What is womanhood? Is there any more important question for young women to consider than this? It should be the highest ambition of every young woman to strive toward possessing a heart of true womanhood. Earth presents no higher object of attainment. To be a woman, in the truest and highest sense of the word, is to be the best thing beneath the skies. To be a woman is something more than to live eighteen or twenty years; something more than to grow to the physical stature of women; something more than to wear flounces, exhibit dry-goods, sport jewelry, catch a gaze of lewd-eyed men; something more than to be a beauty, a wife, or a mother. Put all these qualifications together and they do but little toward making a true woman.
Beauty and style are not the surest passports to womanhood some of the noblest examples of womanhood in the world, have looked quite plain in outward appearance. A woman’s worth is to be estimated by the real goodness of her heart, the greatness of her soul, and the purity and sweetness of her character; and a woman with a kindly disposition and well-balanced temper, is both lovely and attractive, even if her face is plain and her figure imperfect; she makes the best of wives and the truest of mothers. She has a higher purpose in living than the beautiful, yet vain and supercilious woman, who has no higher ambition than to flaunt her finery on the street, or to gratify her inordinate vanity by extracting flattery and praise from society, whose compliments are as hollow as the are insincere.
Bo gift from heaven is so general and so widely abused by woman as the gift of beauty. In many cases, it makes her thoughtless, giddy, vain, proud, frivolous, selfish, low and mean. I think I have seen more girls spoiled by beauty than by any other one thing. “She is beautiful and she knows it,” is as much as to say she is spoiled. A beautiful girl is very likely to believe she was made to be looked at. And believing and acting thus, she soon becomes good for nothing else, and when she comes to be a middle-aged woman she is the weakest, most sickening of all human beings – a faded beauty. Outward beauty is shallow – only skin deep; fleeting only reigning for a season. But inward beauty will last forever.
If you desire to be admires and beloved, be an example of beautiful womanhood and cultivate the virtues of the heart. Wealth may surround you with its blandishness, and beauty, learning, or talents may give you admirers, but love and kindness alone captivate the heart. Whether you live in a cottage or a palace, these graces can surround you with perpetual sunshine, making you, and all those around you, happy.
Seek then, fair daughters, the possession of the inward grace, whose essence shall fragrance and vitalize the affections, adorn the countenance, make sweet the voice, and impart a hallowed beauty throughout your very being.