I recently read an article that I thought might have merit, only to find that it’s worse than outright commodification of women, because it hides behind a veneer of old time values.  The article, “The Death of Pretty,” is supposed to lament the turning of women into commodities.  Although, the author, Pat Archbold, only ties this phenomenon to the US and to the last 40 years, which is very short sighted.

I think what bothered me is that women are made into an ideal.  They are assigned characteristics, qualities and expectations that absolutely cannot, and in some cases should not, be met across the board.  Terms used to describe women, or the ideal of woman, were “pretty,” “innocent,” and “pure.”  Really?  This is how we still want to see women?  We still want to classify women by their appearance, by their level of modesty, by their willingness to play the game of so-called femininity?

The thing is, being a woman inherently qualifies me as feminine.  And simply because I am a woman, I should not be expected to be anymore pretty, innocent or pure than the man next to me.  (Granted, “pretty” is a feminine term, whereas “handsome” tends to be more socially accepted in the description of men. But I digress.)  Men and women are equally capable of modesty, of innocence and of purity.  And as a side note, I think it is equally wrong to hold men to an ideal and use them in that way.

I as a woman should not be the reason a man then strives to be whatever it is he thinks a man should be.  We are all made in the image of God, we are all humans.  If we are living as we ought, living the path that God has given us, faithfully for Him, we will be what He created us to be.

All of this jumble to say that turning women into an ideal is still commodifying them.  It is just happening in a much less obvious, but no less evil, way.