On Being a Woman

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Much has been said in the way of a woman’s role. Who she is, what she does, how society views her, how society should view her. You only have to look so far as current pop songs (Beyonce’s “Girls” or Katy Perry’s “Roar”) or TV shows (Girls, and before that, Sex and the City), to see that there is much social discussion on the topic. As a woman, I’ve always been mildly interested in these conversations, but only now have I really been paying attention to what’s been said, where the discussions have led. Wrestling with conflicting opinions and ideas, I’ve been trying to nail down my own viewpoints. I don’t want to add to the noise, but I’ll attempt to try to lay out where I am currently in all of this. With all the busyness in my life, these posts may be small, but I’ll try to put out some thoughts now and then.

A book I’m reading that has made a huge impact is Let Me Be a Woman, by Elisabeth Elliot. She writes in one section of the “weight of wings.” She explains how animals are created uniquely, but each could find some fault in their physical form, not realizing that their form is the very thing that allows them to function as they were designed.

And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird-up, away from the world, into the sky, into freedom-so the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts, her special calling-wings, in fact, which bear her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God (pg 23).

I believe it’s the same way today. So many women want to remove the differences between men and women instead of embracing all that it means naturally to be a woman. It’s much the same as with the problematic statement some people use when they claim to be “color-blind.” This used to be in vogue, but over the last few years it’s become a bad term to use. We’ve begun to realize that the best way to deal with differences is to acknowledge them, rather than be “blind” to them. Recognizing differences helps us understand one another and our histories of our races. It doesn’t mean we need to always treat people differently, but we understand where they’re coming from better. I think that with gender, it gets complicated because we talk about things like cultural conditioning and social construction, and we get lost in the haze of what is really “natural” and “genetic.” Maybe pink and blue blankets are a product of our culture, but are women naturally more emotional? Are men naturally more domineering? For the Christian, these questions are answerable under the truth of God as creator, a Being who clearly has ordered things with a certain precision. However, when we have conversations with others, mostly secular people, these questions can be difficult. It seems that according to a evolutionary framework, gender construction would have biological elements, but society would play a much larger role as well. Thoughts??

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