A Rose By Any Other Name Just Stinks

women_011208_story2What is wrong with this woman? Truthout reports that some 6,000 women met in Chicago in October to pursue what they call the “true” woman, otherwise known as “biblical womanhood” or “complementarianism.” It’s all just code for paternalism.

Yes, this woman and many others like her, think that women’s liberation is a bunch of hooey, and we should, (take that Hillary), stand by our men.

They are seeking to enlist 100,000 women in their ranks to fight the good fight against the feminist movement, started in the 60′s. They of course argue that the women’s movement is the root of much evil in the world today.

A manifesto has been created, which you can read here. It basically affirms that the signers agree:

women and men were designed to reflect God in “complementary and distinct ways”; that today’s culture has gone astray distinctly because of its egalitarian approach to gender (and that it’s “experiencing the consequences of abandoning God’s design for men and women”); and that while men and women are equally valuable in the eyes of God, here on earth they are relegated to separate spheres at home and in the church.

Nice huh? And this:

The “counter cultural” attitudes that signers support include the idea that women are called to affirm and encourage godly masculinity, and honor the God-ordained male headship of their husbands and pastors; that wifely submission to male leadership in the home and church reflects Christ’s submission to God, His Father; that “selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ”; and, in a pronatalist turn of phrase that recalls the rhetoric of the Quiverfull conviction, their willingness to “receive children as a blessing from the Lord.”

So that takes us back a few centuries doesn’t it? Women, stay home, and make babies and obey your husband. Chilling indeed.

What is most interesting of course, is that this movement is lead by women. Women who write books about how other women should stay home and make nice doilies and perfect pot roasts. Home schooling is also big on their agenda so that their kids will be indoctrinated early and thoroughly on their proper roles in society.

My question always is: Do these women get permission from their husbands for this stuff? I mean, are they being ordered to go out and push this agenda? They cannot, it would seem come to this stuff on their own, that would be unseemly no? They should not be flying around holding conferences, going on book tours, and otherwise running big foundations dedicated to women’s subjugation to men can they? Aren’t men behind all this? According to them, it would seem they must be, yet the books carry female names, and so do the roster’s of speakers at the various conventions they organize.

Something is not quite right here it seems.

One, Mary Kassian, teaches at the Southern Baptist Seminary. That seems wrong on its face. There she instructs men? on their duties in subjugating their wives I can only assume. Perhaps she teaches their new curricula “homemaking.” But this seems odd on its face, because there should be only men students at the Seminary I would think.

It all is counter logical to me. Ms. Kassian has no business teaching anything, certainly not writing anything. These are issues not for her by her own admission. They are things men should be thinking about. She should be home worrying about the souffle for the dinner party that night.

Even though 6,000 attended the meeting in Chicago, apparently only 3,000 bothered to sign the manifesto. Apparently even the willing could not quite swallow that crap.

I hate it when I’m embarrassed by other women who support sexism as the norm. I just hate it.


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18 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Name Just Stinks

  1. I read this same article about “True Women” and I agree with your title.. this women’s movement stinks. Goes back to a pre-Christian idea about women.

  2. well … thanks for you analysis, but i have read/signed the True Woman manifesto. i am a single, professional woman … living as a true woman. it’s much more than stay home and have babies. i think you should investigate a bit more.

  3. … apparently, according to the true woman website on the manifesto … there are the 3000+ signers online, but there are 3500 that actually signed it on the weekend of the event, that have not yet been added to the online signatures. so over 6800 have actually signed to date.

  4. I grew up with this stuff and didn’t fully let go of it till my mid-20s. Thank God, I didn’t marry early, or I would have been trapped in that kind of relationship.

    I detest the cowardice of anonymous commenters.

  5. Anonymous, I sure don’t see how you reconcile your career with the tenets of this backward philosophy. Such a manifesto simply denigrates women. Claiming women are different is nothing but code for lesser. You have no idea apparently that this type of philosophy is instituted by men for men and the losers always are women many of whom bear the physical scars of such subservience. And I too detest those not sufficiently courageous to stand forth with a name when they spout this bilge.

  6. Sherry,

    I can reconcile it … I am living as a true biblical woman in the workplace. Strong. Powerful. Free. Happy. Sufficient. Filled. Satisfied.

    The manifesto does claim that we are different, but different does not mean lesser. We are equal in the site of God, but He has gifted men and women differently. We do have different roles.

    I cannot reveal my name, or I would.
    Anonymous will have to do. Sorry you have a problem with that.

  7. Different turns out to be lesser because you are taught that you are not the decision maker, but the submitter. You are to agree to the wishes of a man. Once you get married, you might find this a bit more constricting than you do now. It sounds all nice to be “taken care of” and not have to worry your pretty little head over finances and who to vote for, but in the end, you will feel like the child you are being asked to play. It’s thoroughly disgusting and no amount of claiming you are “powerful” changes it. You aren’t. It’s sad, and happily your miniority position will remain so. Real men don’t want doormats my dear.

  8. Sherry,

    You can’t say that I am not powerful … you don’t even know me. How assuming you are of one. Women are powerful and influential. I am not a doormat, but well respected among women and men that I work with.

    You are obviously not open to much discussion on this topic, but only make assumptions/conclusions based on your own opinions. That’s sad.

    So much for any healthy discussion here. If one does not agree, you are not interested.

  9. //women’s movement is the root of much evil //

    oh, wowsers…. I never knew that!!!! I that the real root of much evil was the Evil Canadians that send bitterly cold weather down to the midwest…… course I always thought the ex was evil when she would kick me in the back in the middle of the night to wake me up and tell me I was snoring. Boy! Did she have an evil kick!!

    //I’m embarrassed by other women who support sexism as the norm.//

    …and I am embarassed by other men who do the same thing. Good write, kiddo!!

  10. Anon: It is not that i care one whit what you choose to believe it, it is that you are proselytising this type of thought to others. Like all fundamentalism, it relies on a very simplistic and unscholarly interpretation of the bible. You premise your beliefs on what you interpret Jesus as meaning and saying, and in every respect you are decidely wrong. That is the problem with fundamentalism in a nut shell, it is simply based on faulty biblical exegesis, relying on usually of the worst translations still in use today.

    You claim that you are powerful, and I don’t know what you mean by that. You may feel that you have decision making power in your job and life because you are single, but your stated belief system means that you must always defer to a man in the end. As I said, you will perhaps think differently if and when you marry.

    There are personality types that of course really harken to this type of thinking. There are reasons for that. That is also true of fundamentalism itself. It is agreeable to a particular type of person who needs assurance that a very specific set of rules are in place. It gives security. Of course that is but an illusion, but that changes nothing to the person who craves certainty in life. This is well documented in the psychology literature.

    You are simply engaged in a belief system that is illogical on its face, since the major proponents and leaders of this movement engage in behavior directly in opposition to the stated purpose of the belief system. You can’t counsel other women to be subservient and then jump on the next plane to attend your next talk. It’s simply incongruent.

    It is hard to discuss such a thought system that is so theologically bereft of real content. It is simply a return to a paternalistic pattern that has had its day. It is extremely detrimental to women across the world, and indeed puts you in closer proximity to those groups considered wildly ideologically radical in all faiths. You in fact more reflect the type of thinking that is prevelant in radical Islam and radical Judaism than you do mainstream Christianity. Christian sects that follow this type of radicalism are often exemplified by white supremacy groups and others of that ilk.

    I am perfectly willing to continue discussing these matters. Your anger is obvious, but you have failed in all your discourse so far to justify your position by any theological argument. You simply say you can be both powerful and subservient to men in the same breath. That is not much of an argument.

  11. Sherry,

    I am not mad or angry … again, you have assumed something on me that is not true. I am just deeply sadden by the tension this issue brings. You can call me what you want, but I know who I am in Christ Jesus. I am forgiven and free … and that is reason to rejoice.

    This will be my last post here.

  12. I have never been happy with the translation of the Greek “hypotasseo” as “submit.” To me, the English word has connotations of victory over, and humiliation, whereas the Greek, though it can be used that way, also includes a more neutral sense of ordering–one usage can even be translated “put in the shelter of.”

    I realize that that wouldn’t satisfy anyone demanding strict equality. But Paul’s notorious passage in Ephesians begins with with a mutual admonition, “Hypotassomenoi allelois,” “being subject to one another.” Nor do I think that Paul intended to put any lesser obligation on husbands in commanding them to “love (agapate”) your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.”

    The difficulty I have with all this is that all these aspirations to “power” run contrary to the commandment of Christ to serve one another, and the reminder of Paul that love never seeks its own. Yes of course women seeking to live the Gospel will find themselves at a disadvantage. So will men. And though surely we do wrong when we expect only one sex to follow the precepts of Christ, we also do wrong, I think, in trying to redress the balance by expecting the more-Christ-like to conform to the less-Christ-like, rather than the other way around.

  13. The comment stream here is great! I believe that ultimately a woman has to choose for herself what she wants to believe and how she wants to live. My problem with either side is when the propagandizing begins and it all seems to be telling a woman what is right for her. That is something we all have to work out for ourselves.

    Personally, I have no interest in romantic relationships and have chosen to be single. Believe it or not, that is also viewed as a “lesser” choice but the truth is.. I couldn’t care less. I make my decisions for my own reasons and that’s the crux of freedom.. for women, men or in between.
    :)

    ~*

  14. Rick, I think you make an important point. Of course much of this comes from Paul’s writings, since fundamentalists in general pay far more attention to Paul it seems than they do to the Gospels. Of course, we are very sure that some of “Paul’s writings” are not Paul’s at all, and so we can be wrong in attributing to him these sexist remarks that we sometimes find.

    I think your issues with power are important. In fact, it is important to remember that Paul was very much apart of his time and place. Roman power policies were in place and were the framework through which Paul examined his world. Patriarchy was the norm both in his Jewish society and in the Roman world to which he had been born. It is understandable that he and others were unable to make the leap envisioned by Christ that power was no longer the issue, service and love were.

    Paul seems to grasp this in general, but then falls back into his upbringing it seems. From his letters to various communities, it is quite obvious that women were playing a significant role in the spiritual community. Their homes were used, they were preaching. Some of this was viewed as unseemly by the surrounding environment, and Paul’s admonitions were, it may be viewed, a means to avoid increasing pressure on his new communities from the Roman power structure.

    Still, it does not excuse the wording used completely, and most probably Paul didn’t see the problem as being that serous. Women were not afforded equal status in his world, and it must not have seemed incorrect to counsel them to remain the lesser in the family.

    It is unfortunate when women, buy into this false belief that Jesus proposed such nonsense. He did not. In fact, he made it quite clear in many of his encounters with women that he was treating them very much differently than women were normally treated. It is a pity that this change was just too drastic for some to even contemplate.

  15. Chani, I agree in some respects with what you have said. I agree that every woman should be free to do as she wishes in this area. Any woman who wants to live in traditional roles is free to do so. But when they begin to tell others that they are “true” women while others are not, I tend to draw the line.

    I disagree that all proselytizing is bad. I believe that women have the duty to show other less fortunate women that there is another way. And we must fight to help those women pull themselves upward and away from paternalism when it stifles their creativity and otherwise limits them and their choices.

    Having not married until age 49, I too thought my life would be single. I had pretty much made my peace with it, and then found that it was not right for me. Happily I have a husband who wouldn’t know the meaning of thinking a woman was his to dominate. Our marriage is one of total equality, and we support each other in every way that each may reach their full potential as human being.

    Although I am sorrowful for women who choose otherwise, I accept it. I have a bit more problem in them teaching and training their daughters and sons to behave in such a backward fashion. Many of these women home school their kids specifically to train them in this paternalistic model. But as usually happens, college and life in the real world turns these kids around for the most part.

    What I find illogical in all this, is that these same women who choose to submit, are also the same women who argue that they are entitled to equal wages and other societal benefits. It is part of the syndrome of having one’s cake and eating it too. Worse, the major proponents of course, don’t live submissive lives, but engage in the wider world much like men.

    But I agree, it has been one of the better argued comment posts.

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