughts. How could a such an exquisite lady feel so distressed when she seemed to ‘have it all’?
A contemporary of hers, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a shrunken and wrinkled nun, died shortly after Princess Di. Mother Teresa’s hands and feet were gnarly from years of hard physical labor. What Princess Di had in terms of elegance, Mother Teresa lacked. They were, in some ways, opposites. They shared one characteristic, though, they were both caring and compassionate individuals. Mother Teresa owned very little, in contrast to the princess.
At the time of her death, her earthly possessions were limited to a worn prayerbook, sandals, two saris, and her rosaries. Princess Di had a wealth of jewels, designer dresses, and just about every delightful thing a woman might want. The nun’s face was weathered by years of sun exposure, and her diminutive stature was hunched. Yet, she was clothed in the sweet beauty of virtue. Every diseased person from the slums of Calcutta that died in her care witnessed her genuine beauty.
The Virgin Mary is the supreme example of womanly beauty. Her willingness to give herself to God in totality is the ulitmate in loveliness. Nature does not have to dress itself, God has done that already. Who isn’t captivated by the roaring sea and the highest mountains? Flowers, trees, stars, animals…who can resist the glory of creation? Its crowning glory is mankind, don’t we realize that the Lord has saved His best for us?
The grandeur of being a women is the spark of God! Mankind was created in His image. A thin body, youthful skin, ideal teeth, revealing clothing, designer shoes…what do these have to do with God’s concept of beauty? The world has always lied to us. Since the very beginning, we have been deceived. When Satan tempted Eve, he showed her something appealing, and she believed what he told her. The fruit’s appearance fooled her and she sinned.
How does a woman increase in beauty while living in the world? A few helpful guidelines are:
1. Don’t believe the lies from the media.
2. Strive for holiness and healthfulness, not for external perfection.
3. Learn to accept and love yourself just as you are.
4. Remember that men were created to find women attractive! That means that they actually do like curvy figures! Most men don’t understand why ladies are so obsessed with being thin.
6. Pray and be humble in all ways. Try to emulate Our Lady…the Virgin Mary.
7. Have a sense of humor.
8. Wear feminine clothes. There is nothing more attractive than a flowing skirt that comes to mid calf, a simple (and modest) blouse and sandals. Plunging necklines and micro minis don’t look pretty.
9. Eat reasonably, and exercise without getting obsessed.
10. Love others! Love is irresistable.
Mothers must foster these things in their daughters so that they can learn to resist the lies they will hear. It is an uphill battle, but the victory will be worth the effort. When women start to embrace their natural worth, they can then move past the self doubt and low self esteem that the world’s lies have sown.