What the Church can Learn from Lupita Nyong’o about Beauty

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The stunning black actress came to the stage to deliver her speech at the Black Women in Hollywood celebration luncheon in the Beverly Hills Hotel. Her name is Lupita Nyong’o.

She began her speech with a letter she received from a young black teenage girl who wrote that she was contemplating buying a skin-whitening cream, for she was ashamed of her dark skin. She then told the actress, “but you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

Lupita continued to say that those words made her heart bleed a little. From this letter, Lupita went on to tell her story about how once, she felt “unbeautiful.” And when she saw only pale-skinned celebrities lighting up the red carpet, her self-hatred grew more immense. Day after day she would wake up every morning disappointed with the same shade of brown skin that she always had.

Her mother told her one day, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” Lupita realized that beauty wasn’t something she could “acquire or consume is was just something that I had to be…you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.”

Beauty Told by the World

Everywhere I look, I see photographs, magazines, fashion and social media infested with the idea that beauty is external. That women must conform to one type of beauty. And that single type of beauty is celebrated, recognized and appreciated all over the world. It’s sad that virtue hardly has a place in Red Carpet runways, celebrity marriages and social media.

Your value, your identity and your dating life is dependant on how skinny you are, how many manicures you can afford a month, how on fleek your eyebrows are, and how drop-dead gorgeous your hair is.

Beauty Told by the Church

And while the Church wrinkles and turns up their nose in disgust with the world, they turn around and do the exact same thing. I hear one type of beauty that is being celebrated, appreciated and recognized in the Church, and that is if you all of your beauty is internal.

While internal beauty is imperishable, external beauty, although it is temporary,  is important as well. I think this is where the Church has missed what people like Lupita Nyong’o has to offer: a validation of external beauty, but understanding how important the internal beauty is.

By the Church’s influence on me, I have begun to believe that outward beauty is wrong. That it’s wrong to express my femininity through some eyeliner, mascara and mini skirts.

Meeting in the Middle

Outward beauty should be celebrated, not demonized in the Church.

Internal beauty should be celebrated more in the world, not ignored.

It’s a “both/and” not an “either/or”. Both the world and the Church run to the extremes of this issue, can I suggest we meet in the middle? While the world has a lot to learn about how to raise girls to have internal beauty, the Church has a lot to learn about giving the freedom to girls to express their outward beauty by wearing makeup and beautiful clothes.

We can learn a lot from Lupita Nyong’o and her eloquent speech on beauty. She offers both what the Church and the World have to bring to the table. External beauty. Internal beauty. And somehow, they meet together in harmonious balance.

Lupita ended her speech addressed to the young black woman:

“I hope my presence on your screens and in magazines, leave you, young girl, on a similar journey, that you will feel the validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. In that, there is no shade in that beauty.”

Thanks for reading:)

Kate

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7 thoughts on “What the Church can Learn from Lupita Nyong’o about Beauty

    • Kate says:

      Hey Josh! Thanks for visiting:) I understand what you mean. I am not saying that external beauty is more important or anything, I am just noticing how the Church can put pressure on girls not to wear makeup or highlight their outer beauty because makeup is “evil” or “of this world.” I think there needs to be balance and from what I’ve seen, and how I’ve been treated at my church when I wear a short dress, instead of a long one, or mascara instead of being bare-faced I get criticized. Guys tell me “You don’t need makeup. There’s no one you need to impress here.”, but I’m not wearing it because I need it or because I want to impress anyone, but because I like highlighting my eyes or face, or I just like makeup:)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. tatianafaithwood says:

    Hello!,

    Just wanted to give my opinion real quick. ( : To some people my modesty views are seen as over the top because I don’t think girls should wear skinny jeans or really short skirts or dresses because I feel that they show off too much of the body and open the gateway for trouble. Guys need to be modest also, yet most churches never talk about modesty it seems to be one of the biggest subjects they ignore. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful. The BIble talks about beauty. Look at the story of Esther, read Proverbs. Beauty is something to admire and something I see nothing wrong with trying to achieve. But I don’t believe that we can find a middle ground I think that if we try to find the middle ground on modesty or something like it what’s to stop us from trying to find the middle ground on everything else? And if we do that how are we any different than the world? How are we not of it?.

    I hope I don’t sound rude!

    God bless,
    Ana

    Like

    • Kate says:

      Hey Tatiana!
      Thanks for your thoughts. I’m not saying that the Bible doesn’t talk about beauty, I am saying the Church has put pressure on girls to make all of the beauty to be internal. Which isn’t true. Beauty should be both. Both the World, and believe it or not, the Church are wrong on this topic. They run to extremes. The World runs to external beauty only. The Chruch runs to internal beauty only. That is why we need to go to the middle on this topic. I don’t think that I’m encouraging people to apply the “meet in the middle” concept to every situation. We can learn from the World, just as the World can learn from the Church. That is why I like what Lupita Nyong’o (who is “of this world”) had to say about beauty. She taught me about beauty and she isn’t a Christian. I’d just like to remind you, Tatiana that although the world is ugly in a lot of ways, I think there is beauty in the world that cannot be denied. God made people, whether they are Christian or not. Somewhere, deep down inside of them they have a longing for Truth, Love, Forgiveness and God himself whether they admit to that or not. We have to be careful to not turn the World and the Church into an “us and them” where we try to completely annihilate ourselves from the unbelievers. We can stand firm in our faith, but still love and embrace unbelievers with compassion. Thanks:)

      Liked by 1 person

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