"Beauty hurts" is a lie (or a teenager's view of beauty) - JJ Landis
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“Beauty hurts” is a lie (or a teenager’s view of beauty)

Wind Cave Boy Scout Trip (12)

“You aren’t beautiful because your friends tell you that you are.” E.J.L. age 14


What makes a person beautiful?


There is a movement going around on Instagram right now called “the #20beautifulwomen challenge.” For those of you not up on these newfangled social networking sites, Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing service. You are able to see the pictures posted by people you follow.


If you are nominated by someone on Instagram for the #20beautifulwomen challenge, from what I understand you post a picture of yourself that you consider beautiful and then “tag” (which means “notify” in social media lingo) 20 beautiful women you know to do the same. I think it started from a book called Twenty Beautiful Women by Saba Tekle, but I’m not really sure.


(The hashtag [#] makes a word searchable. For example, if I search for #sunset, I can find all the pictures others posted using #sunset in the description.)


Back to my question – What makes someone beautiful? How do you answer? Hair? Makeup? Weight? Smile? Eyes?


I was stunned to read what my 14-year-old daughter had to say on Instagram about beauty when a friend nominated her. She gave me her permission to use this on my blog. I corrected one misspelling and added spacing, but otherwise, this is unchanged.


I was nominated for the #20beautifulwomen challenge.


I tagged these people not because they should go post a pretty picture of themselves and tag other people to do the same, but because they are beautiful.


Feel free to do the #20beautifulwomen challenge, but just know that beauty isn’t makeup and clothes. The saying “beauty hurts” is wrong. Beauty isn’t staying with the current fashion trends. You aren’t beautiful because your friends tell you that you are.


Makeup and clothes and outfits and clear skin don’t make you beautiful. You make you beautiful.


YOU are beautiful. Not your makeup. Not your outfit. YOU. If someone tells you otherwise, it’s because they have the wrong idea about beauty.


You’re beautiful when you are shamelessly doing the chicken dance at a school dance.


You are beautiful when it is midsummer and you’re sweating like crazy and covered in dirt from being outside all day.


You are beautiful when you have a huge pimple in the middle of your forehead.


You are beautiful. If someone calls you ugly, they don’t know what beauty is.


If you’re tagged in this or if you just decided to read this, instead of challenging you to do the #20beautifulwomen challenge, I challenge you to go a day without wearing makeup. Go a day without worrying if your hair looks okay. Go a day just being your beautiful self, not how others tell you beauty should be.


You are beautiful.

EJL, age 14

  • Davita
    Posted at 05:41h, 10 February Reply

    Well said , Esther!! I actually don’t wear makeup for that reason among many. I don’t think people need makeup to be and feel beautiful. 🙂

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 21:04h, 10 February Reply

      Davita, Yep. And you are beautiful!

  • Lynn
    Posted at 21:24h, 09 February Reply

    Well written, Esther. Love that this came from a teenager! She’s going to change the world, that one….

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 07:05h, 10 February Reply

      Thanks Lynn. She’s a keeper, for sure!

  • Dawn
    Posted at 19:39h, 09 February Reply

    J.J. & Esther – Wish I felt this way when I was 14. Hope my daughter feels this way when she is 14. Thank you both for being authentic ladies and sharing your beauty.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 07:06h, 10 February Reply

      Thank you Dawn.

  • Peggy Zehr
    Posted at 17:33h, 09 February Reply

    OH MY!!! J.J. !!! Don’t you wish we could have had that attitude when we were young? I can’t even do it now because I’ve had so much practice thinking I look terrible. Why do we do that to ourselves? Esther sounds like she’s a BEAUTIFUL girl!!

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 21:08h, 10 February Reply

      Peg, I KNOW. I still can’t wrap my head around it. I pray it sticks with her!

  • Aunt Jo
    Posted at 14:39h, 09 February Reply

    It sounds like you have done a great parenting job.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 18:10h, 09 February Reply

      Well, she’s sort of her own woman… But thanks!

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