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Kylie Jenner and biblical femininity

Kylie Jenner attends the Marie Claire's Fresh Faces Party held at Sunset Tower Hotel on Monday, April 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) While Kylie Jenner is probably best known for her role on the various Kardashian reality television shows, she hopes to be known for much more in the near future. As she told Glamour UK in a recent interview, "In time, I think I'll just slowly start moving behind the scenes. The show has to end eventually, and I'm not going to leave until we're done with it, but by 20 I want to have the whole of my cosmetics line out because that's my primary focus. I definitely won't want to be doing anything else that would make me more public."

That cosmetics line is only part of the eighteen-year-old's growing empire that also consists of a clothing line she started with her sister Kendall, as well as her own website, app, and social media channels. While other Kardashians have made similar leaps, Kylie seems perhaps a bit more focused on the entrepreneurship opportunities her family fame has generated than on the fame itself.

That focus is a large part of why she considers herself both a feminist and "an inspiration for a lot of young girls who want to stand on their own." As she told Glamour, "I'm a young woman, for one thing, and I don't depend on a man or anybody else. I make my own money and start my own businesses." She would go on to describe how she has been cut off from her mom, Kris Jenner, for years and has been purchasing her own cars, houses, and clothes since she was thirteen.

While her ambition and ability to rise above the fray of reality TV to accomplish something with her fame are admirable, do those qualities make her a good role model for young girls? What does the Bible say about the kind of life to which women of all ages should aspire?

For many, that conversation unfortunately begins with the submission described in Ephesians 5:22 where Paul writes "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." I say "unfortunately" because many who cite that passage often forget that the submission it describes is mutual and based on our submission, first and foremost, to Christ—the verb for submit does not actually appear in verse 22 but is borrowed from verse 21. The idea behind that passage is that a wife honors God by placing the needs of her husband above her own, just as we should with the Lord. Paul's command for husbands to love their wives in verse 25 serves much the same purpose.

You see, Paul used the marriage relationship to help us better understand our relationship with Christ because he knew that we would need a finite example to understand how we should relate to an infinite God. It's also important to note that the submission described in this passage is that of a wife to her husband rather than that of a woman to all men.

However, that understanding of Ephesians 5 does not mean that the passage is irrelevant for the present question. When approached from the perspective of what Scripture teaches as admirable for a woman, these verses show us that they, like men, are called to look at their relationships with others through the lens of what most honors God. Husbands and wives are given a chance to practice that submission and love with our spouses so that we might better demonstrate it in our relationship with the Lord and in our service to others.

A second passage that is relevant to the current discussion is Proverbs 31:10–31. While this passage speaks primarily of the qualities that makes an excellent wife, it also speaks to more general characteristics of what makes a woman excellent as well. Trustworthy, hard-working, intelligent, generous, industrious, well-respected, wise, caring—that is what these verses describe as excellent and admirable in a woman. However, those traits would be considered excellent and admirable in a man as well.

If you're beginning to notice a pattern here, that's for good reason. You see, what these passages teach us is that the characteristics and traits that are to be most sought after by women are those that would profit a man's relationship with God as well. As such, a woman is a good role model for other women when she honors God and demonstrates his influence in her life. Would we not say the same about men? While the practical application of those principles will differ in some respects between women and men, the basic characteristics after which we should all strive are essentially the same.

So how do you measure up to those standards today? Whether you are a man or a woman, God has called you to model the impact of a close relationship with him in every facet of your life so that you might be an encouragement and a blessing to others. Will you?

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