How to Talk to Your Daughter About Body Image and the Media

A former Victoria’s Secret model on preserving positive self-image

I believe there is a huge problem in our society today. It's a problem causing a battle in the minds and hearts of our youth. A problem that is causing eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and ultimately destruction in the lives of girls and women of all ages. The problem I'm referring to is the standard of beauty our society holds for women based on the images in ads, movies, and music.

When I was in junior high, I was so strongly influenced by magazines and movies that I began talking, acting, and dressing differently when I was around my peers from school. I had subscriptions to most mainstream teen magazines, and that is what I looked to for advice on boys, how I should look, and all things "popular." Unfortunately, the majority of those magazines are filled with advice that opposes the word of God. I remember watching the movie Mean Girls when I was in 7th grade. Looking back now, I wish my mom never would have allowed me to see it—after watching it, I became infatuated with wanting to be like the popular girls in that movie to fit in at school. I began dressing provocatively like them, and even went as far as talking like them and making a "burn book" that mocked people because that is what the girls did in the movie. It saddens me to look back and see the kinds of things I did to try and fit in.

Back then I was heavily influenced by the media, and was not taking the necessary steps to guard my heart. As the Bible says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" (Proverbs 4:23). I thought I had to be as thin and tan as the girls I saw in the magazines and on the billboards. Growing up, I felt the pressures of having to look like the magazine ads in order to be accepted and worthy. One of my main problems was that I was looking to the world to find acceptance and self-worth rather than looking to God for it. "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

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May 25

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