Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gender roles (for Grown-Ups)

This is the third post in my series on Biblical Patriarchy. For previous posts on this topic, I'll refer you to the Introduction and Gender roles (for children), both of which define terms and clarify the particular splinter of Biblical patriarchy that I grew up under.

I want a number of links on this subject, which may take longer to locate. Therefore, I will probably intersperse this series with posts on other topics. I still plan to continue with the posts outlined in the Introduction.




The summer I went "home" after college, an animated movie came out that looked really good. I decided to use some of the money I was saving from my summer job, to treat my entire family to that movie. We planned it and discussed it the entire week, in the living room, in front of my father. On Sunday, the day we planned to go, on the way home from church my father declared that the family was not going.

Not "I'm not going." But "nobody can go."

I appealed to my mother, asking why we couldn't just leave him home. She replied that he was the head of the family, and his word goes. I was 19, and she allowed that I could just leave on my own, but I couldn't bring my younger siblings with me.

This was far from the first time my mother had bowed to his wishes. As I said, I grew up in a family that believed in Biblical patriarchy... and not only Biblical, he also invoked the Roman tradition of pater familias.

(I watched the movie with a friend a few weeks later. IIRC, my adolescent siblings also saw it in theaters, while the toddlers watched it later, on the VCR at home. I later learned that my mother would intercede for us, sometimes, but mostly in private, after we had gone to sleep, without our knowledge.)

In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions, I have seen several articles reminding people what is meant by "traditional marriage:" a marriage where women are property.

The Bible can be used and abused in many ways. Some families that profess Christian values, are using the Bible to abuse. In some cases, this can also lead to issues with consent. [Do Not Link article here] While that article specifically denies advocating force, he uses the Bible to distinguish between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" reasons to say no.

It isn't always that way. In fact, Libby Anne points out something I had read on the Mothering.com boards: “Complementarianism works so long as you are actually egalitarian.”

It also has not always been that way. There is neither time nor space here to go into the history of medieval families, nor Maria Mies' chapter linking colonization to the housewificization of women (from Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour (Critique. Influence. Change.))

Libby Anne explores her own Protestant heritage with "When Evangelicalism Was Egalitarian." In the Catholic tradition, male headship has more often been a religious feature (women aren't currently priests, "tradition" arguably states that women rarely or never were), than the level of political, economic, or interpersonal dominance that Biblical patriarchy advocates. The lives of the Saints, in particular, are full of outspoken women who advocated in accordance with their calling.