God cares about lingerie, but not for the reasons you might think.
I came of age in the 80s, the era of the Supermodel and Victoria’s Secret. My mom probably tried to explain to me what these things were all about, but I don’t remember (she will point out I have the worst memory in the history of memory!)
I was not really into the girl scene, frankly. I played sports and read books and simply didn’t bother with the magazines targeted at pre-teens and teens.
I was Not Fashionable In Any Way — those of you who know me not just can’t believe that, amiright??
But without my tacit knowledge, I took away something fundamental from those years: what made a female attractive was the degree to which she met all the cultural expectations for the male gaze. I wasted an unforgivable amount of time and energy trying to turn myself — through diet, exercise, shopping and self-loathing — into an acceptable thing that met all those expectations.
Needless to say, I failed. And now, finally, at the ripe age of almost 45, I’m glad I did.
Purely by God’s grace, I met a man who wanted to go through life side by side with a person, an actual woman, not a sweetly packaged up set of cultural and religious check-boxes. Never, not once, in the 18 years since I met David, have I ever felt objectified by him. I cannot adequately describe in words what an unbelievable gift this is to me as a person but mostly as a woman who is constantly objectified everywhere else — to find in the safety of my marriage a place for my full and unfettered humanity.
So when a friend of mine said to me last week that he had bought lingerie for his girlfriend that he has “not yet enjoyed,” I cringed (and told him so), and suggested that perhaps he ought to get her something that isn’t for him at all.
Like, um, I don’t know, A GIFT.
And when an article popped up on my Facebook feed about a teenaged girl who crowdsourced a company to make bras for girls that do not sexualize them, I cried, actual tears, in appreciation for the young woman who built Yellowberry (http://www.yellowberrycompany.com/) for girls like mine so that maybe, just maybe, they won’t waste the same number of hours and years I did trying to make themselves into a thing for male consumption.
Times are most certainly changing.
My daughters are growing up as athletes and scholars, strong of body, mind and soul. They are growing up with the idea that the God who loves them with a fierce, wild, outrageous love made them to bear His image in the world, that God made their female bodies and pronounced them good, not because males approve of them but because with those bodies they become part of the body of Christ. They are learning what it means not only to have a body but to be a body, how to choose clothes and shoes, yes, even bras that free them up to live life on their own terms, and to seek God directly for what those terms might be. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
My girls are learning day by day that God made them to stand tall, with their shoulders back and their eyes up, in full and unapologetic equality with their brothers, tasked with bringing shalom to the whole Earth, tasked with being a blessing to the nations. And as far as men are concerned, my girls are already drawn to the ones who take them seriously, who listen to them and laugh with them, who play basketball with them in the pool and watch their soccer games from the sidelines. Men who are neither afraid of their female bodies nor overemphasize them, as if they were limited in some fundamental way because of them.
My daughters are not unique. This new generation of ezers is going to turn the world upside down.
I couldn’t be more proud.