I feel like I am constantly being told what womanhood is supposed to be.
I actually appreciate this. I like instructions. I like formulas. I like easy, comfortable answers. "I'm black or white, but I can't stand the in-between." I am content to be handed the answers, and in my lazy simple-mindedness I would awfully gratified if someone would sweep away the confusion and give me a pretty-packaged checklist of what to do and who to be.
But instead I hear lots of conflicting advice, instruction, and exhortation.
Modesty Dress modestly to protect yourself from being objectified! Cover up to keep your brothers from falling into temptation! You were created to be a thing of beauty; dress to reflect that! Don't wear sweats in public or you'll never get a husband! Modesty is an attitude! Modesty is a way of dress! Don't wear expensive clothes. Don't wear scrubby clothes. Dress like a woman. Dress however you want.
Education What are you doing exposing yourself to that cesspool of public education? You have to have a way to support yourself in case your husband dies or can't take care of you. Education should be spiritual and not of wordly things. Guys like smart women. Guys don't like women smarter than they are. Study something useful. Study what your passions are! College is a bad investment. College is the best place to get a ring before spring.
Dating Don't actively pursue guys, but build your character as one worthy of marriage. Show guys that you're interested or they'll never have enough confidence to approach you. Don't date. Do date. If you're not sweet, demure, and skilled no worthy guy will want you. If you are too occupied with your spiritual walk and education, guys will be too intimidated to pursue you.
Marriage The husband is the head of the household and the wife is his helpmate. Good marriages are built on love and respect. The curse placed women at the mercy of men, but godly marriages are supposed to reflect the restoration Jesus is bringing. Marriages are teams. You might be called to singlehood. You're probably not called to singlehood. Egalitarianism. Complementarianism.
Family A woman's role is biology: have children, nurture children, build the next generation. You can't have a family and a career and all the rest without failing in one area. A homemaker is the highest calling. God has called each person to a unique path. You better homeschool your kids. It's perfectly okay if your kids go to school. Dishes are a woman's job. There's nothing wrong with a stay-at-home-dad.
There's probably lots of truth in a lot of what I've heard. But I suspect there are a lot of lies and (albeit well-indended) misconceptions, too. And I'm just over here like, "Can I just skip all this confusion and go straight to heaven before I have to figure out what I think about all this stuff?"
What does it mean to be a woman? I have no freaking clue.