girls and self-image {why some things are just not OK}

I raise boys. I think everyone around here knows that by now. But I happen to be a girl (ta-da!) and I once was a girl who carried around a lot of self-image issues in my heart. I constantly wondered if I was enough, or too much, if I had what it took to catch a man, or if what I had was the only thing a man might be interested in. Honestly, sometimes I still struggle.

I know what it feels like to fight to feel pretty when what I see in the mirror doesn't meet the standards of the day.

Thankfully, I was raised to know the truth—there's more to beauty than what meets the eye. One of my earliest memories of my father happened just after I'd thrown some kind of horrible temper tantrum over something I don't even remember now. He knelt down in front of my little 2-3 year old self and said some of the most profound words I've ever heard...

"It doesn't do any good to be pretty on the outside if you're not pretty on the inside."

Those words proven true in my life over and over again, and it's always been my goal, my prayer, to be defined in the eyes of others more for my inner beauty than whatever my current state of outer beauty might be.

In my experience, true inner beauty bursts out of the body it's in and shows itself to everyone it meets regardless of the outside package.

That's why when a brave, beautiful (inside and out) young friend of mine posted this photo (used with permission) on Facebook today I became somewhat irate.

What in the world is the manufacturer of this makeup bag thinking? Don't our young girls (and women) have enough trouble with self-image already?

She found it at our local Ulta beauty supply store at Valley View Mall in Roanoke and was appalled at the message it sent to her and other young girls trying so hard to fight against the absurd standards of beauty our world considers normal today.

I get it, you know? It's a makeup bag (by Our Name is Mud). And makeup bags are designed to carry things to make us look better. I wear makeup...love it actually...and I'm sure the designers of this bag meant it to be funny. Only it's really not. The only thing this bag achieves is to send yet another message to the young women of the world that their inner assets—personalities, brains, gifts, and talents—aren't as valuable as their outer assets.

My ASSets. 

(If I was a cussing girl Ulta would get a mouthful right now for carrying this trash and perpetuating this crime against girl's self-image. As it is, ASSets is the best this little southern good girl can do. But you get the point.)

Too many of our girls are struggling with self-image issues to be allowing this stuff to continue. How many more young, impressionable girls have to kill themselves by refusing to eat before we quit doing stupid things like this?

What to do?

That's up to you. I trust that you'll figure out what part you should play without me having to tell you. But I do hope you'll do something. Even something small, like refusing to buy merchandise with these negative messages on them for yourself or your children, helps send a message to the ones making all the money off of our fragile need to look good.

Together, we can send a different message to our girls and perhaps make a difference in their lives so they won't have to struggle the same way we do:

It doesn't do any good to be pretty on the outside if you're not pretty on the inside.