Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nip/Tuck/Pluck...or Not

"Appearance is important to old women; not because we suppose it will impress other people, but (for) ourselves."

from Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill


Plastic surgery, laser resurfacing, permanent makeup, Wonder Bras...are they ok? They're all about the packaging, not about what's contained inside, right? The lofty moral ground here is to denounce anything of such a superficial nature. But this is one issue where I'm in the freedom of choice camp and I don't think there's any place in the heart of God's people to criticize, judge or gossip about these choices.

Have you ever listened to people bash these "enhancement"choices in a group setting? It's pretty popular to jump on the moral bandwagon (unless perhaps you're living in Los Angeles or New York City) and make harsh judgments. I've watched faces change as people feel pressured to express the same opinion but may have already undergone one or more of these options.They're too ashamed to openly admit it because they fear the label of "shallow"or "artificial".

Sitting at lunch with some friends recently I looked around the table at faces of women whose birthdays are all within a decade of one another and it struck me that a total stranger would never guess this. Some women unquestionably "age" better than others. This is in varying part due to genetics, sun damage and attention to skin care.

Some women are truly not concerned with looking younger or even with looking stylish. They're happy and warm and engaging and don't seem to notice that there is any disparity in women's appearance. Others who are possibly not considered as attractive do care but don't know what to do to make a change.

On the flip side are well-groomed, stylish women who may or may not go beyond good skin products and makeup to attain this result. Some are so preoccupied with their appearance that they forget to be warm, engaging and happy. They barely notice that others are even present.

Those remaining are women who are both; they actively try to be as physically attractive as possible but are also happy. With outward beauty, as with all other personal aspirations in life, there should be joy and satisfaction along the way. When women (or men) desire to be their most attractive but never reach a point of self-appreciation and acceptance they rob themselves of so much peace. It's hard mental work to be so self-focused and yet dissatisfied.

Is it wrong to invest a little time and money in our appearance? My philosophy is that we represent a beautiful God and He created us to be attracted to beauty. He also made us visual people, so there's nothing inherently wrong with this kind of effort. That said; I also believe that more attention should be focused on the beauty of others instead of ourselves and that our truest beauty is reflected from God's light inside us.

This is a controversial subject. I'd love to know what you think is a sign of "too much" or if there should be any limits to our quest for physical beauty.

Diane Markins



5 comments:

Joni Corby said...

Very interesting topic………nip, tuck, pluck or not. I think for many people this is an issue of money. Many of the procedures available to us to enhance our physical beauty cost a pretty penny. So, apart from the question of “should we focus so much on outer beauty” is the question of how we should use the money that God has given us to manage. For me personally, I have never felt comfortable putting very much of God’s money into “personal upgrades”! I do spend some money in this way, tho. I’m sure that some of my less fortunate neighbors would think that I’m being extravagant and my wealthier friends are thinking “Girl, break out the pocketbook and take care of some of those wrinkles!!!” I try to rest in the truth that God made me to be the way that I am. I need to take care of what He has given me but not necessarily try to change the basic format! As with any other area of my life, I will answer to God about how I used what He gave me and that is a sobering thought………….

Linda S. Ftizgerald said...

Diane,

I never use the word "old". Not that I resist or resent the process, but because it's used so derogatorily in our culture. Having said that. . . the one thing I would probably pay for and go through is an "eyelid" tuck. I hate the 'droop' I see every a.m. My eyes were always my best feature, so to see them slowly "droop" saddens me and is a source of shock when my "35 year-old mind" meets my "70 year-old eyelids" on the way to the bathroom!

Oh well, I'm grateful I've reached this stage of 'chrono-maturity' & think myself much younger than I am - have health, fun, peace & happiness even if much our culture (and society) would call me "old".

Thanks for sharing!

Linda

Ally Johnson said...

Diane,
Thanks for addressing what is certainly an interesting topic. I know there are many days when I look in the mirror and wish things were not rearranging themselves. I do acknowledge the desire I had once upon a time to have breast reduction, now I just want a breast lift...sort of. I think my head is easily swayed by the portrayal of women in our society as being statuesque, sexy, young looking and thin; definitely not short and curvy like I am. It's most difficult during swimsuit season. My heart says I'm just fine the way I am, take care of myself the best I can and I am content with who God has made me to be. It's when I entertain the "sort of" idea that I get into trouble and can easily join the bandwagon of people who want some kind of procedure done. I think ultimately it's up to the person and certainly not for me to judge. Everybody has their reasons for doing what they do. I just hope they realize that whatever they fix on the outside, doesn't necessarily fix what's hurting on the inside.
Thanks, Ally

Anonymous said...

I so agree Diane, that more attention should be focused on the beauty of others instead of ourselves, and that our truest beauty is reflected in the light of Jesus within us. And in focusing our attention on others, I truly feel we have a responsibility to take the time to teach, nurture, encourage and affirm others in the beauty and gifts that they have been given.
I spend quite a bit of time every day shopping for good foods and cooking healthy meals, working out to maintain my weight and strength, taking care of my skin, staying out of the sun, etc. etc. just to maintain what God has so graciously given me. I get exhausted just thinking about the hours I would have to spend researching options, interviewing doctors, healing...not to mention making the money!! And then there would be the endless decision of what to tackle next...eyes, lips, butt or boobs!
I heard a very wise lady not so long ago say that we can either be a tool to be used, or we become an idol unto ourselves. I don't know that I can be both, so my choice camp votes for TOOL. Could just be my age...which I wear with gladness.

Pat Williams (Mary Kay Sales Director)

Anonymous said...

I agree that everyone should do what they want to do with their own bodies. As long as you are clear on your expectations and the real reasons you are doing it, go for it. I have contemplated Restilyn or something like that but am too chicken at this point. If I had someone recommended, I might look into it. It is getting harder and harder to keep up on all the body parts that need tending. Just shaving my legs is not enough any more!!!!
Paula
California