Femininity is not a dirty word
“I feel like the feminine has been a little under-valued. We all get our own jobs and make our own money but staying at home, nurturing, being a mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mum created and sometimes you need your knight in shining amour. I’m sorry, you need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman, that’s why relationships work”.
No, this isn’t a quote from a pastor’s wife or an anti-feminist. Its something Kirsten Dunst said over a year ago in an interview with Harpers Bazaar magazine. Yep, that’s right, this powerful woman who a lot of the time plays the screen-typical “damsel in distress” (like Mary-Jane in Spiderman), announced – rather bravely, considering where we are as a society if you ask me – that relationships work because men are men and women are women.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the fallout as noted by Google:
I support Dunst’s sentiment about men and women having diverse attributes and roles. These differences compliment each other when they are truly valued, expressed and cherished. What this does not mean is that if a woman wants to work and earn her own money she shouldn’t. Remembering that Dunst herself is a working mother, I infer that this isn’t what she meant either.
I think this tiny quote that has been taken out of context and critiqued over and over again gives us a small glimpse into the innate knowledge we all have- that we have something to offer this world that no one else can.
Our society celebrates uniqueness and the individual. This has come out of the period of the enlightenment when individual thought and freedom were pinned as virtues far exceeding others, for better or for worse. However celebrating the fact that we are all individuals with our unique part to play has a natural extension – that the identity of women and men are different and unique too. My uniqueness lies in the fact that I have certain characteristics which are biological, genetic, physical and personal, and yep, one of those things that set me apart from half of the population is that I am a woman. And yet when that is brought up in public debate people run in the opposite direction (or berate people who express this - Dunst, for example).
Why are we so afraid of celebrating what men and women have to offer society in their own uniqueness? Why do we, in a society that claims to celebrate the fruits of feminism and women’s freedom and choice, also see some bully and pity other women who choose to stay at home and raise their children?
Women everywhere, you do have a part to play in this world. It is unique to the girl sitting on the bus with you while you read this on your iPhone, and different to your mum who had her own thoughts for what you could be in life (sorry Mum, I still don’t want to be a lawyer). And, shock horror, it is different to what a man can offer. Not better, not worse, not inferior or superior or less worthy of praise, but different. And equally as important.
Our society has lost sight of what is equal. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. I often use the example of two 10kg bags. One is full of rocks, one is full of feathers. They weigh the same- they are equal in weight. But what they are made up of is intrinsically different- the contents look different, feel different, do different things.
The awesome thing though is that men and women are more than just rocks and feathers. Men and women are created in the image and likeness of God with immeasurable worth and dignity. The story of Adam and Eve gives us a cool insight into just how equal God wanted us to be, while still maintaining our own differences. God made Eve from a rib of Adam. It was taken from his side. Not some bone from his head, to demonstrate that Eve should be superior to him, and not from his foot to convey that Eve should be a doormat. But from his side, to help us remember that we are each other’s helper, friend, and equal.
So girls, celebrate your femininity even if the world is telling you it’s just a socially constructed label. But more than that, celebrate that you are the only version of you to ever grace this good earth and that no one has your smile or your dreams of the future or your past. Celebrate that with all of these unique qualities, you are incredibly loved and incredibly precious.