It’s an epic battle that takes place every day of your daughter’s formative and teen years (and by the way, it never stops). It involves endless ads, movies, songs, social media posts, and articles that are targeting her heart and mind with one larger objective–to define how your daughter views herself. If the world can define your daughter’s perception of beauty, it can control her life.
While I would love to place all of the fault on the world and it’s well-greased marketing machines, the fact of the matter is that most of the blame rests squarely with us men. We’ve fed into the enormous lie that purports to define a woman’s beauty as something that is purely an outward expression of her appearance. You need only to pick up a woman’s magazine or watch the latest movie to see how men define beauty. It’s skin deep. Yet, it creates deep and lasting wounds.
As husbands and fathers, we need to go to battle for our wives and daughters by living on the front line with them and help them redefine beauty. With great intentionality, we need to daily communicate a much larger vision of what beauty really means.
Here are two essential realities to help us get started:
1. A woman’s beauty is a multifaceted expression that involves her total person.
As a husband and a father, I can’t tell my wife and daughters enough how beautiful they are– regardless as to how they may perceive their outward appearance (which often is related to how they think I and others see them). While one’s beauty may entail a physical element, it is only a small part of a much larger whole. This means that I must associate beauty as something much more than just an outward “skin deep” appearance-related characteristic. I need to help my wife and daughters associate their beauty with who they are, not just with what they look like. This involves such facets as their attitude, demeanor, emotions, confidence (or lack of), and how they exude the glory of their Heavenly Father. I often tell my oldest daughter that when she smiles, she lights up a room and one cannot help but see the beauty radiating from her. It holds true for my wife as well. Nothing is more beautiful to me than seeing my wife and daughters smiling and laughing together. In this sense, I believe beauty has more to do with one’s inner joy and peace than anything else. For this reason, true beauty will always reflect the glory of God’s goodness.
First Peter 3:4-5 tells us that, “a woman’s beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”
2. A woman’s beauty is uniquely influenced by how she perceives herself.
Unfortunately, we live in a “Facebook world” that continually compares one’s self to others. Even though Facebook is a one-dimensional, paper-thin reality, millions of young women (and men) still crave the approval of their “friends.” For our teen daughters and even older daughters, this can become a very dangerous place, as they will too often define their self-esteem based on the rise and fall of their “likes.” That’s why it’s critical for dads to speak truth into their daughter’s lives, and if necessary, limit and/or closely monitor a young girl’s access to social media. To counter this message, both our wives and our daughters need a regular dose of affirmation around who they are and the real beauty that they exude as children of God.
This means I need to be a “reality mirror” for my wife and daughters. When they look at me and ask the question, “Am I beautiful?” I need to respond in a way that speaks to their total beauty as a woman.1 This may involve the clothes they’re wearing or how they’ve styled their hair. However, even more so, I need to affirm their character and heart before God. I want them to see themselves as God sees them, and at the same time, know the joy and pleasure they bring to my life.
Men–if the ladies in our lives are going to see the true beauty within them, we need to help them redefine the term and make it mean so much more. First things first, we need to see beauty as God sees it and not the perverted beauty of this world which largely uplifts only one’s physical appearance. Given our wives and daughters live their lives on this battlefield filled with lies, we must do all we can to make sure they know the truth and encourage them to see themselves as their Heavenly Father sees them––beautiful women fashioned in His image! It doesn’t get any better than that.