I think it is safe to say that most girls want to feel attractive and this is not a bad thing. My mom says that when I was three I would come up to her many times a day and ask "Mommy, am I pretty?". Perhaps beauty has been more important to me than others and perhaps that is why I have got so sucked into the world and what it defines as beautiful. It is important for women, especially who are in the fashion/beauty industry to understand what makes an attractive woman.
I was talking to God about this in my prayers last night. I asked him to help me understand better a woman's desire to be beautiful and man's desire to have a beautiful woman. Here are the thoughts and feelings that came to me. Beauty starts in the inside of a woman and then manifests itself on the outside. For example, the health of a tree starts in the roots and spreads itself to the parts of the tree that we can see such as branches, fruits and leaves. Focussing so much on the outward appearance can be a facade for a woman who is not beautiful on the inside, and good luck to the man who picks a tree that has leaves painted green or artificial branches glued on.
Here is another example. When you clean a floor, it looks shiny because it is clean! Have you ever mopped your floor or cleaned your mirror and just kept wanting to look at it because of how shiny it was? It is not the shine that you really like, it is the shine PLUS the fact that you know it is clean. So...imagine there is a lady who hates cleaning her floor, but she knows that her dinner guests would like to see a clean one. So, instead of cleaning it, she throws some wax on it. She layers that wax over all of the dirt in hopes to gain the approval of her dinner guests. It is a fake clean and she will feel insecure when her guests arrive hoping that her layers of wax will hide the dirty floor.
When a woman is truly beautiful, she is full of love and kindess. Because she loves herself, she takes care of herself. Because she loves others, she offers a warm smile or gentle touch. She knows that these are the roots of her beautiful tree. She desires to be beautiful, not to prove to everyone that she is beautiful, but as an indicator to others that she is a woman of love. In other words, she loves being a shiny floor, but only as a consequence of her purity.
I have noticed in my own life, that when I feel pure inside, I don't use my body to get attention from others. I want people to be drawn to me because of the light that I have inside, and then I am comfortable and pleasing to be around because I am clean and attractive. I am shiny AND clean!
Another thing that I have noticed is that when I am not kind to myself or others. I feel ugly. If I talk behind someone's back, I feel ugly. If I am complaining, I feel ugly. In the past, this confused me. I blamed these feelings on my eating disorder. I just said. "Oh, you see, I blame all of my shortcomings on fat." In essence this was the pattern in my mind.... "I feel ugly. Ugly is an outward thing. In order to feel more beautiful, I must improve my appearance." Then I become more self centered... I buy more clothes, more makeup, I eat less, I work out more. My life becomes more self centered, which makes me feel more ugly and the cycle continues. Imagine your car is starting to rust and you have been told that rust is caused by speeding. Well, naturally you would try to not speed anymore. You would go crazy as the rust kept growing. You would say to yourself.... I have not sped in 3 weeks and the rust keeps growing! The answer is not to try harder to not speed but rather to be educated on what causes rust. This is what happens to us women. We are taught that if we feel ugly, the answer is to go buy a new pair of clothes, or to eat "perfectly". WRONG WRONG WRONG. And we wonder why we never truly feel beautiful. You do not feel ugly because you are fat. You feel ugly because you are neglecting or misusing your body. The answer is not to be skinnier. Being skinnier will never solve the problem, but treating your body with respect and kindness will. You probably will take on a better physical appearance, much a like a tree does when it is given enough sunlight and water.
In summary, beauty has purity at its root. Beauty is mentioned many times in the bible. Sometimes it is described as holiness and other times it is described as vanity. Here is one of my favourite sections of scripture that describe the type of woman God wants me to be. I want to be this woman. (obviously not literally...like I don't think I will ever learn how to "lay my hand to the spindle" but there are truths in here that can be applied to our day)