My son has a host of allergies. You name it, and he’s probably allergic to it. Because his allergies are so high, he tends to get sick easily, which means that I spend a lot of time waiting in line at pharmacies.
Predictably, when I’m in these lines, my eye is drawn very easily to the magazines. Recently, I was especially captured by Good Housekeeping’s May issue. In this issue, they have an article called 125 Women who Changed our Lives. I couldn’t resist. I added the magazine onto my order.
I read the article this morning and have found myself ridiculously torn. Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, & Amelia Earhart were all heroes of mine growing up. And the article was right to praise them. In fact, so many of the women had achieved so much to change the world for the better. However, while I appreciate many of the women highlighted in the text, my heart mourns a little for the interpretation of others’ lives or work.
It was under the honoring of Virginia Woolf that I became especially saddened. The authors wrote under her achievements that she reminded us… “of what remarkable things women might have written throughout history if they hadn’t been too burdened by household cares and society restrictions.”
While I’m sure that women have been censored throughout history, and many through evil, abusive ways and devices, I felt that the focus was all wrong. It’s not what women would have written. It’s what women did do, knowing that it may have gone unnoticed, that has not only changed the world, but sustained it.
As a Christian, I wondered what a list of 125 women who changed our lives from this standpoint would look like. I assume they would be women who would remind us of the incredible, lasting, powerful, and life-changing legacy women have made by sacrificing, loving, and planting life through, even despite, household chores and society’s sometimes lack of faith in woman. It would probably celebrate the fact that women have always been at the heart of society. Truly, we are ezer kinegdos — helpmates — life sustainers — essential. We are, as God states, powerful strength.
For me, I’m reminded this morning that to only celebrate achievements of that strength through overcoming societal bad behavior lessens the effect that women have had throughout the years. If we are to celebrate, let us celebrate that women have always encouraged and inspired, regardless of the praise they got. That is one of our biggest strengths — to love, to sacrifice, and to meet the needs of others because it’s in our character to do so. We are beautiful. We are powerful. And we do change the world. Just not always through toughening up or speaking out. Both praises are needed if we, as women, are to sharpen each other and leave a lasting impact.