Can “Beautiful” People (Really) Understand Body Image Issues?

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Body Image, Comparison

“Beautiful people” – they seem to be everywhere. On our screens. On billboards. In our news feeds. On the Compared to Who Contributors page. Wait??!?!?! What was that last one? Read Allyss’ first CTW post and find out: Can “beautiful” people (really) understand body image issues?!

My name is Allyss and I’m one of the new contributors this year. A comment which was left on the “Meet the 2017 Contributors” post stirred my heart. I loved this woman’s honesty. Did you read it? I did and had to respond. This reader writes her honest reaction to our (the Compared to Who? contributors) pictures and bios.

Here’s my headshot and bio for your reference.

Allyss Flores is on the brink of 30 and enjoys woodworking and the outdoors with her husband and two small kids. She has always loved to read but has recently found a love for writing that would have been nice to have in college! An introvert and encourager by nature, she feels most alive during deep conversations over great or not-so-great coffee. She is very grateful for the opportunity to share her experience with God’s grace, as it has had a profound effect on her own life.

And, the Comment . . .

Posted on January 15, 2017:

“*Sigh * I love what you do here. And I understand this site’s whole point is about NOT comparing. But how can a plain, old, average woman with a post baby body like me take advice from a panel of stunningly gorgeous, high achieving, wildly talented women? Hard to believe any of them understand the struggles of the average woman, as each contributor is not just pretty, but absolutely beautiful! Its just really hard to believe that beautiful people could possibly understand what it’s like to be NOT beautiful.”

Did You Think it Too?

To me, this comment is beautifully expressive. I wonder if she might have had the guts to write what others thought after seeing the new contributors?

And if that’s true, then you need to know that I can totally relate to the thought process.

Can beautiful people understand body image struggles

Just a month ago I was at a conference, listening to a speaker that I ended up connecting with. But, as soon as I saw her beautiful and stylish appearance I immediately felt like there was no way Ms. Has-It-All-Together could actually speak into my life. I was tempted to tune out. This is one of the problems with comparison. We take our perceived weaknesses and weigh them against our perceptions of Her strengths and we always walk away feeling less-than. It’s like basing a verdict on circumstantial evidence. It wouldn’t hold up in a court of law, and it shouldn’t hold up in our intelligent minds either.

Think about this: if over 90% of women struggle with body image issues, and most of the women we meet are attractive, then we have to assume that “attractive” women are no less insecure than “unattractive” ones.

If we have placed ourselves in the “unattractive” column because of our body image issues, then it makes sense that over 90% of women have probably done the same. This means that 90% of us probably think we are unattractive. And when you look at me (or an old, photoshopped picture of me . . .more on that later) and decide that I’m beautiful and could never “understand what it’s like to be NOT beautiful” then you misunderstand the universality of body image issues.

Practically all women are striving to be culturally beautiful because we struggle to find our worth in the work of Christ. That’s why this blog, Compared to Who, is starting such an important conversation and ultimately, it’s why I applied to be a contributor here.

I Confess . . .

Now, I have to confess something, and keep in mind I’m speaking for myself here. When I was asked to submit a photo and brief bio, I quickly dug through my files to find that professionally photographed and photoshopped picture from a few years ago that I really like. I also listed out the coolest parts of my life in my bio as an attempt to garner a positive response from the readers.

I wasn’t falsifying information, I do enjoy woodworking and the outdoors, but I picked those hobbies because I just really wanted you guys to like me!

Unfortunately, I may have forgotten the intention of this blog which is to create a safe space for us to talk about our commonality as women who struggle to find our identity in Jesus. I didn’t realize (although I probably should have) that submitting the most adorable photo of me might not be the best way to gain your trust. And that using my three sentences to try out for “America’s Next Top Blogger” might actually miss the mark of what we’re all going for here.

So, please, for the kind commenter and everyone else, allow me to re-introduce myself with a more everyday picture of who I am.

Allyss Flores Compared to Who

Allyss Flores is turning 30 in 2017. Yay. She has a liberal arts degree. This means she knows how to read and write and is still paying off student loans. Jesus and the implications of His radical grace is her favorite topic. She’s married to an extraordinary man and has two remarkable kids. And although the King of the world has chosen to dance with her, she still tends to see herself as that 6th-grade chubby loser, who couldn’t tan and was publicly rejected by that cute boy while wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh jumper. #truestory

My Struggle is Real, Too

Do you still find me, “stunningly gorgeous, high achieving, wildly talented?”

If you do, just know that most days I wouldn’t agree with you.

I’m sorry for not being vulnerable right off the bat. In my defense, this online world is a little intimidating. Maybe now that you know some of my deeper secrets, you can share yours and we can be friends? I’d love to hear your responses in the comments below! I pray we can walk together in honesty. Let’s choose to celebrate the beauty we see in others as the workmanship of an amazingly creative Creator. You are lovely no matter what because of what Christ did for you.

                                                                     –Allyss Flores

**Reader’s comment has been deleted to protect her anonymity! We VALUE your comments and take your privacy seriously.**

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  1. Jodi

    One of the coolest posts I’ve ever read. I used to be jealous of everyone and thought EVERYONE was prettier than me. Although I’ve healed a lot, I still struggle with this, but reading these posts along the way really help. Thank you!

    • Heather Creekmore

      You are so welcome Jodi! It’s funny when you stop back and think that you can always find someone to be “jealous” of and someone to feel “better than” — Comparison kills us either way it seems! 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Becca Fee-Carter

    Allyss, this was absolutely inspiring. Following your beautiful example of honesty and transparency, I actually hate taking photos so much that I had no pictures from the last several years (except silly selfies with my kids). So after exactly 32 photos, I got the one I used on my bio. It just reiterates that beyond our perceptions, we are all in this together and fighting so many of the same battles. Which is why I’m beyond grateful for Compared to Who.

  3. Kristin LeComte

    Allyss, your honesty and vulnerability are incredible. I had no idea that other women would look at us and think, “There’s no way they could understand.” And I totally understand wanting to put your best foot forward- I took so many selfies to get the right picture! Most of the time it’s hard for me to feel beautiful because I put so much worth in how much I weigh or how “fat” I feel that day or the fact that I am not as thin as I’d like to be. Or, the feelings of guilt and shame over not controlling my sweet tooth/appetite more. I definitely do not feel beautiful most days-I was surprised to read that comment! This blog is so refreshing because it is a platform to expose our flaws, realize that we all are not that different, and continue to fight to find our worth in Christ, because as you put it, “You are lovely no matter what because of what Christ did for you”. That is truly beautiful.

    • Allyss Flores

      Kristin, thank you so much for your encouragement and affirmation! I am grateful for a space like this to acknowledge some of the real struggles we face and talk about strategies to keep our focus on what’s really important–the love of Christ. Solidarity has been found so now we can fight hand-in-hand against the temptation to compare, even if your nails look nicer than mine…



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