Monday, January 30, 2012

Homesteading Ladies - Follow-up

I wanted to post a follow-up to my post on homesteading ladies. First,
let me explain that the reason that I wrote the blog post was due to a
recent private message that I received on facebook. A gal was very
adamant that to be considered feminine a woman needed to be soft and
dainty in her appearance. She mentioned getting her nails done, always
looking her best (complete with make-up) and dressed in feminine
attire. She said that women of the Bible were real women who knew how
to present themselves as such. One mistake that she made to me was
mentioning how feminine the Proverbs 31 woman was. Mistake in that I
was able to use that very example as one that supported my point that a
woman can work hard and still be considered feminine. This gal spoke of
how she goes to the salon every week to have her nails done, pedicure,
and often a facial. In her words, a woman who is feminine never works
as hard as a man. Hmm....... and here I thought women were created to
be a man's helpmeet. (please note the sarcasm in that comment)

There is a huge difference between being feminine or a lady and being a
"girlie-girl." I believe that being feminine is more of an attitude.
It is how you carry yourself. It is in how you talk and act towards
others. Dressing in feminine clothing may help you appear more
feminine, but if you don't walk the walk or talk the talk, no amount of
make-up or frilly clothing is going to make you feminine.

In Biblical times, a woman worked hard. She did not have the
conveniences that women have available to them today. She gleaned in
the fields, milled the grain into flour, made the meals, tended to her
children, made the family's clothing, and all of the typical tasks that
women do to maintain a home and their family's needs. This did not take
away from her feminine nature.

When I was truck driving, I found many times that other drivers would
stop cussing in my presence. Even when talking on the CB radio to other
drivers, they were very respectful of my being a lady. Yes, they knew I
was a truck driver also. They heard the difference however and knew
that I was still a lady in spite of the job I had. On some occasions
when a young trucker would start talking in an inappropriate manner to
me, another driver would verbally dress them down reminding them that
they were talking to a lady, not a tramp. Drivers would hold the door
open for me when I entered or left a truck stop if my beloved wasn't
with me at that moment. They treated me with total respect.

Working hard or doing physical work does not take away from a woman's
feminine nature. Dressing in functional clothing does not take away
from her femininity either. It is our behavior or attitude that can
take away from it. One of the most feminine women that I know is a dear
friend of mine. She is a biker, has tattoos, knows how to use a gun,
has the occasional drink, smokes, and has no fear of telling you what
she is thinking at any given moment. This same gal loves to get all
dolled up for her husband and is absolutely gorgeous. She is one of
most hard working people that I know. Like my beloved, her husband is a
truck driver. She tends their home and property while he is out on the
road. She is also a very feminine lady to the core! She admits
readily to being a girlie-girl, but has no problem with doing dirty,
physical work. She has her own business making soaps, lotions and
such. She also turns old wine bottles into the most beautiful lamps.
The lady has a lot of talent! I adore her and feel blessed to have her
call me friend.

Another example of a hard working woman that I admire is Katie, the
Amish woman I have written about before. At the time I was still living
in Ohio, Katie had 7 children. She raised those children, tended the
home, the family garden, helped with farm chores wherever extra hands
were needed, and even took part in the butchering each autumn. She
worked very hard each day. Her days began early, often before sunrise,
and ended after sunset each night. Being of the Old Order Amish faith,
she did her daily tasks each day without the benefit of modern
technological conveniences. The most modern things that I remember her
using were her kitchen wood stove, canning jars, and a treadle sewing
machine. Unless there was snow on the ground, you often found her
working in her bare feet. She wore shoes in winter, when going to
church meetings, or on outings. The rest of time, she was bare foot.
Katie did all of her work in a long dress with an apron over it. She
was soft spoken, but a tough lady when necessary. She could be found
outdoors working, bare feet covered in mud, sweat beaded on her brow and
still had the quiet elegance of a lady.

My precious Gram was a strong woman. She raised 3 sons during the
Depression years while her husband was often away as a railroad
conductor for an old narrow-gauge railroad company. My father, her
youngest, was born in 1923. They lived and worked on farms owned by
others. She called it share cropping. They worked the farm and in
return were given housing and a small income from the farm's earnings.
Gram had a temper and had no problem letting you know it when she got
her knickers in a not over something. She could hold a grudge tighter
than Scrooge could hold his money. I remember a time when a neighbor
had one of Gram's dishes. The neighbor never returned the dish and Gram
would fuss over that for years to come. There were few who affected her
that way. She held grudges rarely that I knew of. She worked hard. I
remember even after she had a clothes dryer, she would still use her old
Maytag wringer washer and hang out the laundry on the clothesline. I
have no memory of her ever using a more modern washing machine. Gram
was a tough ol' bird in every respect. Gram was also very feminine and
a lady in all the ways that counted. She was an awesome woman. She
went to our Lord in 1983, within weeks of the birth of my first born.
After all these years, I still grieve for her. She was the woman that I
wanted to become.

There are many examples in my life of women who are very feminine and a
lady to the core. Each are strong and hard working. They are adored by
their family. Their husband's cherish them and are grateful for all
that they do for the family. There is nothing about being a hard
working mother that takes away from your femininity. It is in your
nature. Only your own attitude and behavior can take away from it. I
feel sorry for women like the one who contacted me. They see a very
superficial layer to being feminine that puts upon them a pressure that
must be unbearable at times. These are the ones who will suffer greatly
when they begin to show age. We can only pray that they see that their
true feminine nature is not tied to their being primped, dainty and
soft. True femininity is the gentle strength found in women. It is
what gives us the ability to persevere in hard times with grace. It is
what gives us the strength to risk pain of childbirth multiple times.
It is what gives us the steel spine when we need to help our beloved
husband shoulder a rough road. It is within all women.