This post is part of a regular series entitled About Beauty.
In the last post, I presented an example of a beautiful woman shouting at a younger woman using a string of curse words. This is an example of the confusing images that consistently surround the concept of beauty in our society. The beautiful appearance on the outside was in complete contrast to what emerged from the inside. The problem is that this contrast has become a norm in our society. We see it in primetime TV shows and movies alike.
Let’s look at the recent event when tennis pro Serena Williams cursed out a line judge during the 2009 US Open semi-finals. Of course, outbursts like this have happened before in the tennis world. Remember John McEnroe? I’m using Serena Williams as an example (1) because it is recent and (2) Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated described it as unprecedented. There are 521 comments on the post. Clearly, this event rocked both the tennis and mainstream scenes. So, why were people so tuned off by this event?
Serena is a professional tennis player who represents the highest level of her field. James Martin, editor-in-chief of Tennis, recently described Serena as the best player on the planet. She is also a fashion designer with her own company, Aneres. Her look has had a significant impact on the runway, as well as the court. She has changed the face of tennis via her strong athleticism, drive for success, and creativity. No doubt, these are all positive things. When looking from afar, we believe that she represents positive values of hard work, integrity, and beauty. But, she used foul language that was derogatory. Whether the call was right or wrong, she screamed with an intent to intimidate and belittle. The appearance was that of a bully who did not get her way. Clearly, that which comes from within has the power to destroy what we see on the outside.
The truth is that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. And, each tree is known by the fruit it produces (Matthew 12:33). This means that a good tree is good from the root to the topmost leaf and through to the fruit. The same is true for the bad tree. Where is our root? The root, or base, of all of our actions is our heart. And, it is from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34-35).
So, again, why were people so turned off by her recent outburst? We were shocked because what we saw did not line up with everything we believed Serena to be. But, our belief was based on an easily corruptable image. What we saw was derived from what is in the heart. The behavior is likely not a new behavior for her. But, it was new to the tennis fans looking in from the outside.
Beauty comes from within. What is inner beauty? It is the place where behavior and values meet. Are you inspired to wear your inner beauty? If so, do you change your behavior or your values? You decide.
S. D. G.