When I was a child, one of the worst insults someone could hurl at you was, “You throw like a girl!” No one wanted you on their ball team if you threw like a girl. When the occasional scuffle broke out, one might hear an even harsher insult, “You fight like a girl!” This would often lead to other fights to prove that the insulted party did not, in fact, fight like a girl.
Today, the entertainment industry has created the genre of “superheroine”—an ideal that many women have accepted “hook, line, and sinker.” Moviemakers create fantasy lands where women weighing barely 100 pounds overpower men who are twice their weight. But do we, as women, want this image for ourselves and our daughters? What is really behind this idea? Why do some women feel that they must be as physically strong and tough as men? Should women be fighting at all?
Myth of the “Superwoman”
It may be politically incorrect to say so, but it is still true and should be emphatically stated: In general, women are not as physically strong as men—and science backs this up. According to a study of Caucasian and Asian college students, published in the August 2012 issue of Sport Science Review, women had just 37 to 68 percent the muscle strength of men (“A Comparative Study on Strength between American College Male and Female Students in Caucasian and Asian Populations,” by Gong Chen, Liu Liu, and Jing Yu).
The Bible confirms what scientists know, and what everyone should know: women are the physically weaker sex (1 Peter 3:7). Regrettably, however, Satan has deceived many men (and women) into thinking that because women are physically weaker, they are somehow inferior. Many women feel it is self-deprecating and demeaning to admit that they are not as physically strong as men. Why? It is God who made us male and female. It is God who created the differences, and He did not make a mistake.
As a woman in God’s Church, you may not buy into the idea of the superheroine besting a man in physical combat, but have you bought into other “supergirl” ideals? Years ago, a popular commercial featured the voice of a woman singing, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man. ‘Cause I’m a woman…” This sounds like a superwoman to me! Sadly, many women do find themselves in this situation, but it is not the life God intended for us. God intended women to be homemakers and find fulfillment in managing their homes and their children (Titus 2:3–5). If you have accepted the idea that you can do it all, I can tell you from my experience as a single parent that you cannot. Even when you think you are successfully juggling everything that must be done, there are some matters that you will either miss or not do well. No one can do everything. The truth is, there are no superwomen.
Rejecting the “Battle of the Sexes” Deception
Society also demeans women by portraying them as victims of a “patriarchy” through which men have taken advantage of women and have actively held them back from achieving their true potential. Today’s society teaches people that there are no inherent differences between the sexes—just artificial variations attributable to environmental influences. Women are told to cast off all restraint and never to come under the authority of any man. This scenario pits women against men in a battle for superiority. While it is true that many women in Satan’s society experience hardship and even abuse from men who should be their protectors, we should not abandon the natural order that God has ordained, in which a husband is to be the head of his household (1 Corinthians 11:3). Have we, as women, accepted the idea that we do not need a man as head of our household? The truth is that there are inherent differences between the sexes, as well as differences in roles and responsibilities. The differences between women and men make them complementary (1 Corinthians 11:11–12) and, as such, there should be no “battle of the sexes.”
God created both men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27). He views women as neither inferior nor superior to men. He sees both men and women as human beings and potential sons and daughters of the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 6:18), and He has called women and men from all nations and ethnicities to be a part of His team. When we were baptized, we were conscripted into the army of God, and we are Christian soldiers fighting spiritual battles on the front lines, alongside our brothers in Christ, called to use our spiritual strength to the utmost in the battle for eternal life.
There is a very real battle being waged, and Satan does not want us to be mindful of it. He uses every tactic available to distract us from following God’s approach in the struggles we and our families face. We are in a very real fight as women of God against Satan and his demons. We fight against the powers and rulers of darkness. Yet we can have hope. Our warfare is spiritual, and God has given us spiritual weapons to use in combat. We are girded with truth around our waist and a breastplate of righteousness. On our feet is the Gospel of peace. We have the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, and we can attack with the word of God, our sword (Ephesians 6:10–17). Our weapons are sharpened and made more effective through daily prayer, Bible study, and meditation, along with occasional fasting. Women have the God-given power to wield these weapons effectively and to overcome the enemy. We, too, must be strong and very courageous, standing firm in the faith. In every meaningful regard, women face the same spiritual struggles as men and can receive the same rewards. We fight on the same side as men, not against them!
Real Examples, Not Hollywood’s
We should not look at the media-created superwomen as examples to emulate, especially since there are true, godly heroines in the pages of the Bible—women who fought bravely using the same weapons God has given us. Hebrews 11 mentions Sarah and Rahab by name. It mentions women who received their dead raised to life.
There are many more heroines in the Bible, but for now let’s consider Ruth and her life’s battle. Ruth was a Moabitess and a widow who started out with nothing after her husband’s death. She had no means to provide for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Yet, she abandoned the pagan religions of Moab and, putting on truth, she accepted the God of Israel. Ruth forsook her homeland and its ways and left for the land of Israel, where she practiced God’s law. Keeping His commandments gave Ruth the needed protection of righteousness. She walked in the way of peace among those who were not her people, and she gained a favorable reputation among them (Ruth 2:11–12). Following Naomi’s instructions, Ruth used God’s word, her sword, regarding widows and the laws of inheritance to find security (Ruth 3:8–9). Ruth used spiritual weapons to fight her battles and overcome her struggles, and God gave her the victory. Beginning as a young Moabite widow who came to Israel with nothing, she became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ as the great-grandmother of King David.
We all have battles to fight. As women, we need godly courage and spiritual strength to stand against the pressures Satan’s society places on us to conform to unrighteous standards and reject God’s. Christian women must fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), but we do not fight as the world does. Our place is not in physical combat, and we are not involved in a battle of the sexes nor any political ideology. As Christian women, we are involved in spiritual combat, fighting spiritual battles with the weapons God has given us—truth, His law, peace, faith, salvation, and His word. With God’s help, we will win—and our prize will be His Kingdom.
So, if anyone notices you striving in this manner—for your family, for your husband, or for your own spiritual development—and tells you that you fight like a girl, just say, “Thank you!”