It’s a genuine question – and I don’t have an answer; nor for that matter, an agenda, (theological or otherwise). But my head hurts from trying to make sense of it. And I’d love to know what you think.
I’ve tried to work it out myself. Even done some reading.
It goes without saying, that the women’s glossies are a pile of poop.
The fashion ones tell you that it’s Dior or death. The ‘healthy’ ones urge you to love yourself with mung beans, marathons and mantras.The mumsy ones tell you it’s all about family. The ‘sexy’ ones recommend things I can’t even imagine, let alone practice.
But I’ve looked elsewhere too. Proper books. Everything from Wayne Grudem to Caitlin Moran, (sorry Wayne, but Caitlin was pacier). All good – but they’ve opened up as many questions as they answer.
I’ve been to talks on godly womanhood. Again, these are good – but sometimes they point me back to the truth, without helping me get there. They remind me for example, that ‘beauty comes from within’. This is absolutely right. But WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? How do I get to the point where I even want it (as distinct from feeling like I ought to want it?)
I know in my head I should stop obsessing about appearances and think about what really matters. But it’s like wanting to be purple. Nice in theory, but impossible in practice.
– Or am I missing something, everyone else seems to have got?
Even the straightforward stuff is confusing: appendages and hormones and biology. For example:
are you still a woman if your womb doesn’t work?
how about chest size? If you take after your dad, does that make you less of a lady?
Then there’s urban wisdom about what it means to be female. Example:
1. Women are nurturing. Natural mothers and home-makers or carers.
(So what about the woman who doesn’t want kids? Or the one who has them and wishes she didn’t? The wife in a loveless marriage? The daughter forced to care for parents who make her life miserable?)
2. Women are relational
(So what about the introverts? Or those with autism? How about if I’m single – does it mean there’s a bit of me that will never be fully alive? If I’m terrified of intimacy am I still a woman?)
Answers on a postcard.