I was recently talking to group of third grade girls about an eye shadow ad in a magazine. We discussed what the ad was trying to sell and what it was actually conveying. We looked at the women, who had three different skin tones, but looked surprisingly the same. We noticed that all three models had straight, bright white teeth, groomed brows, and shiny hair. They all had perfectly smooth skin (no freckles, moles, pores, or heaven forbid a zit). I mentioned to the young girls that I used to be a model, and my facial moles (or as I like to call them, ”beauty marks”) were often erased by make-up, lighting, or computer.
“Ooh, you were a model?!” some asked.
Then one, inquired, “Is that why you are married? Because your husband wanted to marry a model?”
I took a breath and smiled. I said, “That is actually a funny question.”
I told her the g-rated version about how my beloved hubby wanted to “meet” me after first seeing me. Lust at first sight. He conspired with a friend in order to go out with the “hot intern.”
Ah, no. Hell, no. I was less than impressed.
So, it took him three years to woo me and ask me out on a proper date after proving that he wanted to get to know me, the real me, not just my body.
But the question remained, “Is that why you are married?” I went on to tell the eight year olds that I married a man who appreciates me for the smart, talented, strong, kind woman I am. I didn’t say, but should have, is that I found out that he was a pretty decent dude, too. What I also didn’t say, but my husband says to be true, is that it doesn’t hurt I’m a former model with former model good looks.
While attractive people statistically have easier lives, make more money, and all that, what in the world causes a young girl to even consider that a woman would marry a man who wanted her only for her looks?
My darling husband thinks I may be overreacting, that this was just a weird question from an eight year old.
But it concerns me. I think it goes deeper. Are girls growing up thinking that men want to marry just for looks? That pretty people have men falling at their feet? That women have no choice in choosing a partner? I know it wasn’t a personal stab that I couldn’t get a man unless I was a model. But isn’t that implied? Not just for me, but women in general? Brains don’t matter, but beauty does? Is this a princess situation?
I wish I had more answers to offer. I covet other people’s opinions and organized thoughts on this issue.
All I know right now is that I got a good man, but not because I am a model. And I didn’t marry him because of his looks, although he’s pretty cute. We entered into marriage after dating and dancing, praying and playing, learning and laughing, and cuddling and crying. We joke about each other’s looks (he’s short, I’m tall, etc.), but our partnership is built on much more than my prettiness.
Thanks be to God.
Former international fashion model Rev. Sarah Renfro seeks to boost the body image of young women by educating them on the myths of media and focusing on divine within. She also preaches and teaches about marriage and divorce, motherhood, ministry, and mental illness.