Where’s the Line?

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First things first, I have to just express how incredibly thankful I am for the outpouring of support on my last post. Your kind words about my singing — shucks guys — thank you.

So I was in Whole Foods yesterday, waiting in line — because there are legit 50something registers at the WF Union Square — I’m not exaggerating — and I was scanning the magazines as I so often do, when I spotted a celeb that I didn’t recognize.

“I wonder who this newbie is?” The actor in me started geeking out, wondering if there’s a new “must watch” TV show in the line up for fall, and if this was the main woman.

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So I grabbed the magazine, and much to my surprise, this mystery woman was none other than Sarah Jessica Parker.

Whaaaat?

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I feel you, Jackie. I feel you.

Yes, friends. Sarah Jessica Parker.


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Her.

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Photoshopped within an inch of her life.

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Photoshopped to the degree where she no longer looks like SJP any more!

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Standing in the Whole Foods line gawking, I looked to see if anyone else around me seemed baffled at this approximation of SJP. But they weren’t.

And seeing this painfully airbrushed face, it made me really sad.

And here’s why:

Because of what it communicates.

Sarah Jessica Parker is a beautiful, stunning woman. Regardless of how you feel about her show (TBH I’ve only seen the Sex and the City movie, never the series), she is undeniably an icon for TV, fashion, women’s empowerment, style, shoes, yaddy yaddy yaddah.

And she is over fifty. Aging beautifully, I might add. Although, I’m sure there have been some “nips and tucks” along the way. But this post is not about glorifying or judging SJP.

The fact that Harpers Bazaar airbrushed SJP to the point of unrecognition speaks to the disgusting standard of beauty we have in our culture today.

Everything is photoshopped to be perfectly toned, tan and slim with no wrinkles, blemishes or flaws. We are training ourselves – young girls, teens, young adults, and older women alike — that the standard of beauty is perfection. And that anything less should be airbrushed away.

If you want more proof, Instagram has 40 individual filters for your choosing. And if that’s not enough, there are – as of Sept 19 – 7,955 photo editing apps for the iPhone.

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And this extends far beyond just our personal image now, too. The food we eat, vacations we take, pictures of our kids, our outfits, nails, hair, makeup, how we decorate our house – everything has to be “Pinterest-worthy.” Perfect. And everything is so broadcast. Open. So right here, right now.

And we’re all guilty of this to some degree. Heck, I know I am. I use filters on Instagram just like everybody else. (shameless plug: @beauty.beyond.bones 🙂 )

But what is the price of all of this?

What is this doing to our minds and our spirits?

Well, coming from someone who has a history of anorexia, I can tell you exactly what this does to me.

It feeds my “perfection demon.” The little voice in my head that contributed to my ED that told me that the only way I could be loved was to be perfect. That told me that my worth hinged upon attaining perfection.

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True, that may be a bit extreme, I mean, come on – it’s just an Instagram filter?

But is it?

Ask Sarah Jessica Parker.

I wonder how she feels about the fact that she doesn’t even resemble herself on the cover.

I’ve come a long way since the days of my anorexia. With no thanks to my own doing, I might add. It was all Jesus. But you knew that already.

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But I’ve come to realize that my beauty is in motion. It is not able to be captured in a photo: it is in how I treat and love others, how I respect myself and love my body

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…how I love and serve God. My beauty is in my brokenness, and rising up from the ashes.

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My worth has no correlation to my outward appearance. My worth comes solely from the fact that I am His. And the same goes for you, too.

I’ll leave you with this:

“You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139

“Your beauty should … be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3: 3-4

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I was hand-made. You were hand-made. We are all, individually, masterpieces. Just the way we are. Every freckle, every quirk, every smile line that crinkles so cutely when our faces light up. These all reflect the artistry of our Maker, who delights in His work.

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So let’s embrace our humanness, not photoshop it away.

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73 thoughts on “Where’s the Line?

  1. It is impossible to read a post of yours and not learn something about ourselves, other people, the world around us, and God. Your unique style of communicating makes me (and many, many others, I am sure) look forward to the email notifying us of a ‘new post.’ There is a richness to the way you ply your craft and it is easy to become so engrossed in the experience that the best of the best is sometimes hard to discern (After all, can we really pick one flawless diamond out from a handful of others?)

    Well, sometimes, we can, and the “Hope Diamond” of this particular post lies here: “But I’ve come to realize that my beauty is in motion. It is not able to be captured in a photo: it is in how I treat and love others, how I respect myself and love my body……how I love and serve God. My beauty is in my brokenness, and rising up from the ashes.”

    There are never adequate words to express my admiration for the way you have allowed God to use your brokenness to help others. I, for one, am grateful – to you, and to Him.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gosh, thank you Tony. YOUR words, as always, are so kind and uplifting. They always bring a smile to my face. Thank you. And ps- I got your email! I have yet to have a free second to check out the talk but I am so looking forward to doing so!! I will finally have a chance this afternoon:) I’m looking forward to it🙌 thanks for stopping by and for being you:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would love to hear your thoughts if, and when, you do find the time to watch it. You’re a busy lady, that much is obvious. 😉 From the volume of comments to your posts these days, you must spend as much time responding to them as you do writing the articles. It is obvious you are having an impact, and that really lifts God up and glorifies Him! It is a blessing and a privilege to witness.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. im not going to lie.. i thought my worth was from being skinny… *shocking* and i still think it does.. i know i haven’t reached that point yet.. but i just have to say… that i think it is the responsibility of our parent’s to look out for us when were little and i know there is a limit to that but they really should.. that way this CRAP doesn’t happen ( less likely), also you give credit to jesus (which is rightfully so) but i think you did an amazing job! to listen to his spirit and just follow it ( that is extremely hard)

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    • Thank you so much. That means a lot. Yes, it was really hard to listen to Him, but I couldn’t have don’t that without being empowered by Him either! It’s really crazy to think about — but it’s true! And you’re right I do think parents have a great responsibility when it comes to bringing up kids in today’s hyper beauty/perfection-obsessed culture. You are definitely worth more than words can express, simply for being you:) thanks for stopping by❤️❤️❤️ hugs to you friend xx

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  3. Being different is what makes us human and unique. Facial lines and greying hair is what it is….part of life. With that said, I am one that dyes my hair twice a year. Not really so much to hide the grey but to darken it from what the sun does to it throughout the year. People would ask me if I dye it when they see all the red come out. So I dye it so I don’t hear if I dye it! Who wants to age? Wrinkles and sagging skin is not fun, but if I can keep up with moisturizing and exercise, well, we can only do what we can do. Thank you kindly for sharing your thoughts and this post. Best, Koko:)

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  4. Another great post as always 🙂 While I am not sure how magazines have done this in the pre-photoshop days (unless they just photographed stars in their natural beauty, though I have my doubts), it is undeniable that in today’s day and age, photoshop is used in just about every time a celebrity poses for the front cover of a magazine. In this case, it could either be that the celebrity pre-approves the photoshoped photo or the magazine just does it without their approval. Just an uneducated guess on my part. Some celebrities (at least based on my knowledge) seem to be photographed naturally (i.e. Jamie Lee Curtis), but some others I am not so sure about. Anyway, I love the psalm versus you quote in this blog post, they are very beautiful indeed 🙂 and everything you write on this blog comes off as truly inspirational 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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    • Thank you so much John. I really appreciate that. Yeah you bring up a great point. We need to teach our children that not even the models on the cover look like the models on the cover in real life. Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I’m grateful for your insight!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post. I so love the true beauty that God created in each of us, and the special beauty of experience that only age can add. I also feel so sad for people who feel the need to hide that beauty with paint or surgery or editing. Thank you for sharing this post with us!

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  6. That’s absolutely terrible – she’s completely unrecognisable!! Photoshop is such a bad thing, for all the reasons you talk about in this post, and especially so for an anorexic or a recovering anorexic. Or anyone. I hate Photoshop. But I love your post, you speak the truth! Sending hugs dear friend! X

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  7. My 4-year old son like to listen to the music from vacation Bible School in the car. There is a song that is talking to God saying, “You make beautiful things out of the Dust. You make beautiful things out of us.” I am hoping that little things like the lyrics of this children’s song can help us as parents to truly form our children to appreciate the beauty God has created, the way He created it!!!

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  8. I honestly did not recognize her! It’s something about old age, we all tend to run the opposite direction. And you are right, simply because of the media, what society tend to value. About aging gracefully? To me it’s priceless!
    Thank you so much for your post, and visit to my blog! I always enjoy your posts.

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  9. Once again you are right on mark. My first wife passed away and I when I was ready I met a lady online at Christian Mingle. We talked for a little while before we decided to meet. She was from Indiana and I am from Tennessee so we agreed to meet about half way. I had seen her photo and the thing that impressed me was she didn’t seem to wear much makeup. We came together and she was just like her photo she didn’t try to “cover-up” with a lot of makeup. To me that said she wasn’t hiding when we met. Now we are BOTH from Tennessee and married. You are right about the crap that society/marketing sells to people but it ultimately POISONS the minds and self-worth of young women and the goddesses with strands of silver in their hair. Be yourself there is NO ONE that can be YOU.

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  10. Wonderful post! I have to say I find SJP to be one of the more ‘relatable’ women who are aging in Hollyweird in that she is NOT trying to be anyone but herself. I put the onus on the magazine’s art director for this one. She looks like she’s wearing a wig and if SJP has anything in spades its GORGEOUS real hair! Keep up the great work! xo

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  11. A few months ago I was in the checkout line with my 12 year old son and nine year old daughter and saw they were both staring at the cover of a bikini-clad woman on the cover of Cosmo. So, I asked them, “Does she look like ANY woman you know?” They both said No. And then I proceeded to explain to them all of the ways she’d been augmented, thinned, airbrushed, highlighted, fanned, spraytanned, made-up, and hyper-exposed by Photoshop and stylists to become the image they saw there. In the end I said, “That woman on the cover – she is not real. There’s a real woman behind all that stuff they’ve done to her. But what you see there – That’s not real. Remember that.”

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  12. I love the timing of this post. I just saw on my news feed someone decided to “age” the presidential candidates with projection imaging to anticipate what they would look like at the end of their second term. I can only assume they did this to shock people into realizing how old most of them are. It was one of the more absurd and disgusting things I’ve seen in quite a long time. I keep hearing how valued life experience is as I get older but I know for a fact having white hair now has changed people’s perceptions of me as being fit and active and clear of mind. I’m not coloring my hair and I’m not changing my look. I stay in shape only because I enjoy it and not for anyone else. Great read.

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  13. I love this. Great perspective. It really is amazing how many of us try to make things look perfect to the eye… Definitely something convicting

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  14. Pingback: Where’s the Line? | Unchain the tree

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