Women, throughout history and throughout Christian history have had it rough. If you think they haven't, take a minute to check out, "Women's Work," one of the most deeply moving videos I've ever seen. I link to it every year or so, and keep a copy on my desktop just in case it's ever not there when I go back. I've never watched it without tears.
The video does an interesting thing. It shows women. It doesn't show women "being" anything. It just shows women. Most of them are happy. Some are lost in thought. All of them are beautiful. A few of them are beautiful in ways of which Mark Driscoll and cosmetic ads would approve, but all of them are letting themselves shine through unguardedly, just as God created them. They're beautiful.
I believe beauty's important, and I believe egalitarians are in danger of mislaying the purpose of beauty in our quest for equality. We've started talking about gender-neutrality where gender-equality is the goal.
I offer this link not as an egregious example of some horrible mistake, but just as the little thing that made me sit down and write. CBE asks, "Are Men and Women from Different Planets?"
Evidently, at a recent conference one of the speakers wowed the crowd by showing how Christian bookstores are marketing differently to boys and girls. The impression I received from the article was both that the marketing portrayed girls as inferior and that marketing differently to boys and girls was in itself wrong. I left some comments to that effect, and was courteously received. My point was that girls wear pink and boys wear blue because of cultural conditioning. Commenters countered that girls wear pink and boys wear blue because of socializations.
That amused me.
I and my esteemed sisters at CBE agree that pink and blue are socializations. We disagree when they believe they are awful socializations while I believe they are wonderful socializations. I support pink and blue. I support pink and blue even as I oppose the abuse women have suffered over the centuries and continue to suffer over the last 25 years I've been paying attention to the issue.
The video above shows beautiful women, in all their individual and unique expressions of beauty. My question to my sisters in the struggle for equality is who doesn't want the bride of Christ to be beautiful? Christ, Solomon, and Paul certainly do. Beauty is a distinctly feminine thing, and a distinctly desirable thing in the bride of Christ. Why, in order to have equality, do we have to call femininity into question? What power is stripped from a woman because she is feminine?
Does a woman who is culturally feminine have to be irrational? Does she have to be less competitive or goal-oriented? Then let's fix the culture, but history and experience give plenty of examples of feminine women who were rational and effective. American advertisers falsely tell us femininity is a matter of appearance, but why does the egalitarian church agree by becoming unfeminine, gender-neutral?
When the culture says a Barbie figure and $200 hair are the defining characteristics of femininity, why do we flee into the arms of political correctness? Why do we answer their lies with "gender-neutral" toys and games? God did not create us gender-neutral, and He goes out of His way to emphasize His own assessment of the desirability of the feminine.
Gender-neutral is a path to nowhere, and I'll rejoice when the good folk earnestly pursuing gender-equality abandon it.