Sleeve Notes 101: 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Is Love Based On Looks?

Today while roaming around the internet, I saw a headline that got me to thinking. Are Ugly Children Less Loved? It actually doesn't seem like that big of a stretch to think that in our society children who don't fit the images that flow out from every medium are treated somehow like ugly red-headed step children. Recently I saw a study that said that people who are considered good looking, on average, receive higher salaries. Are we as a society so obsessed with the outward appearance that we treat people differently based on how they look?

I grew up in a church that placed an undue emphasis on outward appearance. To be considered a Christian, you had to look a certain way. How else can you tell a Christian? As I grew older, I realized that basing my opinion of someone's relationship with Christ off of how they looked was way off.

Perhaps what I saw growing up in the church was just an off-shoot of society at large. Everyone is obsessed with looks. In the movies people like Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts (just named by People magazine as the most beautiful woman in the world) are our examples. Plastic surgeons are making a killing helping people change the way they perceive themselves by changing the way they look. TV shows like The Swan serve us up with a weekly dose of personal change...most notably on the outside. They've made an art of changing "ugly ducklings" into "swans." And these "swans" go out with their lives changed. Suddenly doors are opened up to them that otherwise would never have been opened. The beautiful people flock around them. Hell, who wouldn't want to be able to change the way they look if the end result is positive affirmation from the people who the world loves.

I read recently that we are all uniquely and wonderfully made by His image. If that's the case, then why would we love someone any more or any less based off of how they look? If we love a kid less because they are ugly, aren't we telling them that God made some kind of mistake? Because honestly, they would receive a lot more love if they were prettier. As these kids get older, their image of themselves takes a continual beating. The result is people who are constantly struggling to be loved and thinking it's because of their looks.

I think more kids need to be told that they are unique and that their looks don't matter. Easy to say, but in our society much harder to practice. I tell my 6 yr old stepson that God doesn't make any junk...including him! Funny though, when I look at him I realize he will be what society considers one of the pretty people. In thinking about it, I realized that whether he was the ugliest kid on the block or not, it wouldn't matter...he's still uniquely and wonderfully made in God's image. Kids shouldn't be loved because they are cute or unloved because they are ugly. They should be loved...period! In fact, that's the way society should be at large. But, as long as everyone (myself included) puts such as emphasis on looks, there will always be those who will feel inadequate and unloved because they don't fit it.

I never did read the original article...I was afraid it would just remind me that we are a society obsessed by looks. We all want to be accepted...whether gay, straight, black, white, brown, male or female. It's the reason at 35 that I am getting a chin lift...I want to look younger (and better). We are all obsessed...just a little...with outward appearance. But we would do good to remember that God made us unique AND wonderful.