On one of the more recent episodes of America’s Next Top Model an issue was raised in regard to one of the model’s eating habits.  The concern was that she might be restricting her food intake to maintain her weight.  This is a big issue in the modeling world where it is expected that women who are over 6 feet tall weigh less than me (and I’m only 5’4” and kinda skinny)!

Because of the magnitude of the issue, certain major fashion groups have taken serious steps.

–Vogue has announced this year that they will stop using models who are an unhealthy weight.

The 19 editors of the global editions of fashion magazine Vogue have pledged to
work with only “healthy” models.

“Vogue believes that good health is beautiful,” Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of
Conde Nast International, Vogue’s publishers, said in a statement.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17949035)

–A new Israeli law has been introduced banning underweight models from catwalks and adverts.  It is believed to be the first attempt by any government to actively promote a healthy body image.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/17447826)

Unfortunately, this problem does not only affect models who are trying to fit into a size zero.  According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (www.anand.org) 24 million people of all ages and genders in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder).  Some other scary statistics they cite about students in particular include:

• 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.

• Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

• In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.

Why?

Why do we do this to ourselves?

What is this a symptom of and what can be done about it?

The following are lyrics to a song by Barlow Girl, a rocking Christian band.  Please read the lyrics and then watch the following video.

Mirror
by Barlow Girl

Mirror mirror on the wall, have I got it?
‘Cause mirror you’ve always told me..
Who I am. I’m finding it’s not easy
To be perfect

So sorry, you won’t define me
Sorry, you don’t own me
Who are you to tell me that I am less than what I should be?!

Who are you?

I don’t need to listen to the list of things I should do
I won’t try. No no no, I won’t try

Mirror I am seeing a new reflection
I’m looking into the eyes of He who made me
And to Him I am beauty beyond compare
I know, He defines me.

Who are you to tell me that I am less than what I should be?
Who are you?
I don’t need to listen to the list of things I should do
I won’t try, no, I won’t try
You don’t define me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHjAjjcKm2k

The song says, “Mirror…you won’t define me”.  The idea is that what the world says about makeup and hair and noses and eyes and body shapes and clothes and shoes and likes and dislikes and beauty should not define us.  It is easy to be drawn into believing this since we live in a world where media seems to invade every aspect of our lives.

The funny thing is…not even the perfect ‘skin and bones’ model with the perfect makeup and the plastic surgery is good enough.  After the photos are taken the pictures have to be worked on–airbrushed, etc–to become perfect.  So if this perfect model is not good enough for the world, then how can you and I be?

Aha!  But our problem is not our appearance or how much we weigh or how we talk or how smart we are or whether we like high heels or flats.  The problem is who we have chosen to define us.  Will we choose the world where we will be defined by our outward appearance and inevitably be found wanting?  Or will we dare to be different and choose to have God define us, the One who created us and loves us and cares not about the skin deep portion of who we are but the real bits, the parts that are important, our inner selves?

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b NIV

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” Isaiah 43:4a NIV

“For God so loved the world (YOU) that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him (His Son) should never perish but have everlasting life!” John 3:16 (Mary paraphrase)

Dare to be different!

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About Mary

You may call me unusual. Strange. "Interesting." Crazy. But I like to think of myself as having all of the eccentricities of genius without the burden of the genius!

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