Sunday, March 27, 2011
Treat All Girls Like Dudes Day
On Facebook I was invited to an event on March 31st called "Treat all Girls Like Dudes Day". The creators of the event don't want guys to use this as a ticket to be assholes to girls, but they do want it to be a day where girls get no special treatment for being girls. They want to see if girls can handle a day where a guy doesn't open the door for her, or let her get out of a speeding ticket because she starts crying, or is really cute. They want girls and guys to be treated the same.
I really like this idea, but their motives are kind of weird. They are angry about the “BS”, meaning, the unfair special treatment. It’s weird because for most of history of western civilization woman have been treated as inferior to men. In my American history class we have been studying the Cold War era where there was a revival of domesticity for woman during the baby-boom era after the two world wars.
Woman in this post-war/ Cold War era were expected and very strongly encouraged to find a good husband, have children and be a professional homemaker. The home was seen as a sacred and safe place for woman to be content in, and the world of work was dangerous, and tough, and therefore restricted to mainly men. Wages and opportunities were less than for men, which forced women to be dependent on men. People did not think it was possible for a woman to have both a career and have a family. If women were not content in their vocation in the home,they were seen as having something psychologically wrong with them. Their daughters however rebelled in the 60’s and 70’s during the feminist movement. Since then, it is not unusual for women to go to college and pursue careers, as well as a family, or for women not to get married at all.
Feminists challenged the idea that a woman’s only calling is to be a wife and a mother. They challenged the idea that woman are weaker than men, and therefore are unfit for the workplace. They challenged the idea that men are to be in authority over them.
I see some problems with the feminist movement. Abortion and birth control came with a desire to be independent from men. Woman wanted to be like men in that they did not need to take the physical responsibility of their desire for sexual freedom. They wanted to be able to have sex without being married or having children. This desire for sexual immorality has caused the genocide of millions of babies. However, it is also unfair that men have always been sexually free. It was okay for men to have sex with woman, but if a woman was not a virgin, it would be near impossible for her to find a husband, or a job. If she got pregnant outside of marriage, she would suffer huge consequences while the father of her child would probably have no consequences. This was ridiculous (and unfortunately still happens in many societies). It is equally immoral for men or women to have sex outside of marriage, and it was unfair that only woman bore the consequences. However, murder is not an alternative to bearing the consequences of one’s actions, even if one must bear it alone, but this is unfortunately something the feminist movement spurred.
Feminism also becomes a problem when woman are so obsessed with their careers that they neglect their families, and often times this will result in divorce. People often point to women being outside the home when they see the torn up families in our nation. They blame this on the fact that women have abandoned the home. They forget however, that these children also have a father who is equally responsible to raise his children and keep his family together. Parenting and marital relationships require the efforts of both the husband and the wife. Blaming divorce rates on woman being in the workplace rather than the home is making things much simpler than they are. Both husbands and wives should not let their work become more important than their marital relationship, and raising their children. Feminism may have encouraged women to abandon their homes in many cases, but we can in an equal number of cases blame fathers for abandoning their homes.
Still, pastors will often point to the Titus 2:4-5 where it says that women are to love their husbands and children, and work in the home. I always thought, with disappointment, that this meant that I was biblically required to be a stay-home mother and wife, if I was going to be a godly woman. However, in Proverbs 31;10-31, we see a seeming contradiction to the Titus passage. The virtuous wife in Proverbs works outside the home, buying land and selling and buying merchandise. She is also said to have “strong arms”, meaning she is not weak and frail. She is a hard worker, both in the home and outside of it, and her husband and children praise her and respect her for it.
Culturally, we think that Titus 2 must means that women are meant to be restricted to the home, especially for people who come from the Cold War era. This is not biblical. A virtuous wife is not a weak person, completely dependent on her husband, and working at home cooking and cleaning and tucking the kids into bed every day. She has freedom. She loves her family, and is diligent to them, but there is no where that says that she is only to be in the home. We also have to realize that before the industrial revolution, work was almost always done at home. Titus 2 corresponds perfectly with Proverbs 31 because it is saying that wives are to be hard workers at whatever they do, and to love their families.
Now, in our society, not so much now as in the past, but many people still think that women are supposed to be submissive to men in general. In the past it was always assumed that at work a woman would not be the boss of a man. It was also assumed that women couldn’t speak in church, but men could. These ideas were thought to be biblical and moral.
We learn God’s requirements of a husband-wife relationship in Ephesians 5:22-33. Women are supposed to be submissive and respectful of their husbands, while men are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves his church. Both are supposed to love each other as their own body, because they are one body. Some people may assume that because the wife is submissive, she must be inferior to the man. This is false. A wife has a different role than her husband, but she is still his equal (Gal. 3:28). I have heard several people compare this to the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are three persons, who are equally God; they are one God. Husband and wives are two persons, and they are one. The Son submits to the Father, and the Spirit submits to the Son, but all three persons of the trinity are equally God; they just have different roles. This is similar to the relationship between a husband and a wife. This being said, a wife is submissive to her husband. This does not mean she is submissive to all men, because all men are not her husband.
A wife being submissive to her husband does not mean that she becomes his slave, or that he should not listen to anything she has to say. We cannot take the analogy of the husband being like Christ and the woman like the church to the extent that the husband becomes divine. We also remember that Christ washed his disciples’ feet, and he gave his life for believers. Love is self-sacrifice (John 15:13), so it is necessary for a loving wife and husband to be servants of each other and to want what is best for the other. Also, a wife needs to submit to her husband, but this does not mean that she cannot have discussions with him about his decisions, and this also does not mean that he should not respect her opinions and arguments.
The other area where woman have different roles than men is in the church. Women are not to be elders or pastors. In Titus 1:5-6, Paul tells Titus to appoint an elder who is “above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.” He clearly says that elders in the church are to be husbands, meaning men. Then in 1 Timothy, Paul is warning against false teachers, then he says in 1:12 that women aren’t to be overseers of men. In the next chapter, he gives qualification of overseers. It is clear from the context that he is talking about church leadership. So it is not right for women to be church leaders (elders or pastors), but Paul is not saying that women cannot be leaders of men in general. The reason men are church leaders is because they are also Christ-like figures in the church. They shepard the church like Christ sheparded his disciples. Another aspect to be pointed out is that a man who is not an elder has just as little right to be teaching and leading in church as does a woman.
So, thanks to Dr. McCllhenny (my history professor) and his wife, Becky, I have rethought my views about what it means to be a godly woman. I can be strong and educated and have a career, as well as be a wife and mother. Of course, my family has to come first before my career, but this principle is the same for whoever my husband will be. Love is self-giving, not selfish. To wrap this up, every day should be a day where guys and girls are treated the same. I don’t like that my friends are calling March 31st a day where girls are treated like guys, because that presupposed that they are supposed to be treated differently. We should love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of their sex, race, age, etc. All people should be treated equally.