Part two of two parts; (click here to readpart 1)

Parity & God's handiwork
As I could have argued ten years ago, the apostles and prophets come down hard on using appearance to feed pride and seek status at others' expense. Isaiah condemned rich, proud women who flaunted their high-status appearance:

The Lord says,
"The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
flirting with their eyes,
tripping along with mincing steps,
with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
Therefore the Lord will bring sores on
the heads of the women of Zion;
the Lord will make their scalps
bald." (Isa. 3:16-17, NIV)

Here we see beauty abused by proud women, ornamentation collected by rich women who care more for exalting themselves than for helping their poorer neighbors. The prideful lust for one's own power and glory takes on social and political dimensions. Eventually, though, God promises that the proud will be shamed and the power-hungry enslaved.

Clothes and jewelry were means by which wealthy women flaunted their superiority over the poor in Isaiah's day. Not much has changed in 26 centuries. Today, one can often tell a woman's income by how much she is able to spend on clothes, hair, nails, facials, jewelry, and exercise. Cosmetics magnate Helena Rubinsteinsaid, "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones." It might be more accurate to say there are no ugly women, only women with limited budgets.

Pride and money lie behind Peter's admonition about women's dress: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter ...

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