If you read the following list of descriptive words, would you think of a man or a woman?
Seeks, works, brings, provides food, considers, buys, plants, works vigorously, profitable, makes, opens, reaches, not afraid, makes, sells, delivers, strength, has dignity, laughs, opens wisdom, teaches, watches over household and not idle.
Read the list twice, first with a male pronoun, then with a female pronoun. Does it feel different? Which is right? Where is the list from? Keep reading for the answers
When I read the list, it felt normal to have the male pronoun in front. If this list describes a man, of course a man would work, provide, make, deliver, have strength, wisdom and teach.
When I read it with the female pronoun, it was a bit uncomfortable. If this describes a woman, I’m not sure I have all those qualities. I work, but does it qualify? I make, buy and sell things. Does that count? What I do doesn’t seem to measure up.
However, as a woman, I love the list because the descriptions empower me. Women working, providing, buying, making, planting and teaching show women active in this world. A woman can have qualities such as not afraid, strength, dignity and wisdom. These words describe a countercultural woman. Someone active and engaging, and living a full life. I aspire to emulate these qualities, whether male or female.
So who does this describe and where does it come from? The list is from the Bible in Proverbs 31 describing a wife of noble character.