I see it everywhere.
Women objectified, hypersexualized, and glorified as blatant sex symbols, plastered across our feeds, screens, and magazines. And it’s not only the glossed up, photo-shopped, impossibly perfect women posing with their butts out and angled to look sexy and slim. It’s the unspoken belief that it’s normal.
And it’s getting to us.
Sex and G-Strings
We’re all guilty of this. I’ve done it – you’ve done it. You take 50 photos of the exact same pose in hopes of getting the right angle, just to find one to retouch/filter/edit, debate whether to actually post for 15 minutes, then post and anxiously see what kind of engagement you get just in case you should delete it.
Anyone else see anything wrong with this? Because it honestly breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that we feel the need to play ourselves up so much, and as valued women of God, I think it breaks the heart of Jesus as well. Both women and men are subjected to so much sexuality and fakeness that we feel we need to compete and add our own contributions. Even worse, we are increasingly becoming immune to its detrimental effects.
I recently saw Cardi B’s WAP music video and had to scrape my jaw off the floor. I’m sure Jesus was real impressed as he observed these women strut past in their leopard print G-string ensemble and all sorts of everything bouncing and shaking and slipping out. It’s a known phenomenon that sex sells, and I’m embarrassed to realize that pop culture has drifted into pornographic territory disguised as art. That’s a problem, and as daughters of The King, it should bother us.
This is the culture we live in. The hypersexualized, feminist-crazed, curated highlight reel of a world that makes up Western society. How are you doing?
Ads and Agendas
According to PPCprotect.com, the average person sees between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day (sorry, what..?!) That has an incredibly influential effect on what we normalize and standardize, and what we identify as a standard has massive implications for our everyday well-being. It affects how we think of ourselves, and it serves as the metric to what we believe others will perceive and judge us against. To live in North America as a woman is to find yourself dealing with a long list of lies and unspoken expectations that you don’t remember signing up for. (For more on this, check out this eye-opening TedxTalk, The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women).
Now I’m not against makeup products, laser hair removal, or anything that makes you feel beautiful. I love a good Sephora deal as much as the next girl. But what I do have an issue with is that there are intelligent people behind every marketing campaign you see, taking advantage of your insecurities and serving a hidden agenda. This simple message repeats itself and subliminally echoes throughout our media: you’re not good enough as you are, so you need to buy this product. If your house doesn’t look Pinterest perfect, you’re obviously not as stylish as you thought – here’s some help with that. If you just had _______, then you’ll be more ________. There is a profitable ideal for what you should be like, act like, dress like, feel like, eat like – you name it. And it’s an intentional moving target. You will never get there.
A Different Truth
It’s not difficult to realize that this relentless bombardment largely contributes to struggles with anxiety, depression, and suicide in North America. With being bombarded like this, of course we’re at a loss. But this is where Jesus is so counterculture. The world will tell you you’re not enough, but Jesus says you’re worth dying for. Last time I checked, people don’t willingly take a bullet for someone they don’t outrageously love and value. And Jesus suffered much more than a bullet wound for you. He risked everything to tell us a radically different truth – that we are valued, right here, right now, in your messy bun and pajamas you haven’t washed in a week. He tells us that we are made in HIS image. This means that at your core, you are the way you are because that’s who God himself is.
You are compassionate because God is, too.
You feel deeply and passionately and care for others because God does, too.
You have an unquenchable desire to be in relationship with others because God does, too.
You were formed as an image of the most incredible, beautiful being in the universe – God himself.
Designed to be Aligned
We all have to live in the world, we clearly can’t escape that. So our responsibility then becomes learning how to navigate through it, involving Jesus in our everyday lives as much as we can. We need to adhere to what He says is true rather than succumbing to the lies of our cultural moment. It’s healthy to take a break from the never-ending messages that inundate us on a daily basis. Put the phone down, delete Instagram for a while, or swap out your Bachelor nights for time spent with God.
I love the CSB translation on Philippians 4:8-9:
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
There are thousands of sources that preach at you, but only you can decide what to believe. Only you can discern and protect the truth that will govern your life. I challenge you to think twice about what you watch and who you allow to take up space in your mind and heart. So crack open your Bible, start anywhere, and commit to reading one whole book through, chapter by chapter. God will start to transform you from the inside out. You just might be surprised at how your definition of truth starts to change how you feel about yourself.
My prayer for you is that your heart would become aligned with the One who designed you for himself. The One with no hidden agenda, who adores you, and who has always thought you were enough – and right on target.
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