The musical, though not a Christian storyline, speaks to a universal fear (and lie): that we’re not beautiful enough to be loved. In one of the scenes, Christine rips off the Phantom’s mask, which covers half of his disfigured face. He is angry and embarrassed that she sees him like this. He sings (from “Stranger than I Dreamt it”):
Can you even dare to look
Or bear to think of me?
This loathsome gargoyle, who burns in hell
But secretly yearns for heaven
Fear can turn to love—you’ll learn to see
To find the man behind the monster
This repulsive carcass, who seems a beast
But secretly dreams of beauty
The Phantom believes he cannot be loved in spite of his physical deformities. He feels he must hide himself but wants to be seen for the man he is “behind the monster” and he “secretly dreams of beauty.” But towards the end, Christine sings it’s not his face she fears (from Down Once More):
This haunted face holds no horror for me now
It’s in your soul that the true distortion lies
Christine saw the ugliness in the Phantom’s heart, not in his face.
Unfortunately, I, as well as many other women (and the Phantom), think or have thought that the physical, outer beauty is more important, as I talked about in Part I.
Growing up, I was told how beautiful I was by many people.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
In high school, I tried to be a model (never worked out); in college, I competed in a beauty pageant (didn’t go so well). After I graduated, I was a television reporter for about a year and a half because I wanted to be known – and I figured they wouldn’t put me on TV if I wasn’t beautiful, so once again I was validated for my looks.
I remember one night I was out with a friend, and a married man at the bar told me I could have any guy I wanted because I was on television. At the time, those were the exact words I was longing to hear: that any man I’d want would love me and never leave me. It was basically a guarantee to never be heart broken!
But at the same time, that man’s words crushed me. What would happen when I wasn’t on TV anymore? Would no man want me? I’d just be a regular person, then. What was I supposed to take away from the conversation? That I was lovable so long as I was a recognizable face?
When you hear guys say, “Wow she’s so hot” or “Check out that girl over there,” it becomes obvious that men value physical attraction very much. It’s no wonder women think they’re more worthy if they’re beautiful!
People may think you’re pretty, but are they there for you when you’re sick in bed? Are they holding your hand as a relative deals with a terminal illness? Are they praying for you? Are they going to make sure you get home safely? Are they going to check in on you just to see how your day is going? Or when your beautiful face is out of their sight, are you out of their mind?
True love is true beauty.
Being loved for my exterior will never compare to being loved for my faults, my weaknesses, my quirks, and everything else. That’s how Christ loves. I’m smiling just thinking about it!
I do appreciate my physical beauty, but at the same time, I have to intentionally make sure that I don’t believe it’s my most valuable asset. I tell myself it does not give me more worth, no matter what the culture preaches.
Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I picture Jesus up in heaven beaming and jumping up and down at the thought of my existence, your existence – everyone’s existence. He delights in all of us!
So in my own little way, I want to draw people to me not because of my outer beauty but because of my inner beauty. One way I do that is by not wearing make-up.
You can totally say it’s easy for me to embrace my natural beauty because I have clear skin. You’re right. I didn’t embrace it when my face was peppered with acne. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me about how “trivial” acne was; I wanted it gone.
So of course, I’m very sympathetic to people who are going through that. Who am I to tell girls and women, “It’s ok; acne doesn’t define you. You’re still beautiful”? I totally thought it defined me. I can feel your pain. It’s ok to want it go away! Just know that you’ll be no more valuable when it’s gone.
I think it’s awesome that Alicia Keys isn’t wearing make up anymore. I love that someone with her fame is openly embracing her natural beauty. Really, that’s what I want for every girl and woman.
Just to be clear, I don’t think wearing make-up makes you unChristian by any means! I’m not suggesting that everyone ditch their palette, but I really wish every female could look in the mirror with bare skin and say with her heart, “I’m beautiful.”
I don’t have to see you to know that you are beautiful! I know that because (if you’re a woman), you’re a daughter of Christ made in His image and likeness. There could be nothing more beautiful than God’s children.
Maybe that sounds corny or ideological or just plain silly, but at the core it’s about loving God’s creation – you!
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t compare myself to other women or look in the mirror sometimes and wish I were thinner or look with envy at someone who doesn’t have frizzy hair. It’s a process, but there’s something really comforting to me to know that, in the end, the physical beauty just doesn’t matter. It’s not a ticket to Heaven.
If take away one thing, let it be this – physical beauty not the most important or lovable thing about you and never will be! You can appreciate your beauty as a gift from God, but it doesn’t make you better than others. You can be flattered by comments people make about your beauty, but remember that when the beauty fades, your worth will never go away with it.