As you may or may not know, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was last night. And as you may or may not know, I typically don’t discuss current events or controversies on my blog. Honestly, I get most of my “news” from Twitter so I rarely feel informed enough to tell people what they should think about a particular topic. However, in this one area, Twitter provided all the news I needed. Here’s my (most likely unpopular and possibly controversial) opinion on last night’s tweets and status updates concerning the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
This has been going on for a couple years now. Each time the VS Fashion Show rolls around I start seeing tweets, blogs, Pinterest quotes, and Facebook statuses that go something to the tune of:
“I’d rather be a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model!”
or “P 31 woman > VS model” or “Live 31!”
Now trust me, the good intentions are not lost on me. I get it. I may have even been guilty of “retweeting” one of those phrases a couple years ago. It’s annoying to see perfect women prancing around in lingerie while men all across the world ooh and ahh. I get it, I get the status updates. I’m not trying to point fingers. Promise.
I will say, though, that I now cringe every time I see a tweet or status update written during the fashion show that talks about Proverbs 31. It’s always made me more uncomfortable than the actual Fashion Show.
To those tweeters, I have a couple questions:
You would rather be a Proverbs 31 Woman than a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Model? Ok, cool. That’s fine with me. But, since when did the Proverbs 31 woman start tearing other women down? Since when do Proverbs 31 women even have TIME to do that? Have you READ Proverbs 31? Honestly, I read that passage and say “No way, no how, NO thank you!” If being the world’s Proverbs 31 woman and a VS model are my only two options, I may choose the modeling career in which I would take one step in those heels and fall flat on my face. But let’s back up for a second… Before my fall on live television… And discuss what a Proverbs 31 woman actually is.
And for that discussion I have really good news. First, that I won’t be entering into a modeling career, and second, that Proverbs 31 is NOT a to-do list.
It was never intended to be read that way. Proverbs 31 is not something to strive for. It’s not something to be instead of something else.
In A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel taught us that Proverbs 31 is actually a blessing to be declared over women, not a to-do list for women to live up to. In Jewish culture it is not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. They sing it to their wives each week as a blessing over her. If any of those VS secret models happen to be married to an Orthodox Jew, he may be reciting Proverbs 31 over her at each and every Sabbath meal. Just saying.
Look, I am not afraid to admit that I mess up *a lot*. I am far, far from the Proverbs 31 woman. I’m 17 years old, yet I doubt when I am a wife and mother I will look any more like the Proverbs 31 woman than I do right now. And I am okay with that.
So, since I can’t even compare myself to the Proverbs 31 woman, why would I compare another woman to that “ideal,” especially when I don’t know that woman personally at all? Ask yourself: if you are willing to tweet that you would rather be a P 31 woman than a VS model, would you really go up to that model, look into her eyes and still say those words to her face?
Personally, I’d rather sit down with her (because she is probably WAY taller than me), and hear her story. (And then ask her what kind of moisturizer she uses because she is glowing), but first I’d ask her about her story. Because I know she has one. I have one. I may even tell her mine. And somehow I feel like they wouldn’t be all that different. We’ve most likely both experienced rejection, pain, loss, anger, sadness. We’re probably both fighting battles people know nothing about that we do an excellent job of masking. One of us just happens to have a professional makeup artist for that.
Tell me, where is the grace for these women that we’re ostracizing?…Telling them that they are most certainly NOT the ideal Proverbs 31 woman. Where is the grace? A Victoria’s Secret model is just as worthy as receiving the blessing of Proverbs 31 as I am, I can tell you that. Our worth has nothing to do with how hot we look with no clothes on. It’s not about that at all, it’s about so much more. Jesus died to make you worthy. You are now seated with Him in Heaven. You, just as you are, are so worthy of love. The blessing of Proverbs 31 is for every woman, not just a select few. After all, We Belong To Each Other. You, me, and the tall, intimidatingly gorgeous, VS model.
So, if I could sit and have my conversation with my VS model friend, after I’ve learned about her successes and failures, her mountaintop and valley experiences… I would grab her hand and tell her that I don’t think we are supposed to mimic the Proverbs 31 woman, even though hundreds of people tweeted her personally last night to tell her that she should. I may even tell her that I believe we are called to live like Christ, because that is the image we were created in, and we are just called to spread grace and love wherever our feet land and our hands touch. And then, I would squeeze her hand a little more tightly, and I would read the blessing prayer of Proverbs 31 over her. Because she is a Woman of Valor.
Eshet Chayil to you, too. (Or Ish Gibor Chayil if you are a male!)
There is only grace here, grace for the tweeters and the models and me.