The culture, fads, and trends presented in media affect our minds and bodies by setting a standard and ideal of beauty. This can be artful and fun, a blessed addition to the beauty and creativity of life.

It can also be quite damaging. Often clothes are not designed in a way that would help the average body type to fit into the looks presented in media as ‘beautiful’, the lifestyle that went into creating the body images conveyed may not be healthy or normal, and the alterations to the images actually present a digitally created, unreal, and unattainable fantasy. Perhaps some are ‘beautiful’ to us only because no one could look like that: that status. There is something dysfunctional and unhealthy about the mentality that goes into creating this ideal of beauty that is beyond the bodily damage it can do if one attempts to recreate it: the obsessive driving jealousy and pride in status. There are core beliefs, lies in this case, associated with this that are rooted in trauma. These beliefs lead to feelings of self-depreciation and hatred when one does not meet the standards of beauty presented. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can be healing in these areas.

How we judge and interpret all of these dynamics is sometimes sensitive and subject to interpretation. However, when we search our hearts and find an unhealthy habit of mind, obsession, addiction, anxiety, or depression associated with these things we must ask: where is this coming from? This is part of our culture and a social problem to explore and at times expose. This is a beauty of the media.

How is it healthy to be beautiful? Simply to know and believe you are beautiful and use your assets. There is also a long and deep history of the value of beauty starting at least back in the classical times of the Greeks. Plato equated beauty and truth and the good. He believed that beauty ultimately leads us to what is good. French philosopher Simon Weil said that if we do not resist beauty it will ultimately express itself in us as love. Mathemeticians use beauty as evidence that they are on the right track. Some believed the implicit love of beauty was love of God. C.S. Lewis said it was beauty that aroused in him a desire more desireable than any satisfaction he had ever found in other desires, a desire for God. In English the word for healthy has the same root as the word for ‘holy’ from the german. There are lots of ways that what is healthy for our bodies and minds is popularly more ‘beautiful’ in America even today, also. This is especially true when it comes to fertility, but also in other ways for all of us who are not budding female beauties as well.

“What Not to Wear!” This show is fabulous! They discuss how people’s attitudes and beliefs about themselves drive their wardrobe and how they can transform not only their outward appearance but how they think and feel about their value.

A supermodel of 10 years, Cameron Russel, says,”For the last few centuries we have defined beauty not just as health, youth, and symmetry that we are biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall slender figures, feminity, and white skin.” She says that of the models working in the year 2007 only 4% are non-white. She explains that in her field she is classified as a ‘pretty girl’ and says she has won a lottery. She goes on to explain how unfair this is to the majority of people who do not fit this narrow definition of beauty and how this is related to discrimination as well as struggles with body image.


Rachel Hofer