this past weekend at a conference here at my church, i heard Dr. Linda Mintle speak on “Making Peace With Your Thighs.” not only was she a very professional, well-spoken, witty woman who made a great argument for society’s negative portrayal of women’s role as objectified sexual beings obsessed with thinness and the unreality of distorted beauty, she drew attention to Dove’s powerful campaign revolving around this topic. i was especially struck by her usage of 2 Dove videos that open our eyes to what the fashion and beauty industry has done to promote this obsession with outward perfection, teaching girls and women of all ages to value their physical appearance as the measure of their true worth and brainwash them into believing that their characters are only secondary to what’s on the outside.

i am no stranger to this mentality. i admit i am a slave to the mirror, most days; a perpetuator of this vicious societal norm that strangles our female mentality with nooses of self-deprecation and feelings of extreme inadequacy. if Vogue and Elle present women as they ought to be, then what does that say about me? that i am a second rate girl, getting by on wit and charm the best i can but never quite good enough to flaunt down a runway or see my Photoshopped face gloating from a glossy billboard on Madison Ave?

i see 14-year-olds with mascara-laden lashes and painted on jeans, believing their labels define their worth and forgetting that they were once little girls who believed in their ability to be more. i see 40-year-olds sweat away weeks at the gym and think if they just try hard enough, they can still be who they believed they’d be at 22. i see all girls in every girl, how we’re united by cords of lustful desire to look just-so and convince ourselves that if i only looked like her, if i only had longer legs, if i only had more self control, if i only was better, thinner, prettier, taller, more put together, THEN i’d be perfect. only then, would i think i was beautiful enough.

where does it end? maybe it doesn’t. maybe i’m just spewing out the same cliché thoughts we all hear a million times, in a million different ways, blaming the fashion industry and the media’s sexualization of women for all the body image issues young girls have today. but the fact is, it’s true. and i’m not exempt from those who buy the lies the world throws at us around every corner. Dr. Linda shared an astonishing statistic that seems outrageously high: the average female is inundated with 3,000 images a day depicting women as perfect, beautiful, thin, physically desirable beings. that’s 3,000 reasons to doubt your own self worth each day because you see yourself falling drastically short of what this world tells you you should be.

how’s that for a self-esteem kicker?

i loved these videos, and commend Dove for their efforts to bring this issue to the forefront.