What do we do with a Proverbs 31 woman?
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
What do we do with a Proverbs 31 woman? A woman who can- and does- seem to do it all? A woman with business savvy, athleticism, a generous spirit, and a kind heart. A woman who makes her own decisions and has the wisdom and knowledge to make those decisions. (I don't believe I've quoted Beyoncé since the Irreplaceable video came out in '06, but I think she sums it up with the lyric, "...we're smart enough to make these millions/Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business.")
What do we do with her? What is our response?
Do we restrict her? Do we tell her she can't- or shouldn't- do these things? Do we tell her not to worry her pretty little head? Do we call her crazy? Do we tell her she is too masculine?
Do we confine her? Do we shield her from the world (and the world from her)? Do we relegate her to the world of home and domesticity?
Do we deny her an education? The right to hold property? A ballot in an election? Bar her from leadership positions?
Do we shrink back? Do we shy away in fear? Do we get angry? Do we allow ourselves (male or female) to feel inferior? Do we tell her husband that he is less of a man? Do we try to control her- or suggest that someone needs to rein her in?
We arise and call her blessed. We honor her. We praise her at the city gate.
I believe that feminism is, ultimately, a movement seeking to facilitate and empower a world of Proverbs 31 women. Does this include creating women who "fear the Lord"-- maybe not in the secular world. But it can. The Proverbs 31 woman is not a 1950s housewife. She can be-- but she doesn't have to be.
Look at the world. Look at the places where women are discouraged or inhibited from exercising the freedom necessary to be like this ideal woman. Some of them are in your own country, your own town, your own job, your own church. Now let's remove those barriers.
Only then can we truly say that we are responding to these women correctly.
Arise and call her blessed. Honor her. Praise her at the city gate.