What is the essence of manhood? Is it physical power, the strength to lift heavy weights or wrestle bullies to the ground? Is manhood emotional reserve, the repression of tears when bitter losses come? Is it sexual potency, the ability to father children? Moses says that “God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:27). True manliness is reflecting the character of God. The truest man is a committed disciple of Jesus.
Ironically, reflecting God’s character is also the essence of womanhood. The remainder of the verse cited above affirms that “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). Male and female. In different ways, both sexes reflect God’s attributes – ferocity and tenderness, justice and mercy.
Aided by the entertainment industry, advertisers promote the fallacy that the essence of womanhood is external beauty. Even as preschoolers, girls are exposed to this deception. The Barbie dolls they play with have impossible measurements. And adults? Companies marketing products and designer clothing take more than money from their customers. They often steal a woman’s contentment, making her painfully aware of every imperfection of body and face.
But a woman is most true to her sex and to herself when striving for beauty of heart. The Lord urges women not to let “adornment be external only—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, and putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 3:3-4, NASB).