I have written my second article for a local women’s magazine entitled “5ive for Women”. It is a Christian magazine with tips and articles about and for women. Although the below copy of the article I submitted is not directly about stepmoms or stepfamilies, it does concern women and stepmoms are women! We are involved in many aspects with younger women, including our stepchildren. I hope you enjoy the article, reaffirm belief in who you are in your little world, and begin to assert your beliefs so that others know you have an opinion and want the best for yourself and your family.
Mail Order Bride…Not What It Used To Be!
Remember the good ole days when men out West would order up a bride to share the new frontier? Back then, a man would take a good hardy woman for his wife who was ready for cooking, cleaning, and birthing. Neither men nor women were concerned about flat tummies, perky breasts, age-defying makeup, and thin thighs. Although women had rougher lives, they just seemed to be more honest lives in many ways. However, nothing stays the same; the lives of women have been changing regularly since the beginning of time.
In biblical days, some women were considered property, while others were tough and courageous. Queen Esther was noted for her beauty and bravery. The Renaissance brought us famous artists who drew and painted voluptuous images of women—and fleshy women at that. The late nineteenth century provided us with the men and women who fought for the right of women to vote! The election year in 1920 was the FIRST time women were allowed to vote throughout the entire United States. The twentieth century came along, and we were introduced to Rosie the Riveter during World War II. Women entered the work force while running their entire households while their husbands were at war. The fifties brought us images of women working in their kitchens with the newest mixers, toasters, ovens, and refrigerators. The sixties and seventies rolled out, revolutionizing a woman’s place in the world. No longer were we property or written off as hysterical, silly, mindless, baby-producing cooks. We grew into responsible roles in the job market, we began to have our own cars and take our own trips, and our family lives changed when divorce became “no fault.”
There is so much more that has happened to women and so much that will continue. (I will save my soapbox voice—on things like including girls in sports and clubs that traditionally belonged to boys or men—for another time.) The point is that women have a beautiful and specific role. We are the womb of the world. We originated from Adam’s side; but from that moment forward, women brought forth life. We are incredible creatures, God’s daughters. So, why do we allow our femaleness and form to be distorted, graphically manipulated, or publicly exposed in disrespectful ways? We have come so far from being mail-order property, yet…
I don’t watch much TV; but one day as I was watching an afternoon program, a Hanes commercial came on, marketing their colorful panties on real live women: close-ups right to the…yeah…well you know, a television screen full of bellybutton, hip, and pantie. I found myself shaking my head and thinking, “Nooooo!” I was thoroughly upset and went right to the Hanes Facebook page, posting my disgust of their commercial. What possible marketing reason did they have to promote their newest style of Hanes panties with that type of imagery? I scrolled the Hanes Facebook page and was disappointed that I did not see more voices of outcry. I wondered, “Why not?”
To be aware of what today’s young people are exposed to, I have watched both of The Hunger Games movies. And, although I feel disappointment that Hollywood is making films wherein young people must kill each other to survive and provide food for their villages, I do admire Jennifer Lawrence. Clearly, she is currently a popular commodity because of The Hunger Games series. Jennifer is such a beautiful example of a young woman. She looks healthy, her skin radiant, her body toned, her hair shimmers. Nope, not good enough. Recently, I read that Flair magazine chose to tweak Jennifer’s body for their cover. I guess someone felt her natural body wasn’t “optimum.” They slimmed her down, gave her hair more volume, heightened her cheekbones, and Photoshopped her fingers. Are you kidding me? Why? Even she has made it known that she does not agree with these “fix up” tactics.
And seriously! The first time I watched a news report of Miley Cyrus dancing onstage with Robin Thicke (someone else’s husband AND dad) at the MTV Music Awards, I sat there with my mouth hanging open. “Whaaaaaaat???” Why would we allow such things on public media? Young girls (including my granddaughter) used to idolize Hannah Montana, a sweet teen girl. As I watched, I was praying these girls no longer find Miley appealing in any way. Where is her father, is he not in disagreement with her lewd behavior? Do I identify with this 30-year-old woman? No. I am disturbed and offended. I have nothing in common with her except that we are both females. Actually, I resent and feel embarrassed that she is using our beautiful womanly image to entice, excite, and tease. What possible reason is she flaunting herself to this degree? Have women submitted to extreme sensationalism in order to be noticed, to be wanted and popular, to be on the front page? It has been creeping up on us…Cher, Madonna….
Have we allowed what used to be an acceptance of our natural bodies—whether fleshy, plump, thin, short, tall, or pear-shaped—to now be a male order? My intent here is not to single out or bash men. I am asking for whose benefit or amusement are women being “distorted”, especially at a time when anorexia and bulimia are prevalent among our young girls? And can someone please tell me why mannequins in retail stores have obvious “breast petals” protruding from beneath the fabric? Why are we allowing such infractions on our beautiful selves? We cannot compete with computer graphics, airbrushing, and modifications. Those images are not real…we are. What messages are women sending out who dress half naked or with explicitly sensual clothing for public display? I encourage you to take the time to voice your compliments for well-deserved attention and respect of women; and I strongly encourage you to take a stand—let magazines, retailers, and internet companies know how you feel about the negative attention, display, and disrespect of women. Silence is often taken as agreement. Let’s just be us, ladies. Let it be ok to be a good, hardy, beautiful, natural woman or bride.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Love who you are. Spend time with someone who loves you for who you are. Love others, spread it around! We needn’t fall victim to the “be perfect” marketing scams and computer “Barbies.” Let us be more honest with each other, accepting our unique and precious selves. Guard your heart; place it where it can swell with happiness and delight. Eat chocolate, put on your favorite outfit, know God made you just the way you are, take care of the temple He gave you, and give thanks for His Son that loved us so much He went to the cross.