I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Wonderbra, Sister

Before I start, I will point out I’m not one of those Nice Christian Girls. Never have been. I believe in talking about awkward thing like anti-depressants, and sex, and pain. When I read my Bible, I see a Jesus that loved people so much he called his best friends cowards. (I also see a Jesus that would willingly address difficult questions if the person asking was genuinely searching.)

The other day I was scrolling through my Instagram, which is filled with pictures and inspiring quotes from Nice Christian Girls, when I came upon an exchange that looked a bit like this:

Person A (well respected Nice Christian Girl. She has a book and everything.): Here’s a picture of so-and-so, encouraging us as women to be each other’s Wonderbra – supporting and lifting each other to look good. (or something like that.)

Person B (random person, about five comments down): Oh we have much more important things to worry about than that. If Jesus would let me be offended, that would have done it. (Translation: That’s really offensive, but nice Christian girls like me don’t get offended. We are too busy worrying about important stuff.)

Sometimes I look at things like this and just sigh and shake my head. This particular exchange had me going “Really?” in a state of bemused frustration. Nice Christian things provoke this response on occasion.

Because mentioning unmentionables should not be offensive. If you can’t talk about underwear, how can you talk about abuse, neglect, pornography, addiction, sexuality, or any number of other important issues?

So I’m not offended by the use of a Wonderbra metaphor. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be your Wonderbra. Not because it’s underwear (underwear is all about hidden support, and we all need asome of that from time to time), but because it’s Wonderbra. Pushing and squeezing whatever you have to make it look like you have something else. Something more, or something different. Something everybody else tells you that you should have.

And I am not for that. I am not for telling people that they must should look good, or do good. Because looking good and doing good, is all about appearances. And encouraging people to put up appearances may (possibly) be as bad as judging them for it.

Encouragement is not about looking good (although it can be). It’s not about doing good (although it can be that, too). Encouragement is about accepting somebody’s today, and having faith in their tomorrow. Encouragement is about relationships, and time.

Wonderbrament says you need to fit these criteria, you need to make yourself look like this. Encouragement says, it’s okay if you don’t fit the mould. Not everyone was made for Wonderbra’s.

The look-good-do-good brand asphyxiates the broken. It encourages us to hide our brokenness, our pain, our trauma, behind happy smiles and good deeds. We grab our masks to face the world, because that is what we have to do. That is the only way we can look good.

We grab our masks, and we are blinded. To our purpose, to our potential, to the hurting hearts hiding behind the masks that do good alongside us.

No, I won’t be your Wonderbra. You don’t need one. You are not the way you look, or the things you do. You are so much more than that. And you always will be.

Just don’t tell the Nice Christian Girls I said that. They may get antsy.

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36 thoughts on “I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Wonderbra, Sister

      1. By which I mean that a faith which has “niceness” as it’s goal seems to be missing the point a bit. Nice blends in. Nice worries about feelings, and feelings have a place, but when worrying about feelings and appearances has a greater import than repentance and freedom … well…

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      2. Well, that’s not what I meant. I was referring to ramming supernatural nonsense down the throats of innocent children; peddling the dangerous idea that scripture takes precedence over law and morality; undermining reason and logic: &c.

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      3. People always ram something down the throats of innocent children. It’s called parenting. And faith doesn’t necessarily undermine reason and logic, only blind faith does that. Although I would like to know more about what you mean by scripture taking precedence over law and morality. Where are you coming from? What is your viewpoint?

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  1. Isn’t the definition of faith that it is blind? If it is subject to reason and logic, it falls at the first fence.
    There are many places where scripture purports to take precedent over law and morality. The best example I can bring to mind is the tale of Abraham and Isaac, where Abraham is persuaded to murder his own son, whom he loves, because he believes it to be God’s will, and then is presented as a paragon of virtue.

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      1. I think you may be missing the point. The point being salvation and repentance and forgiveness and freedom. No longer entangled by the need to be anything other than the best version of myself,whatever that may be. Walking on water is a tame miracle compared to the miracles I have seen in my own life.
        But I think you are more interested in knocking my belief. You seem to be quite aggressively opposed to Christianity. I do wonder why.

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      2. You are right that people do and have done appalling things in the name of faith. Such things are indefensible, but do not reflect on the existence or otherwise of the supernatural. In the absence of the possibility of faith/religion type justifications, people would merely find another reason to motivate the things they do.
        Self-justification. It’s a thing. Eradicating belief in the supernatural would not stop people doing terrible things to each other.

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      3. I’m impressed that you recognise that to be true: not everyone does. Now turn it on its head. It is equally true to say that people could/would find an excuse to do good things without recourse to the supernatural. Indeed, they did so for thousand of years before the current batch of deities was invented. So why do we need gods?

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      4. I never said we needed gods. I can only ever say that God is. Although people are much more willing to admit to doing good deeds because of how it makes them feel, don’t you think? Less need for self justification.
        I have no intention of convincing you that I am right to believe what I believe, that’s why it is a belief after all. Although I am most fascinated by your determination to convince me I am wrong.

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    1. Was the sacrifice of children (& people) not the morality of the day in Abraham’s time. Abraham’s God (our God) was showing him that he was very different from the gods of the day & that he required a different type of sacrifice – not one that involved the killing of children.

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      1. I thought there was only supposed to be one God? And I thought that one God said “thou shalt not kill”? Which God said murdering children was a good idea?
        But all of this detracts from my original point: that scripture takes precedence over law and morality. Abraham and Isaac were merely quoted as an example.

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  2. I am not intent on convincing you that you are wrong. Indeed, I cannot say with certainty that you are wrong, though Christian beliefs generally seem highly unlikely to me. I don’t know where you sit theologically. I run into all shades of the spectrum: from a vague imagining of some greater power to rabid “kill all Muslims and evolutionists” evangelicals.

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  3. I’m guessing you haven’t read “The God Delusion”? There’s an interesting chapter on why and where religion emerges.
    I’m also guessing you live in the USA? I understand that it can be difficult. My little sister is in Layton Ohio and she gets regular roastings for having the audacity to think for herself.

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    1. I haven’t read The God Delusion. And I am in the UK, not the USA. I studied evolutionary psychology as part of my degree though, and disappointed my supervisor by telling him that science and faith are not mutually exclusive. We agreed to disagree on that one. I am guessing you must have some sort of post- modern viewpoint, with a background that included exposure to organised religion of some sort?

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      1. I am still to find out how science and faith are mutually exclusive. I studied chemistry and now advancing in biological sciences. Amazingly, my classes and my research have helped me in my faith. From behavior of positrons, folding of proteins, DNA damage or reading a friend’s article on chimera state, I have found myriad reasons of believing. I am from Zimbabwe.

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  4. I’m shocked! How wrong could I be? In the UK! And I was taking pity on you.
    Science and faith are mutually exclusive: I side firmly with your supervisor on that.
    I’m not sure about post-modernism. I recall being dragged to church on a Sunday and caned by the same headmaster who preached forgiveness in morning assembly. He didn’t know what science was either. I was caned for explaining that to him.

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    1. Oh. Harsh. (The headmaster story not siding with supervisor). I have seen the damage of capital punishment. I am not from the UK, I merely live here. I am from South Africa.
      So does that change things for you?

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      1. Yes, but I’m not sure to what.
        You’re obviously an intelligent woman. The basic tenets of religious beliefs seem utterly ridiculous to me. I cannot understand how anyone can really believe in the supernatural. I do understand the pressures to conform in some places, such as the USA. But I don’t think that they really believe what they say they believe. Their behaviour betrays them time and again. “It is easier to get a camel (should be cable) through the eye of needle than to get a rich man in to heaven.” So either they don’t want to go to heaven or they think Jesus was mistaken? I can’t see a third alternative.
        So I’m left with the conclusion that it’s all front and posture, desperately trying to preserve status quo and justify America’s position in the world (and any military action required along the way).

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      2. You do make excellent points. The point that you don’t think they believe what they say they believe is particularly sad. If I were to decide my faith based on the behaviour of people I would most likely be on your side. But people are fallible, and selfish and make mistakes.
        I have faith but I also ask questions. I reckon that honest questions will get you closer to God than any amount of posturing. And truthfully, in my case it has been a choice between God and a bodybag. He is the only one to consistently give me a reason to carry on. So my faith is deeply personal and I think that is how it should be. Anything else is just religion and performance and a waste of time.

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  5. I appreciate your blog post, and agree that we believers demonstrate our faith best when we live transparently, being honest about our struggles and victories, and caring about people one-on-one. A life of faith isn’t always easy, it’s certainly not simple, and those of us undertaking it aren’t mindless automatons. We struggle with questions and weaknesses. In my experience, though, we continue with it because we’ve seen God at work in our lives. We know our lives would be in very different, dark places without Him, and we’re thankful. So we keep working through our circumstances to reach those mountain peaks. It’s not helpful to other believers or non-believers when we try to look like something we’re not. And it’s especially harmful to our children! If we want our children to grow in their faith, if we want them to be equipped to deal with adversity and persevere as adults, we have to be transparent.

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  6. @VaSanganyado Science has no proofs nor absolutes. Science is a methodology that seeks to explain available data. Religion says “there is a god and you must believe in him/her/it, irrespective of what the data says”. Religion is the very antithesis of an explanation; it merely adds an extra layer of unknowable on top of any question. Asking why god did anything is utterly pointless.

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