Daily Devotions

Marilyn Monroe Isn't Beautiful Enough for Today's Fashion

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Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:25)

It is hard enough to be a guy – I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to be a woman. While men have a few cultural rules about what it means to be “good looking,” it is nothing in comparison to what our culture demands of women. Worse, every few years, the “perfect” body type changes. One month stick thin is the only attractive quality, and then a month later, voluptuous is the model of choice. Five years ago, Marilyn Monroe would have been “too fat,” but today, “if she just lost a little weight.” Good Lord?!!!

Of all magazines, it is the latest National Geographic that addresses this issue with just a pinch of hope. While the fashion community continues to pander to the fantasy, one area of hope comes from a new openness of diversity. When I was growing up, blondes were the rage. The singer, Madonna, in the early 1980s, opened the door for all white women to become blonde by dyeing one’s hair without shame. Women of color were almost always excluded from even the conversation of beauty.

Robin Givhan, in her National Geographic article declares, “Attitudes are shifting. But the fashion world remains uneasy with large women—no matter how famous or rich. No matter how pretty their face. Elevating them to iconic status is a complicated, psychological hurdle for the arbiters of beauty. They need sleek élan in their symbols of beauty. They need long lines and sharp edges. They need women who can fit into sample sizes.” As we continue to change the psychology of the fashion world on women of color, my prayer is that more women’s sizes will be validated as symbols of beauty. 

Today, pray for women and men, as they face the impossible challenge of viewing themselves and others as beautiful, pretty, handsome, or even acceptable. This world is hard enough without constantly diminishing ourselves due to the shape of our bodies. I pray for a day when we will focus more on health, than on the shape of our bodies. I pray for a day when the concept of beauty will be a little less shallow. If women of color are finally having some doors opening to them in the world of fashion, perhaps doors will remain open to those with a dress size larger than 0.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

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A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will not escape. (Proverbs 19:5)

Truth is illusive. Being truthful with others is a constant struggle. Being truthful with ourselves is equally challenging, perhaps even more so. At least with the lies we tell others; we have recognition of the lies we are sharing. The lies we tell ourselves are too easy to brush under the rug and soon, we cannot discern our own inner truth.

Ayodeji Awosika, in his article, “The Three Biggest Lies We All Tells Ourselves,” helps us face our inner truth and lies. Awosika helps us name three lies we must acknowledge and address. He says, “1. I Need ‘X’ to Feel ‘Y.’” I need the right job, make the right amount of money, be in the right relationship to feel happy, affirmed, relevant. Awosika contends, “Success comes as a by-product of being content and doing what you enjoy. It almost never happens the other way around. It’s one of the great paradoxes of life.” Needs are almost always something outside us that makes us fulfilled. Until we recognize that nurturing our faith is the way to true contentment, the lie will continue, as we seek something outside us to make us fulfilled.

Awosika shares the second lie, “The World Owes Me Something.” Who am I to think I am so special that I should be treated differently or with special benefits? I am often surprised by persons who come into my office and unload about God’s unfair treatment. He/she complains bitterly about all the ways they have failed to get the necessary breaks in life. God is not called to meet every need, especially when we are not helping ourselves by working hard, or we live a lifestyle that sabotages our health. Awosika challenges each of us, “If you want to increase your awareness, think about whether or not you truly deserve what you think is owed to you.

Finally, the third lie is, “There’s Nothing I Can Do.” The vast majority of us have the opportunity to make changes in our lives. Often, when we say this lie to ourselves, it is because we do not want to make the change. We are too lazy, scared, or beaten down to make the change. Today, pray for God to give us the courage and faith to move beyond the internal lies, and face the Divine truth. When we do so, we will feel a strong sense of contentment and self-worth.

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