Guest Author - Debora Dyess
What is a perfect woman? It can be confusing to know what people expect, and even more so for girls in junior high and high school. Our culture sends so many mixed messages through media. Girls are supposed to be thin and tall, made-up and dressed to the nines in all the newest styles. Never a hair out of place, never a spot or smudge. And that expectation is every day – with cell phone cameras everywhere, and friends, families and strangers looking at MySpace and Facebook pictures all the time, you can’t afford to be off your guard for even a minute. Who can measure up to that?
Girls at one Texas high school have decided that enough is enough. Their belief that beauty is more than skin deep is changing a high school, a state and maybe even a nation. They’ve made the decision to look deeper, and to encourage others to look deeper, too. Inspired by a program called Operation Beautiful, the girls of Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas designated Tuesday as ‘no make-up day’. They don purple tee shirts that say “One Girl at a Time” and pride, but no foundation, no blush, no lipstick or eye make-up. Not even the basic mascara.
The focus is not just on the lack of ‘face paint’, of course, but on making girls undedrstand that they are more than make-up and clothing. Organizers of the movement at Heritage High and of Operation Beautiful want girls and women to understand that beauty is, in fact, much more than just physical appearance. With less emphasis on the outward, the hope is that attention can go to the parts of a person that are truly important – compassion, emotional health, sense of humor and mental abilities. Character traits are what carries us through life with success.
“No Make-up Tuesday” is on the move. Other schools in the are have picked up the banner, as have some college and working women in the community. The girls also appeared on The Early Show Tuesday, October 19 explaining their hopes and excitement The girls, all smiles and purple tee-shirts, didn’t have a dab of make-up between them, and all were beautiful.
Puberty is a hard time for girls. Between body image problems, emotional changes and new expectations at home and school, many kids end up wondering who they really are. Girls who wear the right clothes and make their face up just the right way seem to have it all together. Looking at the media is no help – young stars and singers hardly look like teenagers beneath their make-up and designer clothing. It’s a difficult thing to live up to, and makes many girls feel even less secure in themselves.
Girls who have a good support group of friends, family and community or church people, get involved in sports or another extracurricular activity and find a way to get involved in the lives of other people are less de-railed by adolescence. Support groups allow girls to rant, rave, ask questions and feel accepted during tough times. Physical activity, even if it’s just a walking group at the park, keep them physically fit and release endorphins (hormones) that make them feel better and more hopeful. Volunteering or working in the community lets people know they’re needed and important. These factors do much more to fight the confusion of the teen years than any bottle of make-up.
The girls of Heritage High agree, as do many of their guy friends and boyfriends. Because when it comes down to it, what’s important can’t be made up.
Message to guys? Gus support the idea. The culture may say that guys want the perfedct girl, but many guys at Heritage High say the 'no make-up girls' look just as wonderful without makeup and are still friends/boyfriends.