Superheroines

pink-curtains

(This post continues the theme introduced in Where are All the Superheroes?)

Our culture admires the superheroes, and secretly wants to be like them, but it never will. More importantly, we shouldn’t want to be like them:

  • They don’t function under any set standard, any absolute, specific morality. They are motivated by what seems right to them, what is assumed by them to be the best answer to whatever problem they are facing. But, where is an ultimate guideline? It doesn’t exist.
  • They don’t need God to help them. They have powers of their own, like little god-men. I think of the superheroes of today as being similar to the Greek gods and goddesses of ancient times. No, we don’t call on Spiderman to save us when we’re in trouble, but we (especially kids) admire the superheroes to an exaggerated extent.

Here’s another thing about the superheroes I don’t like: the superhero women.

They dress in skin-tight body suits and kick the enemy’s behind. Now, is that how women should act? Where’s the gentleness, the kindness, the sweetness? I see manipulation, craftiness, and brutality. The superhero stories mislead us into thinking that for women to be strong, they need to use karate. For women to be beautiful, they need to have abs and thighs as strong as steel, and perfect figures with skinny waists. Since there is no ultimate standard for morality in those stories, we are influenced to think, “Why should it matter how a woman acts, as long as she beats the bad guy?”

Our superhero culture has led us down the wrong path. Not only do we attempt to do right in our own strength, and fail; not only do we invent our own brand of morality to fit how we want to live–we distort nature itself.

Women were not meant to be cold, uptight, and dangerous.

Women were meant to stay at home.

Completely antithetical to what our culture values. But, here’s a picture of what God values:

…’The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All you men of valor shall cross over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel. But your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall stay in your cities which I have given you’…

Deuteronomy 3:18-19

Only men were in the army of Israel at the time of Moses, per God’s specific instructions (see Numbers 1:1-4, for example). No women. Only men twenty years old and up. God wants to see men of valor fighting to protect their wives and little ones. The women stayed at home in their cities, caring for their families and waiting for the men to come back from fighting. How counter-cultural that is! What a contrast to our superhero stories!

Perhaps my superhero analogy is a bit loose. However, I hope that we can make some crucial connections, and glean some gems of truth from this comparison. We need to consider whether we’re living life based on our own opinions and fantasies, or based on the timeless Word of the Lord.

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9 thoughts on “Superheroines

  1. I’ve thought about this quite some time – the issue that ONLY MEN were included in the armies of early Israel – and also wondered why the modern church isn’t noticing that fact. There are only two options: (1) God was sexist back then, but has changed His mind now that he’s been enlightened by our better modern ideas, or (2) God really did mean men, and not women, to fight. If #2, then we should be dealing with it, rather than trying to get around it! But, unfortunately, our culture has declared war on common sense with regard to anything gender/sex-related.

    Love this post! Especially the parts about godly womanhood v. superheroine types. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!
      Option number 1 made me laugh! Isn’t it weird how Christians nowadays explain away so much of the Bible as being for people “back then”? And so much of it is based on assumptions, such as with head-covering. Somebody makes a guess as to what they think may have been the situation, and then their guess becomes the accepted explanation, kind of like the theory of evolution: so many guesses, while ignoring what’s actually in front of them.

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  2. I would counter your comment that women are supposed to stay at home. What about some of the missionary women from the past, such as Amy Carmichael or Gladys Aylward? They, as far as I know, were not married, nor did they stay in their father’s houses, but went to far off lands to preach the gospel. I agree that if a woman is married, her first calling is to her family. However, if a woman is unmarried, she submits to God, and what if God calls her to a far off land?

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    • Good point, Ariana. I do think that a woman can serve God by being a missionary. Still, though, for her protection, it would be best if she was under male leadership. I think that some women in the past have done things for God that have turned out well as a result of God’s power and grace. However, I would be cautious in using their stories as a rule for every woman’s behavior. For ourselves, we need to use the Bible as our guide, and not our, or someone else’s, experiences. But, I do agree with your point, generally speaking. Especially with your saying that “if a woman is married, her first calling is to her family.”

      Statistically, most women will marry (or “live together” with their partner, though that’s NOT biblical). So, the calling to serve as home keeper will apply to most women. Only a very few will devote their singleness to God through missionary work, etc. I don’t think it wise to base an argument on an exception.

      Thanks for sharing!
      Jessica

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  3. Lencia, thanks for the question. Is a young woman who is not married still under her father’s authority whether or not she still lives at home? To tell you the truth, I’m not totally sure about this one! But here’s my current thinking on it. I don’t think she is. The Bible says that a single woman lives to serve the Lord (and the married woman lives to serve her husband and children). That might conflict with what her parents want, but at that stage of her life, she–as an adult– has to listen to the Lord’s voice and follow Him, even if that means going against her parents preferences. She should still respect her parents, of course, and would benefit from seeking their advice on difficult matters.
    Hope that helps!
    Jessica

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  4. I hate to disagree but I have come to the view over time that even as adults we should under the protection, guidance and authority of the person that God naturally puts in that place.

    The obvious and ideal progression being from father to husband, but I can see some exceptions. For example if a young woman joins a religious order, or wear her father is unwilling or unable to exercise his obligations.

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  5. Yes, Susanne; thank you for adding that! I think it might help for me to clarify my previous statements to Lencia a bit more.

    1 Corinthians 7:34 “There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.”

    This is the verse I alluded to in my comment to Lencia, and part of the basis for my (current) viewpoint. “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord…But she who is married cares about…how she may please her husband.” I think this verse gives the unmarried adult woman (18 years and above)–whether still living in her parents’ home or not–the freedom to do what she believes God wants her to do, even if it stands in contrast to what her parents want her to do. They may want her to go to college to earn a degree in this or that (for example), but if it isn’t what she believes will help her serve the Lord, I think she has the freedom to respectfully disagree–and disobey. It’s her life, and she’s the one who has to live it, after all.

    7:39 “A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Another point worth considering. An adult woman has the ability to decide whom she will marry: “she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes.” She does not necessarily have to marry the person her parents want her to marry. I understand this verse is speaking specifically of widows, but it seems logical to me that it would apply to other single, adult women as well. I do not think a young woman has to always obey her parents in their choice of husband for her. I believe that she should consider carefully their advice; but, in the end, this is her life, her body, her husband, her future children we are talking about. THEY are not going to have to live with that man–SHE is. So, I do believe she has the freedom to choose her mate for life, even if it’s not what her parents want.

    I know that this is not very conservative thinking, at least not in the way that many people are conservative. It seems to me that once a woman is “of age,” her relationship with her parents changes, to a degree. Her father no longer has complete authority over her decisions as he did when she was three, or ten. She is an arrow (Psalm 127), and she must leave her father’s hand and go out to live her own life. It may be that she leaves her father’s home in order that she may be received into her husband’s. Or it may not. She may choose to join a religious order. But what if she wants to serve the Lord by being a nurse, for example, until she is married? I personally don’t see anything wrong with that. We need nurses in this world, and that is a wonderful way of serving others and serving the Lord. But, as the first Scripture quotation above says, it is not a job for the married woman, whose concern is “how she may please her husband.” So, biblically, the only other ladies who could be nurses would be single, young women; or older, widowed women past the age of having children. So, joining a religious order is not the only way a young woman may choose to serve the Lord; her area of service is up to her, which may or may not involve leaving her parents’ home, whether or not they like it.

    I certainly agree, though, that there should be no rush for a young woman to leave her parents’ home. I think she should be allowed–and welcomed–to stay there as long as she needs. I do not believe young women should be pushed out of the home as soon as they reach 18. I do think they should be using their time wisely, not sitting around doing nothing. Even if they do not attend a local college, or take online college classes, they can still learn what they can in the area they are interested in via books and classes through their town’s recreation department, or library, or through other resources. They can help with the care of their younger siblings, and with the care of the home. I think that they should consult with their parents regarding a possible spouse, since their parents have wisdom and experience that will help keep them from making a serious mistake; for, after all, their parents often do have their best interests at heart. Most of the time.

    All I am saying is that as much as I agree that it is a good thing for a young, adult woman to continue to live under the protection of her father’s authority, there does come a point at which that authority ends. In my opinion, that would be in her choice of a husband, and in how she decides to use her time of singleness for the Lord before getting married. I want to be sensitive to the whole situation, and I think the Bible does offer her some freedom of choice, which I would hate to take from her.

    So, there’s my bit of clarification for you all. Hope that helps.
    Thanks for participating in this wholesome, edifying discussion!
    Jessica

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    • I very much agree with what you say about daughters staying at home. Having been away to university myself I would very much prefer that my own daughter(s) did not live away from home. I just don’t think that in a Christian family it is appropriate or should be an option in most circumstances.

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  6. I did live ‘independently’ before marriage and worked (though not in a particularly caring profession. But since becoming a wife and mother my views have become far more conservative on this. Whilst I agree that there is nothing wrong with a young or widowed woman from serving God in the workplace I don’t believe that this should or need take her outside the protection and authority of her family.

    Partly perhaps my view is tempered by my belief that we need to return to a very patriarchal society to banish the evils of feminist. But I do also believe that whatever her work environment a woman’s social, moral and religious place is in the home.

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