Has thinness always been “in”? Here’s a picture of what women felt pressured to look like in Rembrandt’s day:
For many of us, looking like this depiction of Bathsheba would take no effort at all! And think of how beautiful Bathsheba had to be to tempt David into adultery and murder! This was Rembrandt’s idea of really, really pretty.
The standard of beauty for women is constantly changing. And it’s different in different cultures too. It seems that whatever is most difficult (or rare) is what the culture demands. So, where there is little food, larger women are the ideal. Where food is abundant, thinner women are in style.
How hard should we try to live up to the fickle standards of the culture? In 1 Samuel 16:7, God tells Samuel that “man looks at the outward appearance,” and that certainly does appear to be the case most of the time, doesn’t it? BUT, what does God look at instead? The heart! Investing a great deal of time and energy into trying to conform to our ever-changing cultural concept of “beauty” is not where God wants us to put the emphasis.
Take a look at 1 Timothy 4:8 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. Don’t be squeezed into the culture’s mold (Romans 12:2), but be transformed into who you already are in Christ, placing the emphasis on the eternal and not on temporal cultural standards.