Amongst the many women in the bible, there’s one I respect so much. Her name is Vashti. It is easy to dismiss her impeccable strength and admirable courage because the tradition was for her to bend graciously to the distasteful will of her husband. Perhaps, Vashti was either done with the public displays or she rather felt insulted by them.A King and his friends sat making merry, drinking and chatting in his home. This King Xerxes seeking to maintain his vague glory, sends his wife away. How can a man with glory and power like Xerxes parade his wife and try coax her into doing what she did not want to do. Many say she disobeyed him. They call her the disobedient wife.
In those days and age, it was just abnormal for a woman to stand up and say No especially when it was a husbands request. It was unusual but Vashti did it. Women were to ridiculously accept decisions and follow the will of the husband whether they liked it or not. For years, women have been subjected to an incredible and yet very unrealistic social standard.
Jesus was never interested in subjecting anyone to any social standard. In fact, Jesus was counter-cultural. The individual Jesus met at the well was both Samaritan and “immoral woman.” Jews and Samaritans did not mingle and so for Jesus to have approached her in the way and manner he did teaches us that culture exists and so does the true unadulterated word that has nothing to do with culture.
Apart from she being a Samaritan, she had been with many men who were not her husband. Jesus introduced her to the gospel. Jesus met her need right when she needed it the most. He didn’t criticize her neither did he spell out her wrongs but allowed her to speak her truth.
The fact still remains that women are treated differently from men although women irrespective of biological differences are very equal to men.
If culture determines and completely influences how we live then we’re in trouble. This means we’ll continue to train women and men differently. This also means that although we pledge allegiance to the Lord, we are more entangled by traditions, customs and systems set up to give men power and destroy them also. The kind of system that allows men to struggle with their innocence. This system tells men that in order for them to fit in, they need to be established at a certain age. They need to work and provide whether they are capable or not.
We train sons to be tougher and better handlers of pressure and we put roses in the hair of our daughters. We call them Princesses just to prepare them for the marriage market.
No wonder some women seem desperate for men in their lives even when their emotions are toiled with. If you’re trained your whole life to be whole whiles depending on another, then you’ll always live thinking you have a limp when that person isn’t there.
This is the same reason sons are barely interested in marriage. For them, to commit is to be ready to provide, to be sacrificed for and to be loved by a woman who they sometimes do not even love. To them, availability is key.
Let us not let women feel like they need to give up a lot in order to be considered a worthy candidate to be wifed.
Can we stop labeling women who say NO! Can we stop calling them Jezebel when they boldly go against what society believes is fit. Allow people to find themselves. Not every woman loves to be back-staged. Not every woman loves to cook. Not every woman loves fashion. Not every woman loves to be quiet even when they do not agree.
It’s actually okay to be like Vashti because it’s only then you expose the insecurity of the man. If the only time you believe you have power is when your lord it over others, then you’re very powerless. It’s okay to be like Esther too. It’s perfectly fine to be a Mary. The problem is when you’re caged and simultaneously told to evolve like every other woman.
Seriously, if the standard for all women are the same, then we are consciously or unconsciously saying women cannot be different in any way. That’s definitely a naive way to put women in a box.
Women deserve to be in the board rooms. Women deserve to be in the judiciary. Women deserve to be breadwinners. Women deserve to own their own houses. Women deserve to have their own lands. Women deserve to learn and grow whiles taking care of their children. (Women are not heroes who can take care of children without mistakes. Women are human). Women deserve what they want and not what society requires of them.
We are done bowing to the pressure associated with being a woman. We are done being taught that our whole existence is because of a man. We are actually tired of being treated as though we were doormats. We are done!