There is so much nonsense and lies passing for Christianity these days. God would love a church that is holy to Him, but it is hard to take the words of church people these days without taking a lot of lies with the good. See, for example, this poster on what ”A real woman” is/ does.
This is typical gender role posturing: It takes virtues not limited to one sex, and words it as a gender role, so that, if a Christian agrees with the importance of the virtue, he/she will get nearer to accepting “Biblical” gender roles. For example: “A real woman seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy.” That is, of course, equally suitable for both Christian men and women.
But words have meanings, and real womanhood is not defined by anything that is as true about men. Those who teach this on womanhood simply gives the church the potential to be ridiculed, because everyone knows (real) womanhood is not defined like that. (This article will have my words in black, the words of the “Real Womanhood” poster in dark red.)
My article will not be an attempt at snark. I want Christians to cut the lies and speak what can be believed, so that believers can be built up, and so that unbelievers could see we are speaking the truth in love. “You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”, promised Jesus. This is a small attempt at cutting through the lies, so we can see the truth instead.
A Real Woman…
A woman, by any dictionary definition, is firstly defined by having a certain sort of genitalia, as opposed to the other kind. If you distinguish between a woman and a girl, it is defined as being a certain age and having a certain maturity level, in addition to those bodily parts.
A Christian woman is no more- or less – a Real Woman than a Hindu, pagan or orthodox Jewish woman. A woman of loose morals with revealing clothes is as much a Real Woman as a virgin with dresses down to the floor and up to the neck. There are certain behaviours which please God, but they do not make womanhood more real.
…seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy. (Ps. 73:25, Ps. 63:1)
You just made a lot of dedicated Christian men Real Women
…realizes her imperative need to allow the Holy Spirit to control her emotions and expressions of them. (James 1:19-20)
Once again, you just made a lot of Christian men Real Women
…does not compete for equality with men or chafe at God’s design for male and female, but delights in and understand the importance of her calling to complement man’s role. (1 Tim.2:11-12, Eph. 5:22-24)
Those passages do not say women should complement man’s role. The first passage mentions one thing women should do (learn), and one thing “a woman” – singular – should not. Neither thing has anything to do with complementing men. The second passage mentions a wife complementing a husband (not just any male), but if that is Real Womanhood, then single women are not Real Women – they do not complement a husband.
And if a male “does not chafe at God’s design for male and female”, is he a Real Woman in that respect?
Then there is the problem of making something a womanhood role by putting gender in it – they say real women “complement man’s role” and can say real men “complement women’s role” but that says nothing about the actual roles of the two. The same way, “gibalors are things that work well with nipposhers” and “nipposhers work well with gibalors” does not tell us what gibalors and nipposhers do.
Joyful men without self-pity or complaining are Real Women. Get it.
…portrays chastity, modesty and reverence in her manner, and wears the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is her true beauty. (1 Pet. 3:3-4, Titus 2:4-5)
Men have to be chaste and reverent too, and be gentle (that same Greek word is used in Mat 5:5) and quiet (that same word is used in 1 Tim 2:2).
…does not have a nagging, contentious or manipulative manner in which she deals with others. (Judges 16:16, Prov. 21:9, 19, 26:21)
Uhm, nothing in those verses say Delilah was not a real woman (and I think Samson found her very real). Call her a bad woman if you like, but she was a real woman too. And men who don’t nag, and are not contentious or manipulative, are real women by that metric too.
…appreciates her father’s protection, and respects and submits to his authority. In so doing, she is preparing herself to exercise the Biblical role in her relationship with a possible future husband. (Eph. 5:33-6:3, 1 Pet. 3:1-2)
A woman whose father is dead or does not protect her is not a Real Woman. And a boy who appreciates his father’s protection, and respects the father’s authority, is a Real Woman.
…is trustworthy and gains the respect of those around her. (Prov.31:11)
Trustworthy and respected men, you are Real Women!
…is glad she’s a woman and rejoices in her femininity, expressing it through her attitude, appearance and bearing. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
A woman who is very sad to be a woman, as that caused her to be molested/ not get an education despite her aptitude/ not be listened to when she had something meaningful to say; is still as much a Woman – a Real one – as the one whose life experiences make her rejoice in her womanhood. And almost everything in 1 Tim. 2:9-10 is said of the Christian male attitude too, elsewhere in the Bible. Nothing in this text says she should rejoice in femininity, although rejoicing in what God made you is certainly Christian.
If you are really a woman when you like your womanhood, it does not say anything about womanhood itself. In a matriarchal society women may rejoice in their womanhood because they can reign by it, so is matriarchy real womanhood by this definition when they do?
…encourages and builds up those around her instead of criticizing and tearing them down. (1 Thess. 5:11, Eph. 4:29)
So, men who encourage instead of tearing down are Real Women?
…is not offended by respect shown her through gentlemanly courtesies (opening doors, etc.) but cultivates the differences between the sexes that make her worthy of this deference. (1 Peter 3:7, Mark 10:6)
What difference makes a woman worthy of a man opening a door for her, and where does the Bible say she is worthy of door-opening? The Bible says women are worthy of respect, and suggest it has to do with similarities – women are also heirs to the grace of life, also made in the image of God, has the same Holy Spirit, etc.
And what does that say of the (Real) Womanhood of women in cultures like mine, without door-opening as a habit? Am I not getting what I am worthy of?
…holds her virginity before marriage sacred and will not compromise it for anything. (This one for guys too!) (1 Tim. 5:22)
Guys should also be Real Women?
…uses her years of singleness to seek and serve God without distraction, and is content to leave the details of her future to Him. (Ps. 73:25, Phil. 4:11)
Is Jesus a Real Woman?
…values the cultivation of her mind and diligently seeks after wisdom and knowledge. (Prov. 22:17-21, 2:2-6)
Are men exempt from this?
…does not relate to members of the opposite sex in a flirtatious or forward manner, but instead saves all her passion for her future husband. (Thess. 4:3-8, Prov. 6:25, 1 Cor. 7:1)
Are men who save their passion for their spouses and are not flirtatious real women?
…restrains herself from listening to, or participating in gossip, but instead speaks with wisdom and discretion. (Prov. 11:12-13, 22, 20:19, 3:11)
So, speaking with wisdom is womanly, not suitable for males, and men should not refrain from gossip?
…is not boisterous or loud in her speech or actions but is characterized by a gentle and quiet spirit. (Prov. 9:13, 1 Pet. 3:4)
A gentle and quiet spirit, as shown in a previous point, befits a Christian man too. And a loud and boisterous woman is called a foolish woman in the Bible, not a less real one. In fact, by the mere fact of still calling her a woman, the Bible admits she is a Real Woman.
…Does Hard Things.
By this metric, Sir Edmund Hillary proved himself a real woman.
The real womanhood list is simply not true. It cannot be called real womanhood. Most of it can probably be called Christian living, but then it should not be said in a deceptive way, as if it distinguishes male roles from female: Almost all of it applies to Godly manhood too.
I think that about 80% of the contents of gender role promoting material are like that – it calls good, Christian attitudes which God wants from men and women “Womanhood” or “Manhood.”