Beauty vs. Function

Sometimes I wonder if Sleeping Beauty was good for anything except being beautiful.

We know Cinderella had her life together. I mean, she didn’t always start out as a gorgeous princess in  fairy tale world; she started off as a maid. A soot-covered, used-and-abused maidservant.

And then there’s Belle, who was always beautiful but useful too. She knew the town’s library like the back of her hand. Plus, she could tame a beast. That’s pretty useful.

Don’t forget about Ariel. She was beautiful-yes-but remember what happened when Ursula took away her voice? Her beauty did not sustain her. She was pushed to the side when someone more beautiful came along.

Oh, but Sleeping Beauty. She was always beautiful. Even hiding away in the forest didn’t deter her beauty. The fairies took care of her every need; all she had to do was wander around the trees, sing songs, and capture the attention of the wandering Prince (which couldn’t have been all that hard).

What a life.

There were challenges, yes. But she never had to untangle herself from the thorns… someone else was always there to do the work for her. She slept as the battle waged on, never once smearing her lipstick or letting a hair fall out of place.

Must have been hard being Sleeping Beauty.

You know, there are plenty of Sleeping Beautys in today’s world. There are girls who speak nothing but beauty. They can tell you all the greatest fashions. They can direct you to the best and most expensive make-up. They can even inform you of all the things you need to change in order to meet the “beautiful” qualifications.

What they can’t tell you, however, is how to function in real-life.

Fairy tales are great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve always wanted to be a beautiful princess in a castle. I’ve always wanted the Prince to come after me and rescue me from whatever evil lies outside my castle.

But I don’t want to become so wrapped up in fantasy that I forget reality. And sometimes beauty makes us forget reality. Sometimes it draws us in until we don’t know which way is up. Sometimes it overtakes us (and our mirrors). Sometimes it erases all the important writing and leaves only traces of scribbles.

All-consuming beauty is not practical. When looking your best becomes more important than being able to do your schoolwork, there is a problem. When the mirror keeps you from venturing outside your house to do the basic everyday tasks, there is a problem. When your so-called imperfections keep you hiding away in bed, there is a major problem.

Beauty, if you let it, can take away function. It can strip you of all the important things of life. It can convince you that it is the only thing that matters.

But it lies.

Beauty will never replace being able to wash the dishes, go to work, or get an education. It will never be more important than tying your shoes, driving your car, or interacting with the people you love.

It’s not the most important thing in the world, so let’s renounce it from its throne.


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