Friday, March 08, 2013

Beauty - In The Eye of the Beholder

Polygamy Stick Figure Family

This afternoon I came across a very disturbing blog posting and another and another and another. It was from a blog that I'd quoted recently on No Longer Quivering for our Quoting Quiverfull feature. The post I used from that blog was one where the blogger's husband tried to say it was alright for a Christian man to engage in polygamy if his wife didn't stay attractive and slim.

What all those blogs and blog postings have in common is that they are all by Christians insisting that a man has a right to have a wife that fits his mental picture of who she should be, She should look like a hot porn star is the implication in a couple of pieces. If she's not the hot goddess she was when you married her, then in these guys (and sadly, ladies too) minds then you should be able to either discard her, shame her into morphing into your fantasy girl or take another wife.

What? Isn't Christianity all about the changes inside? Being the best you that you can be in your relationship with God. Changing from glory to glory for the glory of God. Being kind to others, helping others, loving God, loving people not being vainly concerned about your appearance all the time.

Many churches insist on modesty.  Modest appearances, not concentrating on the flesh? Modest dressing? Where is that in any of these blog postings? Nowhere, just prideful boasting of 'shiny boobs' and not cutting your hair because your husband will hate it and you will be far less attractive to everyone else. No mention of personal choice, just bounded choice to the petty tin-plated dictator of a husband who doesn't line up at all with Paul's description of what a husband should be.

I remember attending a women's retreat many years ago and being struck by nearly every woman there that I spoke with at length feeling like they failed on appearance, that they weren't beautiful. Many felt like they were never 'good enough' Which really blew my mind because I thought they all were beautiful, capable, devout sisters in the Lord, with no faults but their own uniqueness.

I still feel that way about them, even the ones that I don't see any longer. Beauty is seen in so many forms and types. There is beauty even in the most unlovely looking things if you only look deeper. True inner beauty too, which, to my mind, is a million times more important than the vessel your spirit is riding around in. Someone can be oh so fair on the outside and have a nasty dark black soul. Appearance is no indicator as to what lurks inside someone.

Even the Bible has this to say about exterior beauty - Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman that fears the Lord is to be praised"

It's just this type of heaping on of guilt and pressure over something Jesus never mentioned that really pisses me off the most about Christians and causes me to still believe in Jesus but not the church and certainly not the people.

The great irony of all this is the fact that by spouting these opinions the bloggers are actually buying into the ways of the world, like those crazy pageant moms and their teaching their kids that only outward appearance matters. Way to go, way to be like crazy Momma June from "Honey Boo Boo Child"

Plus, if the ladies have to be 'perfect' looking, why is there no outcry over men's huge beer bellies, smelly pits, stubbly chins and other less attractive things that aren't even as supposedly bad as being overweight? I see way more unattractive and ungroomed men running around than ladies. Make them shave and bathe!

You don't see any of the ladies advocating polyandry because their husbands are fat.


Moorcroft said...

"You don't see any of the ladies advocating polyandry because their husbands are fat."

No, they have affairs with more handsome men (assuming the women haven't completely let themselves go - which is likely); the 'fall out of love' for their husbands (they don't admit it is for any of the above reasons); the divorce him (70% of divorces are initiated by women - Christian or otherwise).

Women may not place as much emphasis on looks as men (but they do care - how many unattractive male leads are their in TV shows and movies geared towards women?) but they judge men harshly on many other measures.

Finally, I believe you have either misunderstood the posts to which you have linked or you are deliberately misrepresenting them.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you simply don't understand the posts in question.

Solution: post a comment/ask a question of the authors of the posts that you consider to be deeply flawed.

- Abaddon

tz said...

There is no purpose for modesty if there is nothing to be modest about.

It is one thing to reserve a treasure for your spouse (e.g. your virginity for the wedding night, but also your appearance), and another to destroy that treasure least someone besides your spouse see it - you impoverish your spouse and yourself.

If the woman finds having long hair a sacrifice, I don't see it is wrong to share it with her husband - and let him decide, but it has to be honest, not whiny, "I'm doing this for you but you won't take out the trash" talk.

(I also remember an older evangelist who would complain about curlers - who he called "barbed wire" since the woman was going through great efforts to maintain her appearance - for everyone BUT her husband, so she looked like something on SyFy in bed).

Fat/slim attractiveness has varied culturally and historically, but it doesn't go to morbidly obese.

Of even greater importance is health. If the man smoke or drank to excess, especially at home, everyone would complain and object and say he is killing himself and setting a bad example. But if the woman now has high blood pressure, is marginal diabetic, otherwise slow... Well the cardinal sins of sloth and gluttony were recognized forever ago.

(Note: find low-carb diet advice, not the government's eat lots of carbs but few calories - read/google/youtube Gary Taubes).

It is one thing if the spouse is suffering from a disease or accident and becomes unattractive - skin grafts or chemotherapy - it is another because the spouse is now too inconvenient to keep things up.

You are very correct that interior beauty is more important (And the blogs note women consider beauty - arousal beauty - of males almost entirely interior). But Beauty is beauty and ugliness is ugliness. Our society is ugly as it is. There seems to be a move toward vandalism. Women who get piercings and horrid tattoos. If your wife wanted to get something you specifically would consider ugly done to her, would you just say "you are beautiful inside", or insist she not do it? Is the slow accretion any worse than suddenly coming home with a heavy metal album cover on her arm?

If your wife put on some classical, harmonious work by Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, you would probably enjoy it together. See if you would endure Schoenberg or other atonal or other ugly music. "It's all music inside so it doesn't matter" won't work. The home ought to be a sanctuary, and sanctuaries ought to be beautiful, as much as is reasonable and practical. And that starts with the priestess in charge.