The Feminine Ideal
Manufactured femininity is kind of what I think of as a list of feminine ideals. It’s almost like a platonic ideal of the perfect woman. We make a list of what we think that might look like—which doesn’t sound altogether wrong because there are virtues that we absolutely want to mimic and adhere to as women.
But, the problem with the list of feminine ideals that many of us sort of tuck away in our pocket and hope to achieve, is that we do it irrespective of Christ. We think that what we’re doing is attaining a level of womanhood that’s going to make us real women.
Every virtue comes from the Lord—every good thing.
I would say that we don’t attain any virtue apart from Christ, because none exist. There is no ideal standard of a woman that we are supposed to achieve, attain, or work on that isn’t virtue found in Christ and in God.
Sometimes when we talk about feminine virtue, it almost sounds like we’re talking about something that exists outside of God, but there is no virtue that women are supposed to be imitating that isn’t originating in God himself. Every virtue comes from the Lord—every good thing. Everything that we’re supposed to be imitating is found in him.
Yes, that works its way out differently in men and women, and the Bible helps us to parse that out a little bit and see what that looks like. But the idea that there is a feminine ideal that’s different than the ideal we find Christ—you just can’t find evidence of that in the Bible.
It’s incredibly hope-giving to be told Christ is your Savior, your example, and the one whose life you want to live. He’s the one who you want to follow in every way, and doing that will produce in you beautiful womanhood.
It is not going to turn you into a man. It’s going to turn you into a beautiful Christian woman. That also frees us up to look at things like the Proverbs 31 woman and not be angry at her or belittle her, but to say, She is representing virtues that are found in God himself. And I can go and run after those in a way that honors Christ. I don’t have to get too bent out of shape about how great she is.
We won’t be able to say everything in one conversation, and we certainly won’t say everything perfectly.
Women's bodies are weaker because God made their bodies to be weaker than men’s bodies and that's what Peter's talking about in 1 Peter 3.
Being a woman means being human. And this is good news.