In the fairy tale of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, the evil queen pursues physical perfection. She constantly asks her enchanted mirror, “Who is the fairest of them all?” For years, she is told that she is indeed the fairest.
But one day, the mirror reveals a new answer: her step-daughter Snow White. Consumed with envy, the evil queen is forced to face the fact that her physical beauty is only temporary. She may have once been the most attractive woman in the land, but beauty, as the world defines it, is not something that lasts forever.
In addition to its temporal nature, physical beauty is also subjective. In some cultures, a fuller figure is more desirable than a leaner one. Even within Australia, post-Second World War advertising posters promoted Wate On—a drug that allowed skinny women to “fill out” because the beauty standard of that time was a fuller figure.
The posters asserted that “If you want to be popular, you can’t afford to be skinny.” If you can’t afford to be fat, and you can’t afford to be skinny, what can you afford to be?
Perhaps our concept of physical beauty could be skewed because our understanding of beauty itself is flawed. Physical beauty—the shallow, skin-deep type—only captures a fraction of what makes you . . . you. It doesn’t reflect the qualities that make you unique or the things that are of real importance like your character or personality, your skills and interests, or the way you care for those around you. Being liked for how you look cannot bring you lasting joy.
Your true value is not found in how you look. It is not found in the clique you belong to, the number of followers you have on Instagram, or the size of your jeans. The truth is, you were made for something more. Much more.