You make a lot of good points. I would add that St John addresses the same passions in speaking to monastic women - just in the subtler forms it was taking among this group. Also as an interesting side note Clement of Alexandria in his catechetical work does address all those other issues, along with trying to get rid of wrinkles or other anti-aging techniques - most of them existed in some form back in the 2nd century when he was writing. Nothing new under the sun!
Honestly, I don't think that saying that wearing makeup is a sin is really the right way to approach this, any more than saying wanting money is a sin. We are all struggling at whatever level we can manage. We can't all be saints who give away whatever we get, and like Elder Paisios of the Holy Mount have only a tin can that we cook in, or logs for furniture. But we can all recognize that unpossessiveness and simple living is a virtue, and likewise simplicity and meekness in dress and demeanor - and we can all be making some small effort toward this, or at least avoid going in the opposite direction and getting worse - collecting more things, or living more expensively, or spending more time, money, attention on our looks.
One thing I think that the Church is struggling with in our culture is how "ordinary respectability" is changing. In Europe now nude beaches are ordinary and respectable. In many parishes young girls are coming to church in dresses that they think are perfectly ordinary and respectable but which keep getting shorter, more see through, and tighter. They don't understand when people criticize their dress since they have absorbed the culture's norms.
For our culture what is respectable and virtuous for women is what is sexy and self-confident. This is in direct contradiction to what is respectable and virtuous for the Christian which is chaste and humble - demure - great word .
Somehow then this issue has to be addressed - not in legalistic terms of make-up or no make-up, or the length or dresses, etc. - but rather in terms of the inner struggle toward simplicity, faith, chastity, and humility - and how as Christians we are to reflect these virtues even bodily - we are not a gnostic religion that puts no concern on the body.
On a personal level I don't think we should be judging people on their make-up or how they dress, or the size or fanciness of their house or car, etc. But I also feel that the pastors of the Church need to be teaching a Christian ideal, and showing how the world's virtues are not Christ's virtues. then each Christian woman can struggle toward this ideal according to their own faith and circumstances, etc.
Being respected in the world and being respected as a Christian are often at odds. In the ancient world, if a woman in society dressed more simply or below her station she might get mocked or persecuted. Our young girls are often facing the same thing both in school and maybe even more in the work place. It seems to me that men are allowed to "dress down" in the work place (t-shirt and jeans, etc) but rarely do you see women doing this - there is a kind of pressure on women to look.... well.... sexy and confident. It does well to be sympathetic to women dealing with this pressure.
Edited by Anna Stickles, 28 October 2015 - 02:04 AM.