Today, Em and Ry and I were walking through Walmart. As we stopped to honk the bike horns on the aisle display, parked between youth men’s clothing and the craft aisles, my eyes locked on the new Sport Illustrated swimsuit calendar, displayed right next to the Justin Bieber and Harry Potter posters. Thankfully, come December 21st, all the “athletes” who purchased the calendar already, you know, for “sports” inspiration, oh wait, I mean for the articles, won’t even get a chance to look at it each month.
|photo “courtesy” of Sports Illustrated 2012 Swimsuit Issue #$%^&*|
Tongue. In. Cheek. If only the Mayans were right! I’m looking forward to my destination…
This display, with two extra large calendars side by side, was at Ryan’s eye level. He was too busy honking the bike horns to notice. Thank. You. Jesus.
However, Em’s eyes went there and I caught it in the corner of my eye, taking mental note of her response.
We headed to the check out and then to the car.
Me: Em, I know you saw that poster of the woman in a bathing suit. What did you think about it?
Em: I thought it was kind of weird.
Me: Why did you think it was weird?
Em: Why would you take a picture of a girl in a really small bathing suit like that?
Me: There’s a magazine called, “Sports Illustrated,” that is supposed to be a magazine about sports. You know, like football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, swimming, lacrosse. You know, sports. But every year they have one publication dedicated entirely to women in their bathing suits. What do you think about that?
Em: What does that have to do with sports?
Me: Uh-huh. Who do you think might look at that particular magazine?
Em: Someone who is kind of weird.
Me: Actually, it could be anyone. But do you think it’s necessary or beneficial to the person looking at it?
Em: No. It could make them think all girls should look like that.
Me: Some religions have gone to the extreme to make women cover themselves, as not to draw attention to their outward beauty. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful. God made us that way. But there’s a problem in our culture, in particular, Em. Some women don’t know they are beautiful. They believe that what shows on the outside is what matters, and by wearing very little they will get the attention or approval of men. Our culture has gone to the extreme by encouraging women to wear very little, focusing on our outward appearance. What do you think about that?
Em: I want people to know me and love me for who I am on the inside.
Me: Yeah, me too. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a bathing suit, Em. Please don’t hear that. What I’m trying to say, that’s difficult to understand, is some people look at models and then compare themselves to them, wishing they were like them, assuming they are perfect. Mommy felt badly about herself for years because I believed in my head those girls were prettier than me. And, then other people might compare the people in their lives to the women in the calendar, wishing their wife or girlfriend was more like her. Some guys then get feelings for the women in the magazine and want to be married to them, wishing they could have sex with them, instead of their own wife. What do you think about that?
Em: That’s really sad.
Me: Em, God made you. He made all of us with unique gifts and strengths, and we are all beautiful. It’s the world that has tainted that beauty. I mean, it’s so messed up, Em. Take, for example, chips. Some companies have hired a beautiful woman with big boobs and very little clothing to eat chips in their commercial. I’m not sure what that has to do with chips, but it sells because guys watching the commercial are drawn to the sexuality of the woman. What do you think about that?
Em: I think she ate too many chips and her boobs got fat.
Me: (*note to self: save breast implant conversation for another day…dear God!)
Me: Em, the point is: our beauty comes from inside. Some people have tried to make women into objects of beauty, just by focusing on our outward appearance. We are a bigger deal than just gorgeousness! We are brilliant, smart, kind, and we can change the world! Literally! We are not simply objects and our beauty isn’t just on the outside. If it is, we’re in big trouble because we get wrinkly and crunchy with time 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with being beautiful, Em. Period. But do you think a guy looking at a magazine full of women who are barely covered makes him want to be a better man to God, his wife, and his kids? Or to his future wife?
Em: I think the calendar is stupid.