Literary Scene: “Beauty” clicks viewed in Northampton Area High School graduate’s book about social media pressures
BY DAVE HOWELL
Special to The Press
Nearly everyone cares about their looks, but social media has brought those concerns to a crisis point with many young women.
Jenn Gotzon takes on the problem with her latest book.
“Beauty & Likes: Experiencing God’s Truth about Your Looks” by Morgan Threadgill and Jenn Gotzon with Dr. Lynette Simm (151 pages; $13.99, 2022) is available online and in Christian bookstores.
Gotzon, a former Northampton area resident, has appeared in a number of television shows and films.
The book came out of her research for her role as Belle Winters in the 2020 film “The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland,” which was based on her marriage to costar Jim E. Chandler. Their real-life marriage ceremony is shown during the film’s closing credits.
The movie, which co-stars John Schneider and Corbin Bernsen, is available on many streaming platforms, it is an inspirational comedy with an underlying theme about inner beauty.
There is a planned sequel to the film called “The Farmer and the Belle: A Rodeo Marriage.”
In a phone interview from her home in Rockaway, N.J., Gotzon speaks in a hoarse voice, attributed to the after-effects of the birth of the couple’s second child, Savannah Jo-Ann. Fortunately, Gotzon’s raspy voice is only temporary. Their new daughter is perfectly healthy. They also have a two-year-old son, James.
“Ninety percent of women face issues with looks. From age five, they compare themselves to other women or girls,” says Gotzon.
“They desire to conform to what they think is beautiful. They see images on social media that are filtered by people they look up to. And women 40 and up are struggling with aging, comparing themselves to what they looked like during their youth.”
There have been reports of an extreme increase in depression in young women. Although it seems much longer, social media has only been a strong influence in society for about 10 years.
“Thousands of people reached out to us after the book’s publication. A lot of moms and dads tell us this is what they are going through, but they don’t have the resources to get at the depth and the core issues. It has a lot of relatability, with quick, short chapters,” Gotzon says of the book.
There are many contributors to the book, including chapters by 24-four-year-old Morgan Threadgill and insights from Dr. Lynette Simm, a therapist who focuses on teen development. “Teams of readers from 12 to 18 read each chapter and took notes,” Gotzon says.
Gotzon’s Christian faith is a strong influence throughout, although she says, “It is all-inclusive. People of all faiths can enjoy the book.”
“Beauty and Likes” is something of a workbook. Each chapter has a daily prayer and a “Take Action” section where readers can write down answers to questions like “Where do you currently find your value?” and “Why do we care so much about what other people think of us?” The chapters begin with Bible verses.
The uplifting, positive tone asks readers to repeat mantras like “I am a masterpiece” and “With God all things are possible.” The sentence “I will replace the lie with God’s truth” works to replace the comparisons women make because of images presented on websites such as Instagram and TikTok.
Each chapter follows inscriptions on the charms of the Beauty Bracelet, introduced in the plot of “The Farmer and the Belle.” The bracelet, designed by Gotzon, has been featured on QVC and is available for purchase at www.thefarmerandthebelle.net and other online sites.
Gotzon has also written, with Michelle Cox, “Divine Beauty: Becoming Beautiful Based on God’s Truth: 30-Day Devotional Book.” It is a book similar to “Beauty and Likes” for adult women.
Gotzon was born in Bethlehem, went to George Wolf Elementary School, Bath, and graduated from Northampton Area High School in 1997. Her parents, Jo-Ann and Ronnie Gotzon, live in Moore Township, Northampton County. She credits her upbringing with her success.
“My mother taught me to love Jesus and one another, and my father taught me to follow my dreams,” Gotzon says.
“Literary Scene” is a column about authors, books and publishing. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, firstname.lastname@example.org