Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Pressure to Look Good - The New York Times

The Pressure to Look Good - The New York Times

I worked on my commentary of Isaiah 3 this morning.

"16 Moreover the LORD saith, “Because the daughters of
Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking
and mincing as they go, and
making a tinkling with their feet:

The women are stuck
up snobs, all decorated and proud.

17 “Therefore the
Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and
the LORD will discover their
secret parts.”

Disease will cause
their (most women’s) greatest beauty, their hair, to fall out and their heads
to be scabby. You just can’t look pretty under these conditions.

It was common when
one country conquered another for them to strip the captives naked so they
could have their clothes.

18 In that day the
Lord will take away the bravery of their
tinkling ornaments about their feet,
and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

Judean women
evidently decorated their feet with bells so they would sound pretty as they

Cauls is decorative

The “round tires like
the moon” are called “cresant necklaces” in other translations.

God is going to take
all their pretties away.

19 The chains, and
the bracelets, and the mufflers,

Newer translations
call “mufflers” veils.

20 The bonnets, and
the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the

“Scarves, ankle
bracelets, sashes, perfumes, and charms;” –New Living Translation.

21 The rings, and
nose jewels,

22 The changeable
suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23 The glasses, and
the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.

“21 rings, jewels,
22 party clothes,
gowns, capes, and purses;
23mirrors, fine linen
garments, head ornaments, and shawls.” –New Living Translation

24 And it shall come
to pass, that instead of sweet
smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle
(fancy belt) a
(rope); and instead of well-set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher (fancy
clothes) a girding of sackcloth (burlap); and burning instead of beauty."

Ancient, pre Babylonian Judah sure sounds a lot like America today. Ouch!

Actually, I studiously avoid this common mindset. Hubby thinks I'm beutiful... and shows it!... so why in the world would I care if anyone else does or not? He's the only one I need to attract.

Truth be told, though, most of this stress to be perfect doesn't come from men. Oh the occasionl man will notice, but mostly they don't give a hoot, in my experience. Pretty much "Oh, hey! A Female!" The men I have known simple would care enough to notice if a woman was even wearing makeup and a girdle or not.

It's us women who give each other a hard time. We are the ones getting snarky behind each other's backs; 

"Did you see? X has gained 5 pounds! and Y isn't wearing makeup!! And Z is wearing a fashion that is a whole  SIX MONTHS OLD!!! I wouldn't be caught dead like that!"

So ladies, knock it off! Quit being so snarky and judgmental! When you find yourself negatively judging another woman for her looks, even just in your own head, smack yourself and find something good about her to focus on.  

Let's look at the important.

Not the impossible.


  1. Reading the text, it's striking how /thorough/ that list is-- almost an exhaustive catalog of disapproved clothes. Why do you think the list is so extensive? Are there reasons that specific items are included? (For instance, might the necklaces or bells be customs that had been imported from pagan neighbors?)

    Is the repetition purely for rhetorical effect, or is there some theme behind the /order/ in which he discusses these objects?

    I hope you publish your full commentary when it's finished-- I'll read it with interest.

    -- David

  2. Thank you for reading and commenting :-)

    I do intend to publish this commentary when it is finished. It will be a while. I just started and it usually takes me at least a couple of times through to be happy with one of my books and often more.

    I don't really see a significance in the order, but I will look into it.

    I think God wanted to make sure He covered everything so no one could say "Well, He didn't mention [my favorite thing] so it's OK." He wanted to close all possible loopholes.It doesn't really matter what the specific item is; it matters our attitude. Do we think we are better than anyone else because of how we dress or how we do our hair, or our genetics (hair color, skin color, eye or lip shape, even hip and belly shape)? The constant comparing and belittling that women do, have evidently always done, is horrendous!

    God doesn't care about all that except where it interferes with our walk with Him. It is depressing how often looks and other externals do just that (I once knew a woman who refused to go to church unless her daughter's clothes were ironed. She would be too embarrassed for anyone to see her toddlers (!) with a wrinkle in their dresses. As a result, she only made it to church about once a month. Because, you know, it's so much more important for her to be known as a good mom whose children look perfect than for her, her children, or even her Hubby [because she wouldn't let him go without her] to worship and learn of God.)

    He wants us to focus on our relationship with Him and with others, not on ourselves.

    These (and American) women let looks decide the value of a person. They put their faith in their looks and their wealth (which helps them achieve their looks). God will remove the very thing that stands between the Israelite women and Him, in this case, their pretty hair, their perfumes, their decorations and do-dads. He will humble them to try to get them to look to Him instead.


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