If you pay the slightest bit of attention to modern feminism or well, just about anything else, it is not going to shock you that in both the media and social norms push women to ideas of perfection. Be classy, smart, well educated, and get ahead in your career all while managing a pristine Pinterest home and your side blog. Workout daily but don’t be vain about your looks. Just be sure to get that pre-baby body back. Be a fabulous, crunchy, organic mother who puts her kids first and never misses a preschool performance. And let’s not forget about our partners, be that supportive lady on the streets and keep up that sexy time on the regular in the sheets. Make it kinky yet let’s not get crazy.
You know the pressure. You’ve felt it. And one of the upsides of being in your late 20s and 30s is that you have probably made or are starting to make the push back against those norms. You know now you can’t do it all, and you start prioritizing what matters to you.
The hardest part though is those pressures, all those social norms and culturally pressures, they can become self-internalized. You can stop remembering that it is society that tells you to feel this way, and start feeling that those are things you want for yourself and your family. I mean honestly, does anyone not want to be any of the descriptors listed above? Of course not. We all want to be wonder woman and give the best care to ourselves and our loved ones, to be successful at our endeavors.
That is one of the main reasons that we must be so careful of the media we consume. Including Christian media. Actually, maybe, especially Christian media. What we read and expose ourselves to has a tricky way of digging itself into our brain until it can be hard to confuse what we actually want and what we have been told over and over and over again that we want.
And that is the focus of my writing today. I don’t write often about my faith and how it intersects with my feminism, but the two go hand in hand. Because of being rather devoted to my faith, it means that I read or am exposed to lots of media about how to be a Christian woman and wife.And it’s a lot. And it puts so much pressure on women to do it all and be at all, only add in the additional complication of doing it all to be the mother God “wants” you to be.
I would never argue that ALL Christian blogs about womanhood are problematic, because, heck, I would have to add my own words to the list. But many are problematic. Or they can lean that way without perhaps meaning to. Take a perusal of the thousands of posts on being a Proverbs 31 woman. Seriously, it’s like pressure city. That woman in the verse is a bad a momma and she does it all without losing her cool. Then we add all these well-meaning blog posts and articles that encourage the same thing we hear from the secular world. Be it all. Do it all. Only tinged with a moral judgment and implications that this success reflects your devotion to the faith. Which makes it so much harder to deal with when we fail. Because you will fail or feel like you’re failing. Doing it all is an illusion and you are only human. An awesome human, but human nonetheless.
What we forget to say so often is that how well you are succeeding as a Christian woman is between you and God. That is the relationship and it is one that can’t be judged from the outside.
So, that is this week’s little warning. Watch your media. It may be unhealthy.
Your value cannot be judged from the outside.
You got this, girl.