For those of you unfamiliar with Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, I am not talking about the literal color scarlet but, rather, the main character Scarlett O’Hara, as well as the entire category of women she represents. Don’t understand what I mean as to a “Scarlett O’Hara kind of woman”? I’ve taken the time to hunt for some clues from GWtW on how to define and recognize this archetypal (yet very real and dangerous) woman. And, I’ll give you another hint, she acts an awful lot like Olivia from the Bachelor… (See! Watching that show is anthropology! #justification)
- She is aggressive:
She knows what she wants and she goes after it. In any other pursuit, I honestly would have to admire this trait, being an ambitious and tenacious woman myself. However, in this instance, it is not only unbiblical, but selfish. Proverbs 31:10 says “Who can find a virtuous wife.” Find. Notice that it is addressing a man as if it is his responsibility to be the seeker and initiator and not the woman’s to be the pursuer.
2. She is manipulative:
As women, manipulation is a sin we are particularly inclined to commit. It is sometimes frighteningly easy to put on a “damsel in distress” act or even play upon men’s chivalrous instinct to protect. Don’t. Please. Consider the Proverbs 31 woman in whom “the heart of her husband safely trusts” and give to men the honesty we expect in return. It is, after all, the foundation of a genuine relationship.
3. She might disguise who she is:
This goes along with manipulation, but is more focused on the woman herself than her actions. You see, sometimes (horror!), a Scarlett will dumb herself down. WHY?! Don’t ever (EVER!) pretend to be stupid just to catch a man. In the words of John Green, “the venn diagram of boys who don’t like smart girls and boys you don’t wanna date is a circle!” Also, think of the Proverbs 31 Woman who “opens her mouth in wisdom.” She does not hide her intelligence and, perhaps more importantly, she does not hide her wisdom.
4. She is self-centered:
I’m reminded of the episode of The Bachelor when Ben (the Bachelor) informs the house full of eligible maidens (well…eligible) that two of his friends were killed in a tragic accident. At such an emotional moment, many of the girls tried to comfort him. Then came Olivia, who offered this charming insight: “I have cankles. I hate my legs.” Um…PEOPLE DIED AND YOU WANT TO FISH FOR COMPLIMENTS ON YOUR PERFECTLY NORMAL LEGS?! But I suppose she proves my point, as well as provides a stark contrast to the woman who works for the benefit of her household and concerns herself with family and business matters as described in Proverbs.
5. She does not consider the consequences:
How many marriages did Scarlett O’Hara have to go through before she realized that her actions resulted in failed relationships? Too many. And how many Bachelor/Bachelorette marriages actually work out? Too few. The Scarletts of the world know what they want in the moment and, once they have it, they don’t really know what to do with it; it’s all about the chase. Furthermore, consideration for others is generally thrown out the window during said chase. (I mean, does anyone else in the Bachelor Mansion even pretend to tolerate the aggressive girl?) However, the Proverbial wise wife prepares for the future and is conscience of her actions’ effects on others, as well as her reputation and that of her husband (31:21-23).
6. She is, at the core, insecure:
A confident woman is a force to be reckoned with, but when it becomes excessive, it is no longer confidence but a manifestation of insecurity. Throughout Gone with the Wind, Scarlett is daring and bold; some characters even express an appreciation of this. However, when the reader confronts her internal dialogue, it becomes clear that Scarlett is not as confident as she seems. She’s worried about losing her 17-inch waist, about being wealthy, about being the most admired girl. Does this sound anything like the “strength and dignity” which clothe the woman in Proverbs 31:25?
In closing, I just beg you, my fellow woman and perhaps sister in Christ, to bear in mind the example of the woman portrayed in Proverbs 31. I know you’ve probably heard this many times, but for the sake of our brothers’ purity and our own virtue, please do not be, intentionally or accidentally, a Scarlett woman. Rather, be “a woman who fears the Lord” for she shall be commended as “excellent” by her family, husband, and God. She is a woman whose focus is selfless, long-term, and genuine and, as such, her love (while it may not be achieved as immediately) will be the same.
In the end, isn’t it better to be “worth far more than rubies” than to be Scarlett?
I will close with the words of a popular Facebook meme, just to lighten the mood a bit:
This is a Proverbs 31 Woman.
A Proverbs 31 Woman is not a Scarlett/Olivia archetype.
The Proverbs 31 Woman is wise and genuine.
Be like the Proverbs 31 Woman.