by John Ellis
Minus a few sputtering, identity politics preaching exceptions, the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman has become cause célèbre for feminists the world over. Articles abound declaring Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman as the feminist heroine needed for today. Googling the words “every girl should watch Wonder Woman” uncovers a bevy of articles. Thankfully, my daughter doesn’t need to watch Wonder Woman; she has a heroic, highly accomplished, gracious woman living with her, modeling and teaching her what being a woman means.
Not having seen the movie, I can’t comment on the aesthetic value or even the philosophical virtues of Wonder Woman. I will say this, though, I’m not a big fan of looking to movies (any movie) to provide world-view level cues and/or teaching. By no means do I deny that women face obstacles in our society that men generally do not face. I also don’t deny that movies can highlight a problem while attempting to provide examples of how to solve/overcome the problem. Maybe Wonder Woman does just that with issues women are facing; I don’t know. As I wrote, I haven’t seen the movie.
Regardless of Wonder Woman’s value as a feminist vehicle, I’m not a fan of my eleven-year old daughter watching a movie that connects a specific view of sexuality with empowerment. Make no mistake, the disciples of intersectionality are correct; Wonder Woman exploits Gal Gadot’s body for the sake of ticket sales. However, and to be clear, I do not believe that the solution includes extending the exploitation of women to all body types and ethnicities. The solution to that problem includes recognizing that men enjoy looking at scantily clad women for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the empowerment nor the advancement of women. I do not want my daughter being taught by a movie that trades on the propensity of men to lust after women.
By God’s grace, I don’t need Wonder Woman or any other pop culture expression of femininity or feminism to instruct my daughter. God has provided me with a wife and my daughter with a mother who exemplifies what it means to be a woman. I praise God for Danita, and want to list three ways in which she models by word and deed for Infinity what it means to be a woman.
She Teaches Our Daughter to Love and Serve God
Every morning, when our daughter comes downstairs, she is greeted by the sight of her mother reading her Bible. For some, that may seem like a small thing. For me, however, I am thankful for the visible example of pursuing the means of grace that my wife provides our daughter. The priority of parents affects children. Her mom’s obvious priority of reading God’s Word will only have a positive effect on Infinity.
One of the many ways that Danita models what it means to be a Godly wife is through her commitment and service within the Bride of Christ. Through her dedicated service to our church, instead of creating a picture of self-serving individualism, Danita teaches Infinity that being a wife means serving because Jesus served His bride to the point of death.
When disciplining our daughter, my wife strives to deal with the root cause and not just the symptom. In other words, Danita is more concerned that our daughter (and our son) realize that she’s sinned against God than against Mom and Dad. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is of first importance for Danita; molding her children into models of good behavior takes a backseat to her desire to see her children submit to God through repentance of sins and faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Infinity has had the useful privilege of observing her mother share the gospel with unbelievers. Watching her mom pursue the spread of the Kingdom of God equals our daughter being confronted with the fact that she has a heroic mom who faithfully obeys her Father, the King of Kings.
She Teaches Our Daughter to Love and Serve Others
There is a difference between thanksgiving and praise. For example, people frequently thank my wife for her servant’s heart. Except, she genuinely enjoys serving others; she does not serve begrudgingly, even though it would be understandable if she did. Danita should be praised for that, not just thanked.
The examples are too numerous to list, but our daughter watches her mom love and serve others on an almost daily basis (include her family in that, and it’s an everyday basis). Our daughter has observed her mom take the time to spend hours upon hours ministering to people at the hospital. Every week, she watches her mom graciously and joyfully prepare meals so that large numbers of people can enjoy fellowshipping with their church family. She sits at her mom’s feet and listens to my wife take the time to dispense life, marital, and parenting advice to the many young women in our church family who frequently come to her for that advice. She’s noticed that her mom willingly drops what’s she doing whenever anyone needs something.
My wife is as good of a model as can be humanly found of someone who loves and serves others. Tirelessly, even when she’s tired, she puts the needs of others above her own. With her life, she is teaching our daughter that to be a woman means loving and serving others like Jesus.
She Teaches Our Daughter that Being a Woman Is Not Limiting
Around Mother’s Day, I often read articles, blog posts, and social media posts from women bemoaning their yearly bludgeoning at the hands of sermons about the Proverbs 31 woman. Sadly, preachers can and do pervert Scripture for their own ends. Apparently, Proverbs 31 is no exception.
Proverbs 31 should never be used to guilt women. The passage is God’s celebration of women. Throughout the Bible, God highlights that women, who are made in His Image, are no less capable than men. God loves His daughters and values them more than precious jewels. I am thankful that Infinity has a mother who doesn’t allow stultifying, Victorian era definitions of what it means to be a woman define her. Instead, Danita uses her many talents and gifts to serve God in a variety of areas, including in the professional arena.
My wife is a high-level manager in one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. In fact, she’s the youngest person in her position in the firm’s history. She is on first name basis with Senators and members of Congress. Important and powerful people seek her out for advice and help. Friends and acquaintances who are business owners contact Danita for advice on hiring and staffing issues. On occasion, Danita takes Infinity to work with her. I am grateful that our daughter gets front row seats to a powerful, accomplished woman who navigates her workday with grace and compassion and takes time to help others. I should also point out that this high-powered, professional woman is also frequently sought out for parenting and marital advice. Let that sink in.
At home, my wife teaches our daughter that women can play sports in the backyard and then seamlessly transition to quilting and sewing. And none of this is in some sort of culturally ginned up boys versus girls competitiveness that foments gender wars. My wife does not shy away from calling our daughter to femininity. And, to be frank, my wife’s definition of femininity is far more encompassing, freeing, and empowering than the identity politics driven definition provided by modern-day feminists.
In Praise of Her Fruits
Fruit from my wife’s example and teaching is already beginning to blossom in our daughter. Watching our daughter volunteer to help our church’s office administrator reminds me of my wife’s servant heart. My daughter’s love of babies and desire to help the young mothers in our church when, where, and how she is able is evidence that her mom’s example has taken root. Infinity is one of the top math students in one of the best school districts in the country. She wants to be a mathematician when she grows up. A woman who frequently rolls her eyes at feminism is raising her daughter to excel at and pursue a STEM career without utilizing the weapons of the gender wars. By watching her mother, Infinity has learned that other’s doubts and limiting expectations mean very little in the face of hard work, persistence, and graciousness. Things like helping around the house, seeking ways to serve people, and not allowing cultural expectations to limit her future are all products of her mother’s teaching and example.
I’m thankful that God has provided my daughter with a mother who is an excellent example of loving God and loving others. I’m thankful that while not denying or ignoring the obstacles that society has placed in her path, my wife teaches our daughter what working hard with grace and dignity looks like. I’m thankful that my daughter has an example of a highly successful woman right at home. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. She doesn’t need Wonder Woman because my daughter has her mother.
 For example, my wife bought suit jackets to wear because apparently some men won’t take a woman seriously if she’s not wearing one. Which is incredibly stupid. That’s a small example, I know, but for the sake of space I’m omitting some of the larger instances my wife has faced.
 The most important and final solution is found through repentance of sins and faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Apart from the gospel, humans exploit one another; sin divides and destroys.
 This also means that Infinity is receiving the same instruction as the young wives and mothers, too.