Monday, August 2, 2010

The Lost Ornament of Society


I've been getting ready for my much anticipated AP English class this year by reading as many books as I can possibly manage. Many of you know my endearing love for Jane Austen and her works. As I write I slowly draw close to the end of Mansfield Park which has delighted me more than I could possibly imagine reading a book after the movie. For those of you who have read Jane Austen books, you know how long and wordy and sometimes tedious they can be, so I find that in order to finish these books before the start of the class, I have to use every spare moment to read a paragraph or a chapter. Every day I've been thinking about what Miss Fanny Price would have to do next and what turmoil or delight would be stirring in her mind. I think about how graceful and patient she was when treated condescendingly. I couldn't help but laugh to myself when Edmund and her discussed with appalled attitudes the character of Mr. and Miss Crawford and how their scruples would have no affect on our acceptance of them today.

My mind would continue to wander, as it often does, on how lost this perception of a lady has become with the increasing years. The loss of the sensitivity and gentleness of a woman's character has deprived the world of it's grace and beauty. Today it is not proper for a woman to be submissive to father, brother, and husband, and no distinguishable difference is made between a mother and daughter. No quietness of spirit and no thoughtfulness of mind is acceptable to the women of today. We must have glory and importance, equality with men and their ambitions. I am not saying that God did not create man and woman equal. He made them equal in that they are both His explicit creation, and no mistreatment of one or the other is to be withstood. But He did create them different: the woman to be submissive to authority, and the man to be a good master, leading others, and loving his Savior, wife, and family (1 Peter 3). But it is all lost! A young woman's goal is not to be married, keep a home and raise children, and submit to her husband. No, she is ready to take on the world and as soon as her father gives her freedom (if he ever had assumed any restraint on that point), she runs off to make as much money as possible and find as many men to indulge her. Now, am I saying that it is wrong to go off into the world, go to college, and learn how to make good money? Absolutely not! The Proverbs 31 woman was a businesswoman in some respects. She considered a field and bought it in which to plant a vineyard. With that vineyard, she either sold the wine and grapes or used them in her own household to save a few pennies. She made linen garments and sashes and sold these to the local merchant as well. No, having an education and making money is not wrong at all. The point I try to make is that there is no meekness in gaining wealth by a woman's hands. There is indelicacy in the way she goes about it. She is very prominent and speaks loudly to be heard by all. And then, when she and some man finally decide to end a period of dating, marriage is just an alliance with someone of the opposite gender where bank accounts are jointed and cars are shared and rings are worn. The woman cannot bare to think that just because she where's a ring on her finger and has set off her veil, she should forsake all those years of work and accomplishment in her line of business. So, she continues to work and comes home when her husband does. Then she remembers that children would just hinder all of this, and so the proper arrangements are made to prevent any such occasion to upset the bliss of success.

Does this mean I think that women are to stay at home, wear long dresses, not pursue a job, and to have ten children? No! But consider the women of God, and think: Was any of this necessary to make a woman true, perfect, acceptable, and successful? Do you really think that God designed women to be as strong and qualified as men? Do you think that maybe God had a delicate flower in mind when He created woman: one who was beautiful to look at, serves its proper purpose, and brings forth seeds with which to populate the Earth?

16 comments:

Nathaniel M said...

Very intriguing post. Woman are built for beauty, men are built for (metaphorical) strength, I suppose. Hmm... I haven't given this topic much thought, really, and don't have an opinion on it. Can a woman be both a peer and a subordinate to a man, though? (you can probably tell that I haven't thought much about this... lol)

Nice post.

Lydia said...

Well a peer, I think, is something quite different to being subordinate. A peer has something to do with age, I believe. Would you agree?

Lydia said...

Also, I would correct your statement on what women and men are built for. Studying Anatomy and Physiology showed me how perfectly women are made for childbearing, and men are made for working physically. Even the position of the shoulders and muscles in the back show this.

Jay said...

There is a wonderful Broadway show called "Little Mary Sunshine." It contains a bunch of young ladies who are all very proper, and one of them says, "One can re-read Jane Austen just so many times."

In any event, Lydia, you are so correct. Women are built to bear children and take care of them during their infant years. Interestingly enough, in an odd little book called "The New Gulliver," it is argued that because of this, men should take care of the children once they are weaned. After all, the woman bears and cares for the children for the first bit of their lives, the man should do so for the balance of their lives.

While I don't agree with that argument, I must say that some of the best full-time caregivers I know are men.

Lydia said...

While I'm sure that you know very good male caregivers, I would have to disagree that they are better than women at raising children. Women have a natural nurturing sense and a motherly love that a father cannot replace.

While I definitely believe the father should have a role in raising his children, especially sons, I think a mother's primary job is that of caring for them. It states that in Titus 2, I think.

Nathaniel M said...

Yes, I've studied anatomy as well - I know about the difference in pelvic bone structure and all that rot...

A peer is someone of equal standing in some regard, and what I meant by subordinate was closer to "follower". As you said in this post, woman are meant to follow their husband's authority, and men are supposed to be good leaders. Nevertheless, I have difficulty thinking that, in marriage, a woman is supposed to be a lower rank than the man, or of less priority. While I believe that it is obvious that the role of men is to be strong workers and woman are meant to be good mothers and be good at fine things (mothering and fine things [needlework, as an example of the category I speak of] are what I meant by "beauty" - it was metaphorical), and also that men are supposed to lead, I still think that woman must be, in some regard, peers to men. When I get married, I do not want my wife to be the patriarchal ideal of a person who holds her tongue, does practically nothing besides being a mother, and does anything I say no matter how idiotic. I want a woman who can be independent, and who I may treat as an equal.

In other words, I am someone befuddled as to the correct distinction between extremes. Please share understanding... lol that sounds like King James grammar...

Lydia said...

Haha, Nathaniel, you may watch your language on the topic of Apologia books since "Jay" is actually one of the founders of that curriculum. (Dr. Wile)

On the subject of the subordinance of women to men: Women are equal to men in that they are both created by the same God. However, women have different roles than men. It's portrayed as such throughout Scripture. Think of a detective and a police officer. Technically speaking, a police officer is "lower" than the detective, but neither could do their jobs without the other.

I was trying to make the point, in the actual post, that women are not called to just sit at home and take care of kids and do whatever their husbands told them to do and had no opinion of mind or advise during decision-making. Read Proverbs 31. She made decisions and spoke. The difference is her motive and manner in which she did all that. Does that make sense enough?

Nathaniel M said...

I don't use the term "and all that rot" in a derogatory way, I use it like "and such" or "and things of that nature". Anatomy's good stuff.

Yeah, that makes sense... I realize that the roles of woman and men are different but not of different rank, and that men and woman are equal in the Kingdom of God. That being said, it seems a contradiction to me that men are supposed to be leaders. Perhaps in this regard, being a leader is not actually a different rank - only a different role - given that we are supposed to treat each-other unselfishly, and not be jealous... Hmm, that makes sense, I think... That, or I'm JUST insane. Does it make sense?

Lydia said...

Exactly, they are not different ranks, because how could a man and woman "become as one" in marriage if one was superior to the other?

Pratheek said...

Thanks for the post.

Though I'm an atheist and don't believe in any of the religious scriptures (am esp. against taking them literally as they have to be looked w.r.t the culture, constraints and other limitations of that time), I agree that you have some valid points.

Nature built men and women differently for distinct yet complimentary purposes. However, these days women want to compete with men on everything.In this pursuit, they are losing the very essence of femininity. If this trend continues, I'm afraid, there won't be much difference between a modern woman and man, both in terms of physical (dressing,body building etc...) and mental aspects after few centuries. This may also increase homosexual tendencies as that unique feminine charm in women which can spell bind men is lost.

I think those women who want to imitate men (that's what they are basically doing) are the truly chauvinistic as they deem the natural gentleness and softness in women as weakness.

Raj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathaniel M said...

Ahhh, right, becoming as one - that makes sense of it.

Lydia said...

Thank you, Pratheek, for reading the post and commenting! I hope you'll come back and read often, regardless of your beliefs. :)

I agree with you on your post there. Very well observed. I see women as trying to prove to the world that they CAN and WILL conquer some feat that otherwise men could only. It's very hard for us women who are trying to be soft, gentle, and lady-like to have those people up against us.

Come again!

Pratheek said...

Thanks Lydia.
I understand your problem. But the advantage you have is, you realize that you don't have anything to prove to those women. Even if you feel angry/annoyed at that moment, please remember those women could never have inner peace like you. All the best.

Lydia said...

And, if you don't mind, can you tell me: how do you know I have "inner peace"? And how do you define it?

Pratheek said...

haha.. it was just a gut feeling. But I realized you are still a teenager, which is a difficult age. So I may not be entirely correct.

Sorry, but I cannot quite describe inner peace as its somewhat adhoc and personal.