When I first began blogging, I enjoyed my anonymity. For the first time in my life, my arguments would stand purely on their own merit. I wouldn’t have to wonder if people really agreed or disagreed with me, or whether they were simply reacting to my person.
Well, I’ve been disenchanted. If anything, a blogger’s persona can have an even bigger impact on her ethos than in real life because it’s expected to be more carefully crafted. In real life, people understand that everyone has good days and bad days, good seasons and bad seasons, but in the interwebz all days are the same because all days are recorded for perpetuity. Make one little slip-up, post one thing you later regret, and your blogging days are over.
Even in those places where people place great worth on remaining Anonymous, the personas are not anonymous but synonymous. They are all so much alike and so much of a hive mind that there is little need for differentiation. Preselection run amok, as it were.
But what about the rest of us — especially the female rest? What about those of us who are writing with a political intention? What about those of us who debate, who reason, and who want to put forth a convincing argument for orthodox views of sex and relationships? What about those of us women who promote homemaking, child-rearing, and traditional marriage?
For us, there is photography.
Yes, it’s true. The biggest and most effective argument for us is, in fact, a counterargument. There is a nasty rumor going around that orthodox Christian women are… well… hideous. Or perhaps simply very plain. And frumpy. And just generally undesirable. After all, why would we want to tie down a man to us for life, if we were attractive enough to trade up on a regular basis, like the “hot” girls do? Isn’t our insistence on marriage-for-life its own proof that we need the strength of the law to hold onto our men?
In a typical instance of this, there was a meme that I bore a close resemblance to Aunt Jemima.
The similarity is positively uncanny.
And why wouldn’t I look like that? Obviously, I was bitter. All of these younger-tighter-hotter girls running around, threatening my status, seducing my husband, and generally turning my life into a nightmare.
Pity the matron. Left alone with nothing but her cupcakes and Twilight novels to keep her warm at night. With her wrinkled countenance and worn-out body, her husband obviously has to struggle not to vomit when she puts on her flannel pajamas at night. This is why we make love with the lights out. This is why only a man who isn’t quite right in the head would bond himself to us. Pity the matron, but pity her husband even more. Poor chap.
As much as we’d like to think that doesn’t matter, the fact is that it does matter. It matters a lot. It matters because it is so much more powerful for an attractive woman to council young women to chastity, than for an unattractive woman to do so. Her virtue has a higher worth — it is more heroic — because she has more opportunity to sin. (At least, that’s the rationale behind it.)
If you’re pretty enough to get away with acting like a tart, but don’t, doesn’t that support your argument that your chosen “lifestyle” brings some benefit that being a tart doesn’t bring? Enough of a benefit that you forgo decades of fun to settle down and make babies and cook dinner for one-and-only-one man? Enough of a benefit that you thank God every night that you made the choices you have made?
That is what originally prompted some of us to post our photos, and why I would like to encourage other female orthodox bloggers — here and otherwise — to post their own (if their husbands permit). I know how pretty you are, girls. I’ve seen your warm smiles and your doe eyes. I’ve marveled at your lashes so long that they brush against the inside of your sunglasses, your rosy cheeks and button noses, and your comely figures.
I know that it is modesty and not shame that keeps your appearance an enigma. While the feminists affront the world with yet-another ream of Slut Picz, we quietly go about our way and keep ourselves to ourselves. We don’t want to be stared at. We don’t want to flaunt ourselves. We don’t want to tempt our brothers in Christ. We don’t want to end up accused of just being More Attention Whores.
But our appearance is the argument to end all arguments. I know — and have experienced first-hand — how it leaves our male opponents speechless and our female ones looking around desperately for their lipstick and halter tops. When men want to know if traditional marriage is worth the risk and sacrifice, what they really want to know is: are the women worth it? We already write about our homemaking, and our homeschooling, and even our lovemaking, but perhaps we should learn to show and then tell.
So, let’s cut to the chase: a photo really is worth a thousand words.