Why I don’t miss Snapchat.

I don’t miss Snapchat. At all. And for lots of reasons. But one of them is the same reason that a Verily editor who recently wrote about Snapchat is sick of the app: some of its filters “Photoshop” your dang face.

She wrote:

In one swipe, my face was transformed to standards that the fashion and beauty industry has been pushing for decades: wide eyes, a petite nose, a thinner face, and a crystal clear complexion. I felt, in a word, ugly.

The filters she decries can be defended as “for fun.” But they are also disguises that reinforce the lies that the shapes of our faces and eyes, the tones and types of our skin, should align with a set of standards that human bodies don’t naturally meet. Continue reading “Why I don’t miss Snapchat.”

[Guest Post] Leah Darrow: The evolution of distorted beauty.

This post is written by Leah Darrow, known in part for her appearances on cycle three of America’s Next Top Model.

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“I just knew when I saw her nose, it was going to look right on my face,” Blaier said. “She has this beautiful…I call it a bunny hill…a very feminine tip at the end and that’s what I wanted.”

The above quote is from a woman who underwent rhinoplasty to have a nose like Kate Middleton[1]. When did someone else’s nose, waist, chest, you-name-it look better than your own? Beauty has dis-evolved to a Cosmo-grade/celebrity-look-a-like/surgically reconstructed standard of beauty. This info-graph demonstrates just how prevalent plastic surgeries are in the USA[2].

Through subtle or more drastic ways to change our natural look[3], we have bought into the lie of distorted beauty. These statistics are astounding but with the current obsession with perfection, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. We ironically value the impossibility of perfection and expect it of our imperfect selves.

Why is our natural beauty in question?

What’s so wrong with laugh lines or our stomachs being softer after a miracle grew inside? Yes, there will be wrinkles, grey hair, and softer middle sections – and there are parts of us that are naturally imperfect (why is this a shock to us?).

When did we become a woman of parts? Are we not (whole people) with intrinsic value, dignity, and beauty?

When I notice my imperfections, I think about the teenager who will die in a car crash who will never see crow’s feet, the young wife who never had a chance of her belly stretching beyond imagination, or the mother who’s cancer robbed her of gray hair.

I am blessed. So far, God has given me the gift of aging, and I thank Him for that. I’m embracing my wrinkles, my pregnant belly and body that are growing week-by-week and finding humor in grey eyebrows (how did that happen?).

Age is a blessing and aging well is not the result of a great moisturizer but in accepting our limitations and depending on God’s limitless love and acceptance of us no matter the age, size, or wrinkle.

Your (aging) sister in Christ,

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leah-from-twitterLeah Darrow, who worked as a professional model in New York City after her debut on cycle three of the reality TV show America’s Next Top Model, is now a Catholic speaker. She has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was a full time apologist for Catholic Answers from 2010 through 2013, and is working on her master’s degree in theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. Follow her on Twitter: @leahdarrow. This post originally appeared on leahdarrow.com and was used with permission.

[1] CBS New York (online), Article: Copy Kate: Women Increasingly Seeking Surgery To Replicate Duchess’ Nose, January 31, 2013

[2] The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (online); Article: Cosmetic Surgery: 15 years of facts and figures, May 3, 2012.

[3] This is not to say that all plastic surgeries are distortions of beauty. Clearly, some may be needed for serious medical/personal needs.

Beauty and the beach.

Like a good Floridian, I kicked off Shark Week with a Saturday trip to the beach.

The hot sun and how hard it is to evenly spray yourself with no-rub sunscreen made for some awkward tanlines. I brought a couple of books, but I barely cracked them. The conversations of the other beachgoers were better.

One guy — a New York Italian — stuck his feet in the water with a cell phone stuck to his ear while retelling the story of that one time he told the one guy “why I’m gonna sue your @$$!”

A couple of women, both on the brink of divorces, discussed their marriages: one, feeling like hers might work out, hopes her husband doesn’t find out about the impromptu beer and conversation she had with a male stranger in a hotel lobby on a trip she took last month. The other, whose husband hopes she isn’t telling her friends that she’s going to Al-Anon, isn’t doing squat around the house. If her husband doesn’t quit drinking, he can forget the Betty Crocker she used to be. (Her words, not mine.)

The third conversation I heard was between two girls, no older than 12 or 13. They floated on boogie boards and discovered they wear the same sizes in pants.

Girl 1: I hate shopping with girls who wear a size zero. We should shop together!
Girl 2: I have short legs, so my pants are always crinkled at the bottom. People say things about it all the time!
Girl 1: Once, a friend of mine actually said, “I have to wear a size double zero, but sometimes I have to wear a zero. It means my hips are getting bigger!” But she is so skinny.

It reminded me of the time I lost 40 pounds in high school and one of the skinniest girls in my class seemed super impressed.

“Arleen!” she said. “Your thighs! They’re almost as skinny as mine!”


But isn’t sad that how we look plays a huge role in how we’re received. Have you ever noticed that the first thing women say when they meet up is often about appearance?

“Have you lost weight? You look great!”

“I love your hair. Did you get it cut?”

“That is such a great top! Where’d you get it?”

And it feels good to get a compliment. I give them all the time. But the tendency is indicative of a culture-wide obsession. It’s the same obsession that fuels the health news headline I heard on the local news this morning: “If you’re heading to the beach, make sure you’re toned up before you put on that bathing suit.”


It’s why before the conclusion of back to back Roseanne on a Tuesday night, it’s really easy to feel like your arms are too jiggly, your hair is too frizzy and your teeth aren’t white enough.

So we buy the products we see during the commercials and deny that we do it because advertisers have set up a problem — something often otherwise perfectly natural — and positioned their product as the solution.

And then, long story short, young beachgoers feel inadequate around skinnier girls or girls with longer legs. I know that the woman in the ad has fake lashes on, but I want the mascara anyway. Guys want skinny girls and they don’t know why.

What can we do about it?

Good question.

Hard question.

We can do our best not to buy into what we’re told about beauty. If you need some motivation, I suggest the following: