Friday, July 24, 2009

What is the value of a woman?

The winner of last week's drawing for The Blue Enchantress is Laura Michelle Counts! who left a comment on my Facebook version of this post.
Thank you so much for entering, but today you have another chance, and one more chance next week!

The Blue Enchantress is a story very dear to my heart because I used to be just like Hope, the heroine. Because of a difficult childhood and growing up without a father, I was searching for value and love in any place I could find it. I used my feminine charms and outward beauty to attract the wrong type of attention, and I paid dearly for it. It wasn't until God pulled me up from the pit I had dug for myself, washed me off, and told me He loved me, that I finally found what I was looking for. Only in Him can any of us find true love and value.

What concerns me is the culture that surrounds us today, and in particular what message it is giving young ladies. Since my youth, that message has gone from a low whisper to a very loud shout, telling women that they have no value unless they "look" a certain way. Just glance over the magazines or flip on the TV and you'll be bombarded with ads for girls telling them how to lose weight, how to apply makeup, how to wear their hair, their clothes, etc. Beautiful women are flaunted across the TV screen in order to sell any product from cars to underwear. TV shows and movies are filled with gorgeous women. Where are all the normal looking women?

Women are used as objects intended for men's pleasure and the message rings loud and clear. "If you aren't beautiful, no one will love you." As a consequence, young girls who don't fit the bill are depressed. Many commit suicide, while others become bulimic or resort to plastic surgery. I know women in their 20's who are getting plastic surgery. $18.7 million dollars a year are spent in this country on surgeries trying to be beautiful.

That is why I wrote Hope's story. I want to show how valuable all women are in the eyes of God. I want to show women that they don't have to cheapen themselves and throw themselves at men. I want to show that type of life can only lead to agony and self-loathing. I want to show that true love looks on the inside and not on the outside. So, if you know some young women who struggle with this issue, I encourage you to give them a copy of The Blue Enchantress.

So, what about you? What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you struggle with this yourself? Do you know someone who does. Can we change the culture or is it too late? What can we do to help women today, and in particular young girls?
Leave a comment and I'll enter your name in a drawing for a free copy of the book!

27 comments:

  1. Mary Lu, I absolutely agree with you on this topic. I think many people struggle with it, and it is very true that one shouldn't have to cheapen oneself to win the love of men any more than we have to be perfect to please God. However, that said... I wonder why so few writers and readers (I include myself here) want books about an ugly heroine?? Could it be that beauty is also really important to us and we all deep down just want to be the Beauty waiting to be discovered? That is a natural longing too, nothing terribly unspiritual about it when you realize Who the Creator of everything good and beautiful is. Of course, we all want to be loved for ourselves, not JUST our face or figure, but we do long to be attractive to others. I would hate to think that my husband was mainly impressed with my talents as a Bible teacher! It is a really hard balance to find these days. So maybe you can help us find that middle ground in your book.

    csteward@gmsa.org

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  2. You are so right, Right now, It's all about looking 'the best'.
    Can't wait to read Hope's story!!!!!

    Rae
    raebyuel(@)gmail(.)com

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  3. My sister is a little like that. It is very hard to watch her make these mistakes, but she will not learn any other way. I pray for her. That is all I can do, but it is enough. She is in a better situation now, but she still doesn't have it quite right. I'm lucky that I've seen people go through this, and read about girls like that, because I have learned from their mistakes.
    Please enter me for the drawing.
    booklovercb at yahoo dot com
    ~Carman

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  4. I have to say that it has to have an affect on most girls today because they are constantly bombarded with this stuff in the grocery store on billboards or where ever they go. I have cousins who are size 5 and 3 and think they're fat because they're not a size 0!!! I mean come on these girls are beautiful but yet if they don't look like the girl on Cosmo they're not satisfied. Most of the girls may look beautiful but some of the stars, as soon as they open their mouths I'm like "uh did they just say that and how can that be considered beautiful!" It's really a shame what are society has come to! I'm not sure what needs to happen to get the focus off of the physical and more into the spiritual other than God intervening.

    I'm looking forward to reading Hope's story!

    steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. Michelle K. ForemanJuly 24, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    I agree that this is going on in the culture we live in and I find it to be a very depressing thing. I know 2 of my friends who are never staisfied with their image. One of them is average size and she keeps saying she's fat, and the other is on the larger side and can never be happy with her self image. They get depressed over the way they look and I keep telling them that God created us all different and a unique image for each of us. I know for myself there are times when I'm not satisfied with the way I look but I don't let it affect my life. I do have a high metabolism and I do stay skinnier than others but I still have budges on my stomach, hips, and legs so I know I'm not perfect. It just makes me sad today that girls and woman put so much in to appearances that it affects their lives.

    Michelle
    SailorJeanne@hotmail.com

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  6. I just finished reading your all three of your Legacy of the King's Pirates trilogy books yesterday and LOVED THEM! I read and reviewed The Red Siren for you a couple of months ago and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book soon. Especially since I'm going on vacation on August 6 and will need a good book to read for the plane ride.

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  7. What can I say? Society has become where all we think about is the clothes on our backs and whether or not they compliment the figure. I'm not saying that looking nice shouldn't be something we enjoy doing or working at, but when it consumes your every wakeing thought about how to impress someone, you have a huge problem. God cares more about what is going on the inside of your heart, and whether your words match with your actions. I know this book is going to be wonderful, just like all the rest and I can't wait to get my hands on it! And I can't wait until the 31st- I would LOVE to win your pirate books, they have to be the best books I have read in a long time!

    libraryhelper@harneyesd.k12.or.us

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  8. I totally agree with you. It is so sad to see how today's media affects young women. Constantly getting the message that they aren't good enough unless they are a size 0 and and have to show so much skin in order to get anyone to look at them. What a stumbling block to themselves and the men that see them! Young women need to be constantly reminded that God loves them for who they are and is more concerned with the state of their heart than that of their appearance. As a former youth worker and teacher I was/am exposed to a lot of this and it is so heart-breaking!

    Julie
    sweetpea.hull@gmail.com

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  9. One of my favorite episodes of Twilight Zone is the one where the pig looking people are trying to make over the Marilyn Monroe looking woman. To them that was ugly, and having a pig nose with saggy eyes was beautiful. Definitions of beauty have transformed over time, but there will always be those who don't fit the standard.
    Unfortunately, I don't believe there will ever be a time or a place where outside appearances are not judged. But I like what Diane said about finding that hard balance. And, oh, how tricky that can be!!
    Thanks for sharing your heart through your writing, MaryLu!

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  10. Sorry, my email address is
    kristengjohnson@gmail.com
    Thanks

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  11. There's A lot of pressure on women today.I agree with you Marylu.tracee77@windstream.net

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  12. Looks are just so much of our society these days. It's really quite a shame. This reminds me of what my mom always used to tell me growing up, "It's what's on the inside that counts. Even if you are an ugly person on the outside, if your heart is beautiful, you will shine through and people will see you as beautiful." It wasn't until I got older (more mature maybe?) that I really started believing this. I want to pass this on to my daughter too. Thanks for sharing.
    Sheri <><

    sheriberry(at)northriver(dot)coop

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  13. I totally agree with you! There is so much pressure on girls to be so beautiful and skinny! That they starve themselves to "be beautiful"
    Thanks!

    sarah45431@hotmail.com

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  14. Ladies, thanks so much for all your comments! Lots of good things to think about here. Yes, Culture does define what's beautiful. Chubby women were considered beautiful during the Renaissance. Oh, I wished I lived back then! But like Diane said we all want to be beautiful. I wonder if that is a God-given and healthy desire that the world has perverted? We all love to look at beautiful things and people. Is it so wrong to want people to think we are beautiful? Perhaps only if our looks become our god and we place their importance above God. Equally wrong is if others only love us for our appearance. But we live in a fallen world. In Heaven, I believe we will all be beautiful in our own way but it will be a beauty that is defined from within and expresses itself in our outward appearance. Kind of like the movie, Shallow Hal. I don't approve of everything in that movie, but the main character saw women who were kind and good and moral as being gorgeous on the outside and the women who were gorgeous but had no character as ugly. Very interesting concept.

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  15. It is sad that too many rely on what society, movies, tv, etc. decide is beautiful. I've known too many females who want to be thinner, prettier, and their self-worth is determined by if they are in a relationship. It is sad when women and girls cannot be happy with who they are and with the appearance God chose for them. The book sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it.
    amydetrempe@gmail.com

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  16. You are so right! A lot of young girls do feel this way, I hope your book can help some of them to see otherwise.

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  17. I don't personally know any girls like that but we sure hear a lot about them. Every girl wants to be thin and beautiful and it's hard to accept if you're not.
    rachelmarie42@yahoo.com

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  18. I can't wait to read how Hope copes with the way she is, Maybe we can learn something from her.

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  19. sorry, that was diane at
    di88wllmnn@yahoo.com

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  20. I am really excited to read Hope's story. Although I have grown up with a father who loves me, I never was really able to connect with my dad when I was a teen. I think it was because he didn't know how to connect with a teenage daughter. Consequently because of this, I would look for "love" in the wrong places. I put that word in quotations, because I did not know what love really was at that time in my life. I am now 19 years old and I still don't fully know what love is, but I am finding out. Anywho, since I looked for love in the wrong places, I did some things that I am not proud of. Luckily, God got ahold of me and showed me the error of my human desires and showed me his love--the pure and true love that never fails. I think that today's society with popular fiction and Hollywood have so degraded the word love that it is hard for girls to truly know and comprehend what love truly is. I wish there was a way to tell all the women in the world that they don't have to act, dress, or be that way. I wish that all women would see that they should be valued for who they are on the inside, not the outside and that they should be respected as a person, not what they advertise. It is a constant prayer of mine that women see how valued they are in the eyes of God.

    Thank you for writing this story. I am anxious to read it.

    Shoni
    ranchgirl_19@hotmail.com

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  21. You know i totally agree! I have to be around people like that and i wish they would see that you don't need to dress in short clothing or act in any way to attract other people. You are better off wearing the most horrible outfit you can pick out and maybe you might find someone who likes that you don't care what you look like, and they will see the beauty about you. I know i get complements from very sweet people when im wearing things that i thought were a bad outfit, weird as that is but really you dont want to dress to fast! The good boys, girls, and other friends will love you for what is on the inside and not just the outside.

    I just got back from Door County and i met the sweetest people there -young men studying to be priests- and really all i had to do was be myself and they loved me, they didn't care what i was wearing just the fact that i was with them and i was being myself, thats important! You will never be happy if you just keep on giving yourself to people who don't really care about you for you besides your looks. Be patient! Give it time and ask God for the strength to wait and He will answer your prayers, because God is good, ALL the time!

    Oh i just love to be Christian! :)

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  22. Sorry forgot to be a good sport. Congratulation's Laura Michelle Counts! Way to go, i hope you enjoy the book..i am, its very awesome!

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  23. I can't wait to get to know your character better in the book!

    suzannemcniel@gmail.com

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  24. When our focus is not on the One who is beauty and only sees beauty as He is perfect, then we miss the beauty He has for us.

    Merrt

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  25. I definitely agree with you!

    paul.mcniel@gmail.com

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  26. I do wish there wasn't so much pressure on girls! It really is sad.

    mcniel.4@wright.edu

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  27. You are so right!

    mcniel.2@wright.edu

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