An Excerpt from “A Woman’s Worth” by Marianne Williamson

In this book, Marianne Williamson challenges women to see themselves in spiritual terms. Here is an excerpt on beauty.

“Feminine beauty is not a function of clothes or hair or makeup, although billions of dollars are spent in this country each year by women who have been convinced by the advertising industry that it is. Beauty is an internal light, a spiritual radiance that all women have but most women hide, unconsciously denying its existence. What we do not claim remains invisible. That is why the process of personal transformation — the true work of spiritual growth, whether couched in religious terms or not — is the only antidote to the pernicious effects of society’s backlash against genuine female empowerment. Society programs us, through the subliminal messages of popular culture, to believe that we’re not truly desirable as women unless we adhere to the current standards of physical beauty. The reason we’re such fertile ground for the dark forces of such lies and social manipulation is that we’re dissociated from the genuine light of self-awareness.

The woman who is truly self-aware knows that her self is a light from beyond this world, a spiritual essence that has nothing to do with the physical world. Those of us who strongly believe in the reality of spirit are quickly invalidated by a worldly power system that senses within spiritual truth the seeds of its own destruction. For if we truly believed in an internal light, we would not believe in the power of external forces, and we would not be so easy to dominate and control. We would not be tempted to see hair and clothes and makeup as sources of so much of our self-esteem and the ideal beauty of a fashion model as a sign that we are not beautiful at all.

In the words of Naomi Wolf, ‘We as women are trained to see ourselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs, rather than seeing fashion photographs as cheap imitations of women.’

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