Somewhere between today and the many possible futures stretching ahead of us lies a point of decision for contemporary women.
It’s possible that women will continue to proceed in the ultimately unsatisfying and unproductive path that is an inheritance of the feminist movement of the 1960s, attempting to balance work, home, and family in the quest to “have it all.” But an increasing number of White American women have become aware of the fundamental self-hatred of themselves and all things womanly that this path produces, and choose to look once more to the creative, truly productive, path of home, faith, and heritage.
What does the self-hatred of the modern woman look and feel like? Here I hope to put a human face on it, a face a woman might recognize when she looks in the mirror.
There is a tight look of dissatisfaction on the faces of our woman these days; it draws the lines around the mouth up in an unattractive grimace. Fatigue etches creases of disappointment around her eyes, the shadows deepening as evening advances.
Oh, well, tomorrow is another day, she thinks. But tomorrow brings only repetition of the same, still more juggling the duties of worker, wife, and woman. The duties of mother are handed off like a sweaty baton in a hellish relay race to the day care workers and school teachers as these so-called professionals attempt to get her children to “race to the top.”
Our woman tries to fit in Bible study, but often fatigue leaves the Good Book unopened on her night stand. She makes it to church on Sunday, but never Sunday evening–too much to do to prepare for the week ahead. Laundry, lunches to pack, and (if she’s lucky) a few moments of affection with her husband when the kids are quiet for a change.
She finds it too easy to use the TV as a babysitter. Never mind that the youngest goes into hyperdrive after watching the cable channel targeted at children. Never think that the bright colors and quick editing may be the cause of his inability to pay attention. Never consider that time with the love of her life is bought at the price of her children, or her job or…
Just remember, everything is purchased with a price. But when is the price too high?
It’s no wonder that our White American woman hates herself. She’s attempting to live up to impossible standards. At every turn she’s told she’s not good enough; even standing in the checkout line at the grocery reminds her of that fact. Brazen hussies posing in retouched perfection grace the covers of the magazines, their covers positioned carefully where she can’t miss looking at them. If she’s gained an ounce of weight since high school, she feels guilty. If it’s more than an ounce, enough for the rest of the world to notice, she feels unlovable. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t match up to the artificial perfection of the girl on the magazine cover precisely because it is artificial. Even the model can’t live up to her own projected image.
At home she’s bombarded with charity requests, precisely because White Christian women are the most generous in the world. Sad-eyed dark-skinned children gaze at her from the junk mail pile; after a while she starts to think that perhaps they really are more noble than her own kind, precisely because they look so sad and are marketed so well. So she sends part of the grocery money to Haiti or Zimbabwe or whatever third world country can scrounge up a Director of Charity Sourcing. Sometimes she even thinks that’s not enough, and when her twenty-something daughter fails to find an eligible young man of similar ethnicity, and a member of some race of mocha men comes to call, she grits her teeth and smiles, even if she really wants to scream and haul her daughter into the kitchen and give her a talking-to. Mocha man will never know how strong the self-control is that she practices, especially if her daughter and he marry and produce baby mochas… more especially if they don’t marry, and still produce baby mochas.
Our White woman hates herself because she pays this price, and it is too high a price: the loss of her heritage. The loss she feels when the faces of her grandparents are replaced by something brown and unrecognizable. Gone are their clear blue eyes; only opaque brown orbs remain. She hugs a grandchild that is hard to recognize as hers. She offers love out of obligation, and searches the small face carefully for some evidence that her genes still swim there concealed, out of reach. Will those genes ever resurface, or are they lost forever?
In the mirror, she searches the lines of her own face, and recognizes it no longer.
The price she has paid is too high, and she prays and works for change in her life.
And you, my dear reader? Is the price you have paid too high, or is the price your grandchildren may have to pay insurmountably high?
Turning away from the unproductive path of the modern American woman means consciously turning away from it, and turning to God’s plan for His people. Finding your place in God’s plan may require introspection and sacrifice. How important are the things society tries to sell you? The diet companies have products to sell–do you really need to track every calorie, fat, carb, and cholesterol gram? Do you really need to track the steps you take every day, trying for perfection according to the world’s ways?
Do you really need to make a certain salary to be all right? Does your family really need that new deck and the home equity loan that buys it?
How many moments will it be until your children leave home, and what impact will you have had by then, covered up as you are with the demands of work and a minimal need for sleep? Will those children still love God? Mom and Dad? Or will they turn towards their adult lives thinking they never really knew, or loved, any of them?
It all boils down to which price you choose to pay. You can pay the world’s price and lose your family–or your life–in a tornado of expectations; or you may pay the price God begs of you, the sacrifice for which He fully repays you, with His riches beyond telling.
When you greet your Lord in heaven, when you greet your Christian ancestors, do you think He and they will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”?
There will be no tears in heaven, for He will wipe away every tear. Perhaps He will not mention those of your children who are missing from the roster of the redeemed.
But while you yet live, don’t you wish to stop hating yourself, don’t you wish to live in accord with His will, to have the time to present His gospel to your own? It’s been nagging at you for a long time; you may even have stepped over the line and actively admitted you’ve been wrong. Our budget of life’s moments is a small one; perhaps you will be called home tomorrow! But if God grants you the time, shouldn’t you use it to do the very best you can with your husband and children, to give them the security and confidence that comes from a mother no longer hating herself but being able to give of herself fully, as God wills?
It is my hope in this series of articles to present a few ideas on how we women may honor our Lord and restore our families. Until next time… we know why we hate ourselves, and we know we must change.