Thursday, September 21, 2006

Irony! Life's Got Lots of It

In a week when "the woman of valor" is a Sunday preaching text for lots of my brethren and sistren in the pulpits, it's fascinating to me that there is yet another explosion of controversy over the thinness of runway models. The photo they are running with this article online is truly shocking; an already emaciated woman made freakish by the addition of distorting mirrors.

Here are the last verses of the Proverbs reading:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruits of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.
Prov. 31:30-31

As someone with a lifelong weight struggle (and no, it's not a struggle to keep from getting too thin), I am always suspicious of my own reactions to these sorts of things. But I must refer anyone who's interested in this topic to a mini-rant of PeaceBang's from September 8 on the topic of young women's bodies, and the really disturbing cultural expectations that are placed upon them.

Here's what I think about the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is simply this: the understanding that God is God, and we are not. It’s the understanding that all the power, majesty, glory, intelligence, justice, truth, and wisdom, are in God’s corner. It is the recognition that, by comparison, we are almost hopelessly finite and limited. The “fear of the Lord” is not about cowering in terror in the dark somewhere, though that would be one understandable reaction to being in the presence of all that power. It is really about knowing our limits, and where we stand in relation to God, and, hence, the world. That is a very sane place to begin a conversation about our bodies-- how marvelous they are, how tenderly we should care for them, and how various and diverse they are in size, shape, and ability.


Suzer said...

I always worry about the young women in our country, having had such struggles with body image myself. Our 13 year old niece has a list up near her bedroom door of "life goals", which pretty much reads: A flat stomach, Long legs, Long blonde hair. It made me very sad, but I also understand all too well how societal expectations have made these her life goals. She's at the top of her class, and intellectually can run circles around most adults, but her major concern still centers around a flat tummy. Aargh!

Magdalene6127 said...

Suzer, I'm right with you. I want to lose excess weight and the whole project is so fraught. It is one thing to try to be healthy. It is another to aspire to a certain kind of beauty that is a., subjective, and b., unhealthy! As a mom of a 14 year old girl, I am particularly sensitive to this issue on her behalf as well.

Thanks for reading Suzer! I am enjoying your blog as well.