I was recently surprised at my reaction to a meme that was floating around Facebook. It had to do with “The New Fairytale.” It said the following:
“Once upon a time a prince asked a beautiful princess will you marry me? The princess said ‘no’ and the princess lived happily ever after and traveled around the world and met interesting people and learned new stuff and always put herself first and went to rock concerts and no one ever told her to ‘go make a sandwich’ and kept her apartment and all of her shoes and never got cheated on, period. And all her family and friends thought she was cool and made tons of money and the toilet seat was always down, like it’s supposed to be. The end.” -source unknown
Wow. There are so many things that are wrong with this seemingly innocent little meme. First, let me give you some background about myself. You see, there was a time in my life (and yes, I was a Christian at the time) where this little meme would have truly meant something to me. I was a woman on a mission. I believed that God gave me the gift of leadership and it was my responsibility to forget about men or find a man who didn’t care if I was successful and then make something of myself. I pretty much spent all four years of college becoming that woman. My career path was right in front of me and I was primed to be successful and make lots of money and travel the world if I wanted. Sort of… Ok, so really, I didn’t have a job yet, but I had the drive and my passion was for almost all of the things listed in the above meme. I went to an all women’s college, so the feminist movement was apparent and active in my life. What I didn’t know, at the time, was that God had a different mission; a mission to change my heart to be more like him and to realize that my true calling in life was a little different than what the 22 year old version of myself thought. So, when I saw this meme floating around, I was shocked at how my immediate response was an uncomfortable feeling.
So, let’s fast forward to now. I’m not anti-feminist movement, I believe I have a healthy balance of women’s rights and how that falls in line with God’s plan for families, but I will share more on that some time in the future. For now, I want to talk about some things that set off red flags in my heart when I read this meme.
1. If some prince had asked me to marry him, I’m pretty sure I would have been cool with that! Just Kidding! In all seriousness though, the whole prince/princess thing has gotten out of hand. When I was younger, I loved all of the Disney princess stuff, which wasn’t much then, and I loved any kind of princess costume, wand, crown, etc. I loved it, but I also understood that it was make believe. It wasn’t real. I wasn’t a real princess, in worldly terms anyway, I was a princess in God’s eyes, but the reality is the only royalty in my family was German nobility that happened many generations before I was born and honestly, I know nothing about it. What happened that caused this make believe world that little girls play in to become an adult fantasy? It seems to be more and more common where women get wrapped up in this fairytale land where everything is perfect and there are no troubles to work through. I find this confusing.
2. The next two sections I have problems with are, “The princess lived happily ever after… and always put herself first.” Hmm… Honestly, I’m not even sure how to respond to this. As women of God, we should not be putting ourselves first, contrary to what the world tells us about making ourselves number one. Our priorities should be God, our families/others and ourselves last. It is sound scripture and it’s what God calls us to do. God first, others second, ourselves last. “The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mathew 12:29-30) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3) Does this mean, as wives and moms, we should never care about ourselves? Absolutely not. I do believe that all moms need a break to recharge and be in the best condition to take care of her family, and I also believe we should take care of ourselves in outward appearance, but it should not be our primary focus.
3. The last two sections I have a problem with are “and no one ever told her to go make a sandwich” and “made tons of money.” First of all, my husband has never commanded me to “go make a sandwich.” I know that not all women come from good relationships and some husbands are dominating in a non-biblical way and command their wives to do things, but I’m not talking about sensitive or abusive relationships. I’m talking about your “average” marriage. If my husband “asked” me to make a sandwich, I would. I don’t see why this is a problem? I would love to serve my husband a sandwich and if I asked my husband to make me a sandwich, he would. The second part of this problem is the money. Obviously, we should not be making money our priority. Is it nice to have money? Sure. Does it sometimes make things easier? Yes, it does, but when it is our focus, it becomes our god. And God is very clear about that, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
Ultimately, the above three problems aren’t the biggest issue I have with this meme, as I realize this meme was not intended for Christian women because if it were, then obviously loving God is the biggest issue. But given the fact that this is a secular meme, the biggest issue with this meme is how it demeans men. It’s putting in our minds that men are not important. It’s telling us women, that we don’t need our men and if we believe we don’t need our men, then we let our men know we don’t need them and the deeper and deeper this belief goes, the more truthful it becomes. There is a problem in this country and in our church, where we are constantly demeaning our men and teaching them to be passive and teaching them that they are not important and making them feel useless in the church, in the home and with our children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of this as the next. It’s something I’m really praying about and working on and God is really working on my heart in this area. This whole idea, though, is very dangerous. We can’t make our men feel this way. God designed men and women to be partners to share in each others strengths and weaknesses and to need one another! We can’t keep bringing our men down, we have to build them up and we have to tell them why we need them and why they are important. We do this through loving them in all circumstances and encouraging them as their partner.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24
I encourage you this week to really work towards encouraging your husbands. If you do this already, great, keep it up. If this is an area you struggle with, then give it to God. Ask God to show you how to make your husband see that he is needed and how to love him in a Godly way. Do you struggle with sometimes making your husband not feel needed? I find this especially challenging with parenting. Is this an area that you need to turn over to God? Have you seen this same things happening in the church and around you?