Defining Femininity: Part I

As I was reading Ruby Slippers last night, I stumbled upon a beautiful reality--the uniqueness of every human being, the creative work of the Creator God, and the impossible task of assigning permanent labels or characteristics to men and women when we are so incredibley diverse. 

When trying to pin-point and and nail-down the definition of femininity, we find there is no cookie-cutter definition that encompasses ALL women. It may describe a select some, but not all. As Jonalyn Fincher writes, "I don't want to take a lovely picture of womanhood and scribble one code (like emotional or helper) all over it. I trust God to be more creative than that." 

We read in Psalm 139: 13-16, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." 

This verse alone implies that the Creator delicately constructs our personhood in our mother's womb in a way that is individualistic and creative. He "knit" me together; I was "woven together"; I was "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God. I think it's so interesting to see that God, often portrayed as the epitome of masculinity, knits and weaves, skills usually attributed to women. God, and by extension, Jesus, displays "female" qualities and "male" qualities. We know Jesus wept, even when men are told they should not show emotion. We know Jesus made himself vulnerable, even unto death, when men are told to be strong and defensive. Do you see how defining femininity and masculinity without reducing women and men to permanent characteristics that constrain God's creative work, is impossible
Eugene Peterson writes, "God's creative genius is endless. He never, fatigued and unable to maintain the rigors of creativity, resorts to mass-producing copies. Each life is a fresh canvas on which he uses lines and colors, shades and lights, textures and proportions that he has never used before."  
An absolute list of "feminine" characteristics cannot define femininity wholly, but certainly, there are qualities that set us apart from men. We are different, I get that. More on that tomorrow. 

How do you define "femininity"? Do you ever feel the need to "fit" a pre-conceived notion of  femininity that you feel uncomfortable with? 

No comments: