Jesus elevated women into places that the culture said they shouldn’t be. Here Lauren Windle explains why it’s so important to follow his lead and celebrate any woman who steps into ‘a man’s world’.
My niece is four years old and she wants to be a Princess. Ballerina is a viable back-up for her but she hasn’t put any contingency plan in place beyond that. My six-year-old nephew is set on being a footballer, basketball player or anything that involves dinosaurs.
I want to say that I’m blown away that they’ve gravitated towards these preferences so early with no influence from the adults in their life, but I’m pretty sure we’ve, consciously or unconsciously, encouraged them into these stereotypical roles. And even if we hadn’t the world and the media are pretty effective at enforcing these stereotypes.
I’ve taken steps to make sure I’m not negatively impacting either of them with my language. I don’t like to compliment her on her looks too often opting to praise her tenacity and strength of character instead. And when she says she wants to be a Princess I’ve taken to saying “Or doctor?” just to plant different seeds in her young mind. But then I do watch Disney films with them and have bought my niece countless flouncy, sparkly dresses - so I am by no means blameless.
Jesus put women where the world said they shouldn’t be and so should we.
But as I’ve reflected on this last week following the Lionesses’ historic victory against Germany in the women’s European tournament, I’ve realised that the tides really are turning… and I want to be a part of it.
Throughout his ministry Jesus always championed women, he was progressive in his treatment of the women around him and elevated them far beyond the culture of the day. Women weren’t considered reliable witnesses, in fact three women would have to agree on a testimony for it to be taken seriously, whereas one man was considered worthy of note. But this didn’t stop Jesus first revealing his resurrected body to women. Jesus put women where the world said they shouldn’t be and so should we.
Watching the coverage of the epic win, there were many clips of young girls glued to their screens as the Lionesses stormed to victory, some wearing their football kits others in their princess dresses. But all engrossed in what they were seeing. For many, I’m ashamed to say myself included, it will have been the first time they sat down to watch a women’s football match. But representation matters and seeing these women proudly tackle, dribble and score their way into the history books is inspiring for all of us.
I want my niece to believe she can achieve anything if she works hard for it and yes - that maybe a disciplined and graceful ballerina- but it also may be a bold and brave Lioness.
They should be celebrated and we should continue to provide a platform to women who break conventional stereotypes and dare to venture into “the men’s world”. I want my niece to believe she can achieve anything if she works hard for it and yes - that maybe a disciplined and graceful ballerina. But it also may be a bold and brave Lioness. As long as she continues to see it modelled, she’ll believe she can do it too.