I guess it’s been too long since Boundless reminded everyone that your personality is the only thing that matters, so they had uberbeta Andrew Hess whip up an article that not only shames people for liking attractive people of a healthy weight, but also blames pornography for unrealistic standards of beauty. (Um…has he seen the women who act in porn? Unrealistic, yes. Beautiful….um.)
The whole article was completely all over the place, as if Hess were grabbing at anything that could even slightly strengthen his argument, which basically boiled down to, “Pretty people have it better, and that sucks.”
First, he lamented the old Sprite slogan that said “image is everything.” Because darn it, some people actually believe that image matters. Then he was sad that people had to debate whether a fat man was fit to be President (no shout-out to William Howard Taft?), and even slammed The Biggest Loser for providing the drama of watching obese people lose weight “fast.”
Next, he brought up the ominous statistics of the $60 billion-a-year weight-loss industry and the 75 million Americans currently on diets. (And this is a bad thing because…?) And whoa, can’t forget the whole clothing and makeup markets. Tsk, tsk.
Then Hess asked us what the “real costs of a culture over-emphasizing image and attractiveness” are. Wellllll, if fat Americans going on diets – and statistically, the U.S. has a majority of its adult population that is overweight – and wanting to dress fashionably constitute “over-emphasizing image and attractiveness,” is that necessarily a bad thing? Shouldn’t a nation of fat people desire to be less fat?
But instead of discussing his own ideas of what would constitute an ideal world (where I guess it doesn’t matter if you’re fat), Hess bizarrely then starts bashing pornography as creating a population unable to appreciate true beauty. WHAT?!? Is he honestly trying to say that if pornography didn’t exist, the average person would find fat people more attractive? I mean, it sure sounds like it.
Hess then makes an appeal to the spiritual:
The teachings of Jesus and the other New Testament writers point people toward a focus on spiritual realities rather than physical ones. In fact, Peter clearly instructed first-century women to focus on their inner beauty rather than the external, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Peter taught women to think about beauty in terms of their spiritual conformity to Christ’s character, and in the same way, men should think about image and attractiveness in terms of character.
Hess is trying to tie two things together that don’t belong together. Peter correctly admonishes women to cultivate their personalities, because physical beauty is temporary. But I’m pretty sure Peter wasn’t speaking to a room full of Weight Watchers members, either. These verses aren’t an excuse to let yourself go crazy with the Ho-Hos because you’ve got a good personality.
When the Bible describes the beauty of Christ, it always speaks of His love, His humility, His sacrifice for His people, His continuing work as their mediator, and many other things He is and does. It never even mentions what He looked like. We must learn to see the beauty in ourselves and others in the same way.
This is classic churchian logic: your exterior doesn’t matter so long as your ~heart~ is beautiful. But this is utterly ridiculous, because deep down, people know that their insides eventually show up on their outsides. That is how most people can (often correctly) identify people’s character traits from their appearances. You wouldn’t want a disheveled, sloppy person to work for you, because that sloppiness indicates interior character failings. So why are we as Christians continually asked to pretend we are blind? I’m not advocating a lack of compassion by any means, but I really resent being told to ignore cues that are necessary for society to operate properly.
Hess finishes up:
In a culture that boasts image is everything, let’s remember true beauty is a heart growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ. We should regularly recalibrate our hearts upon eternal reality and not spend our time, energy and money chasing physical beauty that simply will not last. Turns out godliness is everything; image is a distant second … if that.
Absolutely unfair to apply this kind of thinking to something that is a true problem and is unhealthy for society, to families, and to individuals. But maybe it’s just indicative of the culture as a whole, that perspectives are that out of whack that someone can write an article like this and think it represents
a well-thought-out idea some sort of social justice.
It would be nice if Boundless could produce a writer who could craft a persuasive argument that was worth reading.