We've all heard of knights and chivalry. Yet, when it comes to describing the correct place and character of a woman, finding an acceptable definition is slightly more difficult. Within the description of a shieldmaiden I found the answer, and I'm going to break it down as I did the Code of Chivalry. First, here is the definition in full:
"A shield maiden is firstly a woman. As a woman she is the keeper of the hearth flame that provides a safe nurturing environment for her family. She is the teacher of her children and lady for her lord. The shieldmaiden has the courage to do the unglamorous daily tasks and to do them graciously. She is an example to her family and the keeper of the peace. She is generous to others while also being generous to herself. She keeps her word no matter how hard to fulfill and she stands by her beliefs. She selflessly serves."
There are many things within this description that I would like to address. First, the stress put upon the fact that- no matter what she is doing- the shieldmaiden is a woman. She is never going to be a man. This statement may seem pointlessly obvious, yet our modern culture is trying to disprove it. The feminist movement places the woman in the man's position, and tries so hard to prove that the modern woman is independent it loses the true and beautiful essence of womanhood. Chivalrytoday.com goes on to say, "As a woman do not be afraid to show your femininity or to look good, whatever your style. Do not be embarrassed of spending a day shopping or crying over a sappy movie. It is okay to pamper yourself. Try not to get so caught up in being strong you forget to be a woman." This slightly humorous statement is very true. God created women with a different temperament, personality, physical and emotional make-up than men for a reason, do not be afraid to express it! Wear skirts, paint your nails, watch chick flicks, get dressed up, experiment with hair styles, and enjoy all the fun little things that go along with being a woman. As Audrey Hepburn says, "I believe in manicures, I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles." Of course, one does not necessarily need to be a "girly-girl" to embrace her gender. But she shouldn't be embarrassed if she enjoys things that men do not. How boring would the world be if women always acted and tried to be like men!
Along with the pretty and care-free side of womanhood, there is another, more important role a lady plays in this world. From Chivalrytoday.com, "As a warrior a shield maiden must have the strength to make her way in a man’s world. She must be willing to get her hands dirty and make sacrifices. She may have to bide her time in an unsavory position until the time to fight is at hand. When that time comes she must have the courage to stand without blame. She keeps her word and is willing to show mercy. She is willing to help others. She stands by her convictions and her commitments." We are called to be strong, yet lovely. Hard-working and gentle. For those women called to motherhood, they must help uphold their families, keep them together, lead them in the right direction, and be willing to fight at the side of her husband when needed. Yet, in everything, the lady must reach out to others. She must put herself last, always seeking to ease the pain and right the wrong surrounding her.
Now, many (including myself) begin to lose heart upon hearing such high standards. It may seem impossible to become such a perfect figure. But, we have an exulted role model who is always ready and willing to help us in following her. That perfect woman is Mary. Her strength and beauty display perfectly God's plan for femininity. When you become downhearted in your efforts to be a virtuous, true lady, turn to the Mother of Christ and she will guide your way.
Chivalry quotes: Chivalrytoday.com
First picture: Stiching the Standard: Leighton
Audrey Hepburn quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/
Second picture: http://www.catholic.org/clife/mary/maryglry.php?img=10