Earlier this year, 18-year-old Florence Colgate was dubbed “Britain’s Most Beautiful Face,” not by the authority of beauty pageant judges, but by the authority of science and math. Miss Colgate’s face won out over 8,000 others on the basis of best match-up with a mathematically devised blueprint for perfect facial proportions based on the Golden Ratio.
Her “scientifically proven” prettiness sparked a huge debate that still rages all over the internet. Hundreds protested (for good reason) that the mystery of what makes one face more attractive than another can’t be solved with a formula. A much bigger concern, however, was over what that formula would do to the self-image of millions who can’t measure up to it: Women would feel like they were doomed to ugliness because their faces didn’t match the grid.
Most of us, of course, don’t need the aid of a scientific beauty-o-meter giving us an exact reading on our facial deficiencies to fear that our looks just aren’t “good enough.” If this is how we feel, we need to first take comfort in the fact that God has not given us one prescribed standard for physical perfection that we all have to match up to in order to be beautiful – a good thing, since He created us all to look very different. Also, His purpose for the diversity in our looks was not so that we could hold beauty contests. Beauty is not a game to win or lose, but something we all should be cultivating by the proper stewardship of our bodies to glorify Him. This is a good reminder for both the girls who invest inordinate amounts of time into their looks aiming to come out on top, and the girls who have given up trying because they feel they can’t compete.
When temped to resent the reality that some appear to be created a little more equal than others, we need to remember that God has a purpose for everything He does – the people He creates and also the way He creates them. God is not color- or beauty-blind, and His Word often uses objective terms like “ruddy,” “lovely to look at,” “without blemish” and also “mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind” to describe His creations. But asking why bad hair happens to good people is as useless as the pot asking the potter why he was made a pot. We may never know why some were created with more proportioned features or better skin than others, but He does, and we can rejoice in the fact that we don’t have to be “equally” made to be “wonderfully and fearfully made.” (Psa. 139:14)
God has given Miss Colgate an objectively beautiful face – one that is much more symmetrical and aesthetically “perfect” than mine. Does that make her more beautiful? Does that make her better? Does that mean that God did not create my face equally well? These questions miss the point. What matters is that He gave us each the faces that pleased Him, and that we are both equally accountable to Him to steward the bodies He gave us and glorify Him in them.