Disclaimer: This week’s topic might stir up some controversy. Stop now if you think reading a different perspective on an issue will negatively impact you. Thanks.
Being born in the late 60s, I had the unique distinction of being alive for three decades (60s, 70s, and 80s) by the time I was 12! My Dad told me this when I was young. I trusted him because he was a literal genius. I was not. I entered the workforce in the mid-late 80s and have been in it, for the most part, ever since. My point is, I’ve been around. I’ve seen some stuff.
I was a young girl during the feminist movement. I vaguely remember the topic being bandied about at family parties. However, I do have one vivid memory. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and she was particularly offended and insulted that, in her view, they were discrediting her life choice. My mom completed high school and went to work full time. Once she and my dad were married and settling down, she chose to be a homemaker. She often remarked how that was all she ever wanted to be. She wanted to have a husband and raise a family. She lived her dream (though when the four of us were little, I’m sure it felt more like a sleep-deprived, nightmarish horror movie, but still).
My mom had three daughters. Each of us was raised to be strong, independent, and self-sufficient. Our dad set an example of a strong, supportive male figure. He was also a practical man. He never discouraged us from pursuing our dreams. He just wanted to know if we could make a viable living from them. If not, then he would gently recommend it be our hobby and we should have a safety net, a “real job”.
My mom wanted us to be successful too. Her definition included falling in love, getting married and settling down (hopefully giving her some grandkids). She couldn’t really relate to us being content in our singleness. She wanted us to have someone to “take care of” us. When marriages and divorces came our way, I’d remind her how she and dad were the exception and not really the rule for marital longevity. (She did get her grandkid wish fulfilled 6 times, however, as well as getting bonus great-grandkids.)
I wasn’t mad at either of them for their personal convictions. If I had ever found a love such as theirs, I assure you I would’ve been all in for the marriage and family package. My life went a different way. I wouldn’t define myself as a career woman (whatever that means). I’m fairly well educated and have pursued different professional paths over the years.
Working mostly in the business world for approximately 40 years, I’ve seen a lot. Did I experience misogyny? Yup. Were there inappropriate conversations held in my presence without my consent? You betcha. Did I see some men get promotions who didn’t deserve them, and a strong woman candidate was passed over? Oh, heck yeah!
But did I also see some women who weren’t qualified get positions simply for corporate to fill a quota or check off a box? Yes indeedy! When I was working for a woman, did I ever experience more competitiveness and hostility than the sisterhood we were supposed to be having as we fought in our male dominated world? More often than not.
For a long time, I bought into most of the feminist agenda. I believed we always had to work harder to be taken seriously. I believed there was a boys club: a secret, unspoken cabal where any man always had an advantage over me if the third person in the conversation or situation was also a man.
I remember when my sisters and I would share stories of our work experiences dealing with the patriarchy, my dad would always have a strange expression on his face. It wasn’t that he believed we were crazy. He just thought we were exaggerating. It couldn’t be that bad.
But these events were true though. The situations did happen. There were obstacles in our way. But it was the generalization and the constant filtering through a lens of “here we go again” that was the problem.
If we start filtering everything through one lens, some things may become distorted.
Herein lies the problem, I believe, in contemporary society.
If you’re looking to get offended, you won’t have to look far.
I’m not suggesting there aren’t situations of discrimination, unfair treatment, sexist behavior, or anything else inappropriate out there. There are. I’ve experienced many of them. What I’m saying is when we hold so strongly to a belief such as: “it’s a man’s world”, we’re going to view every interaction through that lens. An innocent comment with no malice or forethought behind it may be perceived as an attack. Anything going wrong on the job, we may attribute to the man’s world ideology and miss other important information. Perhaps Dave got promoted because he earned it?
There’s a fine line between being cautious and jaded.
If you’ve experienced unfortunate situations in the past, it’s hard not to believe everyone is like so-and-so, or everything will be like this-or-that. I completely understand. Though I’m not a fan of the term triggers, they do exist. Something is said or happens which brings us back to a difficult time or place. We immediately get defensive, protective, reactive to the current situation which may have no correlation to the past whatsoever.
It takes work not to let your past impact your present and future. It takes more than you. It takes help from the Lord. Only He truly knows the hearts and motives of others. We don’t even really understand ourselves sometimes (or is it just me?).
What I’ve seen happening within the last few years appears to be a targeted campaign against strong men in pretty much all arenas, and strong women who choose faith and family over career. This ideology seeks to demonize men with terms like toxic masculinity. Now, are there some male traits that if not balanced can be toxic? Sure. By the same token, we women need balance, or we can be toxic too.
There are a lot of ads, shows and movies where the male character is put in his place by the female. She runs the show. She’s the boss. He’s her sidekick, at best.
I thought the fight was for equal rights?
I’m not against having strong female characters. You already know my hero was Wonder Woman. She’s an amazon, people. You don’t get much stronger than that. But why must the strong women have to dominate? And why must the men either be toxic or weak?
What defines a strong woman?
These days many are hard pressed to even define what a woman is. (I’m not going there this time.) But as I’ve been having conversations with friends and doing some research on how men and women are different by design, I’ve come to appreciate the Proverbs 31 woman as a template.
What is the Proverbs 31 woman?
She is the “wife of noble character” described in Proverbs 31. (Interesting sidenote: this proverb was from a King Lemuel but was taught to him by his mother. Please do not get me started on how there aren’t any strong women in the Bible.)
I highly encourage you to read the entire proverb. I’m pulling quotes from it here, but it’s great to read it in its entirety. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise specified, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
This wife of noble character is described as: worth far more than rubies and her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value (v. 11). She takes care of her family and those who work for her (v.15). She’s a successful entrepreneur and solid in business (v. 16-17, 18). She’s not weak (v. 17). She’s generous and cares for the poor (v. 20).
Here’s one of my favorite parts. Check this out:
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (v. 25-27)
But my absolute favorite part is right here. Check this out:
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (v. 30-31).
The Proverbs 31 woman seems to have it all.
She balances work and family. She fosters a loving home, supports her husband and is a source of wisdom and strength to those around her. She’s successful, creative, inventive (read the whole proverb for more details on how).
It would seem God’s way is the better way.
That shouldn’t come as any surprise to us. He is all-knowing and all.
The title of this piece is the trad life (traditional life) is for the meek, not for the weak. Let’s first understand the biblical definition of meek. It means gentle, tender, not prideful. It doesn’t mean pushover or timid. You can be strong and meek. I like to think of it as a quiet strength. My dad was a meek man, but never a weak man. I long to add more meekness to my character.
In 2023, wanting faith and family ahead of other pursuits is almost frowned upon. It’s seen as backward, old-fashioned, corny and antiquated. Women are encouraged to put aside everything to achieve and become the boss babe they were always meant to be. Well, unless I’m wrong, our Proverbs 31 woman is all that and more. She didn’t have to sacrifice love, faith, and family. It wasn’t this-or-that. In the Lord’s way, it’s this-AND-that.
I support any woman who wants to work and has a career or dream she wants to pursue. I support any woman whose dream is to have a family and raise them with her husband. I support any woman who wants to do both.
I don’t support any woman who looks down on another for choosing a different path from them. I don’t support any woman who’s building their kingdom (sorry, queendom) by stepping on and over others (men or women). I don’t support any woman who attacks another woman for choosing to have and raise a child.
I will leave you with this, if a more progressive approach was so wonderful, why are so many people very unhappy?
Everyone has free will. Choose wisely. And if you’re like me, it’s never too late to realize you may have been misled and are filtering all your experiences through a distorted lens. Let the Lord and His Word give you the right prescription to see clearly.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,