I think “Girl Power” is a lie.
What does it even mean, anyway? Strictly speaking, it should be the power of skills and abilities that girls hold in common…the unique ability of feminine traits.
But that’s not what people mean by #GirlPower, is it? I once read a blog post (that I have since lost – humanity is fortunate) talking about “strong women” or “strong female characters” or something like that.
Every single example was fictional (as in, made up). Every single example had either magic powers (like Storm from the X-Men) or battle prowess (like Xena the Warrior Princess).
What about Cinderella – whose strength of character enabled her to endure a devastating home situation and whose purity, humility, and attitude led her to marrying the prince?
What about Corrie ten Boom and her sister, who hid Jews from the Nazis, were arrested and hauled away to a concentration camp in their fifties, and still held Bible studies in their barracks? As for Corrie, she even forgave one of her former guards – through the transforming power of Jesus, of course.
Can’t a girl be “strong” without imitating exactly what the boys are doing?
World: You Go, Girl!
With hashtags like #girlboss, #beastforshe, and #believeher, you’d think girls would be encouraged and strong.
Disney is re-doing all their old titles to make them less sexist. You can buy hundreds of dollars worth of plaques that say #GirlBoss or #BossBabe or “Messy bun and getting stuff done” or “I drink the coffee and then I do the things” (can you guess where I work?).
Women do marches with funny pink hats on. A woman makes an allegation of sexual misconduct, and anyone who questions her facts is a sexist hater.
You’d think that, with all this support flooding the women of our culture, women and girls would be confident, strong, able…and happy.
But they’re not happy. They’re intensely unhappy. Whenever I hear a news item about Hillary Clinton, one of the most powerful women in the country (if not the world) I think about how absolutely miserable she seems.
Where’s the joy?
Also World: Girl, Wash Your Face!
Scroll the bestsellers on Amazon, or browse the books on sale by the registers of Hobby Lobby, and you’ll start picking up a vibe…
- Me, Myself, and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover — “Words are powerful. Especially the words women speak to themselves.” Get rid of the negative things you think about yourself, and replace them with positive things from God’s word!
- Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely — “GOD WANTS US TO LIVE LOVED WHEN WE FEEL LEFT OUT, LONELY, AND LESS THAN. [sic] … Lysa TerKeurst digs deep into God’s Word to help you explore the roots of rejection, the way other relationships get tainted because of a past rejection, and the truth about what it looks like to live loved.”
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be — A lifestyle blogger and CEO of her own media company encourages girls to “live with passion and hustle.”
- Also Girl, Stop Apologizing — the same author tells women to not “define themselves in light of other people” but rather learn “how to own who they are and what they want”.
- Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free – “Many women live under a cloud of personal guilt and condemnation,” says this author. “Many are in bondage to their past. Others are gripped by fear of rejection and a longing for approval. Still others are emotional prisoners.”
“Nancy offers the most effective weapon to counter and overcome Satan’s deceptions: God’s truth!”
- Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free – “Pure is a powerful wake-up call about our society’s subjugation of women.”
Books* don’t get to these prominent places unless someone buys them. Lots of someones.
People (women) want to read these books, are reading them, and feel a need for them. Why?
Our culture is telling women and girls to achieve, to be their best selves, to chase their dreams, to roar. And yet, lots of women are obviously feeling beaten down, surrounded, inadequate, injured, and tarnished.
Bible: “She is Clothed with Dignity and Strength”
This is my mom. She is one powerful lady.
In total, we had ten little kids in our house (not all at once, but over time).
Toddlers are like all the annoying parts of humanity condensed into Toddlers challenge the best of us I hate tod
Little kids are a handful. Yet this powerful, patient woman poured all her kindness and caring into every single one of them.
Sure, there’s a #momlife hash-tag…but do we as a culture glorify the “getting up at two in the morning” part of parenting? The “pitched battle over a pile of peas” part? The “he spent three months of his life in the time-out chair” part?
Women aren’t strong in the same way men are.
And that’s okay. In fact, it’s awesome.
One of the worst things the transgender movement does (apart from enabling stalkers) is teach kids to be uncomfortable in their own bodies.
It’s okay to love the body you were born in. It’s OKAY to like being a girl!
We should be telling girls, “Yes, you feel uncomfortable. It’s called puberty. Everyone feels it, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Instead, we’re telling them, “Hey, maybe you’re really a boy in a girl’s body! We need to permanently alter your body chemistry and ruin your potential to bear children! Be ashamed of your boobs and your long hair because obviously the universe got you wrong!
“Oh, and by the way, Wash Your Face!”
Girls can be strong. Just not necessarily the same “strong” as boys. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s healthy.
Bible: Your Daughters Will Be Pillars in the House of Our God
Women are built to be nurturing, empathetic, bonding, supportive.
I’ve already talked about what men should be – and all the reasons I’m a patriarchist – but just for now let’s focus on the girls.
Women are sustainers. They’re the glue that holds families (and hence society) together…and keeps those wild, impulsive, world-changing men from killing themselves by accident.
I am a lioness. I do not lead the pride — I only hunt the food for my cubs. There’s a reason the man is the king.
But how can we expect them to do their jobs when we’re not doing ours? God calls us to quiet submission…which inspires our menfolk in ways we could never understand.
Without the pillars, the building collapses. We can’t all be the flashy frieze on the roof-line. We can’t all be the foundation and floor. And if a pillar tried to be the floor…well, “falling down on the job” is a cheap shot.
Modern culture wants women to shamelessly pursue their own desires…at everyone else’s expense.
But that’s not how women were designed. That’s not how any of us were designed.
Don’t just blame the girls for this…as a civilization (as a species?) we are convinced that the only good is whatever “I” want, and that whoever denies me what I want is wrong.
We tell women to distance themselves from relationships that hold them back, to get rid of “negative” thoughts, and to lay aside their shame. That if they had an extra layer of confidence, they could protect their self-esteem from the unrealistic expectations of the world and be happy.
But while the culture and the media are screaming, “I am woman, hear me roar!” all the women and girls are curled up in the corner having a panic attack.
Solution: Solve for X
How do we fix this? What can we do?
If your car is broken, you call a mechanic. If your sink or your A/C is broken, you call a plumber or a technician.
When your human is broken…open up the Manual!
The very fact that these books are selling so well is a hint that we feel a need. We feel broken. What we’re trying isn’t working.
We want to choose who we are…to define for ourselves what it means to be a “woman.” Trust me, we’ve been doing this since about Chapter 3…and it doesn’t work. Never has, never will. So let’s try something else – something that’s not “girl power.”
You can read thematic Bible studies if you want (as some of the books mentioned above bill themselves), but I prefer to cut out the middle men and the artificial preservatives. Just give me the straight-up, organic, gluten-free Bible!
Do it. Now.
Stop reading this meandering, totally anecdote-based, highly unscientific blog post and go read your Bible! You’ll be surprised how direct God is about who He wants you to be.
Like so many things, change starts with a hard look at yourself. Feel ashamed of your past? Trapped by your relationships? Impotent to pursue your dreams?
Once we have the foundation, we can set up the pillars in their proper place. The solution isn’t always to punch through things…sometimes we need to reevaluate our strategy completely!
Only once we know what it truly means to be a woman will we know how to “achieve our full potential.” And that comes from asking the Guy who invented women!
Let me end with a quote from prolific Christian writer C.S. Lewis:
“Don’t you remember on earth — there were things too hot to touch with your finger but you could drink them all right? Shame is like that. If you will accept it – if you will drink the cup to the bottom – you will find it very nourishing: but try to do anything else with it and it scalds.” (The Great Divorce)
* Retweet is not endorsement – but to make sure we’re clear: I have not read any of the six books in this list, so cannot recommend or give a judgement on any of them. They are merely to illustrate the point that a lot of the “inspirational” best-sellers are aimed at helping women feel better about themselves…which prompts the question, “What’s tearing them down?”
I can, however, highly recommend Lewis’ Great Divorce. All these years later, it still drives to the heart of human nature. Read it now (after your Bible, of course)!
She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
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