Chances are that if you are a woman you’ve probably, at one point or another, heard about the “Proverbs 31” woman. If you haven’t, read it here before you read on (specifically verses 10-31). In some translations of the Bible this passage is referred to as “Poem on the Woman of Worth” and in others it is simply referred to as “The Ideal Wife”. Shouldn’t all women be reading such a passage? Don’t we long to know what Scripture tells us about what it means to be a woman? Surely the answer is yes, and yet I read this passage and I almost want to throw my Bible at the wall.
The Proverbs 31 woman is, to borrow the idea from Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, tired. She does so many things: she brings her husband profits, she seeks out wool and flax, she weaves with skillful hands, she secures her provisions from afar, she rises in the middle of the night and distritbutes food to her household, she picks out a field and buys it and from her earnings she plants a vineyard. I’m only a few verses in and I’m already tired and this chapter goes on and on about what the “Ideal Wife” or the “Woman or Worth” does. Yes, she does all of these things, but who is she? What about her character? What about her heart? Of these, Proverbs 31 mentions precious little – its focus is far more on what she does rather than who she is.
I wouldn’t dare to say that Scripture screwed up or has it wrong, but there is still something lacking in this passage. I want more about what a woman should be, not so much about the epic list of things she should do. Then comes verse 25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come.” Finally, something about her character, her heart, who she is as a woman. Though there may be precious little in this chapter about the heart of a woman, this verse speaks volumes – and it is this verse I’ll be focusing on for a while. So this week, let’s tackle the first important characteristic of this “Ideal Wife” that Scripture describes: she is clothed.
Why stop there? Clothed with what? Good things, but that will come later. She is clothed. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: she is clothed. There’s something about a woman when she is covered up. I’m not saying you need to dump your whole wardrobe and by a habit and only wear that but women need to be clothed, to be covered up. We as women, single or not, have power over men by the way we dress. Put on a tiny skirt, even if you are in a relationship, and go out in public and you are tempting other men to see you as a thing rather than a person. Pretty women inspire men (actual pretty women, not so much the movie, classic as it may be). I recently read an article called “The Death of Pretty” and it sums up this whole notion quite well,
“That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it. Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different. When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well. As I said, pretty inspires men’s nobler instincts to protect and defend. Pretty is cherished. Hotness, on the other hand, is a commodity. Its value is temporary and must be used.”
Would you rather be a commodity or cherished? Would you rather be cared for tenderly or used? Isn’t that somewhat like asking, “would you rather live in a palace and feast or live in a box in the streets and starve?” Isn’t the answer obvious? There really is something about being pretty versus being hot. Heat is fleating, it can turn cold over time, beauty is eternal. I was talking with one of my female friends about this idea and we both said that we can remember a time in our lives where we wanted to be hot, because after all “hot” was ironically the “cool” thing to be. However, we were both thankful that such a time has passed – we aspire to be beautiful now. So what makes a girl hot?
Apparently, low-cut dresses that allow “the girls” room to breathe. And be seen. By everyone.