On Feminine Beauty and Godliness

Posted on April 22, 2013 by

I’ve been thinking about this topic off and on since Morticia posted a couple of snippets into the inner workings of an over 30 woman. The fears and the doubts, and all the things that this warped anti-culture instills in us. Yes, even those making every effort to live godly, meaningful lives.

She actually touches on one source of the problem early on without pausing to give it due exploration, so I have decide to do a little of that here:

Some of the blogs around here exasperate the problem significantly.  We (wimminz) hear a lot about love goggles and that so long as you found a man in your youth you might still be moderately do-able when you are older than 22.  That is nice and all, but some of us would like to be objectively do-able…and it isn’t exactly comforting to know that only through the subjective lens of oxytocin-induced delusion can we be seen as attractive to the male perspective.

I confess publicly that 3 years ago the blogosphere invoked in me fears of being unappealing to men into for the first time since I married 19 years ago. It just wasn’t something I gave much thought to. So long as my husband found me attractive (I am married to a man who has no qualms saying “Should you be eating that?”), I never considered my universal appeal. I experienced the occasional inquiry; enough to know that I wasn’t hideous beyond all hope, but it wasn’t something I labored with. I was consumed with other things.

Morticia is right that women sympathetic to the injustices men face and the plight of the family who stumble onto the blogosphere are often bombarded with messages, presumably offered on behalf of all the men to help those too afraid to confront their wives. I don’t know that guy either, by the way, but the message is this:  Don’t get fat. Men hate fat. If you’re over 30, it’s over. Hang it up. If you’re not already married you probably never will be, because no one wants a chick who is about to hit “the wall.”

If you are married, you’re most likely a ball busting shrew- what are you doing here anyway- and an extra ugly one at that because everyone knows American wives are all fat and frumpy.

I’m talking about Christian bloggers as well as the secular, here. It is well documented here that we believe strongly that women need to stay as fit and attractive as reasonably possible for their husbands. TC is on the record with that.  But how to reconcile it with this:

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 1 Peter 3: 3-5

The reality is that for most women, being submissive to our husbands will include putting quite a bit of effort into our appearance. Contrary to popular Internet lore, men have been just as influenced by the cesspool of Western culture as have the women and many Christian men expect their wives to be as “hot” as possible for as long as possible. This comment struck a cord with me and I wondered again, where the health and good stewardship of our bodies and the superfluous chasing after beauty that fades intersects:

Now, nine-year old girls dress like 19-year-olds, and so do 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, and even 79-year-old women. The last half-century has seen a grotesque compression of the generations.

Hence there’s now no respect for age. …Just the worship of ‘youth’ and ‘hotness’. The sad thing is that so many women on these blogs who claim that they try to live their lives by the Bible are caught up in the same thing, pounding away on the treadmill, ignoring 1 Peter 3 womanhood (though paying it lip-service, of course) and neglecting the inner self for the outward adornment.

There’s no Scriptural exhortation to be a gym bunny — for bodily exercise profiteth little.

 This is mostly right, but it’s wrong to put the onus solely on the women.  And I’m one of those treadmill pounders, by the way. I’ll stop here and let’s see if we can’t somehow figure out where the lines are.