Inner and outer beauty
A recent episode of SAT-7 ARABIC show Needle and New Thread shared a Christian attitude to beauty from a somewhat surprising source. Sandra Saeed, crowned Miss Egypt International 2016, appeared on the popular women’s talk show to discuss the topic of inner and outer beauty.
“Some people get their value from relationships, the car they drive, their appearance, their parents’ social position, or their achievements,” Sandra said. “My real value comes from the Lord because He created each of us to be unique. I belong to Him.”
Asked how this view fits with her new title, she replied that the Miss Egypt contest is not based on external beauty alone. “They had other requirements related to our studies, our talents, and other criteria,” said Sandra, who is a music student. “They put us through tests over a period of two months to learn more about us and our characters.”
Judged on looks
Joining presenters Mary Danial and Cecile Makram were special guests Vetta Nasr, a makeup artist, and television producer Dr Andrea Zakaria. The speakers discussed some troubling societal attitudes, including job advertisements requiring female applicants to be attractive, and prejudice against women with darker skin in Upper Egypt. Dr Zakaria raised the issue of women being judged in public spaces, with those perceived as being more attractive receiving better service.
The episode also covered rising global sales of Barbie dolls, whose body proportions, eye colour and hairstyles create unrealistic beauty ideals for girls in the Middle East and North Africa.
Is outward beauty important?
When asked whether it was ever appropriate to change one’s appearance, Miss Egypt emphasised the importance of balance. “I need to stay close to the shape that the Lord initially created,” she said. “Plastic surgery was invented to solve problems, not to improve appearances.”
Dr Zakaria challenged the view that external beauty is unimportant, saying that attractiveness is a blessing that God gives to both men and women. However, the producer added that women should not be restricted by their appearance and told each viewer to “love yourself as you are.”
Viewers responded with a range of opinions. Whilst some thought it was important for women to care for their outward appearance, others, like Simone from Egypt, believed that true value comes from within. “I think that any girl must accept herself as she is, regardless of her colour. The most important thing is to have a good heart. God will not judge us on our external looks but the motives of our hearts,” she said.
Amgad, another viewer from Egypt, called in to say, “Many young men care about looks, but later we discover that character, knowledge and personality are more important.”
A female viewer, Kermina, agreed that inner transformation was of greater value, saying, “If I want to change myself I’d learn how to play a musical instrument or improve my character.”
And as viewer Phillip pointed out, “If God cared about our external beauty, he’d have made us all beautiful!”
- Pray that women and young girls would realise their true beauty comes from their heart and character, not their outward appearance.
- Thank God for the programme Needle & New Thread, and that it does not shy away from dealing with tough issues.
- Pray that, because of SAT-7 shows like Needle & New Thread, troubling attitudes in Middle Eastern society would start to shift.
- Ask that women would find their true value in God, not in what others think of them.
- Pray against prejudice in society, particularly that people would not judge others on the basis of their skin colour.
- Pray for Needle & New Thread’s viewers, that they would be drawn closer to God through watching the programme.
- Ask that God would continue to inspire the presenters of Needle & New Thread with creative and fearless ways to challenge the injustices they see around them.