Portraying Christian Femininity -- By: Patricia A. Ennis

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 08:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Portraying Christian Femininity
Author: Patricia A. Ennis

Portraying Christian Femininity1

Patricia A. Ennis

Chairperson, Professor of Home Economics,
The Master’s College
Santa Clarita, California

Holding to a biblical view of femininity is quite unpopular in our contemporary society; it is frequently perceived as demeaning, inferior, and limiting. Regrettably, this attitude has now affected American evangelicalism so that the issue must be clarified by recovering a biblical worldview of femininity.

Femininity, by dictionary definition, means “having qualities or characteristics traditionally ascribed to women, as sensitivity, delicacy, or prettiness.”2 According to Elisabeth Elliot, “That word ‘femininity’ is one that we don’t hear very often anymore. We’ve heard the word ‘feminist’ quite often in the last couple of decades, but we haven’t really heard much about the deep mystery that is called femininity. The word has fallen on hard times, partly because of stereotypes as opposed to archetypes.”3

She then offers several thoughts that place femininity in a Christian context:

To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle. She is gracious. She is godly and she is giving….

You and I, if we are women, have the gift of femininity. Very often it is obscured, just as the image of God is obscured in all of us… .

I find myself in the sometimes quite uncomfortable position of having to belabor the obvious, and hold up examples of femininity to women who almost feel apologetic for being feminine or being womanly. I would remind you that femininity is not a curse. It is not even a triviality. It is a gift, a divine gift, to be accepted with both hands, and to thank God for. Because remember, it was His idea… .

God’s gifts are masculinity and femininity within the human race and there was never meant to be any competition between them. The Russian philosopher Bergiath made this statement: “The idea of woman’s emancipation is based upon a profound enmity between the sexes, upon envy and imitation.”

The more womanly we are, the more manly men will be, and the more God is glorified. As I say to you women, “Be women. Be only women. Be real women in obedience to God.”4

Femininity’s contemporary downward spiral began in the early 1960s with the advent of Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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