Sunday, October 14, 2007

Women in Bondage


I am always curious to look at the beauty flyers that come in the mail every few months with the rest of the credit card offers and bills. I enjoy a good laugh at the outrageous styles and overdone make-up that are inevitably displayed on their pages. But a recent Clairol "Color Source Fall '07" left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I came across a page that claimed to describe your personality based on you favorite color. As I read down the colors I came across sentences such as:

"Orange is a lively, energetic color....You probably have a full social calendar and your idea of a perfect beauty treat is getting a manicure with your girlfriend -- so that you can keep talking, of course!"

"Purple symbolizes nobility and spirituality... If you love purple you may have a touch of the bohemian in you and enjoy expressing your creativity with colorful makeup."

"Pink is an extremely feminine color, associated with little girls and candy. If you're crazy for pink you probably enjoy your femininity to the fullest and may have a bathroom brimming with beauty products."

"Yellow symbolizes happiness and vitality and is associated with intelligence...You're probably the most well-informed of your friends about the latest beauty trends."

As I read the flier, my sadness grew. For years -- even centuries -- feminsim has been strengthening its grip on our society. Wives and homemakers are no longer "in vogue." Instead, women are praised for being power-seeking, take-control activists with a 9-5 job and plenty of axes to grind (usually at the expense of men). We are now seeing the fruition of the feminist ideal in beauty magazines. Feminism has snatched away the roles of noble helpmeet and beloved mother and replaced them with a shallow, self-centered focus on appearance and personal power. When did manicures and beauty trends supercede the importance of nurturing little souls to become great leaders? When did bubble baths and colorful makeup take the place of creating a haven for a husband who must fend off the world in order to provide for his family?

These beauty pamphlets delight in before-and-after shots of their models. The "before" shots are predictable -- average looking people with no make-up and unforgiving lighting, clearly made to look their worst and forbidden to smile. The "after" shots are just as predictable -- gorgeous people with incredibly shiny hair, delicately airbrushed faces, extensive make-up, fantastic lighting, and every single pearly white on display. Most of the models in the magazine had their hair swept across half of their face. I don't know about you, but I cleaned the downstairs bathroom this morning, and I don't think I could have gotten it done with hair covering most of my face.

It frustrates me that women will accept the messages of glamor and self-obsession that are contained in the brief pages of a beauty flyer. Why do women do this? Not only because they want to impress other women, but also because they want to attract the men that feminists claim to despise. Feminists would like to deny that fact that women crave male approval, but they cannot change human nature however much they try. What they have managed to do is to twist gender roles so far that few relationships today reflect God's original design. Women talk endlessly about not wanting to be liked for their looks alone and then spend hours trying to make themselves attractive. The truth is that every woman wants to be beautiful, and the advertising departments at every beauty company know just how to manipulate that desire; it's their job. They make us feel that we should look like supermodels every day. Maybe I could look as fabulous as one of those models in the magazine -- if I had two desinger hair stylists, three image consultants, and four hours in makeup every day. But I don't have any of those things. And neither do any of the women that I know.

Feminism claims to rescue women from the "bondage" of home, family, and household drudgery, and to raise them to a life of independence, self-worth, and personal achievement. But it seems that all feminism has really done is to degrade women until they have become no more than shallow, would-be fashion models with packed schedules, dysfunctional families, microwave dinners, and maid service. Their bodies may be covered with designer clothes, expensive make-up, and stylish haircuts, but these externals will never benefit their souls. It's time for women to break out of the shell that feminism has created for them. Beauty is a wonderful thing, a God-given blessing, and women should certainly seek to be a reflection of God's beauty. Make-up and curling irons can be helpful tools. But a great make-up job can never take the place of godly behavior and putting others before self.

It is time for women to break out of their bondage and realize that the world's empty, shallow promises can never compare to the glorious freedom and calling that we have in the Lord.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
-- Proverbs 31:30, KJV


You can find my theological disclaimer here.

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