40 minute essay challenge!

“Beauty is only skin deep”

In life it can be hard to define terms that we use everyday. Defining beauty is one of these difficult things. When most people think of beauty they think of appearance, especially what is on the outside and most visible. However it could be argued that true beauty is deeper, more than “skin deep”. This essay will address the issue of true beauty.

Most of what we see and watch around us, reinforces set stereotypes of skin deep or superficial beauty. This includes what we watch on television, the internet and advertising that surrounds us every day. Nearly all of these things reinforce the idea the beauty is only skin deep. Beautiful enticing women are used to sell us everything from food to clothing. Muscular well chiseled men try to sell us underwear, beer and aftershave

Even some advertisements purported to be discouraging beauty myths still reinforce the idea that beauty is is on the outside rather than on the inside. This “skin deep” understanding of beauty is also very pervasive, subtle and widely accepted.

Christian theology affirms superficial beauty. Christians believe people are drawn to a creation made by God as good and visually beautiful. The Christian can praise God for the beautiful muscular body of the man, or the curvaceous body of a woman. The Christian can praise God for the beautiful mountains, sunset, and creation we live in.

Christian theology also understands that our perception of the world is tarnished by our rejection of God as the creator. Christians understand this to mean that our view of beauty is also tarnished and that we end up worshiping the beautiful world God has given us, rather than honouring it’s creator. In failing to worship God first, something in our very nature looses it’s beauty in the process. Christians understand that it’s only though restored relationship with God that we can again appreciate real true beauty and begin to understand it as something that is far more than skin deep.

More generally to argue that beauty is only skin deep is particularly narrow. It’s difficult to believe that the average person on the street would affirm this as being true. Our society often seems torn, on the one hand we surround ourselves with set patterns and stereotypes of what true beauty is. On the other hand people always seem to seek to redefine or reject stereotypes of beauty. One evidence for this comes from the many internet memes that circulate on social media that affirm that true beauty comes from within. These are not Christian in nature suggesting that people understand that something is not quite right when it comes to how our society looks at beauty. They would seem to suggest that beauty is indeed more than skin deep.

The definition of true beauty would include both internal and unseen things not just the external and seen. It could be argued that the order in which our world operates is beautiful even though we can’t visually “see” it. It could also be argued that things from Mathematics to feelings such as love, care and joy are all part of a world which is more than just visually or superficially beautiful.

While valuing external beauty Christian theology also teaches the value of beauty that is also hidden. Christians would argue that internal unseen values such as “love”, “peace” “joy”and are beautiful, when motivated by a desire to follow Jesus. A person may very well be “ugly” on the outside but very “beautiful” on the inside. Conversely a person may be very beautiful on the outside but on the inside very, very “ugly”.

In conclusion what is “true beauty”? This essay has argued that it is an internal and an external thing. Is beauty only skin deep? The answer clearly is no. Beauty in both internally and externally is affirmed both in Christian theology and the society in which we live.



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