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thumbnailScarlett O’Hara, in the movie Gone With the Wind, believed her figure would be perfect only if she had an 18 inch waist.  Every day, Scarlett instructed her “mammy” to push, prod and tightly lace her into a corset.  The experience was literally breath-taking.  (It was no wonder that women of Scarlett’s era fainted so easily.)  Scarlett may have been a story-book character, but the fashionable corset was a cruel reality.  Thousands of American women attained the so-called perfect figure, but at a high price.  The following true story explains.

When Hiram Powers, the great sculptor, was visiting in the U.S., he attended an elaborate party.  A friend observed Mr. Powers watching a beautifully dressed and fashionable woman.  The friend said, “What an elegant figure she has, don’t you agree?”

“Well,” said Mr. Powers, “I was wondering where she put her liver.”

You see, Mr. Powers had studied the human body, and he knew that in order to shape a female body in the outline of the woman he was watching, some internal organs would have to be forced out of their properly functioning place.

A physician during that same era, Dr. J.H. Kellogg, examined thousands of women in a year’s time.  He stated that it was almost impossible to find a woman whose stomach was where it belonged.  This was a serious matter because no organ can function efficiently when it’s out of its proper position.

Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, a physician and the author of a series of books for young women growing up in the early 1900s, wrote: “The reason we admire the tapering waist is because we have been wrongly educated.  We have acquired wrong ideas of beauty.  We have accepted the ideals of ‘fashion’ rather than those of the Creator.” (Purity and Truth: What a Young Woman Ought to Know, Vir Publishing, 1898)

In the late 1950s, a toy company defined the so-called perfect figure by creating the Barbie doll.  Almost every American girl not only wanted a Barbie, she wanted to look like Barbie.  But Barbie’s figure is abnormally out of proportion.  A real girl with Barbie’s measurements would fall over on her face.

Perhaps we, too, have fallen over on our faces and caused our brains to stop thinking.  In what ways do we put our health dangerously at risk in order to have a “perfect” figure?  Who determines the “perfect” skin color?  How many piercings and tattoos are enough to suit the trend-setters?

Why do we let fashion designers (who don’t know us) tell us how we should look?  Why do we let department stores (who profit from our purchases) tell us what to buy?

We’ve listened to the world long enough.  Don’t you think it’s time to hear what the Creator of our bodies has to say?

Take a breath.  Pick up your Bible.  What does God say to you in Isaiah 43:1, 7; 45:9-11; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:3-5; and 1 Corinthians 6:18.

From Lesson Eight: “Beauty at Any Price?”
Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up
A Bible Study by Linda Bartlett
(Lutherans For Life or Concordia Publishing House)

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