The Art of Being a Lady: God’s Definition of Femininity {Part I}

I debated for a long time whether or not to oh-so-directly talk about God's definition of femininity on the blog and for a while opted not to. But the other day, reading through past articles I've written for The Art of Being a Lady series, I came across a long-forgotten comment on the tongue-in-cheek post about attracting the man of your dreams. Call it divine intervention, call it common sense, call it moral obligation, call it reckless disregard for others' feelings – whatever you wish to call it, the following conversation is necessary if we are to move forward in exploring the art of being a lady.

"I find this series very unsettling," wrote the commentator. "I find [How to Attract the Man of Your Dreams] particularly uncomfortable because it disregards non-heterosexual women. Another issue is [your point that] only certain clothes will attract "gentlemen." You are clearly very aware that the concept of being "ladylike" is considered old-fashioned – you rally against it in every post and yet you perpetuate heteronormativity and slut-shaming. Perhaps recognizing that "ladies" come in all types – gay, straight, transgender, baggy clothes wearers, tight clothes wearers, I'd be more inclined to believe that your concept of a lady is actually modern and reflective of the times."

Several phrases immediately caught my attention. First, the commentator found The Art of Being a Lady series "unsettling" and "uncomfortable" because it "disregards non-heterosexual women." Second, my advice for females to dress "tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to show you're a lady" caused the commentator to believe that I encourage "slut-shaming." Last but not least, the commentator is under the illusion that the series aims and fails to be "modern and reflective of the times."

Let's backtrack for a minute. I initially started this series with the intention of inspiring women, myself included, to refine our lives and learn to embody the essence of a woman as originally intended by God. From the very first post, I emphasized that by no means were these posts based on the pretense that I have some sort of elite knowledge. {That would make me delusional.} What I have to say on this topic is not a result of formal education; it's not an epiphany I had after years of scholarly research. It comes not from personal tastes or preferences {unless we're discussing fashion}. It is not a result of my own sexual inclination or sexual orientation or whatever is the modern-day, politically correct term that means I am attracted to men. Instead, I write about my understanding of the definition and role of a woman as originally intended by God. That – and that alone – has been the idea to which I've tried to align my writing in every single post on this blog.

I am no fool – I know that in our contemporary, equality-driven, liberal society the topic of being a lady is polarizing: either you love it, or you're ghastly offended by it – there is no middle ground. To speak even of scientifically verified differences between males and females is to risk being accused of sexism, chauvinism, and as the recent example illustrated, old-fashioned thinking that is neither modern nor reflective of the times.

From the dawn of time up until the past two decades or so, people took for granted the definition of a woman as to need no explanation. But modern-day philosophy attacks us daily with terrible force, leaving many in a fog of rhetoric about ugly things like politics, equality and rights. As a result, Christians find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to defend to seemingly educated people what was once perfectly obvious to the simplest peasant. That any sensible person {I'm taking the liberty of assuming that our commentator is, in fact, sensible} would find it necessary to argue that transgender is a type of female only shows how far we as a society have slid into absurdities. "Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world," Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:2, "but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect."

Here is where I must be brutally honest with you.

I am not here to attempt to interpret the truth in a way that is favorable to the world's skewed interpretation of equality and gender roles. I am also not here to defend stereotypes of femininity. But most importantly, I am not here to make you feel comfortable.

What I am here for is to evoke a discussion on God's archetype, or the original essence, of what it means to be a woman. 

If we truly understood God's purpose for women, these questions would take care of themselves. Femininity is rooted in who God has created a woman to be through biological composition and inward spirit. It is not dependent on looks, interests, hobbies or personality. Yes, we talk often about those elements – but only to recognize that they are mere reflections of our innermost spirit, which is precisely the reason we look beyond the surface in the first place.

So if at any point, with any post, I have lead you to believe something that doesn't align with the ideas above, please regard it as your moral obligation to correct me. Today more than ever before I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so leave your opinion in the comment section. If you wish to remain anonymous, simply type "Guest" when signing into Disqus, below.

Hope to see you tune in next week for The Art of Being a Lady: God's Definition of Femininity {Part II}, where we will discuss the main components of femininity according to the Bible.

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Dress, TJ Maxx // Blazer c/o Sparrow Boutique // Necklaces, c/0 JEWELIQ and c/0 Adia Kibur // Shoes, Nine West

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17 Comments

  1. Pingback: Top 16 for 2016: Most Popular Posts of the Year

  2. Thank God for your refreshing blog, my heart smiled when you mentioned God and quoted Bible scriptures. God bless you dear beautiful sister!!! Keep up the amazing work!

  3. Hi, Oksana! :-D
    I’ve just discovered your blog, and I love it!! I’m 14 years old, and have been looking for a blog that I could read that would discuss what it really means to be ladylike. Your posts talk openly about God, and I find that so refreshing and inspiring. I’ve loved reading your posts in “The Art of Being a Lady” series, because you’re not afraid to stand up and speak out about the things that are going on in the world right now that go against our faith. You are inspiring me to grow up to become a woman who will love and respect the Lord, and show that I am a lady through my actions and even the way I dress (which I am trying to make look more feminine)!
    I know that this was a very long comment, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your posts, and I hope to read more very soon!!! :-) THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

    xoxo, Cherise

  4. I read a couple of your posts, and was considering whether to subscribe to your email list or not, as I try to limit my emails and blog subscriptions to an amount I can actually read–which must be positive, uplifting, and inspiring, and most of all, not offensive to my faith. This article did it–I’m unsubscribing from a lesser blog so that I can read YOURS. I love the strength, the conviction, and the beauty in what you write. And now I’m off to read parts 2 and 3! :-D

    • Hi Amy, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share your thoughts! I cannot even begin to express what an encouragement you are to me! I truly hope the other articles proved worth your time, but as I did not receive a newsletter subscription, I am left thinking otherwise… But not to fret! There is a time for everything, right? To be completely honest, The Art of Being a Lady series have come to a pause as life and massive to-do lists have gotten in the way…but as of late, I’ve received so much positive feedback – much like your uplifting comment – that I am considering reviving the blog series again, so I genuinely hope you’ll follow along and join the discussions. What sort of topics would you like to see covered in the future?

      • I hope you do revive the blog! I’m not sure why you didn’t receive my subscription… I entered my name and email in the pink box at the top of the page and clicked “subscribe”… anyway, I’ll try again.
        I’ve been considering starting a women’s group just for the purpose of uplifting and encouraging each other in our “feminine genius” and would love to see practical ideas that might be applied to groups of women. But I haven’t read all you have here, so I’m not sure yet what hasn’t been covered. If I notice something seems “missing,” or want more in-depth on a topic, I’ll be sure to leave a comment to let you know! Thanks!

        • Regarding the newsletter, I use a double confirmation system, so you should’ve received an email that said something like, “Are you sure you want to subscribe? If so, please confirm.” That probably explains why I never saw your subscription…

          I love your idea about starting a women’s group and will brainstorm some ideas on how I can help you in the process! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! Hope to keep in touch!

          XO, Oksana

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  6. Pingback: God's Definition of Femininity, Part II

  7. Beautifully written by a beautiful heart anchored in the Lord. Your fashion sense, impeccable. Your words, inspiring. THANK YOU. Love, Jessica Silva, Three TwentyThree & Co.

    • Thank you so much for saying that, Jessica! That is perhaps one of the loveliest compliments I’ve ever received!

      I’d love to have you chime in next week for Part II of this topic! XOXO

  8. Thank you for this blog and standing up to what you think is right.
    Reading this blog has encouraged me to become more of a lady. Instead of just putting anything on in the morning i try to look more feminine everyday. You are truly inspirational!
    Keep the posts coming. :)

    • Hi Kristiane, Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m curious to know if you’ve noticed any other changes within yourself since you started trying to dress more feminine. Care to share? :)

  9. I was totally drawn in by that mustard and purple outfit. You look beautiful.

    But I just can’t agree with the since the “dawn of time” argument used to define a biological essence of femininity.

    The dawn of time you refer to is more likely to line up with the dawn of agriculture, so only about 10,000 years ago. That’s such a tiny drop in the bucket considering that humans evolved 1.8 million years ago. And even if you only look at the last 10,000 years, it’s not like the social signifiers of femininity are consistent from century to century.

    It’s fine to have a preference for how you would like to perform ladylike, but please don’t pretend it’s based in some sort of biological imperative.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment and for taking the time to read my exceptionally lengthy post!

      I’m afraid you may have misunderstood me on several occasions. First, the dawn of time I refer to is when God created the universe. “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” {Genesis 1:27} Whether this happened 10,000 or 1.6 billion years ago is, essentially, irrelevant to this discussion, because the main point is that God had a plan and a purpose for creating two separate entities, if you will, both of whom were created in His image.

      Second, this entire series considers “femininity” as referring to what it means to be a female as God intended. Therefore, your point about social signifiers of femininity being inconsistent across centuries, while valid, is unconnected. I’m not denying the fact that social concepts of “femininity” are influenced by the culture we live in. However, attitudes about what is considered feminine and ladylike are primarily concerned with externalities, which is not the main focus of The Art of Being a Lady series.

      I hope that next week’s post will provide more clarity on this topic.

  10. Beautifully written Oksana! I always leave your blog posts feeling inspired and encouraged.

    I love this–> “Femininity is rooted in who God has created a woman to be through biological composition and inward spirit. It is not dependent on looks, interests, hobbies or personality. Yes, we talk often about those elements – but only to recognize that they are mere reflections of our innermost spirit, which is precisely the reason we look beyond the surface in the first place.”

    Because after all, charm is deceptive and beauty will fade but a woman who loves and respects the Lord will be greatly praised.

    I am looking forward to reading Part 2!!

    • Hi Abby,

      First of all, thank you so much for your constant love and support! Your comment about feeling inspired and encouraged is the biggest compliment I could ever hope for! You have no idea what your comments, likes, shares, etc. mean to me. I’m so excited to hear your opinion on next week’s post!

      Let me know next time you’re in town; I’d love to get coffee!

      XOXO, Oksana

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