Darrow Miller and Friends

The Virtuous Use of Feminine Power

women have power over menWhence the power of a young woman over a young man? For the answer we must turn to Genesis.

This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23 ESV).

This is the first recorded human utterance. Typical of biblical narrative, the words are more profound than they appear. Adam has studied and named perhaps thousands of creatures. But none is a suitable helper. None is like him. He is truly alone. Then God brings Eve to him and Adam finds his voice. The words “at last” are emphasized in the original. The sense is, “YES! This is right! Finally!

Adam was charmed, and charmed males follow in his train. The natural effect is a powerful influence by the woman over the man. Thus it has been from the very beginning. In itself there is no offense there. In fact, there’s lots of potential for good. The offense comes when this female power is misused.

Do I really want to use that power to make him see me as an object?

For just one example, how many decisions at the mirror have been driven by this reality? A young woman can exert power over males by her manner of dress. Because of our fallen nature, power feels good (You will want to control your husband, Genesis 3:16 NET). But she would do well to ask herself, Do I really want to use that power to make him see me as an object?

Anyone looking for healthy alternatives would do well to read author Lydia Sigourney. Some 175 years ago she eloquently wrote about the virtuous use of a young woman’s influence over a young man.

I would not seek to disguise the degree of influence, which in the radiant morning of your days, you possess over young men. It is exceedingly great. I beg you to consider it in its full import, in all its bearings, and to “use it like an angel.”

You have it in your power to give vigor to their pursuit of respectability, to fix their attention on useful knowledge, to fortify their wavering opinions, and to quicken or retard their progress in the path of benevolence and piety. You have it also in your power to interrupt their habits of industry and application, to encourage formishness in dress, to inspire contempt of a just economy and plain exterior, and to lead them to cultivate levity of deportment, or to seek for variety of amusements, at the expense of money, which perhaps they can ill afford to spend, and of time, which it is madness to waste. How important, my dear young friends, that the influence thus entrusted to you, be rationally, and kindly, and religiously used. 185

Illustrating this point, our friend Nicole Curiel from Guadalajara, Mexico, writes:

One of my friends recently got into a relationship with a young man. They are very happy and are a cute couple. A recent exchange between them struck me as funny, yet it exemplifies very well this truth from Lydia Sigourney.

She told him that his hair might look better if he combed it to the side instead of straight up as he had always done. He didn’t say a word about it, but the next day he arrived with his hair combed to the side simply to make her happy. It really was funny, but it shows how great an influence we women have over men. How many times have we seen men showing off and trying to please a woman in any way possible?

It makes me stop and think “How will my influence be? Will I make a man strive for better or will my influence make him complacent?” I think it truly is something to ponder.

–          Gary Brumbelow

This post is twelfth in a series on maternal feminism.

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.