“Some Total”

 

Welcome to our newest “mini-series,” where I’ll kick off our current meme with a question: What does it mean to be “feminine”?  What do you enjoy most about your femininity?  About being a woman?  What is “Christian femininity”? 

 

Responses I’ve heard vary from “dressing up and wearing make-up”, “being a wife and mom” to something about “a quiet and gentle spirit” to “keepers of the home” to …?  Some may also include something about perfume and panty hose, cosmetics, jewelry, and lace.

 

Whatever the response, furrowed brows and glazed eyes are common.  Maybe that’s because at the heart of the question is another question.

 

Hormones, emotions, apparel and anatomy aside, it seems that our culture isn’t quite sure what a woman is, or what femininity means.  Other than the obvious physical features, what makes women different from men?  Or are we?  Do “affinities” for dresses, lace, Limoges and chocolate constitute femininity?  Is “femininity” a synonym for quiet, soft, or curvy?  What makes a chick flick “chicky”?  Are we different from men in our intellect, emotional make-up, values, priorities, tastes, preferences, perspectives?  Isn’t that all just cultural?  (I’m not attaching specific Bible verses to these comments.  I could, but I’d rather you do your own digging.)

 

The question may become even more complex within Christian circles, where we seem to work overtime reacting to and separating ourselves from The World’s view of womanhood.  We focus on Genesis 2:18, Titus 2 and “the Proverbs 31” icon and themes like “created to be his help meet.” 

 

The church often teaches – explicity or otherwise – that femininity is something good Christian women “do”: marry, raise children, (wo) man the church kitchen and social committee, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, homeschool, bake bread, garden, cook three meals a day, and “look pretty.”  In the church, “feminine” Christian women don’t debate, make their own decisions, speak their mind or disagree with the pastor.  Many Christian books, Bible studies and sermons on the subject launch into lists of Bible verses that invariably revolve around what a “Christian woman” does. 

 

 

According to these paradigms, “femininity” is based on apparel and…. a dandified To Do list.  So here’s another question: Is the sum total of Christian womanhood based on how a woman looks, dresses, and acts, or on something else?

 

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