Beyoncé’s ‘Grown Woman’ occasionally blares through the speakers of my car radio or iPod when I want to get a good workout in. But yesterday while listening I gave the song a more critical ear and thought about the misguidance of the lyrics. Mainly, because as grown women we may be able to do what ever you want, but as women of God we don’t. If you think about it no one really is, you’re always subject to someone else’s desires weather it’s your boss or your kids. If you are married you are to submit to the headship of your husband and God and if single to your heavenly and earthly fathers. Even Queen Bey herself probably take some guidance from her husband.
Our flesh is literally like a child, it want’s to do whatever it wants, when it wants and how it wants but as children of God we are held to a standard that is above fleshly desires. While the world may view this as a bad situation to be in, it’s actually a benefit which in the end protects our bodies and hearts. As godly women growing in our walks we usually become even more aware of the words we speak and when our actions are made out of fleshly desires. This means that you no longer have the urge to go off on that cashier that placed your eggs at the bottom of the bag so that by the time you got home they were cracked, or honk like a mad woman at the driver who obviously didn’t know that drivers were allowed to go over twenty miles per hour on the expressway. Or even if you do have the urge, you take it to a higher power and proceed in a more enlightened manner. As someone that is a recovering road rager I speak from personal experience! In Romans 7:15, Paul writes I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (NIV). Speaking from experience your flesh will have you constantly wanting to do all the wrong things, it’s almost like a small fire that grows with each minute that it isn’t expressed until you are so engulfed in flames that you almost can’t resist the temptation. Getting the flesh under control is a lifetime feat…But God! Read 1 Corinthians 10:13, in the latter part of the verse it will tell you that when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it. Great temptations will come, but there is a greater God that will allow for a way out, if we choose to take it.
So, why don’t we give into the pleasure of indulging in everything we want or letting it all loose and showing the world how we really feel at a time when we have the right to be angry? I’ll put it this way, you could indulge and eat brownie sundaes every day, smoke two packs of cigarettes a day or refuse to connect with God regularly but there will be consequences to your actions and they might not be so pretty. My question to you (and myself sometimes) is what type of seeds are you sowing through this action? Seed’s of love or hate, seeds of wisdom or foolery? In Galatians 6:7-8 it states, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Nuff said!
Recently, I read about the leaking of Beyoncé’s photos sans retouching, in which she looks like a woman with some blemishes, smile lines and other imperfections that you would expect to see on any human walking the earth. My mind immediately jumped to Cindy Crawford’s consented release of untouched photos, bearing stomach stretch marks and all. It was refreshing to see a beautiful woman embrace what a culture of perfectionist has deemed unattractive as Cindy unapologetically flaunts her cellulite, flawed skin and other imperfections before the world.
Both of these instances garnered mega uproars in the social media realm and as expected, people applauded Cindy’s candor and the gifting of her middle finger to the world of retouching. But the reaction to Beyoncé’s photos caused me to say hmmmmm. Some fan’s were heated to say the least because she wasn’t the impeccable and unblemished woman they were used to seeing. She seemed, well, human. As a Beyoncé fan myself I thought she still looked great untouched and while she worked hard for her title of Queen Bey and her immaculate image, it is just that, an image. I also felt a twinge of empathy for the tremendous pressure she and other celebrities must receive to constantly remain that flawless face splashed across the television screen or print ads. It can’t be easy to live up to those standards and yet many women try, while ultimately failing because no one, not even Queen B herself is perfect. I see it in myself and those I love all the time, the negative self talk, ridiculous diets, and caked on make up to hide what society deems ugly. There is a constant pressure on women to reach impossible goals of whatever is considered perfection at the time, even going as far as disfiguring and harming organs attempting to achieve the perfect hour glass shape or Minaj-esque butt. It is an epidemic of self-hatred mostly due to a widespread massacre on our esteem.
But, what else is to be expected when we are constantly bombarded with a stream of ‘ideal’ women, when our husbands or boyfriends gawk at them, when we are compared to them or are criticized for not fitting the mold? In a study researchers found that the amount of time spent on-line, watching television and reading magazines was directly related to the internalization of the thin ideal, body surveillance, reduced body esteem, and increased dieting in teens (NetTweens). This alerts us to the fact that constantly taking in these portraits of supposed perfection will eventually have an effect on one’s esteem, especially if that person is already insecure and nothing like the images they view. Although this study focused on teens, there is no age limit to the effects, young and old women are suffering alike. In 2013 there were 15.1 million cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the United States and the number continues to rise each year (Plastic surgery.org). Unfortunately, I have no answers as to how to stop such a systemic and deliberate attack on women’s body images that even some of the most monetarily successful women in the world aren’t immune to. But I will begin with discontinuing negative self talk and urging those closest to me to do so as well, also I will try to embrace my imperfections, and love myself as I am, flaws and all. Won’t you join me?