“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
We all know the tale of Snow White. We know about the wicked queen who is out for blood and the charming dwarfs that befriend Snow White in this particular battle of good vs. evil. Many stories have the same thread, with those fighting for the greater cause of mankind and those fighting for their own personal power or gain.
What sets this story apart, and the concept I keep pondering, is that the entire premise of the battle in Snow White is built upon one thing: beauty.
Watching the current rendition “Snow White & the Huntsman”, I couldn’t help but sit in awe that I seemed to have somehow glazed over the part the beauty plays in this story. Sure, there are sub-themes about revenge, the need for power, and good men and women finding something worth fighting for. There’s honesty, loyalty, and the contrasting darkness of what happens when someone on earth wants power they were never intended to have.
But beauty is the root of it all.
It’s what the queen is after. Her entire existence is built upon being more beautiful than everyone else. And it’s the reason she has such a vendetta against Snow White: the pure, beautiful embodiment of everything she is not and a force strong enough to destroy her.
In this current re-make, the queen is equipped with dark powers that are dependent on her beauty. When the Queen’s attraction begins to fade, she literally sucks life and beauty from the young women around her to restore her physical appearance to the hierarchy state she thrives in (and she eats bird hearts, but that was both disgusting and not a point I’m going to build upon). Essentially, she is only as strong as the powers of beauty allow her to be, and she uses those forces to manipulate, control and conquer the world around her.
The importance of these points cannot be missed. Their relevancy and truth translate into our current culture and give insight into our struggle for beauty today.
Beauty begins with perception: if Snow White didn’t believe in her beauty, the story would have been over before it started.
Since children, we have received some message about our beauty from those in our sphere. These messages have either translated into life-giving inspiration, or they are the wounds from which our soul is trying to heal. Either way, what we have chosen to believe about ourselves and what we tell ourselves as truth begins to shape our outward appearance.
Self-talk is powerful, and the things going on inside of our head reveal a lot about how we perceive ourselves. We are our own “mirror on the wall” contrasting, comparing and, at times, devaluing our beauty. We can’t always control the messages we receive, either directly or indirectly, but we can chose what we believe is truth.
Beauty is life-giving and inspirational: the redemptive life in Snow White’s beauty gave cause for a revolution against depravity.
There’s a reason in movies that when evil comes to power, nature dies. There is no longer green grass or full meadows; there’s dark, dry, and empty wasteland, symbolizing how bad things really are. The absence of good is directly shown by how ugly and empty everything has become. Therefore, remove beauty and you have removed life.
And on the contrary, when good is restored to reigning power, the earth and everything in it flourishes. Brokenness is made whole by the power and life in beauty. As with nature, this is also true of humanity. There is something about beauty that has the power to restore and to redeem, that breathes life into emptiness, and that inspires a better way of living.
Beauty is powerful: While Snow White’s beauty sparked hope and blessed the world around her, the queen used hers to abuse, seduce and manipulate.
Will you deny its existence and stifle its power? Will you use it to control the world around you and self-glorify? Will you walk in purity to protect the gifts you have been given? It’s not a question of if you possess beauty…you absolutely do. The question is, rather, how will you use it? There is an undeniable power that you hold, and the choice is yours as to whether you will use it to give life to the world around you, or to use it for your own gain.
Beauty is as beauty does: what separates our main gals is not the measure of their attraction to the outside world, but instead their actions and the content of their character.
To be beautiful requires acting as such. The foundation of this story may begin with the competition of who’s more beautiful than whom, but it’s ended by strength of noble character. A woman of high caliber is not the woman whose hair falls perfectly around her face or maintains a petite waistline; it’s the woman who respects those around her, walks in humility, and seeks to serve other above herself. It’s the woman who speaks love, seeks to encourage, and refuses to compromise her integrity.
Beauty in action requires a higher standard of living; it’s what makes pure beauty far less common than it should be.
Beauty is freeing.
Beauty responds gently to an abrasive world.
Beauty is inviting.
There is something about encountering a beauty so pure and so deep that changes us. Attraction is surface deep, but the wellspring of beauty begins in the soul.
May you discover the depths of your beauty, and offer it up to a broken world in need of redemption and restoration.
“Cultivate inner beauty…the kind God delights in.”
– 1 Peter 3:4, The Msg