This week we have talked a lot about success–about our answers to questions people have about our futures (“what are you doing after college?” etc.), and then about the pressure we sometimes feel to become the mythical perfect woman.
And as I have been thinking about all of this, I began to wonder if we as women sometimes feel the need, not necessarily to “have it all,” but even to just strive to succeed in one or a few areas, because deep down, we believe we aren’t enough.
One of my guilty pleasures this past year, has been Pinterest. I really love baking and cooking, so it is a great place to “see” recipes already made. I love pinning baked goods with the thought that on a rainy day, I will make them. The other thing about Pinterest is that all the pretty things we love about life–fun kitchens, beautifully decorated rooms, already coordinated outfits, quotes that “say it all,” etc.–are all grouped into one place! It’s so fun!
But then, this past week, I came across an article entitled “How Pinterest is Killing Feminism”. Perhaps a little exaggerated, and I am not deleting my beautiful pin boards anytime soon, but the article did reveal some scary pinning habits of women that speak to the pressure we feel to reach some version of “perfection.”
For example, if you use Pinterest, have you ever searched for women?
A couple of months ago, when starting Redefining Female, I did. What you’ll find among a few inspirational and funny quotes, is a lot of photo’s of women with either incredibly sculpted bodies or emaciated, sickly thin bodies. Scroll down some and you will begin to see a few better, more realistic images–but not many.
The article pointed out that “Pinterest…blurs the lines between unhealthy diet obsessions and health tips.” Among dinner recipes for families, are pins for fad diets and weight-loss smoothies. Among pictures of fashion, are photoshopped images of sickly thin women, pinned to encourage weight loss.
But what the person writing the article doesn’t realize, is that this isn’t a Pinterest issue (after all, we women are the ones doing the pinning!); rather Pinterest is revealing an issue in our hearts as women. Though perhaps it is not as much as an “issue,” as it is a question.
As women, our brains have been flooded all of our lives with images of the “perfect women,” or ways to try to become her. At the same time, many of us seem to feel a sense of inadequacy from a young age that we tend to try to fill either by controlling our weight/looks, entering into dating relationships, or by being incredible overachievers. The question our hearts is trying to answer is:
Am I enough?
Another variation of this question may be: Am I lovable?
Some us, have tried to become “enough” by going to some scary extremes. Others of us, have just teetered on the edge of unhealthy. Either way, this question has taken up residence in our hearts, sneaking up on us when we least expect it or spurring us on when we think we have found the answer.
So how do we answer this question, once and for all? How do we get to the point of embracing who we are?
This is where I think we need to start:
We need to stop looking at/pinning things that make us feel less than enough.
We need to stop looking to others to answer the question for us.
We need to start seeking to really know ourselves, so that we can answer this question on our own.
Yet, none of these things, I believe, we can do without seeking the One who created us. I don’t believe we can truly know ourselves without seeking God; only He can tell us that we are enough, in a way our hearts will believe it.