In Defense of Strong Women
My 5 year old daughter sees this picture, and stretches her arms way back and says “There are THIS many girl movies. Enough to fill the whole city!” As she sits watching one, I overhear a bit of it and smile. Barbie is saying “I’m going to talk to her. This isn’t right. I need to stand up for myself.”
In spite of the branding and the bad writing, this is why I give in to the purple and pink marketing scheme. This is exactly the message I want this XX chromosomally blessed image-bearer to receive. She is worth standing up for.
Whether she needs to affirm her own worth now, in squabbles with siblings, later with a horny boy, or in the future with a pastor, I want her to know she has the strength and ability to do so.
I also want her to know I will stand up for her dignity and honor. I have, after 30 years of being one, finally firmly realized the beauty and importance that being a female is. I am no longer willing to shutter my soul because it is hard for people to envision a different way of reading the Bible. I will fight, as gracefully as I can, for the opportunity to be viewed as a pre-curse image-bearer, for my sake, for the sake of my daughters, and for the sake of women everywhere who may not be able to speak up, or even imagine their true worth that lies within.
I have a friend who is a waitress. She’s 22, and is the typical sweet, meek and mild Christian girl. I just found out her restaurant is violating the minimum wage law, and some days she is only making $5-6 an hour. When I told her that is all sorts of illegal, she said, “I know this isn’t bringing in the dough, but it’s a job.” No! If you are working for someone who is breaking the law, you are allowed to say something!
The obnoxiously constant refrain in the church, is meek, mild, tender, sweet, gentle women.
When you are told over and over, for years on end, that this is the only way to be if you are female and want to follow Jesus, then guess what? You end up with women who are ALWAYS MEEK! The problem is only compounded when they are also told that they are different than men and must submit to them. So now we have these meek women who submit to all men. Which isn’t ideal, under healthy circumstances. But it’s tragic when it meets the real world and they are put in situations where they are being taken advantage of.
Why do we want to keep creating women who lack confidence in who they are?
Why do we want to keep telling women that they are not valued the same as men?
Why do we want to keep breeding this system of submission when a major consequence is that it creates weak women?
I can understand why men might like this. I don’t understand why so many women, seemingly willingly, go along with it. And yet I grew up thinking this, and even agreeing with the fact that women couldn’t do what men did. But I didn’t know. I trusted the men in authority, that they knew best. I trusted that the teachings I was getting were right. I was never taught to look at the verses about slavery and compare them to verses about women. I was never taught there might be cultural context. I was never taught about the amazing women.
I didn’t know.
A friend posted this picture on Facebook, and it got several likes. It really got under my skin, and I had to say something. But first, I had to spend a couple of hours talking to myself, convincing myself it was worth the risk.
“I think this is kind of a false dichotomy. When it comes to standing up to abuse, inequalities in the workplace, slavery, or a whole bunch of other issues that need to be addressed….toughness and rudeness are sometimes needed. Too many sins get covered up by women who are just trying to be kind and tender.”Well maybe, but grace doesn’t always show up wearing a skirt and pouring tea!)
But I don’t care any more. The future is at stake.
My friend the waitress is at stake.
My daughter is at stake. And I’m not going to let Barbie be the only strong voice in her life.