The Strength of Beauty

Oh my soul, FaceBook, as if my headaches have not worn me out enough the last few weeks!! I began to wonder if I needed to take a break from FaceBook.

I watched the Inauguration, and then I watched my FB feed explode. Some with great excitement, some with tentative hope, some with great anger and some with outright hatred. All friends. All people I know in real life and care about. 

Over the last twenty four hours I have listened. I have witnessed such a spread of opinion not just on the news, but in the heart of my friends. I wonder how we will bridge this gap. I wonder how the conversations will develop.

I watched as friends began to post pictures as they marched in the Women’s parade, holding their posters and beaming with pride. These are friends I respect and love. Not women I shrug off and easily disrespect. Then I saw others posting articles with pictures of women dressed as vaginas, wearing shirts with vulgarity. 

Shouting profanity. 

Then the protests against the president with businesses destroyed and property damaged. 

I thought more about shutting down Facebook. 

Then…I saw pictures of a friend who had just suffered a heart attack, and I prayed. I saw pictures of another friend with their baby granddaughter just born, and I rejoiced. I saw pictures of friends celebrating and I remembered why I love Facebook.

Sunday morning I went to church and saw friends who were frustrated by the women’s march and friends who had marched. We all worshipped together and I got to hug them all and talk with them all. We all want our girls to be strong women and pray for the same things, hope for the same things for the country and our neighbors. 

So, as I sit here Monday morning my thoughts are still not clear. I could not march in the Women’s march because it was so clearly tied to Planned Parenthood, but also because I was frustrated by how it seemed to meet Trump’s vulgarity with a vulgarity of its own. Women wearing ‘pussy’ hats and calling themselves ‘Nasty Women’ simply does not resonate with me. I understand the need to demonstrate, and I even understand my friends who marched and wore the hats, and I value the freedom they have to do so. Most of my friends walked with different signs.

I want my daughter to be strong, and I want her never to know what it is to have a man take advantage of her…a man feel that he can do as he wants with her. I have had men push me beyond where I was comfortable, and that is a feeling you can never erase. I want my girl to never experience that and to have the strength to never need the approval of a man who would act that way. So how do we get there…marching dressed as vaginas?  
Maybe.

Maybe that is part of it. Maybe we need to shock ourselves into a conversation about all of this. About women’s health care and about rape culture and dating culture, about our incredibly loose sexuality in advertising and movies and culture. About ‘locker room’ talk and our young men learning to treat women with dignity. Maybe we need some shock…

But maybe we need something on the other side as well, and this is a bit more where I fall. I want my girl to be strong. I seriously want her to take Karate and know how to defend herself. I want her to know her rights and speak up for herself..but I want her to know beauty and wonder and love. I want her to know she is made by a Creator who loves her and created her in beauty. I want her to know that at her core she is loved by a Savior who came to redeem her because she is loved that well, and if that is true, she does not need to settle for a love that would abuse her. I want her strength to come from an identity rooted in love. 

And…her brothers need to know this as well. We need our boys to be raised knowing that they are to love well. They are to love with a tenderness and a protectiveness and an honor. They are not to talk about women as commodities and . They are to love with love that honors beauty and does not ravage it. To be strong  means that we create beauty and sanctuary and peace.

 To create vulgarity and chaos is easy. To create peace and beauty is difficult, and that requires true strength.

I do not mind the march. I do not mind my friends who marched. The vulgarity bothered me, but I guess that was part of the point…it forced me to think. I do not consider any of my friends nasty women, though. I consider them women who carry beauty with them, and who carry the ability to create wonder and peace all around them. Where others are creating vulgarity…let’s bring true strength.  

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