Lately I’ve been wondering how our society defines a Strong Woman. It seems to me there are many conflicting ideas about the definition and each conflicting idea is defined by a strong political or societal influence. How on earth is a young woman supposed to define her self-image, personal moral code, ethics, and goals for the future when the world around her is sending destructive and confusing messages about how a women behaves?
TV, reality shows, church, community groups, movies, video games, books, newspapers, magazines, You-tube, blogs, the internet, and political parties all play a role in defining what our society envisions a strong woman to be. My question is; do you have a firm definition for yourself? Does your daughter, niece, cousin, or young neighbor have a clear image of who a strong woman is? Think about it, I mean really consider it, you may find that the answer is not as easy as you initially thought.
The internet is full of images showing young female celebrities walking around with their bare fanny’s hanging out below the hemline of their skirts. In my mind’s eye this is akin to the old nightmare where someone is standing in front of the classroom naked, only this is real, and on purpose. Daily there are sexually explicit photos and riotous drug induced behaviors of female celebrities receiving attention from the news media and blogs. Are these women Strong Women because they are acting without regard for traditional norms? I don’t believe so. I believe they’re enticing and encouraging our young women to behave immaturely, selfishly, and destructively. Whether we want to admit it or not their bad behavior is impacting our young women’s definition of a Strong Woman.
Facebook has become a true confessions magazine where young women think nothing of posting pictures kissing each other or squeezing a friends breasts while holding a drink or joint in the other hand. Are they emulating the celebrities? Why do they think nothing of behaving badly and then recording it for everyone to see?
TV shows are full of women behaving badly. There is a current trend on TV to emphasize women who are selfish, rude, overly driven, demeaning to man, controlling, and mean. Is this how we want our young women to behave? No, it’s not, but they are with stars in their eyes and last night House-wives from somewhere running through their heads. I’m afraid our young women are being misguided by these type of shows.
Within the political arena there are mixed messages about what a strong woman is. The Democratic Party sends a message to our young women that is more socially liberal while the Republican Party sends a more conservative message. They disagree on the definition of marriage, abortion, interpretation of freedom of speech, and what it means to stand on your own.
Now consider what the Bible says; it says work hard for your family and church, dress moderately, be humble, patient, and kind, put other’s needs above your own, forgive others, love your neighbor as yourself, and submit to your husband.
So my question is; how do we as women create a stable definition of strong women when our world and our belief system are at odds? Some people say the media doesn’t have a strong effect on our psyche but we all know millions of dollars are spent on marketing and ad campaigns because the media does affect our decisions. The media does affect how our young women see themselves and behave. I hope that we woman will catch a glimpse of how important it is to be an example to younger woman because the definition of a strong woman is so conflicted. Each day our young women are struggling to define who and what they want to be. Every day there are hundreds of conflicting images that our young women need to be able to filter as relevant or not relevant. As Strong Woman it is our duty to have a firm definition within our own belief system so we can help our young women define themselves as Strong, God Honoring, Women.
Proverbs 11:16 A kindhearted woman gains respect, but a ruthless man gain only wealth.
Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Debora Shelford Hobbs