Patriarchy / Gender Complementarian Product for Females: Don’t Base Your Value on Your Looks, but Wait, Yes, You Should
To fully appreciate this post, please see this previous one I made a few days ago on the same topic:
Today, I have spent several hours reading blogs that publish criticisms and exposes on nut-ball, lunatic, sexist, patriarchy / gender complementarian/ Quiverfull fringe groups, and one of them had a link to this page (which is hosted by gender complementarians /patriarchy supporters):
(Link): Reclaiming Beauty
– page selling DVDs (or if not a DVD set, it’s a downloadable video in MP4 format and a PDF study series; they are charging about $40 for it)
When I first skimmed that “Reclaiming Beauty” page over, I thought the discussion of how secular society places too much emphasis on females to look pretty and how this pressure is bad, was refreshing.
Usually, conservative and gender complementarian groups browbeat and pressure females to value only their physical appearance, so that they can attract and keep a man, which means conservative “Christian” sources repeatedly lecture Christian females in books, blogs, magazines, and TV shows and in sermons, to exercise, stay thin, fix their hair, and “look pretty” all the time.
Here is how the page selling the “Reclaiming Beauty” products started out – sounds good at first, nothing too objectionable:
- Today’s young Christian women have grown up in the most image-obsessed generation in history, a generation that worships some of the most twisted ideals of beauty the world has ever seen. But whether we love them or hate them… they tend to shape our own perceptions of what beauty is.
….It’s time to reclaim beauty. When faced with an industry built on Photoshop airbrushing, plastic surgery, starvation diets, grotesque catwalk styles, and billions of squandered dollars, our response can no longer be, “Beauty is not for us.”
Join the authors of So Much More and It’s (Not That) Complicated and producers of “Return of the Daughters” [(Link): click here for a critique of “Return of the Daughters”] for an intensely practical, biblical, image-rich study course on the meaning and cultivation of beauty from the inside out.
So, based on skimming that far, I thought it was going to be series of lectures reminding Christian women that their value is in relation to God, not based on their figure, hair style, or other physical aspects. The people on that “Reclaiming Beauty” page seemed to be saying that women should be valued for their inner beauty. But then I skimmed on and saw this:
- Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin [hosts of “Reclaiming Beauty”] guide you through topics as practical as skincare, fitness, posture, voice, modesty solutions, home-made beauty products, color analysis, and how to clothe yourself better for less…
And further down the page, they mix and match these conflicting messages; here are some bullet points where they describe what subjects they will be addressing in the video:
- -Session Two: What Style Is Your Heart, Mind, and Soul? Pardon Me, Ma’am, but Your True Identity is Showing
-Session Three: Getting Your Temple in Order: The Physical Foundations of Beauty
-Session Four: Figuring Out Your Look: How to Dress in Character
-Session Seven: The Focal Point: Being a Good Steward of Your Face and Crowning Glory [i.e., your Hair]
Is it really necessary on the one hand to tell women God values them for who they are and that they are His creation; that they should cherish their inner beauty; that they should not let the culture’s ideals of beauty make them feel bad – but then turn around on the other hand and dish out fashion and beauty advice? They’re contradicting themselves on this.
It’s hypocritical and rather counter-productive to tell a female, “God loves you no matter what you look like, that is all that should matter,” and then say in the next breath, “But your looks do matter so here are some diet and beauty tips.”
I don’t know why conservative Christians like to say out of one side of their mouths to females that God loves women and values their inner beauty, so should they, but then tell them, “You must lose weight, wear a cute hair style, wear lip stick and look stunning.” If my inner beauty is to be treasured above all else, by myself, and God thinks I’m great the way I am, why are they pushing me to starve myself or wear mascara?
I’ve seen the same confusion and conflicting views pushed on other Christian blogs, and mentioned in reviews for Christian dating advice books, where even females as young as 15 are told “God loves you the way you are so don’t fret about your face or body, but, hey, remember, men hate ugly fatties, so you better get a gym membership, starve yourself, and start wearing lip gloss if you hope to get a man!”
Then you have the sexist douche bags like conservative pastors or personalities such as Pat Robertson or Mark Driscoll ((Link): see this post) who tell Christian women, “If your man is an alcoholic or cheats on you, it’s obviously because you are fat or look like a hag.”
So, which is it, my fellow conservative Christians? Should I value my inner beauty and rest in God’s love and acceptance of me for who I am (not what I look like), or should I cave in to secular, and yes, Christian pressure to look hot and sexy to get and keep a man?
And I do think it’s a shame that Christian women get hit with these obnoxious, nauseating “be pretty, for your value lies in your appearance” views not only from secular media, but it is rife in Christian media and Christian culture as well. Christian culture should be freeing women, not enslaving them as the secular world does.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy – because some Christians are teachng that unmarried people are not fully human or not “whole” – preachers who teach that single people are not fully in God’s image unless they get married