The Problem With Being A Girl, Part I

Is Women and Do Women

Let’s stop being dishonest with ourselves. Girls are messed up. We really are. We over-analyze things and beat dead horses long after they’ve died, become zombified, and have died yet again. We can’t let things go. We’re vulnerable, but we hate to admit, or we use that vulnerability to get attention. And we love attention. Yes, we do. We want to be the prettiest, most interesting, most mysterious woman in the room.


The problem is, most of us aren’t. We’re not any of those things. And there is no sin quite so painful and quite so punishable as being ordinary.

So what do you do as a woman who may not be remarkable enough or young enough or beautiful enough to stand out? You stop being and start doing.

In C.S. Lewis’s book, Perelandra, Satan’s means of tempting the pristine and sinless Queen of Venus (Tinidril) is by first making her aware of herself. She goes from a woman of beauty who merely experiences the world around her, to a woman of beauty who becomes aware of her own beauty and her own importance and intelligence. She is no longer one being but two. In the same way that Gollum becomes a divided creature due to the maddening influence of the Ring, Tinidril’s first step towards sin is noticing herself.

Women of today have come so far since then. Not only do women know they exist; they have selfies to prove it, profile pages devoted to themselves, and Twitter feeds talking about themselves. Self-awareness on its own may be a neutral condition, neither good nor bad. But it appears all sin, especially female sin, first requires the condition of self-awareness before it can flower into full-fledged self-destruction.

Is there nothing sadder than a woman well beyond her youth desperately clinging to her youth? It’s easy to mock such a woman, but what has changed since she was actually young and beautiful? Nothing, nothing but her appearance. Time alone revealed the true nature of what once seemed a virtue and is now a vice. She lived her life passively as an Is Woman, not a Do Woman, and never learned how to stop . . . or start, I should say.

What becomes of us, especially women, when we’re busy doing things, putting our backs into it, and changing the world around us? We disappear and become heedless of ourselves, our appearance, how many wrinkles we may have, how much weight we need to lose, and how pretty we should be. We become instruments that are making the world a better place, not instruments that merely exist in the world.

If you want to have value, no matter how pretty or young or old or un-pretty you are, do something and forget about who you are. You’ll never figure that out anyway, unless you’re someone shallow enough to classify in one sentence. And you’ll never be that, because you’ll be busy doing, creating, giving, knitting, painting, reading, singing, supporting, nurturing, quilting, jogging, listening, cleaning, or writing. You will never be limited to Who You Are if you learn how to be a Do Woman instead of an Is Woman.

Up Next: The Problem With Being a Girl, Part II – Victimhood

Image courtesy of sattva

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