My mother was fond of saying, “That Betty (or Sally or Suzy) is SO attractive.”
That meant Betty was pretty and thin. Most of all it meant she was pretty and it left me wondering (short, tubby me with pigtails), Was I attractive?
Mom had a habit of giving you a once-over and commenting on weight, hair, posture, clothing. My well-published brother was sometimes called “Fat Boy”. My sister with model cheekbones was advised to have her “neck done”. Each of us knew that if a sentence began with, “Only your mother will tell you this…” you should brace yourself. A compliment was not forthcoming.
“Attractive” was reserved for other people.
You may remember those ads for the Barbizon Modeling Agency. I recall thinking if only I could learn to carry myself like a model, then I’d be attractive.
My personal dream was to be Twiggy (the 1960s supermodel who inspired many an eating disorder). Never mind that my one leg was the width of her torso. And never mind I was the shortest in my 4th grade class. (Oh how I loved Field Day where we had to march in order of height. Whose idea was that?)
Barbizon’s ad featured an ambiguous caveat, “or…look just like one.” I suppose any lawyer could fend off a lawsuit with the subjective nature of that clause. Maybe it meant a model with a hangover, no make up, or upon waking up. One who wore pigtails.
Incidentally Barbizon is still taking people’s money. Even with today’s empowerment focus, girls still dream of being “discovered”.
There’s a movie called “I Feel Pretty” starring Amy Schumer. We should heed its message while laughing hysterically. It’s our level of confidence, not our actual appearance, that informs how people see us. The movie seems to be asking, What if we woke up and were happy with whatever skin we’re in? Whoever we are NOW?
I pass a bridal storefront each day and it reminds me that in God’s eyes, we are beautiful brides. Dressed in white. Always.
And God’s ideal, the woman in Proverbs 31, is far too busy to read a Barbizon ad or daydream of being Twiggy thin.
Yet she is beautiful, noble, noticed. “Discovered” from birth.
You might even say, attractive.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.