“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” Gail Dines, Ph.D.
I’ve watched this and similar quotes breeze through my social media feeds before. Today I stopped to let that sink in. Have you? Seriously.
Take a look at these stats:
- If women didn’t buy another diet or diet product, we’d shut down a $20 billion industry.
- If women chose NOT to get elective plastic surgery–cheek implants, butt implants (yes, that’s a thing), boob jobs–there’s another estimated $1.3 billion.
- Women spend an average of $15,000 on make-up related beauty products in their lifetimes. (We’re talking mascara and lip gloss only, not shampoo and soap!)
- Fear of looking old has fueled a $261 billion dollar anti-aging industry!
Then there’s your hair . . .
Hair care costs women between $400 and $3,000 annually. Sounds like a lot, right? Follow me here. If you pay $150 for hair color eight times a year and buy some products quarterly (including shampoo, conditioner, and styling aids) you can get to $1500 really fast!
What about your nails?
Here in Texas, this is one luxury women can’t do without. Getting a mani/pedi even seven times a year adds another $350 (plus tip) into your annual budget. If the lady doing your pedi convinces you that you need a lip and brow wax each visit (“Oh, you like having fuzzy lip like a man?”), go ahead and add an extra $150 annually to the number above.
Don’t forget clothing . . .
Oh, please, hide the receipts and put away the calculator. I can’t even go there. My husband may read this . . .
“It’s expensive being a woman.” One recent article proclaimed. Everyone’s concerned about what this election will do to the economy, but seriously, if women decided, en masse, to go “all natural” we’d likely do some serious economic damage.
Does it have to be this way? Is a woman really the sum of her Stila and stilettos?
Is this really what we need to change the world? Perfect teeth (oh, we forgot to count that whitening you had done!), a perfectly sculpted bum (Did a trainer help you with that? Add another $1000 to the above total!) and a clear complexion (Thanks to the latest anti-aging/anti-acne/anti-reality “all natural” skin cream, of course!)?
I don’t think so.
But, wow, does my spending tell a different story! The Bible says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Do my beauty ritual spending habits reveal something about my heart I’d rather not see?
If it Could Work, I’ll Try It: A Tale of 400 Anti-Frizz Serums
I have a bathroom drawer chocked full of make-up. Another drawer brims over with creams, potions, and “scientifically-proven” formulas. Under my sink sits four baskets of sprays and gels and serums. Especially anti-frizz serums. I’m always on the hunt for good hair products, but none of them seem to ever work as promised on my hair. Instead of throwing them away (I spent $12 on that, how could I?) I just keep them there, right under my sink. Maybe someday I’ll try it again and this time it will magically make my hair smooth.
How many Christian women, just like me, wrestle the temptation to spend more time pursuing good hair than their Godly purpose. How many women, just like me, spend money as if beauty is what matters most?
These highlights will certainly help me feel better.
This new dress will change my weekend.
I’ll feel “good” as soon as I get my nails done.
We make these trite statements as evidence of our own wrestling match with our value.
Whose Side are They On?
There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately about who really cares about women and who’s against them. To this I offer one thought: Our culture has an agenda for women. And, it’s not to their benefit. The beauty industry, no matter how touching their articles are on “loving your body,” can’t afford to have you drop out of the beauty rat race. Others, confusingly, champion women as intelligent and capable while, simultaneously, applauding industries renowned for hyper-sexualization and objectification.
But, God’s agenda for women is different. His agenda says your value transcends your appearance.
Being pretty doesn’t have eternal significance. But, your purpose does.
Ouch. I know that hurt a little. See, it’s what we struggle NOT to believe. We tell ourselves if we look good enough, then we’ll have an impact. We’ll mean something and be remembered, if only we can look the part.
A New Type of Grassroots Movement
Did you know that inventor, Sara Blakely, turned Spanx into a billion dollar industry without even advertising.
How’d she do it? Word of mouth. Women told other women, who told other women, who told other women about the amazing freedom they had found in an IBS-inducing undergarment that changed the appearance of their clothed bodies.
Talking women are a sales force like no other.
So, what if we funneled all that marketing energy into a far better cause? What if we started a movement of women whispering (or shouting) that it’s not “Love your body!” that sets us free, rather it’s “Love Jesus.”
Better yet, what if instead of just talking about it, we acted like we believed it. What if our enthusiasm for the freedom Jesus has already given us spilled out of our mouths as freely as a recommendation for a great nail salon? What if the social media post we can’t wait to type is about the amazing eternal love we’ve found in our Savior, not a stay-put lipstick that made it through dinner?
Our hope is not in the next diet product or wrinkle cream. Our faith is not in our sculpted eyebrows or arms to pull us through. We have to set our sights higher if we ever hope to overcome our body image issues. We must affirm each other in our true value in Christ and the unique purpose he has for our lives. And, we have to recognize that those voices telling us to keep investing in beauty distract us from investing in the only place we’ll find life.
Our beauty won’t change the world. But, our Jesus will.
**This post contains affiliate links.