Tag Archives: culture


April 9, 2014


Since the widespread of Instagram, I’m noticing more and more women showcasing their bodies… and their goodies- not just their fit, toned selves in workout gear, but hyper-sexualized pictures. Take the “fitspo” and “fitnessmotivation” trends and the pictures that accompany them for example. Who wears a thong and lace push-up bra in full hair and makeup while doing tricep kick-backs on a bench in the gym ? NO ONE.

What message are women sending these days? Has vanity overtaken our society? What about the girls of future generations? I fear that the answers to these questions are what women have been fighting against for decades.

What message are women sending these days? These risque pictures (in hopes of getting “likes” and “comments”) are leaving nothing to the imagination; they send universal approval to men to lust and sexualize women. Women of today are adding to the over-sexed hype that our culture has set as a standard. As if it hasn’t gotten bad enough through commercial media, we as women are adding to this standard by means of social media. We are counteracting what we have been wanting for years and years to happen-to be taken seriously, given equal opportunities as men and to not be looked at as a mere sex object. Instagram is a sea of semi-nude women in sexually explicit poses, and we are to blame. Women are posting these.

Has vanity overtaken our society? I get it-I love style and fashion. I post #ootds (not with my face in them) and the occasional “selfie” (rare), and some days, quite frankly, I just feel beautiful! However, my first reaction is not to take 100 photos just to capture that one perfect look to post on Instagram. I have a confidence that came from years and years of experience, self-reflection and self-acceptance. Today, women have become self-absorbed; hovering over their heads is an unhealthy pressure to capture how beautiful their hair looks or how amazingly flawless their makeup is or how tight their booty is getting. Very often it’s captioned with a insightful quote that has nothing to do with the fact that they are posting a picture out of vanity just to get approval.

What about the girls of future generations? They are the ones most engulfed by this. I teach freshman in high school. I see girls taking selfies in the bathroom, walking to class, and sadly sometimes in my classroom before the bell rings. It’s a norm for them-to post pictures on Instagram, tweet on Twitter and make videos for Vine. The scary thing is, how will they know when to draw the line between innocent pictures and delving into the more sexualized photos? Which picture would get more likes? I think we all know the answer to that question.

My hope for young ladies and women all around the world is for them to know that they don’t have to post pictures of any kind  in order to gain approval. I want them to know that their beauty doesn’t rely on the number of “likes” or “comments” of social media. I want them to find inner-confidence, self-control and more importantly, self-respect.

So, think before you post. Think before you envy that girl in the tiny black bikini working out at the gym. I just have to giggle at those.

~ Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

6 Soul Resolutions

December 3, 2013

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 5.41.01 PM

Summer isn’t even here, so why am I already thinking about bikini season and those painful trips and excruciating journeys to the mall in order to find the perfect swimsuit? Why does something so small have to be such a daunting and depressing task? Most swimsuits only have about 1-2 yards of fabric incorporated- some-even less! It’s a self vs. self, self vs. society’s skewed body image ideal, and self vs. mirror conflict.

It is so funny how superficial and shallow we can become. We will nearly kill ourselves for a flat stomach, but we will ignore an unfit relationship with our minds and souls.

So how do we prepare for the swimsuit challenge? We amp ourselves up with a great playlist on our iPod, plan out our meals and work out. We say goodbye to carbs, sugar, fatty foods, fried meals and carbonated beverages and say hello to water, fruits, veggies, lean meats and the gym. We do whole-body cleanses, rid our body of toxins, ignore harmful additives and dyes and renew our inner self. We sit in saunas, sweat through our tanks doing cardio, tackle circuit training and do other forms of crazy exercise. Even though it’s a daunting task, it’s so worth it to lose those 5, 10, 15, 20 extra unwanted pounds and gain self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment and begin a healthy lifestyle.  We feel like stronger, powerful and healthier women when we work out physically. With this being said, why is it so hard for us to work out spiritually or get emotionally healthy?

It is so funny how superficial and shallow we can become. We will nearly kill ourselves for a flat stomach, but we will ignore an unfit relationship with our minds and souls. These relationships are the most important things a woman can have in her life. Why can’t we seem to get motivated to cleanse spiritually, do relationship cardio and walk in full stride towards becoming the healthy and well-rounded women we were called to be?

Sometimes I’d much rather run 5 miles after a 30-minute circuit training session than have to address personal weakness and issues that deal with the heart and soul.

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 4.48.21 PM

I think it’s due to a pain, need for self-control and a sense of uncomfortable vulnerability that far outweighs any workout’s demands. We have to be real, be open and continuously be vulnerable- not always easy! Sometimes I’d much rather run 5 miles after a 30-minute circuit training session than have to address personal weakness and issues that deal with the heart and soul.

What does one have to offer with only a beautiful, hollow shell? My favorite quote, Proverbs 31:30 states that  “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This reminds me that our actions and words should reflect truth and integrity. One day, our wrinkle-free faces will have smile lines; our hair will turn gray with age; and our bodies not quite like they once were.

Crunch your inner struggles, detox your unhealthy surroundings and run (actually sprint) from unnecessary negativity. Keep hitting the gym and salad bars by all means, but start getting in shape all around.

 Our 6 Soul Resolutions:

1. We will make time for self-reflection (prayer, meditation, journaling, quiet time)

2. We will make time for positive and inspirational relationships (ladies’ night out, date night, family game time)

3. We will make time to give back to the community (service at the local homeless shelter, donating old clothes)

4. We will love our bodies (workout, eat clean, accept what we can’t change)

5. We will love our souls (positive self-affirmations daily)

6. We will love one another (encourage others-especially other women-be a cheerleader)

 Brynlea Taylor

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.

Photo Credit: 2b Photography – Becca Bell