I was on Twitter this morning when a few people were tweeting about #live31 so of course I investigated. Turns out a Baylor freshman posted “I’d rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model” on his Facebook during the VS fashion show, and that statement went viral. He created a Facebook page for it (which is up to 11,225 at the time I’m writing this), a Twitter account, and a website. Apparently a lot of people agree with this guy.
But he has also gotten a lot of negative response, mostly because he is male. Some women are talking about creating their own movement, something along the lines of “I’d rather have a Jonah than a Jonas brother.” Wait, the Jonas brother aren’t cool anymore? Ok, how about “I’d rather have a Timothy than a Taylor Lautner”?
I totally think this guy’s heart was in the right place. He was simply a guy trying to make the point that guys should be interested in more than appearance, and that women should be more concerned with their character than in trying to look like Heidi Klum. (What, she isn’t around anymore either?! Then Alessandra Ambrosia.)
It is a valid point, and I’m not going to hate on the guy for it. But I confess, I am so sick of hearing about Proverbs 31. I know I’m not the only one. Preston Yancy wrote a post last week that was amazing. You should go read the full thing, but here is an excerpt that I found particularly powerful.
i am here to make a confession before you,
to tell you that i have grown tired of a simple and trite faith,
a faith that is reducible to twenty-one verses of Scripture,
as if the sum and breadth of a woman created in the
could be reducible to three hundred and twenty words,
that the whole that it is to be Woman could be no more
than a handful of phrases and common graces
and that wife and mother were the only titles
that a woman of faith could carry with pride.
I understand that Proverbs 31 is important, but as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” All Scripture. Was Rahab not lauded for her faith and obedience, even though she was obviously not a Proverbs 31 woman? Why is Esther and her fearlessness not prized as high as this nameless Proverbs 31 woman?
I have grown to hate labels. And that is one of the biggest problems I have with the Live 31 campaign. The men behind this movement have given women two labels to choose from. We can choose to be the Proverbs 31 woman, or we can be a Victoria’s Secret model.
But the truth is, most of us fall somewhere in the middle. I’m not a Proverbs 31 woman – I don’t travel afar for food (unless a trip to Whole Foods would count) and there is no him in my life to bring good to. But I do not have the body to pull off the lingerie and angel wings, so that rules out the Victoria Secret model.
I’m just me. I will never be able to live up the over-inflated idea of a Proverbs 31 woman, but I strive to live with the fearlessness of Esther and the faith of the woman who was healed simply by touching Jesus’s robe. I will never be a Victoria Secret model, but I do want to look attractive and be desired. (Really, who doesn’t?)
Ladies, stop worrying about the labels. You don’t have to be one or the other. Just be you.
If you want to read more about this campaign, you can read Dianna Anderson’s post or Preston Yancy’s response to the movement. Diane looks at the movement with a feminist perspective, while Preston’s is more focused on Biblical problems with the movement.
And in case you have somehow made it through life without hearing about Proverbs 31 (impossible if you grew up anywhere remotely near a church) I’ve included it below.
10A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
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.