Jump to content


Photo
* - - - - 3 votes

Orthodox Christian women wearing makeup


  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#61 Angie

Angie

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 October 2015 - 12:01 AM

Hi Kyranna

 

Sorry I missed your post, I only just now discovered it.

 

I have asked this question and the Priest Monk is correct.  It does fall under vanity.  Your husband will love you for inside your heart not the way we look.  We change and grow older.  No one remains the same.

 

But I believe you are a good role model for your daughters, and they will see what is more important is on the inside.  They are blessed to have a mum that cares for the salvation of their souls.

 

It is a struggle to do what is right, but with Gods help it is possible.


Edited by Angie, 20 October 2015 - 12:02 AM.


#62 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2015 - 03:37 PM

Kyranna's post was written a long time ago, but it is a good issue to discuss. I think that what she shared is very real and helpful in pointing out the struggles we can go through. 

 

We can feel confident because we are depending on some kind of material or self-applied help, but this is a false and misleading confidence based in the wrong things. When these are taken away then we realize the real state of our soul as separated from God. It could be make-up, it could be money, a clean house, or being liked or many other things.

 

Feeling insecure is looked at as bad by our society - the confident are admired and praised, but in God's eyes feeling insecurity is not a bad thing because it turns us toward Him, and to seek our security in Him.  A mature Christian confidence and feeling of security is not based on what is earthly and fleeting, but rather it is because God has healed us and given us a clean conscience, peace of soul, and the support of His presence. But this does not come right away. 

 

I think the point that the priest monk  is making is that If we never struggle to leave behind our false supports, then we never get the chance to grow in grace and faith, and a genuine confidence grounded in our relationship with Christ.

 

 the Fathers in general and St John Chrysostom especially addresses this many times, speaking to lay people, not to monastics. To lay people he says not to adorn themselves, to monastics he urges them to struggle not to feel any kind of vanity whatsoever.



#63 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2015 - 03:58 PM

Here is one of the quotes from St John C - It is about a husband's appreciation of the wife who adorns herself with virtue over one who spends  lot on her looks.

 

" But how shall we instruct him by our actions? When he sees that you are not evilly disposed, not fond of expense or ornament, not demanding extravagant supplies of money, but content with what you have, then willhe endure you counseling him. But if you are wise in word, and in actions do the contrary, he will condemn you for very foolish talking. But when together with words you afford him also instruction by your works, then will he admit you and obey you the more readily; as when you desire not gold, nor pearls, nor costly clothing, but instead of these, modesty, sobriety, kindness; when you exhibit these virtues on your part and require them on his. For if you must needs do somewhat to please your husband, you should adorn your soul, not adorn and so spoil your person. The gold which you put about you will not make you so lovely and desirable to him, as modesty and kindness towards himself, and a readiness to die for your partner; these things most subdue men. Indeed, that splendor of apparel even displeases him, as straitening his means, and causing him much expense and care; but those things which I have named will rivet a husband to a wife; for kindness and friendship and love cause no cares, give riseto no expense, but quite the contrary. That outward adornment becomes palling by use, but that of the soul blooms day by day, and kindles a stronger flame. So that if you would please your husband, adorn your soul with modesty, piety, and management of the house. These things both subdue him more, and never cease. Age destroys not this adornment, sickness wastes it not. The adornment of the body length of time is wont to undo, sickness and many other things to waste, but what relates to the soul is above all this." (commentary on John 10:42, Homily 61 on the Gospel of John)

 

In Homily 10 on Collosians he talks about the woman who is concerned with dressing herself up in expensive clothes and jewelry and compares this to St Paul dressed in his chains for Christ.

 

"….The soul that is in that way attired looks about—who has seen? Who not seen?— is filled with pride, is possessed with anxious thoughts, is bound with countless other passions: but he that has these bonds on him (St Paul), is without pride: his soul exults, is freed from every anxious care, is joyous, has its gaze on heaven, is clad with wings."

 

He goes on to say that instead of spending money on these things the Christian should give the money to the poor, and spend time on gaining the virtues,  and then the soul will become filled with the beauty of every kind.

 

"Would you appear fair and comely? Be content with the Creator's fashioning. Why do you overlay these bits of gold, as if about to put to rights God's creation? Would you appear comely? Clothe you in alms; clothe you in benevolence; clothe you in modesty, humbleness. These are all more precious than gold; these make even the beautiful yet more comely; these make even the ill formed to be well formed.”
 

 

It may be a struggle to move our focus and our sense of security away from our external appearance, but I think for those who have undertaken it, the fruit of this struggle is found to be worth it. We may not reach the grace filled joy and freedom of soul that St Paul had, but we can at least reach a place where there is a natural beauty and humbleness that is not anxious about many things.




 


Edited by Anna Stickles, 24 October 2015 - 04:02 PM.


#64 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2015 - 09:00 PM

I think it is worth bearing in mind that St Paul urges women to be modest, respectable, and demure. We should also remember that St John Chrysostom's criticisms of women are aimed at high-class women who spend their time idly in their apartments with their slaves. In any case, the issue extends beyond just makeup; we might consider hair colouring, perfume, teeth whitening, perfume, nail varnish, suntans, choosing clothes by style and colour. Are women not to dress as best suits them? I don't think Orthodox women are expected to be unkempt frumps. In Orthodoxy, all things are done according to the golden mean. In particular, no one should make themselves stand out, either as 'dressed to kill' or as a dishevelled eccentric. Surely the thrust of all this is that women - and men - should not be excessively concerned with their outward appearance; if their priorities are right then the proper order of living in the world and leading a spiritual life can be maintained. What is sinful is when concern with outward appearance has priority or goes beyond the bounds of ordinary respectability and demureness.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 24 October 2015 - 09:02 PM.


#65 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 October 2015 - 02:02 AM

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.


#66 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 October 2015 - 04:09 PM

You make a lot of good points! :)  I take the point that 'ordinary respectability' is not fixed but changes with the times. There is also demureness, though, and I think even today, a woman can be respectable and demure without appearing to stand out from the general crowd. I see women of all ages, students and staff, at the university where I work and I can't see one prevalent fashion, so that a woman can wear (clothes and makeup) what befits an Orthodox person with some engagement with the spiritual life without drawing attention to herself. It can be said that we are not of this world and shouldn't care what the world thinks of us; but that may not work in the workplace (depending on what kind of work place it is). Then again, perhaps the pressures are different in different countries; when I was in practice in provincial England, I wasn't aware that my female colleagues were under pressure to appear in a certain way - in fact, a confident going-against-the-grain could be seen in a positive way. Maybe it's different for a corporate attorney in New York!



#67 Angie

Angie

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:45 AM

So how do we explain St Nikodemous on thins eg perfume?



#68 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,827 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:57 AM

What did St Nikodemus say on such matters, Angie?



#69 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:58 AM

I don't know what he says but perfume is not about appearance and from my point of view not desirable.



#70 Angie

Angie

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 03:54 AM

He says that we should not wear perfume or make up.



#71 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,827 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 04:40 AM

Does he say that under no circumstances should women wear perfume or makeup? Or does he say that the preoccupation with such things is a problem? It would be helpful if you could post a quote or quotes from him on this matter, or a link to a document, so we can see the context of such a statement.



#72 Angie

Angie

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 214 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:07 AM

He says to douse oneself with fragrances or to wear musk oils and other perfumes, seduce the body, weaken the soul, and easily excite a person to succumb to the passions of the flesh.

 

The book is "Christian Morality"from St Nicodemos.  I have the book.  It is a struggle for me this one as well.



#73 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2015 - 11:01 AM

I'm probably not very well qualified to say much here but I instinctively feel that perfume is best avoided. I also think that some women wear a moderate amount of eye makeup, not from vanity but because they feel kind of insecure without a scrap of makeup. I suppose a counsel of perfection is not to wear makeup and so forth at all so as not to 'conform to the world', but - moderation in all things, and motive is important -  it is what proceeds from the heart which matters, we are told. And wearing no makeup and so on is not the final criterion - no good being outwardly good but inwardly bad, cf lovely white tombs full of bones and filth.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users