Restoring a Biblical view of beauty

March 22, 2012

Citing Proverbs 31, student movement focuses on inner virtue over outer attraction

Five Baylor students have committed to alter American society's concept of beauty, launching what is now known as the Live 31 Movement.

It all began just after Thanksgiving, when freshman Alex Eklund posted a simple Facebook status update: "I'd rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria's Secret model." Several of his friends, including group leaders Michael Bartlemay, Michael Blair, Jake Cockerill and Matthew Reid, copied the message to their status, referring to the "wife of noble character" described in that book of the Bible, and from there the word began to spread.

Since then, a follow-up YouTube video has gathered more than 220,000 views. The group's Facebook page has more than 14,000 likes, and the @Live31Movement Twitter account has more than 1,800 followers as men and women from all over the world have voiced their agreement with the group's message: promoting virtue over surface beauty in a woman, and encouraging men to seek such character in a wife in addition to physical attraction.

"Our society stresses, especially the younger generation, the physical qualities and the physical attractions of the opposite sex, rather than pursuing godly relationships," says Jake Cockerill, a freshman business major and one of the group's founders. "Going into college, it is a time where we all start figuring out who we want to be and what we believe, and I believe it is crucial that society's perception of beauty needs to change."

On February 22, the Baylor Lariat ran a story about a former Victoria's Secret model who was inspired to go public with her choice to quit her job by the Live 31 Movement.

"I quit lingerie modeling altogether because I wanted to honor God with my life and my husband with my body," Kylie Bisutti wrote in an email to the Lariat. "I strive to live in the example of Christ, and I want girls to feel loved [for] their inner qualities."

Bisutti said she had already decided to stop modeling lingerie, but was inspired to publicize her choice when she saw Eklund's video about the Proverbs 31 woman.

"Prior to seeing his video, I hadn't really expressed my decision to people other than close friends and family," she wrote.

Bisutti even wrote a blog post for the Live 31 website describing her reasons for making such a decision.

"I stand for and love everything about the Live 31 Movement, and I felt God used the movement to share my story," Bisutti wrote the Lariat. "When I first heard the way [the movement] started, I immediately praised God and thought 'nothing is too big for Him.' God had his hand in everything that these guys have done, and it's incredible to witness."

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