This is the stuff I love. And, it’s the stuff worth showing to and talking about with our kids. It’s those crazy “with” and “without” “before” and “after” photos of celebrities. They’re the photos that expose the lies of the camera and digital manipulation. They are the photos that expose the lies we believe. Maybe celebrities are real normal-looking people just like us. Maybe time and gravity do take a toll on their physical shells. . . in the same way time and gravity do the same to the rest of us.
Last week, a friend asked if I had seen the post by celebrity Scarlett Johansson on her Facebook Fan Page. Johansson is the thirty-year-old actress, model, and singer who is also known as one of entertainment’s “sex symbols.” In fact, she’s been proclaimed “Sexiest Woman Alive” on two occasions (2006 and 2013) by Esquire magazine (no, I didn’t pull that out of my head! Thank you Wikipedia!). The camera consistently presents a Scarlett Johansson that looks like this. . .
But on her Facebook fan page, Johansson posted this photo sans make-up and digital manipulation. Yes, she looks like a real person! . . .
Beneath the photo fans will find these words from Johansson: “Behind the glamour, behind the make up, behind all those flashy clothes, there’s an ordinary girl who just happens to have an extra ordinary job. I have seen young girls follow celebrities and try to be one of them. They try to attain perfection, have the perfect body, perfect skin tone. They aren’t fully aware of the fact that behind the looks there are a lot of designers, make up artists, and photoshop/video editing. Their whole sense of beauty is flawed. There is no good to looking good if you are conscious all the time about how you look. You should be care free. Love the real you. The way you are so that even if you are without makeup, you can look into the mirror and with a big smile embrace your imperfections. Just imagine if you don’t even love yourself how do you expect anyone to love you. So first and foremost learn to love yourself by being who you are and not what the world wants you to be. All you need to do is have a great heart and be compassionate towards others. I hope you spread the message and let the world know that you value inner beauty more than the outer appearance. “
Perhaps you can use Johansson’s photo and post as a starting point for a discussion of identity, body-image, and the consuming pressures that can take over our lives. And, it’s a great way to shift the cultural identity script to a biblical identity script. . . one that encourages our kids to flourish by finding their identity in Christ.