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“Miss Representing” Beauty?

12 Jul Student Ministry | Comments Off on “Miss Representing” Beauty?
“Miss Representing” Beauty?

Spend any time these days building relationships with teens today and you’ll pretty quickly pick up on a familiar question that they’re all asking. It might be worded differently, it might be asked indirectly, but not very deep underneath the surface, every teen is searching to find the same thing:

“Who am I?”, “Where do I fit in?”, “Am I worthy of love?”

As youth workers, we see these questions being asked every day in a thousand different ways. Teens we deeply care about caught up in peer pressure, self-image issues, substance abuse, driven to succeed… if for no other reason than to feel worthy of love, acceptance, and value.

Miss Representation

I came across an interesting video produced by – a non-profit group that describes itself as “a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels in order to realize their potential.” And while we won’t necessarily fully endorse everything they’re saying, the bottom line is here’s a secular non-profit group that has seen the huge issue this generation of young women are facing, a group that has connected the dots between some incredibly sobering statistics about teenage girls’ self-image and the harmful media messages they’re being raised on. For their effort to raise awareness, we can definitely be grateful. Check it out:

Some Disturbing Facts

  • The average American girl will have seen 77,546 commercials by the age of 12.
  • 3 out of 4 girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful after spending only three minutes paging through a fashion magazine.
  • In girls 18 years and younger from 1997 to 2007, cosmetic surgery is up 300%, liposuction 400%, and breast augmentation 600%.

What would you say?

After watching the video, I felt as if I was left with some questions for us as the church and as youth ministries; things we need to be asking ourselves.

  • Where is our voice in the midst of this media conversation?
  • What are we encouraging our young women to see and embrace as beautiful?
  • Are we communicating God’s message in a compelling way that speaks louder than the commercials, magazine ads, and Hollywood stereotypes they’re consuming?
  • If you’re a male youth worker, what is your message to the girls in your ministry? Is your message a silent one?

The video concludes with a call for young women to:

  1. Value themselves
  2. Become a role model to others
  3. Get involved with campaigns to reverse beauty stereotypes
  4. Embrace and exercise leadership

My question for you today, is how would you have ended the video? What call would you have wanted to leave with young women facing this struggle?


Aaron Brown
Professor of Student Min at Lancaster Bible College
Aaron Brown is an Assistant Professor of Student Ministry at Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA. He attended Biola University and Talbot School of Theology. Before coming to LBC, he was the Sr. High Director at Living Word Community Church in Red Lion, PA. Aaron serves as the Project's editor and web guy.