Body Positivity - Unlearning from the Media

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We have all seen it, advertisements of varies types promising a better-looking body by reducing winkles, excess body fat, and removing grey hair.

The media is obsessed with the concept with flawless body and youthful (or at least youthful looking) one. More often than not, women are the target audience of those applying pressure to look more sexually desirable as historically women have often been valued for little else.

Looks aren’t bad, being attractive is never condemned in the Jewish Bible as negative yet it also doesn’t suggest that looking good means someone is good. Regarding the rebellious King to be it was said, “…Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.” 1 Samuel 9:2 Regarding Issacs wife it is said “Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married…” Genesis 24:16. In the Bible looks are just that. Looks nothing more or less. The “body positivity” movement does seem well meaning in promoting being grateful for what you have as we should all be.

However, some concern I have is that the body positivity movement often attempts to do this by reinforcing the already shallow focus on looks and by simply showcasing more bodies for social affirmations of physical appearance rather than getting to the root issue be guiding society to mature enough look past appearances. The Jewish Bible gives us a more balanced view of things, for example “Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 and “Silver hair is a beautiful crown found in a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31. It is not bad to embrace grey hair, that is fine but for a believer it isn’t about simply embracing the grey hair. Embracing a righteous life as the owner of grey hair- is positive. Beauty and charm is fine, but a godly character is most important.

Acceptance is nice but our greatest need is not seeking to gain the same amount of affirmations on social media or anywhere else from others that you are just as beautiful or handsome as someone else even if your body is not the same. You can have body positivity and still have a negative view of life. But I will also say it is important for that believers in God do not confuse humility with devaluing themselves “…God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27. We dishonor God when we dishonor ourselves and taking care of your body shows respect and gratitude to the God who made it. So, we shouldn’t be careless about looks but we allow God to work on our hearts above all else and let concerns over how good we look take a back seat. “…the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7. One should show respect for God and thus by extension others no matter how one looks.

Picture originally found here

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