What Shapes Your Understanding of Femininity?

by Bonnie White, Women’s Minister

No matter who you are or what experiences you have had in your life, there are influences that have shaped how you think about yourself as a woman or femininity. Your personal experiences, family connections, religious or non-religious upbringing, the culture in which we live, etc., all convey what it means to be a woman.  

These messages create beliefs and feelings about whether being a woman is a wonderful or not-so-wonderful thing. They create expectations about what a woman should or should not do and categories of what a woman is or is not. These categories and expectations then create shame when women feel like they do not fit certain molds or fulfill certain expectations, leaving some women feeling less than others. They either constantly strive to be the “right” kind of woman by whatever definition they have come up with or simply throw off the mold altogether and reject the image they believe they can never be (or possibly never want to be).   

As with all parts of our fallen world and experiences, we must look to God’s Word for his design for femininity. We then begin the process of sifting through our beliefs and feelings about womanhood to align them with God’s good design, believing this is where the fullness of our joy resides. This refining can be a difficult process as many of our beliefs about femininity are deeply rooted in real pain or fear in a woman’s experience.

Wrestling between what we have concluded femininity is through culture, our family dynamics, and personal experiences, compared to God’s good design, is where many of the women involved with Living Hope find themselves. The messages and beliefs they have received and believed about femininity are very different than being a beautiful image-bearer bringing about God’s glory as a woman. Instead, femininity has become defined as weakness and victimhood. Too many women believe it is not good or not safe to be a woman. As a result, they hide their femininity and their vulnerabilities to protect themselves from hurt.  

Living Hope offers a nurturing environment for women to delve into their beliefs about womanhood. It’s a place where they can voice their questions and fears, knowing that they are not alone in their journey. As they encounter the love of Christ and His truth, healing begins in their hearts. Their understanding of femininity gradually transforms, allowing them to embrace the women that God has already declared them to be. It’s a truly beautiful process!

As you consider what has shaped and influenced your beliefs about what it means to be a woman, remember the women of LHM in your prayers. Contact us if you have questions about God’s design for femininity or how to sift through the conflicting cultural definitions and expectations of femininity. We would be honored to be on this journey with you as you embrace who God has created you to be.