Feminine Fridays

On Feminine Friday: Feminine enough?

I mentioned a few days ago that this week saw the launch of a new knitting group. Although Bella and I were the only ones who were partaking in the needlecraft joy, there were a couple of others present at the time: two more girls sat to one side, mocking us for our ‘old lady’ hobby. And yet, as the time went on, and they watched us work, and watched Bella’s beautiful crocheted squares grow, they stopped mocking and even voiced tentative words of regret that they couldn’t join in.

At one point a comment along the lines of ‘I don’t feel like a proper woman, because I don’t know how to do that’, was made.

And that got me thinking.

You see, I think that’s a common enough feeling, not always about knitting, obviously, but something:

‘I don’t feel like a proper woman because I… can’t knit, … can’t cook, … am not gently-spoken, … don’t have a baby, … can’t clothe my household in scarlet, or put my hand to the distaff, or consider a field and buy it, or any other random thing that that Proverbs 31 lady is so good at, … insert any other reason here.’

A cross-stitch of Proverbs 31: the ultimate in femininity?

My constant struggle is one of desiring something more from myself. I am not comfortable with the person that I am. I want to be different, better, and although I think that’s a right desire – being better, if that means being more like Jesus, is going to be the thing to strive for every day (as long as it called ‘today’), – if I’m honest, more often than not my striving to be better is less about being more like Jesus, and more about being like that model in the magazine, or that friend who I think is prettier, or cleverer, or more talented than I am.

As I think of topics for Feminine Fridays I feel the temptation to get sucked into this thinking again. If I bring up a topic like ‘feminine dress’, am I suggesting that there is one particular style which is definitively ‘feminine’, and if you don’t conform to that then you’re less of a woman? If I blog about some worthy woman of yesteryear who has inspired and encouraged me, am I suggesting that we all emulate every part of that lady’s life, since she is clearly superior in every way?

Well, obviously not. At least, I do hope that it’s obvious!

My desire with all of these posts is certainly not to give some sort of one-size-fits-all definition of femininity, nor is it to simply list a bunch of ladies who we should attempt to imitate.

I often find myself seeing a woman held up as an example, and rather than thinking, ‘Wow, what a great joy to see her use her God-given gifts in such a great way’; I slip into something more like: ‘Wow, she’s perfect, and I’m rubbish. I wish I could be like her.’

However, I don’t think that this means we need to stop hearing about women who have done good things, rather, I think it means I need to repent, and ask God to change the way I think. And, thankfully, since I have Jesus as my great high priest, (one who was tempted in every way, yet without sin) I can approach the throne of grace boldly, confident that I’ll find mercy and grace there.

Which is good news.

In summary: wanting to be more like Jesus instead of better at baking. Seems like the right way to go.


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  • Reply Cat May 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Great post!
    A question that may come up is – What is femininity? and What is masculinity?
    Have you heard some of the talk about Christianity being masculine? What do you think? – http://rachelheldevans.com/john-piper-masculine-christianity

    Big topic I know – but wondered if you had any thoughts?

    • Reply ellidhcook May 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks, Cat! I haven’t read any of this stuff yet, but I will – thanks for the link.

  • Reply Karen Berthine May 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Have you read Elaine Pagel’s work (prof of religion @ Princeton University)? You might find it interesting.

    • Reply ellidhcook May 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      I haven’t, but thanks for the recommendation, and thanks for visiting too!

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