Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Price of Beauty

One memorable scene from Tuck Everlasting is a short discussion between Winnie and her mother over fashion and beauty:

Mrs. Foster: [while strapping Winnie into a corset] You must suffer to be beautiful, so say the French.

Winnie: The French are crazy.

We can laugh at the attempts of women in past centuries to beautify themselves, going to great lengths for that smaller waist or whiter complexion or rosier cheeks. They did highly dangerous things, drinking poisonous concoctions, deforming ribs, stifling themselves in summer. But the coupling (and perceived necessity) of beauty and suffering did not die out in the Victorian Era. In fact, I think it has only gotten worse. Mother Dear sent me the links to two recent MSNBC articles on "killer fashion." It is truly amazing to read of some of the lengths women will go to to achieve a desired image:

“The clothes might be torturing you, but you become used to it,” she says. “The heels, the tight skirt, it all becomes a part of your life. They put you in pain, but you think, ‘No, it’s worth it.’”

"I have a pair of stilettos I call my disco ball shoes — across the toe is a strip of tiny mirrored squares. I love these shoes, but the last time I wore them I lost the feeling in my toes for about two weeks."

"I have many tortures: curling iron burns on my forehead and neck, skin torn off my feet where shoes rubbed, chafing and rash from sequins rubbing my underarms while I played percussion and sang in bands. But ... I can still do high kicks and deep knee bends in 6-inch platforms. Rock on!"

"Thirty years in "highest" heels have destroyed the cartilage in my toes and my knees, leaving me with arthritis and flat shoes. Sometimes, I can still get into a 1-inch heel that has good support. Pain finally won out over fashion."

To read the full stories, see here and here.

It's easy to get caught up, as a young woman, in the obsession with beauty in our society. It's so easy to forget that the most important kind (and the lasting kind) of beauty comes from within, and can only be wrought by God's working in our lives. That kind of beauty also comes through pain, but it is a joyful pain, a pain of refining, as our old self is heated and cleared of impurities to reveal Christ's image. Hmmm, perhaps, after all, the French were right: we really do have to suffer to be beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Ypu are correct in pointing how bad high heels are for feet and legs. My grandmother worked in a bank for years and had leg problems later in life from wearing heels. Sneakers are the best. Even better are ones with arch support. This is really imporant when you are pregnant. Pregnancy can cause the arch to fall and the foot to expand.

Women don't have to wear heels to look nice for the office/dates/parties/church. Have you seen some of the cute flats at Payless this season?

These are really cute and not bad for your feet:*Ad%201*044843-Bronze(Roman%20Sling)

Macy's has some really good ones too:*1*24*-1*-1&kw=Flats&LinkType=EverGreen

deb said...

I am a prime example of wearing heels for years and having problems. This was back in the 70's so I don't even think heels were as high back then as they are today, but I still wore them daily.

Both my feet have had surgeries because of heel problems. So one of my favorite sayings is: "It's just not worth it!"

ashley said...

My first thought with the mention of heels was "Boy, Barbie's feet must be killing her!" Hehe

Maybe it's a good thing Paul is shorter than me... I search high and low for flat shoes.

Becky Miller said...

Wow, those articles were unbelievable. Some women are crazy. The worst I've gotten from shoes is a few blisters where they rubbed while I broke them in.

Anna Naomi said...

The lengths people go to to conform to the current fashion is awful!

Ahh... a nice flowy skirt and loosely flowing shirt is quite comfortable as I sit here and read about this... :-)

Cherish the Home said...

Wow!! I had no idea high-heels cause so many problems. I haven't worn any since my 20's.....besides I'm 5'9"...and that's quite tall enough!

zan said...

I love heels, but only wear them to church or a date. I don't know how those girls where them in the mall while shopping!

I took care of patients who wore heels all their life and their feet are pointed at the end and their toes are all smushed together. Eeeee!

Sherrin said...

This reminds me of friends who did ballet for years. Their toes were damaged through the shoes they wore, and standing on their toes so much.

Anonymous said...

I rally do feel sorry for those women! I used to cmplain to my mom how I didn't look like other people. I see now mom is protecting me and God is watching over me! I never wear stuff that is tight, I alway wear flats and I always dress modestly.


Anonymous said...

I want to say something about the ballet shoes. I'm a dancer for Jesus and I will amit some ballet shoes really hurt your feet. But if you find the right kind of shoe you can save your toes. Also if you dance you have really be careful and take good care of toes.