Why is attempting to look "hot" a horrible downward spiral that never satisfies, but instead leaves you feeling empty?
I was thirteen years old and heading in for my first experience with the well-known photography company, Glamour Shots. My mom and I were on a special girls trip to Dallas, Texas to celebrate my birthday. Obviously getting my hair highlighted, nails manicured, and pictures taken was a must for this girly girl.
I loved every minute of the Glamour Shot experience. The makeup. The hair. The clothes. Looking at the pictures. The compliments. I felt beautiful and accepted.
After the shoot I looked through the pictures and picked out my favorites. We ordered a package and then left the store to continue on our trip. When the pictures arrived, I started handing them out to my friends. (I’m not sure why I gave them out to friends. I guess it was the Instagram of the early 2000s.)
Then I noticed something very interesting.
I had three different pictures in three different outfits and poses. Two of the poses were sweet and smiley and all around beautiful. The third picture was the one I considered more “grown up.”
In that picture I had a bright blue shirt on that made my eyes pop. I was laying my head on my arm with my hair laid out to the side. I was looking directly into the camera with my best thirteen-year-old model pose.
That picture, above all of the others, got me the kind of responses my heart craved:
“You look amazing!”
“You are a beautiful girl!”
“You look like a model!”
Looking back, I realize that was one of my first run-ins with the idea that looking hot gets you more attention. I didn’t consciously take note of that experience at the time, but I slowly began to realize that looking “hot” truly would get me more attention.
It’s been quite a few years since that photo shoot at Glamour Shots, but the problem I encountered has only worsened.
Just a few weeks ago I received an email from a young lady explaining to me how she gets so much more attention from her friends when she posts “hot” pics. When she posts normal pictures of herself, nobody seems to notice. I’ve experienced it, and I’m sure most of you have too.
The Hot Pic Trap
The “hot pic trap” is the trap we girls get in when we measure our worth by the approval, attention, and compliments from others. It’s a horrible downward spiral that never satisfies and only leaves us empty and in need of more.
It works like this.
- Monday morning you post a pic where you are looking like one hot chick.
- People praise you, tell you how beautiful you are, and make you feel like a million bucks.
- Tuesday evening rolls around and your comments are dying off.
- You notice that your friend, Sandra, posted a really great pic, and she is now getting loads of attention.
- Soon everyone forgets about you and your hotness, and you’re actually feeling depressed and worthless.
What do you do?
Post another hot looking pic! As usual the praises come in and you are feeling great . . . at least until the pic gets old and the comments die down.
I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun way to live.
I know how tempting it can be to find my worth in other people’s praises of me, and it’s an empty place to be. It always dies down, and it always requires doing more. There are always “hotter” girls to compete with. There are always ways to improve. It’s a constant battle of working to get the praise that you so desperately desire.
I want you to know that you are worth so much more than the compliments and opinions of those around you. Your friends don’t define your worth. If you look to them to validate your value, you will become insecure and hopeless. You will always be fighting, competing, and in need of more. Never confident and never satisfied.
Finding Confidence in Someone Outside of Yourself
I want to challenge you to become a confident and secure young woman who is focused on finding her worth outside of herself. When you realize that your worth is found in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection on the cross, His perfect love for you, and His intentional design of you as His creation, you can have security and value despite what others say.
Here are some questions to help you think it through.
- Why do I want the praise and attention from those around me?
- Is my security and confidence as a girl wrapped up in other’s opinions of me?
- Do I want friends who love me more for my outward beauty or for my inward?
- Do I have confidence and security that my value is defined by God?
- How can I live in a way that points others to Christ and not myself?
Written by Bethany Baird