When I was in preschool, I was forced to take naps on top of a sleeping bag on the floor. I had a hard time sleeping on command in a paper thin sleeping bag on a cold, concrete floor and thus took the opportunity to play a game with myself. I would roll back and forth, imagining that as I rolled over the side of my sleeping bag and fell over the 1/16 inch drop onto the concrete floor below, that I was falling into the past. As I lay there, I would imagine being amongst dinosaurs or riding a horse out West. The game kept me occupied and from getting into trouble.
This week I came across a fascinating blast from the past. In 1939, WJSV in Washington, D.C. recorded an entire day of radio and it is has been preserved. I have not listened to the whole 19 hours, but you could here. NPR did a story on the archive here.
One interesting part is an advertisement for Woodbury Facial Cocktail. The announcer proclaims, "About this time of day, does your face look a bit fatigued? If you’re going out tonight, take a Woodbury Facial Cocktail first. Lovely debutants give their complexions this beauty cocktail with Woodbury every afternoon before the evening starts. Get Woodbury today."
A print ad for Woodbury Facial Cocktail from Time Magazine in 1939 says, "Which of this season’s debutantes will be among the first to join the ‘engaged girl’ ranks? I’ll not name names, but here’s a hint: They’re the debs who make their beauty more resplendent by taking a Woodbury Facial Cocktail before dinner each day."
Since our daughters were born, I have repeatedly emphasized to them that they were beautiful and pretty. I still think this is important to tell them, but I have been convicted that I am not conveying to them what I truly believe beauty to be. The Bible says value is in our character and heart. In recent months, I have started saying, "You are so kind," or "You are so patient," and "You are so generous." Of course, I don’t generally say this after Adelaide has pushed Miriam down and stolen her animal cracker, but I have been more intentional about affirming what I truly believe is important in my language. I don’t want culture framing what I mean when I say "you are beautiful" to our daughters. I want them to understand that I care about the quality of their hearts.
Back to soap. It seems that Dove has started to get closer to true beauty. I realize there is an economic motivator that has perhaps driven their marketing . . . but I think their message is also closer to truth. Physical beauty is great and all, but it is relative, and what truly matters is the beauty in a person’s words and deeds. That is where the "image of God" makes itself apparent.
It seems in some areas we have made progress in the past 70 years and in others we have lost ground.