If you are a returning reader, you will notice that not only has it been nearly a year since my last post (so sorry!), but the tone of this post is much different than my previous posts. Honestly, I struggled with even writing this. With so many opinions, and voices, and commentaries in the media today on the subject of femininity, the concept is becoming clouded at best. Will one more voice only make it worse?
But then I realized that any voice speaking the word of God, words of truth, needs to be heard. And that’s what I felt lead to do today, simply share what God has put on my heart. Lord knows, I do not have all the answers. I struggle with understanding God’s design for femininity everyday. But one thing I do know, is that the way women are viewed today, and the boxes our culture has locked women into, are not God’s intentions.
For the past year or so, the mental struggle between feminism and godly characteristics of women has been weighing heavy on my mind. And that struggle was brought to the forefront of my mind today, once again, when I watched the documentary, “Miss Representation”. This documentary shows how the over-sexualization of women in our media is counterproductive to the empowerment of women. And I fully support that realization. However, while watching (and feeling) this realization unfold throughout the documentary, I felt a slightly unhealthy backlash begin to unfold as well in the ending of this film, through the little comments and quips coming from women supporting our empowerment. And while I truly believe these women have good, honorable intentions, and their words are not meant to be destructive in any way, it added a little more hurt to an already heartbreaking situation. Mainly, in hearing what one woman said,
“If women don’t stand up for each other, then no one else will. No ones going to look out for the interests of women, except other women.”
– Lisa Ling
Executive Producer & Host
OWN’s Our America
That quote was meant to be inspiring, and I’m sure it left a feeling of empowerment with many women. But for me it was disheartening. Lisa Ling voices the thought that so many girls and women think every day. And it leads me to wonder, When did this become a battle between men and women?
Women’s beauty is being attacked, and no doubt, someone needs to stand up. Women were inherently created to be beautiful, their beauty reflects one of the greatest attributes of God. As John and Staci Eldridge say in their book, Captivating, “Beauty is without question, the most essential and the most misunderstood of all God’s qualities – of all feminine qualities too.” And yet, it is being used against women – to violate women. Women are objectified for their good looks, or rather patronized for their lack of good looks. On the other side of the spectrum, they are recognized only for how they present themselves physically, and their actual deeds and qualifications are being overlooked. I won’t dive headfirst into this argument today. I think “Miss Representation” actually did an incredible job of exposing this problem, and I highly recommend watching it. But it leads me on to my point by saying that in reality, God created Eve to be essential. “She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you’ll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place” (Eldridge, 33). Women were not created to stand quietly in the background. So many times people (sadly, sometimes, especially Christians) misunderstand the traditional, “helper”, role of women to mean that they are lesser in God’s eyes, and less capable than a man. When in reality, nothing stands farther from the truth. The core truth of Christianity empowers women more than any other religion in the world. And yet women who stand up, and voice this truth are mocked and ridiculed, and silenced – leaving them to feel as if they are fighting this battle on their own – that not even their Christian brothers will stand beside them and recognize their value.
When did the burden fall completely upon us, as women, to make this essential role known? When did this role become seen as a threat to masculinity, rather than full-fledged support, that masculinity and femininity should actually stand hand in hand? God created men and women to work together, not to be at war with one another. Men do not need a women by their side to succeed, God is able to lead them to succeed. But men are blessed with the support and motivation of women around them when women choose to represent the attributes of God. Likewise, women do not need to be protected or need to be enabled by a man in order to be strong. God provides our strength. But yet, a godly man will protect and stand for the daughters of Christ, because that is what they are called to do.
What a brilliantly executed scheme the devil has devised to make us think that we are enemies, that only one of us can be in control, or that we have to be the exact same to be equal. To make us feel that we are fighting this battle alone.
I want to be clear in saying that I am well aware of the godly men out there fighting for the representation of women, and I am so thankful for them. Thank you for recognizing the potential God has given us, and for standing beside us, and not seeing it as a threat to the role God has bestowed upon you. I also recognize that there are godly women out there who live with a healthy balance of strength and power in their lives and at the same time hold a respect for the men around them, not feeling that men are the enemy, but that rather we are counterparts, each designed by God to be powerful in different ways.
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My intention with this post is to provoke thought, and much prayer. That we as a people, especially Christians, will make it our goal to bring humanity back to what God intended it to be. That men and women’s qualities complement each other rather than stand in each others ways.
Women, please do not confuse the empowerment of woman with the fight to overpower a man. And men, please do not confuse our struggle to be honored as an attempt to dishonor you.
Ladies, take in the words you hear in media sources like “Miss Representation”. Repect youself and honor the other women around you. Demand to be respected as a woman. Create a world in which we want our daughters to be raised in. Keep fighting for the cause of women. However, fight knowing that you are not alone. God has been pushing for our honor and protection and respect all along. This is not a war against men, this is a war against evil. And Satan is fighting against men as well in his battle against femininity. Please be patient with them as God opens their eyes to the truth, and opens our eyes as well.