Ask Angela: How can I feel pretty in a sex-crazed world?

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  • Mormon Book Worm ----------, UT
    April 20, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    The girl in the magazine does not look like the girl in the magazine. I heard that somewhere. Do you want to know how much makeup actresses wear? Probably a very unhealthy amount. Seriously, I think some celebs gain 5 pounds after putting on makeup:). If you want the guys to notice you, be nice and considerate, humble, and talk to them!!!!!! And if you believe you are beautiful (which you are. Everyone is in their own way) then you will be even MORE beautiful. Overall, remember that looks really don't matter. All of God's children are great in his sight, and he loves them all, no matter what. This world is messed up, and the image the media portrays of girls is plain insulting sometimes. No, I do not want to wear bright red lipstick. No, I do not want to wear a showy dress, thank you very much. I remind myself of the countless hours wasted for something so temporal when I start to feel jealous of how "pretty" the models look.

    Best of luck!;)

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Feb. 3, 2014 8:46 p.m.

    The best way to do this is to remember that modesty and spiritual beauty matter a lot more than "sexiness" and physical beauty. One is permanent, eternal, and determines a person's true worth. The other is transient, superficial, and ultimately means nothing in the grander scheme of things.

    Men and women both are targets and victims of the proliferation of pornography and the sexualization and objectification of the human body in contemporary culture. In the case of men, it encourages immoral behavior that renders them unable to serve the Lord in the way that God intended. In the case of women, it leaves them feeling worthless and unimportant unless they lower their standards and sell themselves at the value the world would place upon them, which is far lower than that which Heavenly Father places upon them, often leading to self-destructive or harmful behavior.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Jan. 31, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    How can one feel pretty in a sex-crazed world?

    First and foremost: by knowing who they are; a being of priceless worth, a literal child of God.

    And, in my opinion, if one is not physically attractive, by doing their best to develop their inner 'self', their spirit, here in mortaility while they wait for their eventual resurrection.

    That is correct, there are no "ugly" people in heaven.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Jan. 29, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    Most of it is a skin/pigment thing of a deal.(for the cosmetic part)

    We should be honest here, and that is a man does like beautiful woman, not because of his uncontrolable desire for lust, but woman do make a difference about spirituality.
    They are like flowers, and like a sunshine and they do uplift the mood of others.

    The ugly and the beauty are in the eyes of the beholder, not in the contest of the degree.
    You can see real ugly women, who have strained off course for not taking care of their inner beauty. You can see those who look more as the average would be, but are not, standing in line with a bright radiating climmer of happiness.

    You must take care of your attitude and your happiness, and iron out the "faults" that came from neglect and being unhappy.

    I think the most disturbing factor in beauty is guilt.
    If you live with your Redeemer, you will attract everyone who is worse a try.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Jan. 29, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    I tend to feel for people who worry over their boy image, because I'm one of them. It may be a comfort to realize that it's something many people experience, and you're not alone or petty. The way I find best in managing it for myself is, like with many things, seeking balance.

    On the one hand, let it spur you to action. Exerting a moderate effort to look good is a righteous show of appreciation for your body and a desire to care for something God has blessed you with. The majority of people I meet who vocalize serious concerns of their own body image could, in fact, do for more exercise and a healthier diet; I can say from experience that the sooner you jump on it, the sooner you'll feel better physically and mentally.

    On the other hand, there are difficult and even impossible standards in media, for men and women both. To clear up a common misconception; men don't really want the exagguratedly perfect bodies women are presented with on magazines, even if some men don't realize that.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Jan. 28, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    To "ulvegaard" if you ever find your daughters talking about how cute certain boys are or how they want a really good looking spouse, do what I have done. Tell them to go peek into the High Priest group at church and tell them to spot the "hottie".

  • donn layton, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    @Twin Lights Please cite who are quoting, 2 Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate=(koinōnos/*communion ) in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.“
    *the communion of saints", in the Apostles' Creed.

    RE: Twin Lights , My compliments to Mark Shuttleworth. We finally agree, Plus
    The Orthodox(Christian) Church understands theosis as a union with the energies of God and Not with the essence of God which always remains hidden and unknown. However, the experience of the Church testifies that this is a true union with God. Orthodox( Christians) believe there are three persons in the Godhead, each divine, distinct and equal. The Father God is the eternal head; the Son is begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. See( Athanasius creed, on Tri-unity)

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    @ Eternal Perspective:
    Might I share this much. I have two daughters (9 & 6), I make my best effort to tell them everyday how pretty / beautiful they are and along with that, I include something about how talented and special they are. I want them to understand that beauty is more than just their appearance (which is beautiful in my eyes), but to attach the description to what they are like inside - their talents, their abilities.

    I have also found that if you have friends who do not lift you, but who consistently point out your flaws (personality and/or appearance), you need to find new friends. The Lord would never degrade anyone and I don't think we need to waste our time with people who do that either.

    Finally - women who fit the description of the perfect specimen are too costly to maintain and not real to begin with. I prefer to be around real people.

  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    Jan. 28, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    The desire to look good is a great thing. The desire to be healthy is a better thing. Treating our bodies with respect and trying to keep them healthy through diet, exercise, appropriate relationships, etc, is something that each of us should focus on to the best that our individual circumstances allow.

    However, both of these goals can be taken to excess and can become a vice. Our ultimate goal in this life is to come unto Christ and to develop a relationship with Him. If we do this then we will get an ever increasing sense of self-worth and sense of our divine nature. This will lead to our being comfortable with ourselves and with the desire to improve ourselves and to help others. These traits, which are very attractive traits, will take our mind off the opinions of others and off the image that the world wants us to follow and keep our focus on what God wants us to become.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:29 a.m.


    I’m sorry but what are you talking about? My comments (and all the comments above) are about how society stresses young people’s self-images and that such influences must be countered.

    My compliments to Mark Shuttleworth BTW. Please cite who are quoting.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    Not every man is attracted to slim, painted bodies. And not every man who chooses (and finds attractive) women who aren't slim, perfectly coiffed, "fashionable," and genetically gifted as 10's on someone elses' scale has low esteem and is 'settling" for less while always looking elsewhere. Truly, beauty is subjective and in the eyes of the beholder. How much easier to be yourself and be attractive to someone liking you for being you.

    My peeve is make-up. Can't stand to see otherwise attractive women wearing make-up. So glad my bride of 34 years got that message, stopped wearing the stuff and has stayed beautiful. It's a scam! You plaster gunk on your face, get sold chemicals to clean the gunk off your face and then get sold stuff to moisturize and hide the damage from this daily torture to your face.

    Models convince you to wear heels so your knees bend to counteract your balance in turn pushing out your behind so your have carry your upper torso forward and tilt your chin back... and these pointy toed wonders reward you with foot and ankle surgeries later in life.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:58 p.m.

    To the young lady posing the question: you have it perfectly analyzed in all regards.
    Now ignore it. You can't stop someone else's noticing what affects them. You recognize the fallacy of comparing yourself to others, so don't. Be your best within reasonable effort and call the day good, because it is.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    Women who are overly obsessed about trying to look sexy are insecure and probably would not make a good long term partner. The longer I live, the more I realize that beauty is mostly personality (brains, spirit, education, optimism, compassion, etc.) and has very little to do with anatomy.

    Jan. 27, 2014 9:00 p.m.

    If I may point it out, the closest thing we have in the LDS community to the Navajo view that I described in the first post on this thread, is the Thirteenth Article of Faith, much of which repeats the "admonition of Paul" (Philippians 4:8): "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men...If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." True, the Lord expects us--man and woman--to be comely before him. But the characteristics listed in the Article of Faith are the true essence of beauty.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    I have comments regarding this writer's question.

    1) I expect to see a talk in conference reminding priesthood holders that objectifying and women by referring to them as "hot" is not appropriate. No need to comment on the emotional state and maturity of any man that would do so in the presence of his date. As an Aaronic Priesthood Advisory I continually taught this principle.

    2) To keep things in perspective, watch middle-aged couples. I think most people would observe that the love and affection that exists between the various couples whose paths cross their own is completely unrelated to how "hot" the woman (or the man) is. If you want a fulfilling relationship with someone for a lifetime, then you need to aim for something that isn't founded on "hotness." "Hotness" fades for everyone eventually. In truth, for many "hot" women it fades as soon as the make-up comes off. For everyone it eventually fades with age.

  • donn layton, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:17 p.m.

    RE: Angels improve yourself is divine i.e….
    Rely on your own Inner Self - the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within. Improve yourself. Swami Sivananda

    RE: Twin Lights We can and must do better.
    God became man so that men might become gods,”Christians immediately fear an influence of Eastern mysticism from Hinduism or pantheism.

    But such an influence could not be further from the Orthodox understanding. The human person does not merge with some sort of impersonal divine force, losing individual identity or consciousness. Intrinsic divinity is never ascribed to humankind or any part of the creation, and no created thing is confused with the being of God. Most certainly, ‘humans are Not accorded ontological equality with God,’ nor are they considered to merge or co-mingle with the being of God as He is in His essence.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    Here are just a handful from the Des News lately. And don't get all worked up claiming I'm supporting an obsession that some women have to weight 100 pounds. I'm just suggesting going overboard like the Des news does is not healthy either.

    Why not run an article every week highlighting a woman who had a baby or not and how they've managed to stay healthy and slim and yes attractive(gasp) through exercise and proper nutrition?

    "Babies ruin bodies" - Jan 2 2014

    Healthy approaches to dealing with your post-baby body" Jan 14 2014

    "Developing a healthy body image: Mothers, stop trying to fix your daughters" - Nov 7 2013

    "Jennifer Lawrence proud to promote realistic body image for girls" - Nov 12 2013

    "Teen activists combat body image negativity with online tools" July 4 2013

    ‘Enough is enough: Maintaining a positive female body image in a competitive society’" Dec 5 2013

    "Teenage girls eating cotton balls to stay thin" Nov 20 2013

    "Bouncing back after baby" August 7 2013

    "Loving our bodies" July 2 2013

    "Feeling attractive after baby"

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    For starters, ditch the guy who is checking out other women, let alone making the comments. Any man who is doing the "elevator eyes" thing with women (whether when with you or not) considers women objects. Research shows that when men look at women in that way the part of their brain involved in human relationships (emphasis on "human") goes dormant. In other words, all the feelings of love and tenderness and compassion are set aside. Yes, those men who don't objectify women can be hard to find, but the effort will be worth it. Their spirits project a feeling of love, respect and consideration to everyone they meet, men and women alike.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 1:00 p.m.

    I agree with CBAX. That said, many women overdo it setting unrealistic expectations. There are a lot of women that are just fine they way they are already that think they need some kind of a change. It is important to set healthy goals. Athletic performance is a better goal than weight - it is harder to go wrong. E.g there are a lot of women that have "model" weight but very few of them will be able to run a 5 K under 30 minutes because their hearts and muscles are too weak even for the support of their light weight. Healthy diet and exercise can fix it with some very rare exceptions - I've seen it happen many times. I've seen people fail, too, but in every single case I remember there existed a severe lack consistency with diet and training. And I agree with others who say dump the guy.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    Working to have a fit body means you are healthy, which is way better than putting on makeup especially for your heart and lungs. LOL. Makeup compared to workout and healthy eating. I think a fit woman is more attractive than one wearing makeup and nail paint. Just me though.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:59 a.m.

    My advice is simple.

    Shut off the TV, don't go to many movies, and lay off the Hollywood gossip, learn to relax.

    If you keep surrounding yourself with images that make you feel bad about yourself, you are not doing yourself any favors. Imagine you are on a diet, and you work at an ice-cream shop. You are always going to feel bad. Remove yourself from that situtation.

    Next, when it comes to guys and dating, if he is seriously looking at other girls when on a date with you, then tell him to take you home. It isn't worth your time to be with a guy who isn't interested in you. If you only think that he is checking out other girls while on a date with you, you need to work on your self esteem some more.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    1.96, working towards having a slim and fit body is no more evil than a woman who colors her hair, paints her nails, or wears anything other than pioneer clothing.

    But speaking of problems, not having a slim and fit body is highly correlated to a multitude of health problems.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Chris B:

    Eating right, exercise and treating our body well is all good. However, the world's obsession with showing off "slim" or "fit" bodies is pure vanity and a symptom of other spiritual problems.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    Shawnm, I really don't think I am that far off from the truth. If you've been following the Des News the last 6 months or so in particular, rarely does a week go by that we don't get a mommy blog or similar article telling women that because they've had a baby its impossible to have a great body, or that because photoshop exists its impossible to have a slim and toned body.

    Hollywood sends the message that looks are everything - I get that. But it really has gone to the opposite extreme from the Des News.

    There have been several women in the national news the last year or so that have gotten attention for showing off very slim, toned, and attractive bodies shortly after giving birth(no, no surgery) and promoting the value of fitness and eating right.

    Rather than using photoshop and having kids as excuses for overweight and out of shape bodies, why not highlight the many women who exercise regulary, EAT RIGHT, and have fit/slim bodies whether they've had kids or not?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Shawnm750 and 1.96 Standard Deviations,

    Thank you. Excellent comments.

    Brave Sir Robin,

    I think most studies suggest that folks who grow to than unhealthy of a weight started with self-image or other issues. It wasn’t just a “hey, I am good enough at whatever weight” mentality.


    Think of your high school or college. Now think of the three or four most attractive guys or girls on campus. Then realize that none of them are good enough for the magazine cover. First, they must be toned and sculpted with exercise, diet, and very likely a surgeon’s scalpel. Then, makeup and just the right clothes and lighting are needed. And then - even then, they are insufficient. Not good enough. The image must then be manipulated to make what is already an unreal image into an even less real image.

    And then we allow the barrage of media to tell our sons and daughters that this is what they should be and that this is what they should expect of their dates/spouse - that which does not exist in the natural world.

    We can and must do better.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    I agree with what Chris B is saying (shocking), but I'll tread more lightly than he did. There's a tradeoff here that a lot of women (and men) struggle with.

    On one hand, there's having self-esteem and being OK with who we are. We have to realize that only a blessed few have hit the genetic lottery that gives them that "perfect" body that seems to stay that way no matter what they do to it. Likewise, there are even fewer who have the time and means to do the work required to keep a perfect body. For folks with normal lives, this type of look is probably unrealistic and we need to realize that.

    On the other hand, if you become "too OK" with who you are, then that leads to embracing unhealthy habits and lifestyles. Ballooning to 400 lbs. because you're "comfortable with who you are" is dangerous too.

    Ideally you want to be OK with looking like something less than a supermodel, but not so OK with it that you stop seeking the desire to improve your health habits. It's a hard line to walk and many have trouble doing it.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    There is a really good talk given by Elder Holland in the October 2005 general conference entitled "To Young Women" that addresses what "Issues with image" is frustrated with. Here are some snippets:

    "Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard."

    [...] In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance—tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled—those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children."

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    @Chris B - I think you're being a tad overly-critical of the DesNews. I don't think the message they are sending is that women have no control over their appearance, so they shouldn't try. Rather, I think the message is: when setting your self-expectations, don't set the benchmark somewhere impossible for anyone to reach.

    I think the women need to remember that this issue does go both ways. Plenty of men out there feel like they're not up to society's standards of "good looking" or "handsome." I just think that men deal with it differently and are generally more accepting of themselves.

    But I think both men and women would do well to remember that "attraction" is rarely ever based solely on physical appearance. A man/woman could be the most aesthetically appealing person on the planet, but still be unattractive because he/she is a horrible person. As others have pointed out, physical appearance changes over time, but what remains is the person we are... Of course physical attraction is important, and we should all take care of our bodies; but being a good person is even more important.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    Its a convenient excuse women use when they see any picture of a beautiful and slim woman: "she must be photoshopped"

    The Des news has been going way overboard lately trying to convince women(mostly mothers) that they have no control over their bodies and its impossible to have a slim, attractive, and toned body so don't worry about it.

    I don't think this attitude is any better than what Hollywood teaches us.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    I wonder if those other women you are talking about are secure in their appearance. Perhaps they are even more insecure than you are because their persona is wrapped up in their beauty and they feel they have no other virtues to fall back on.

    Maybe that explains why they go to extraordinary measures to enhance their "beauty." A nip here, a tuck there, cosmetic surgeries of all types, starvation diets, cosmetics, jewelry, revealing clothing, even tattoos. It seems they are never truly satisfied so they are always trying to improve their appearance. That doesn't sound very secure to me.

    The scriptures talk about people who are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Perhaps these "beauties" that you envy are also "ever enhancing but never able to come to an understanding of their real beauty."

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    Eternal Perspective,

    Nothing will be enough at times, but that doesn't mean a bout of distorted perspective is permanent.

    Besides teaching our young people, boys and girls, about their divine worth we have found it helpful to "part the curtain" so to speak during our many conversations with our children and point out the shallowness of the "right look". It helps to have a sense of humor.

    My daughter came home from junior high laughing about a conversation she had overheard. It seems a girl was complaining that her dad would not buy her an expensive pair of ripped jeans. Instead he offered to buy her a cheaper pair and rip them for her. She had had countered with the argument that she wanted a "professionally ripped" pair.

    This phrase became our watch word when discussing fashion and looks - keeping our kids perspective in check.

    Also, when a husband and father shows his unconditional love to his wife there can be no stronger message sent to youth about what real love looks like and who is worthy of it.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    As a man, there is no comparable measure to what women feel with the extreme tide of vanity in the modern world. The way women are groomed by culture to feel unworthy if they don't meet unrealistic stereotypes is a sickening proposition. It tries to negate the very tenderness and eternal value intrinsic to all women.

    As a father, despite all I can do to tell my daughter everyone is a child of God, eternal qualities are more important, warn about dangers of vanity, etc., and keep immodest images out of my home, she will be inundated regardless from other children and various sources outside the home.

    As a Mormon, I love the Primary and Youth programs that teach all children about the eternal worth of every soul, etc. However, all the things to prevent girls (in particular) from feeling inadequate from distorted perceptions of self-image through worldly influences does not seem to be enough at times.

    I know as my daughter lives the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she can come to see her eternal worth. But, I also see how she will stumble because of the world.

    What is to be done?

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:57 a.m.

    Out of curiosity, who selected the image of the woman included in this article?

    The article stated the following "[...] with technology like Photoshop, filters, perfect lighting, contouring makeup, etc., we can end up comparing ourselves and expecting ourselves to be just like things that don’t actually exist."

    Seems unusual to mention this and still include an image of a woman that probably meets that definition. The presence of this image in the article seems to reinforce the spirit of what "Issues with image" is frustrated about.

  • BlakeR St Joseph, MI
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:29 a.m.

    I agree, to compare is human or natural. But we are invited to overcome the natural man or women tendencies that we have and, through divine help, do and be better. Comparing and competing will always lead to disappointment and discouragement. There will always be someone more talented, better looking, successful, wealthier, etc..., and that is true even when we allow for the distortions of photo shopping,new technology,etc.. So, perhaps in a world saturated in distorted images, we need our creator's help (divine help) to overcome the natural and human tendency to compare and compete and to enjoy the uniqueness of all His creations, including ourselves. If there is something in ourselves (physically, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise) that needs to change, He will help us to see that ("as it really is" --without distortion), and He will help us to change and to recognize the progress we are making and to ultimately be content with who and what we are.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    "How am I supposed to feel any self-esteem ...?" The question should stop right there. Whether it is beauty, intelligence, athleticism, or general "coolness," the answer is the same. Focus on the right things and let the rest take care of itself. Your worth is not based on any of those things.

    "How am I supposed to remain confident and not get discouraged when the guy I am with looks at another woman or tells me how "hot" she is?" You want a guy who will love you when you are 80 years old, long after the physical beauty (and intelligence, athleticism, etc) has faded. That problem is with the guy you are with, not you.

    "I yearn to look like those women to get men's attention." I believe most women dress to impress other women more than men. In fact, I believe many women are far more shallow than men, especially the men you would want to take to the temple.

    The things that make any woman attractive to me are clear eyes and a beautiful smile, especially one that comes from deep inside and truly reflects her belief in who she is.

    Jan. 27, 2014 5:41 a.m.

    The concept of beauty in our Western European, or "Gentile" world, lacks much. I've posted elsewhere a description of the Navajo concept of "hozho", loosely translated as "beauty", but with a much deeper meaning. We simply don't have enough nouns or adjectives in English to accurately describe what "hozho" means to the Navajo mind, and describing it fully by a white man like me is impossible. But here are a few helpful English words that may help us to understand: "hozho" represents beauty, joy, peace, harmony (particularly with nature), blessing, happiness, and because "hozho" has the qualities of a verb as well, it can be taken as a walk or a lifetime journey through all of the aforementioned terms. One of the highest compliments that one can pay to another in Navajo is the term "nizhoni", a derivative of "hozho", which can be taken as "you are walking in beauty, harmony, along the straight path that a Navajo is expected to walk." We western Europeans could learn much from the Navajo concept of beauty.