There's been a lot of talk out there regarding women.
Women have been, in increasing frequency, the topic of discussion in several different forums, the most notable for me being body image, modesty and sexuality, ordaining women to the Priesthood in the LDS religion and, as an extension of those topics, the place of women in this world.
As I pondered these topics and started writing them down, I realized that this was no simple blog post. In order to give each topic its appropriate attention, I decided to break it up into several posts, just to spare you the trial of a monstrous singular post.
There've been some well-written articles and blog posts on these topics. I'll site them as I go along...
After reading quite a bit on these subjects, I started to see another matter underscoring these issues and bringing them together into a much bigger picture. No matter the subject matter, it's all come down to one central theme for me:
The Value of Women.
This is not simply about how people view women, but more importantly, how women view themselves. Women, in general, are misguided about what they're worth and how they attain that desired value. The world, on the whole, has got it all wrong when it comes to women.
(And quite a lot of what I'll say here applies to men as well!)
A few weeks ago, my sister shared a blog from forallmomkindblog.com that addressed the growing trend of fit-posting. Women all over the social interwebs are posting and, dare I say, obsessing over their physical form.
I'm not against exercise, fitness or healthy living in any way whatsoever. I, myself, am in the process of getting healthy and I do have a healthy weight goal.
Notice I say healthy and not any number of adjectives indicating how thin, slender, shapely, curvy, muscular, toned or otherwise "shaped" a body may be. There are too many people that want to tell us what we should look like or what we must look like in order to be attractive or worth-while and not enough people validating our efforts toward wellness and a healthy body image.
I don't like everything about the way my body looks currently, but I'm also honest with myself and know that I probably never will. I am, however, learning to be comfortable in my own skin and love it, even if there are parts of it I'm not completely satisfied with. I've had children and that has altered my physical form permanently. Those changes don't depreciate my value.
My job is to keep my body healthy because it's a gift from God and it's the only one I have.
I'm reminded of Mary Schmich's essay/poem Wear Sunscreen:
"Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own."
Perhaps, in the best sense, we seek perfection in so many areas of our lives because we're the offspring of a perfect being and desire to be like Him. I'm not perfect (yet) and no matter what I do, I won't be in this lifetime.
What troubles me about this trend is that so many women are gauging their worth on how thin/fit/toned they appear to be (I don't exclude myself from these self-critiques, especially on my bad days). They equate what other people think/say about their body to how much they should feel they're worth.
Is a physically fit woman worth more than a physically out-of-shape woman?
Some might say yes. After all, a physically fit woman has more energy, a stronger body and may even have generally better moods based on the release of serotonin during exercise. She can do more and perhaps even inspire those around her to emulate her efforts toward health.
If we change the question, however, will we come up with the same answer?
Is a physically fit woman worth more to God than a physically out-of-shape woman?
I don't think I need to answer that question, but I will anyway... No. God wants you to be healthy, of course, but he loves you no matter what.
No. Matter. What.
And he will always find ways to make you useful, no matter what your circumstances.
There's value to getting and staying healthy. There's value to being able to move through your day without feeling tired and worn down. But we can't superimpose the value of a healthy lifestyle onto our personal worth.
Our health and physical well-being is a part of us. A sliver of the whole that makes us the wonderous, eternal beings that we are.
A daughter (or son) of God is so much more than her (his) physical form. So much more than a number on a scale, a dress size, the amount you can bench press or how many miles you can run. Your worth is determined by so much more!
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were... please stay tuned!
Next time: The Value of Modesty and Sexuality