It seems like everyone is up in arms about “The Transformed Wife.”
For those of you who don’t know, The Transformed Wife is Lori Alexander, some kind of allegedly Christian blogger I at first thought was a brilliant parody troll but it turns out she’s serious. She wrote a blog post entitled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos,” illustrated with a nice stock photo of some modest, wholesome blonde woman sitting in a field of dead grass.
The article is frankly shocking; it’s all about how good Christian women ought not to go to college or try to improve themselves, because they ought to be at home learning to cook for large families and learning the proper interpretation of the Bible from their fathers. This will keep them virgins and out of debt, which will make them more pleasing and interesting to men, thus making them good wives which is apparently the be-all and end-all of every woman’s existence.
People are up in arms about this. Men in particular are clamoring against it, objecting that they like women who actually know about something other than housework and the like. Everyone’s got something to say.
There is plenty that is alarming about this post, but there’s one thing that I don’t think has been adequately addressed.
Since when is being a Christian woman about making yourself pleasing to men?
Are we as Christians supposed to conform ourselves to men? Or are we supposed to conform ourselves to the Lord?
I have often seen, in the school of Christian thought to which The Transformed Wife belongs, a sort of odd dichotomy whereby men are supposed to conform themselves to God instead of the world to be holy, but women are supposed to conform themselves to what men want. Maybe that’s not the case in the literature directed at men– I’m more familiar to the advice directed at women, after all. But I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in Protestant and Catholic circles, so I can’t blame it on Bible thumpers. For all kinds of Christian women, It’s portrayed as our Christian duty to do whatever it takes to be a catch.
This is basically the opposite of any example we’ve been given in the Bible or the lives of the Saints, but they still say we’re supposed to be a catch.
Ladies: the Lord does not see you as a catch.
The devil sees you as a catch. He’d like to catch you and transform you into something other than you are. He’ll do whatever it takes. Sometimes he uses bloggers like the Transformed Wife to make it seem a Christian duty to be, first and foremost, something other than a saint.
The Lord, on the other hand, sees you the same way He sees men: His beloved, His bride (yes, all of us, male and female, are His brides), purchased through the merits of His Holy Passion although He could have paid any price He wanted, because He wanted you to know you are worth that much–and because He wanted there to never be a place you could find yourself where He is not. He loves you that much, whether you’re a modestly dressed blond model in a stock photo or any other sort of person.
Christ wants to heal you of every wound and take you home to be with His Father. I can say for certain that’s where you will end up if you follow Him. But what route will that journey take? That’s different for everyone. In some fashion, it leads through the Valley of Shadow and ascends a terrible mountain named after a skull. Every saint carries her cross along that way. There will be glory beyond all telling along that way, and also plenty of horror. I’m not going to say it will never be more than you can handle, because I haven’t found that to be the case, but you can be certain that it will be worth it, Christ will be with you, and that Christ will win for you in the end.
You may well find yourself a debt-free virgin. Christianity began with a virgin, after all. She was debt-free as far as we know, and obedient to the Torah so she had no tattoos. She was also poor, the only child of her parents in a culture that viewed wealth and a large number of sons as the most sure sign of Divine favor. She agreed to become pregnant out of obedience to the Lord, not men, and it almost cost her a good devout husband. But Saint Joseph was a just man; he also conformed himself to God rather than men, and obeyed the message of the angel.
That virgin was not quiet. Her canticle was the Magnificat, that most inconvenient of hymns, that terrible proclamation that the Lord does not favor the things that men favor. That virgin did not go on to be a prosperous and useful mother of many children, at least not on earth. She gave birth to her only child while homeless in a strange town; then she and her husband became refugees and migrants to avoid the baby being murdered. She was present at the lynching of her only Son, a manual laborer who wandered the country with no place to lay His head, and she could not save Him. And that virgin is the holiest woman there will ever be. No demure and prosperous housewife with a gaggle of healthy children could ever match her holiness.