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The recent episode with the South African runner highlights the social constructs we place on gender. It also emphasizes how we as people tend to want to 'read the book by its cover'.

What we are in our body determines if we are “male” or “female”. What we are on the outside is largely a social construct created by the prevailing cultural mores of the day. Do we wear gloves? Do we wear slacks? Do we wear makeup? Do we study hard? Do we value our looks? Do we value our minds? These are a determination of the culture in which we reside.

In the Victorian Era was one recent “cult of femininity”. This was an attempt to develop “hyper” males and “hyper” females – within a certain social class. This was something that was not seen as important for men and women in lower class, poorer, or foreign populations. The second large move was during the Edwardian Era before WWI, the famous Gibson Girl, was the poster girl for this movement.

At the close of WW2 the men came back to home and jobs. "Rosie the Riviter" was sent home. The women who’d been keeping things going in the workplace were told to go back to husband and children (even when they had neither). A new cult of hyper or “uber” femininity developed. The poster girl for this false construct was the mother from the “Leave It To Beaver” television show. In one episode, she was wearing a string of pearls while cleaning the oven!

The problem was, it was all lies. Victorian men, as a group, were no more true and good as husbands because of the super-femininity of their wives. There was still domestic abuse and rates of venereal disease were still high. The Victorian woman - and man - was living a lie.

The Gibson Girl was a lie as well, since it too was a front to the true problems in a society based on dominance and control. The fifties was also a social mask hiding the marriages built on lies, the basic dissatisfaction people felt with their lives, and the same social problems bubbled under the surface. This was the decade that birthed “Playboy” – the cult of femininity taken to its extreme because at the root of the cult is the idea that woman’s one purpose in life is to please – at any cost – a man.

This placed within the hands of men the determination of what was beauty, what was feminine and what was permissible among women. The fifties is the parent of the social unrest of the 1960’s because young people saw the injustice and hypocrisy of the relationships around them.

In the present day, the message has been twisted to inform women and young girls that their tossing aside of virtues of modesty, self-worth and pride are to be valued. How much skin they show as they advertize their sexuality in the bumps and grinds that were once only seen in sleezy back strip joints, becomes the standard for feminine freedom and equality.

I don't think so.

The same off-kilter values that created the hyper-femininity have also created the hyper-sexuality of today's woman. Neither is the true essence of the creature fashioned by God and in God's own image.

Each individual is a unique being, with special purpose and value to God. Shake off the shackles of the cult of hyper-feminity and the cult of hyper sexuality to become a true woman of God! A woman's value is not determined by any man, any group, or any society. A woman's value is determined by the relationship she has with God, other people, and the face that stares back at her in the mirror each morning.

"Nothing is happy until it fulfills the purpose for which it was created by God." What was your purpose? To love and serve God. Not a man, not a family, and not a legalism.

"A man's main business is God; a woman's main business is the man." - Pastor Jack Hyles Dont be distanced from relationship with God by slanted ideas that you are a 'second class creation'. God created humans and said "It was good."

That includes you.

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Noel Brooks: A Life Shining and Burning, 1914-2006



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