Thursday, January 22, 2015


I am a woman. The culture tells me I must look my best. I must be pretty to attract a man. Some people in the Church say my highest calling is to be a wife and mother, so I must look nice to catch a man's eye. I must be tasty bait. Bait must be caught, trapped.

Others in the Church (or sometimes the very same people) say I must not attract too much male attention. They say, if a male desires me too much, it is my fault. If a male violates me to any degree, I'm to blame because I tempted him. I must not wear two-piece swim suits. I must not wear short skirts or any top that suggests I have breasts. 

"Do not wear anything that shows your figure at all," some women hear. "Don't even show your face because it could be a temptation. Come to think of it, a man could see you clad head-to-toe in a shapeless garment and still be tempted. So do not leave the house." Trapped.

I am a woman. I must attract men. I must repel men. I must live to meet the needs of men. I must do this out of obedience to God. That's what I hear.

I am a woman, and I am trapped. Please God, tell me you're not like those males. Tell me you are not male at all. Set me free.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Am I Beautiful?

I often write that women should not use the measuring stick of our culture. When you ask yourself, "Am I beautiful?" the answer is yes, no matter what anyone says. And inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. But a friend of mine got me thinking.

She's a size 28 and single. Over the years I've picked up the message that anyone that size is lazy. But I'm trying to teach myself to (1) mind my own business, because I don't know her story and struggle, (2) realize that a large person may be trying to lose weight and that the piece of cake on her plate could be a rare treat, and (3) did I mention I should mind my own business?

My friend is being treated by a doctor for a hormonal problem that affects her weight. She has a new healthy attitude about food. But she still struggles with the question, "Am I beautiful?" She has given me permission to quote her.
"It kills me," she says, "to think my own father cannot look at me and say I'm beautiful. I used to think being beautiful on the inside would be more than enough for me. But there is something inherent in women that yearns for beauty. And if our physical beauty is not affirmed by our own families, how can we expect anyone else to ever see us as beautiful? Or how can we affirm beauty in ourselves? Maybe if I were skinny, I would be married. On principle I do not want to be married if the only thing standing between singleness and wedded bliss is my physical appearance. But there's that little nagging voice inside me, the voice of my father."
Is she right? Is there something inborn in women that makes us yearn to be told we are lovely? Is it something we need to reject because it leans too heavily on meeting a cultural, physical standard? Or can we reject the standard and still embrace our desire to be beautiful?
I'll let you decide for yourself. And mind my own business.