Women’s Day – Celebrating & Protecting an Endangered View of Womanhood
For the last 250 years, women have been on a mission – fighting for and fighting against. Fighting to be seen and heard, to be taken seriously, to be acknowledged and respected. Fighting for the right to care for loved ones and to be educated. Fighting for the right to vote; to take their place in building a society they are proud to leave to the next generation. Fighting for the right to be respected and protected.
This is all very noble and inspirational. Huge sacrifices have been made by protestors and activists. Whether it is the anti-slavery movement, suffragette movement, women’s liberation movement or feminist movement – notable strides have been made in the name of women empowerment.
What is the world’s view of women?
For centuries the world has dismissed and mistreated women, subjecting them to inequality and indignity. History has spoken and the stories have been recorded.
And yet it seems that history has also spoken on another level. Anything in the name of enlightened ‘feminist’ world views is not seeking to restore the beauty, truth and wholeness of our creative feminine identity, but rather to exchange that for a redefined femininity, based on the clever lies that keep morphing and evolving with each era, decade or generation.
Under the banner of the women’s pro-choice movement, burning bras suddenly became symbolic of freedom, but also for chemically burning unborn babies in the womb.
Under the banner of the transgender movement, fighting for women’s rights suddenly became about women having the right define their own identity, to abandon femininity and choose to be men.
Under the banner of the postmodern movement, the nurturing model of mothers protectively fighting for the rights and innocence of their children became about children usurping their parents’ rights and authority to themselves become the ultimate influencers and authority figures.
Under the banner of the post truth movement, celebrating and honouring the divine image bearing wonder of biological male and female sexuality suddenly became archaic and outdated and the explosion of the rainbow LGBTQ+ movement was born.
This has all transpired in the span of 50 years. Who would have thought?
But we are not really thinking. When it comes to the essence of who we are as women, the loudest voices and ‘group think’ pressures have damaged our view of womanhood, debasing and diminishing it for causes that have no noble objectives. World views that deny, dismiss and distort a uniquely biblical cultural, and yet simultaneously countercultural, expression of beautiful, strong femininity have not only taken root in our society but in our hearts and minds, eroding our sensibilities.
John Piper weighs in here by observing that in the media and movies, women are constantly being portrayed, not as strong women, but as trying to be strong like men, as imitation men.
Instead of restoring God’s lofty view of women and striving to protect and celebrate it, we easily embrace the ever changing world views and ideas that come our way. And each one is slowly whittling away the core of our true feminine identity.
What is the ‘feminist’ view of women?
Think with me for a moment:
Women have been fighting to not be objectified for years and yet they keep objectifying themselves. (Don’t believe me? Just look around. Or just scroll through Instagram feeds, stories and reels).
Women denounce female stereotypes and yet the faulty premise promoting a unique female ‘personal’ brand is all about stereotypes. (Don’t believe me? Just sign up for one of the many personal branding webinars/masterclasses that pop up on your Facebook feed.)
The women’s liberation movement is all about women “thinking like a man, being like a man, acting like a man” and yet this has resulted in more misery and bondage.
How did the indignant outcry of women against misogyny and abuse result in a female cult following of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey?
The feminist movement has adopted a basic bully mentality: emasculate men (put men down, belittle them) so that women can feel better about being women.
According to Forbes.com, “Feminism, at its core, is about equality of men and women, not “sameness.” And yet here we sit with an enlightened egalitarian notion that we are all the same.
One’s mind spins at the confusion and anomalies.
Is this really what celebrating women is all about?
What is God’s view of women?
When we choose to deny who we were designed to be, we choose instead to enslave ourselves to man’s (generically speaking) faulty agendas and the world’s chains.
For 6000 years we can look back on cultural and societal examples of how women have been subjugated and mistreated. But that is not God’s template and it was never God’s design, so it is strange for any alternate theory to accuse God of being anti-women and chauvinistic.
Since the beginning of time, God – the divine activist – has been on a mission to showcase the unique, unrivalled and glorious image bearing beauty of both male and female. His redemptive plan, from before the creation of the world, has been to restore what we messed up and destroyed. Women were designed to be different – stronger in some areas and weaker in others – to men. That is how men and women complement each other. God set this design in place to give freedom to both men and women, not to set them in competition with one another.
Our freedom and identity lie in celebrating and protecting who we were created to be, as women.
Throughout the OT Biblical narratives, and NT Gospels and Letters, we see a radical view of womanhood compared to contextualised `Hebrew, Babylonian, Greek and Roman societies of the day.
Adam’s first response on seeing Eve was one of poetic awe and wonder at such a unique and feminine expression of humanity. And God’s pre-fall intent was for man and woman to equally work the created world together. The value and dignity of a woman was never in question.
EVE – Her name means ‘the mother of all living’ – an honourable and ’empowering’ title.
HAGAR – In a cultural context when women were seen as disposable and an inconvenience, God sees Hagar and protects and provides for her.
SARAH – When Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife, willing to allow her to be sexually defiled, God stands in the gap and prevents her from being sexually taken advantage of by the king.
HANNAH – At a time when a woman’s dignity and identity were connected to childbearing, God remembered Hannah.
JAEL – As the wife of a traitor, she steps in the gap and defends King David.
ESTHER – A woman who God used to save the people of Israel from genocide.
PROVERBS 31 WOMAN – An example of striking womanhood that expressed itself in resourcefulness, business acumen, creativity, honour – caring for the poor & vulnerable, helping to provide for her family, taking charge of her servants, respecting her husband and fearing God. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the days to come. (Is this not what we, as women, are striving for?).
In the NT we have the radical and countercultural examples of Jesus and the Church treating and acknowledging women with dignity, value and respect in a time when they were considered invisible and less than. From the Samaritan woman at the well, the women who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and the women caught in adultery to Mary, Martha, Dorcas, Lydia, Nympha and so many more.
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
What is God’s definition of womanhood?
I have to default to John Piper’s eloquence here:
“She is a woman who is assured of her feminine identity in such a deep and powerful way that she knows she is a man’s equal in the kingdom of God. She knows she is a man’s equal in the sight of God. She knows she is a man’s equal in the inheritance of joy. She is poised and free to affirm the manhood of the men around her and come alongside them and help them in every way they can in their unique calling. In this way, the dance and the rhythm and the choreography of male and female become a beautiful partnership.”
Men are in humble awe of such women. They are prepared to sacrificially serve and lay down their lives for such women. And they are careful to honour and uphold the dignity of such women.
God is concerned for women and their honour and reputation. They are highly valued in his kingdom and He does not tolerate his divine image being tarnished by any person, movement or ideology that seeks to distort or disregard that. Your view of true, authentic, joyful and liberating womanhood will begin with your view of God – you will not find it anywhere else. May we stop being persuaded by and stop succumbing to lesser views and expressions of womanhood. Paul exhorts us in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”
Christ should never be eclipsed in aspiring to be a godly woman. And true biblical womanhood is creative, community-orientated, counter cultural and collaborative. It is liberating, inspiring and captivating. We would be foolish to mess with that. Rather, we should fight to celebrate and protect this endangered view of womanhood.