Proverbs 31

It’s a beautiful passage in the Bible in which the image of a “Woman of God” is described. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether this emphasis on young women in church being a “Proverbs 31 Woman” causes more harm than good.

There are constant pressures in the world telling us what women should be. Modelling agencies tell us to be size zero; everyone else wants a “real woman”: curvy and rounded. We shouldn’t be sluts, but we also shouldn’t play hard to get; we should either straighten our hair or be “natural beauties” and join the movement of big chops and dreadlocks. Going into the realm of Ethnic minorities, we should remember our places in the home and not follow the western women into wanting independence and equality. I get annoyed at these pressures, as would a lot of people—man or woman—and I know God alleviates some of this by setting equal requirements in the Bible for what a man and a woman should be together.

It’s just starting to niggle at me that there is now a requirement within church to be the Ultimate Woman. The Proverbs 31 Woman. Hey, to me, there’s nothing wrong with women encouraging one another, praying and helping one another to hold on to Christ, but I’m noticing that the level of a woman’s virtue, her sexual purity and her obedience is starting to cloud the desires of women and men in particular. These things shouldn’t be a man’s concern, but similar to the world, the church places a lot of value on a woman’s sexual prowess. I know males who have had their “fun”, they’ve been out in the world, sleeping around, breaking hearts and whatnot, who would have a real problem if their future wife wasn’t a virgin. Not only is that hypocrisy, it’s sexist and downright hurtful: it’s in her past. Let it go.

I do find it strange when I hear young men going on and on about pure, holy, submissive and virtuous women. It sounds oppressive. Life is hard enough for women without us coming into church and being told we need to be virtuous and pure. The more I hear such things is the more I feel a life of celibacy is the one for me. Perhaps God is calling me to that life? I’m not sure.

But anyway, this is just something I was thinking about today. I’m beginning to feel the pressure, I suppose. I’ve been called a “humble” and “virtuous” woman, amongst other things (by men), and I still don’t know what that means. Is it because I’m quiet? That I don’t wear high heels? That I wear a hat to church? That I wear knee-length skirts? That I’m a virgin? Or that I’ve never been in a relationship? Or am I being overly cynical?

The mind wanders.

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