Two-thirds of women around the world agree that media and advertising set unrealistic standards for beauty. The average woman over twenty is 5'3" and weighs 166.2 pounds. The average fashion model, on the other hand, is 5'10" and weighs 120 pounds.
But what's really heartbreaking is that by age six, most girls have expressed weight concerns. Now some of these may be legitimate concerns-the girl might be a bit overweight and she wants to be healthier. But most of the time, these girls see their skinnier classmates and feel unpopular and ugly, among other things. 40-60% of elementary school girls are concerned with their weight. And while they should be concerned with maintaining a healthy weight, it shouldn't be obsessive and they shouldn't want to be skinny. That leads to eating disorders and the median age for the onset of an eating disorder is 12 to 13 years old. Pretty sad, huh?
I even have body image issues. I'm not entirely concerned about my weight, but there are features I'd like to change about myself. I'm going to make a list (you can do this, too, and post it in the comments or keep it to yourself). For every thing I don't like about my body, I have to list something positive (and the same for you).
Things I Don't Like
~my height (I'm short)
~my weight (I'm underweight)
Things I DO Like
~my weight (Because while I'm underweight, I do like being thin. Just not this thin.)
~my fingernails (People are always telling me my nails are so long, so I've really strived to stop biting them.)
But there's something I should remember, even when I'm disliking my skin, my nose, my weight, my height, and my thighs. I need to strive to be God's definition of beautiful more than the world's. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him [talking about which of Jesse's sons Samuel was to anoint as king; Samuel was paying attention to how powerful the young men looked]. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
Now, this isn't to say outward appearance isn't important. Our body belongs to God (1 Corinthians 3:16 says, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"), and we need to take care of it, and yes, we can wear pretty clothes and make-up and do our hair. But we need to focus more on the condition of our hearts. Being godly teens is more important than beauty.
I want to share some more Bible verses, just to give you some food for thought.
Psalm 139:13-14- For you formed my inward part; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Genesis 1:27- So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.
Ecclesiastes 3:11- He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Proverbs 31:17, 25, 26, 30- She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong... Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the times to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.