Recently I have been pondering the thought, what does it mean to be sexy? The modern world tries to convince young adults, teens, preteens, and even children that in order to be liked, one must be considered sexy. What does sexy mean, do you ask? The media is flooded with pictures of child stars inappropriately dancing, profusely drinking alcohol, and wearing skimpy clothes. According to pop culture, this behavior is associated with being sexy. It is impeccably sad how drastically the public’s vision of sexy has changed from the curves of Marilyn Monroe to the barely-dressed sexually openness of Miley Cyrus.
My cousin just turned 12. She is obsessed with One Direction, boys, makeup, and jumping ahead to her adult years. I have watched this thoughtful, smart, outgoing, witty, confident, and incredibly fantastic little girl’s worldview change from a place full of wonder, to a place full of judgement. She used to find joy in playing in the mud with her brothers, talking about sports, and spending time with her family. Now, she still enjoys the same activities, but only when her friends aren’t watching. She is now scared to reveal her true desires, likes, and hobbies, for fear of being judged or made fun of.
I have watched this world change my cousin. I have watched this world change my friends. I have watched this world change myself. Although one cannot truly say, it is all the world’s fault that I am this way, the unabashedly judgmental and self-absorbed social norm does play a big role in the creation and presupposition of the fact that women must strive for excellence in beauty in the modern world. I am not a feminist, to clarify. But, I do strongly believe that society is aiding in shaping the thoughts of young girls, and warping their views on body image.
But, there is hope. In a recent study conducted on a Christian Liberal Arts College campus, men were interviewed on their ideal woman, and what they find most attractive in women. These men are all very successful, intelligent, and goal-oriented students; the exact type of man that almost every woman wants to marry. In this survey, the men were asked what the top 5 most attractive qualities in a woman are. The results were much different than those expected in the secular world.
1. She genuinely loves the Lord
2. I am attracted to her
3. She is easy to talk to (carries herself well)
4. She is outgoing
5. She is encouraging to others
Other qualities that these men listed were: She is intelligent, friendly, smiles a lot, sympathetic, hardworking, independent (but not stubborn), and she goes out of her way to help others.
Look at the book of Esther. Esther was a Jewish orphan, in a time where Jews were considered the “lower class” and eventually the enemy (because they wouldn’t bow down to the current king). It is a long story, and a terrific read, but to sum it up, Esther was utterly beautiful. The king, Mordecai, banished his wife because she would not obey his commands (to expose herself to his friends). Mordecai went on a search for the most beautiful woman in the land, and after testing that lasted multiple years, Esther was chosen. Because of her beauty, Esther eventually saved her people from destruction.
Why was Esther so sexy? Her outward appearance is highlighted in the Bible; she was extremely beautiful. But, perhaps the most beautiful and influential attribute that Esther possessed was her devotion to the Lord. Because of this obedience, she was selected to save an entire people. That is a big deal. Esther was wise in her decisions, and incredibly well-spoken. Of course she had her flaws, but Esther never failed to obey the Lord.
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. Vying for the attention of men through illustrious activities is not attractive. The majority of men do not find such activities sexy. The men worth pursuing a relationship with value so many other things as sexy. In fact, Ashton Kutcher, one of the most attractive and successful men on the planet, spoke on this topic in his acceptance speech at the video music awards. He blew the minds of viewers everywhere when he dared to admit the truth about beauty: “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap!”
I wish my cousin could realize that true beauty is so much more than the way you dress, or style your hair, or how much makeup you wear. True beauty is intelligence, thoughtfulness, generosity, loving the Lord, knowing how to carry an intelligent conversation, and being an all-around good person. This fascination that the media has with skimpy clothing, girls throwing themselves at guys, and immorality, may never pass. The media will always be obsessed with the gossip-worthy news. But, more and more people are becoming unconvinced that this is true beauty. No matter what people say, the media says, or society says, true beauty has always been the same: a woman who loves the Lord and walks in His path. That is beautiful.