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By Ryan Hansen

I work at a supermarket, and one day while passing by a magazine rack at a checkout, I saw, on one of the magazine covers, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life.

In fact, she was beyond beautiful, almost terribly so.

Not a blemish could be found. She radiated sensuality and feminine perfection. She instantly captivated me.

I was hypnotized in a love-drunk stupor. Her flawless skin shined like glass, her gratuitous curves more exhilarating than any roller coaster ride. She was a freak of beauty, the Frankenstein of supermodels. As she ran her hands through her cascading hair seductively, boom. I realized in a moment, that I needed to snap out of it.

All right, Cover Girl, so you're trying to seduce me, get me to look inside this magazine, see more of you, with probably less clothing. You're trying to advance into my heart and conquer it. You want me to adore you. Well, you have stolen my gaze, but you haven't won my heart.

Not yet.

I waged a battle not to see her as an object of pleasure. I'm not sure who made her so captivating and intoxicating, but like Romeo possessed with the desire to drink in Juliet's sweet lips, these magazines know that the fire of passion is easily kindled in those who are lonely as they fill their shopping carts with groceries.

I look beyond the cover of the magazine and that there were articles about her inside. I turned to them, carefully guarding my eyes so that I saw only the text. I read about her life. She lived in a distant part of the world, in a different reality than I do. She had been divorced and her brother had been murdered. When I read that, she became a real person to me, no longer a dream girl. She suffered in life just like I did. She even shared the same faith. Who was she, I wondered. I wanted to know more. What was the real story deep inside that googly outer shell?

Inside the magazine were articles all about polishing a woman's exterior, ranging from make-up tips, fashion, hair care, skin treatments, cosmetics and exercise to diet. I was puzzled that there were no articles emphasizing the inner qualities of women, like her ability to listen and empathize, her compassion and humor, her silence and devotion, her encouraging words and feminine calmness, her soft voice, her secrets and modesty.

These precious inner qualities are becoming so rare and lost in a world bent on selling women as objects and training men to lust. Even though inner qualities don't sell magazines, it is that inner life that is the truest part of who a woman is. When you discover that, you have discovered the real treasure and beauty of a woman.

Although your exterior beauty is awesome to behold, Cover Girl, however long it lasts, it is not your appearance that draws me now. It is your inner self. I hope that will not be lost by the many hours you spend in front of mirrors and cameras. Will you develop virtues, charity towards others?

How many red carpets will you walk and parties will you attend instead of being alone, discovering yourself, instead of being adored not by all, but adoring the All in prayer by developing your spiritual life; instead of mindless talk shows taking up your time, developing your creative talents and intelligence; instead of sacrificing so much to fit the perfect fitted jeans, sacrifice for those who have nothing?

I pray, Cover Girl, that you will live in a pure and modest way so that men will see you not as an object but as a person. I choose not to indulge in your Cover Girl dreams, so I turn you around Sister and let you go, thankful that I understand what true beauty is, knowing that God made you for a purpose, not as an object. As His masterpiece, His daughter.

Ryan Hansen

Escanaba, Michigan

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