What makes a woman beautiful? Where does her honor stem from? What determines whether she should be respected or disrespected? Where does her virtues lie? And what makes her virtuous? A woman is beautiful because she is woman. God designed us as unique creatures. He designed us to be both beautiful internally and externally and while many may not agree, we are all beautiful to some degree. The society that we live in has place emphasis on the importance of physical appearances. Stereotyping the way a “Perfect” woman should look and bypassing the way a woman of virtue to should act.
Television, billboards, commercials, and advertisements are tools that further exaggerate the importance of having long hair, tall, thin or curvaceous and flawless skin. All these characteristics are what many define as “Beautiful”. Again, bypassing the content of the person’s heart; what about a woman of beauty being a woman of God?
Proverbs 31:10-31 says 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Whatever happened to the importance of what God defines as a woman of virtue? At what point did society become greater than God?
As a Christian woman, should I strive to be the beautiful woman on television, billboards, commercials, and advertisements? I say, no. It has been years that I struggled with society’s perception of what a beautiful black woman should look like. In my mind, I thought that my complexion, full lips, crooked teeth, and big eyes made me unattractive, but I was wrong. I had it all wrong. I was caught up in the same deceptive web that society spins. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that I am beautiful in this skin that I am in and no one person can define me as otherwise. As a woman of virtue, God molds us to be a woman of beauty internally and externally. Not only are we beautiful inside but also outside in the eyes of God. Our scriptures share God’s visions of what he sees when he looks at women of virtue.
God values a woman that is quiet in spirit as 1 Peter 3:3-4 says “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” While this does not mean that we should never speak and be meek, it implies that as a woman of virtue, we shouldn’t not have an argumentative spirit. This particular verse is one that I am struggling with but diligently working on. There are times that I find I can be argumentative and sometimes combative, but that would be one of my many imperfections; one that I strive to improve on a daily basis.
In society, we as women have become so independent that we often find we must communicate that we do not need a man… Personally, I have been guilty on an occasion or two of this. I can see how that could make us appear “unattractive” to a man. We as women should not be in competition with men but instead understand that as women and men, we both possess qualities that we need from one another. Regardless to what some of us might communicate and think, we (men and women) need one another.
Society places value on the physical appearance of women, but where is the importance of internal beauty? If we are empty or hollow inside, what difference would our physical appearance make if with time the external beauty fades?
While it is not solely society’s fault, because some of the fault falls upon the shoulders of women and men as we have forgotten that we must respect one another and prohibit outside actions to interfere with who and what we are.