Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts about masculine leadership and feminism

In Genesis 3, Eve is told: "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you". Notice that the word used here is "rule" – not "oppress", "beat into submission", or "boss around".

Does it mean her husband gets the better deal? No. Ruling means the husband is responsible for the wife, her well-being and their family. The one who rules is supposed to be wise, responsible, to take care of those who submit to him. I'll say more – with his kind and loving guidance, he is a servant of those who are under his rule. He is a protector.

Recently, I had a discussion on this subject and more, with a young man who came across my blog.
"Women against feminism?" – He sneered. – "Isn't this like… black people against Martin Luther King?"
Oh, I certainly won't start explaining right now all the reasons why I'm opposed to feminism. But isn't it amazing how deeply ingrained is the thought that feminism is good for women? Say you're against feminism, and it will be concluded you're against women's rights, enlightenment and progress. Say a family should submit to an authority, and you're an oppressed slave, stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. Say anything that rips a hole in the smooth structure of egalitarianism, and you're the enemy.

One thing feminism deprived us of is masculine leadership.

Here's a comment I received from an anonymous commenter:

What I've noticed over the years is that the men I've known have embraced the idea that they don't have to be solely responsible for breadwinning and rather like it. Some I've known didn't want to marry a woman who expected them to provide all the financial support. I just wonder whether this is a trend in male thinking that needs to be taken into account in your deliberations on the future. Men seem to want to be liberated from traditional roles too.

Unfortunately, there's a grain of truth in this statement – there are many men who are not willing anymore to embrace their God-given role of providers and protectors of their families. Make no mistake, however. Men are called to take responsibility, lead, and provide for their wives. This is the duty of men – just as it's the duty of women to be helpmeets. Thinking the husband should provide and protect is not some off-the-rocker expectation. Why does it happen, then, that some men declare they just aren't up to this task anymore?

Indeed, why should men take seriously their role of being providers and protectors of their families, if the feminist movement did everything possible to convince men that this role is outdated and isn't needed anymore?

By rejecting masculine authority, women also gave up on protection of men. What did this give us? A society of women who try very hard to show they can be masculine and men who are not ready to take up the responsibility of leadership – or if they were, they'd be labeled as 'patriarchal' and 'sexist'.

Women are afraid to trust men. "But what if my husband is wrong?" – We ask. – "What if I know for sure my decision is better?!" … I'd like to stress that right now I'm not discussing a situation when a husband asks his wife to go against God's word. I'm talking about financial decisions and family matters.

Ultimately, it all boils down to whether you believe in God's word or not. Women were created to be helpmeets and obey their husbands without any conditions. God didn't say, "Obey your husband if he's smarter than you" or "obey your husband if that's what works for you at the moment".

'Obedience' is not a curse. Neither is 'submission' or 'authority'. These are gifts from God, part of His beautiful plan for both sexes. Why forsake it in the name of egalitarianism? Why not dare to trust Him and live according to His instruction?

33 comments:

Buffy said...

Hi Anna

Interesting post. Do I take it that you do not support feminism but you do support women's rights? I was wondering what you thought the difference was as most people seem to be unclear about the definition of either.

Best wishes
Buffy

Anna S said...

Hi Buffy,

As you said, many people have different thoughts about what constitutes "women's rights". My thoughts about feminism vs. women's rights are so lengthy that it would probably be better to write them in a separate post.

So for now I'll tell just this: I'm against anything that undermines well-being, health, security and dignity of women.

Buffy said...

I hope you find time to write that post about women's rights. It is easy for people to run away with the idea that because someone questions some of the consequences of feminism (as I do) they are therefore against women's rights. Equally some women use 'women's rights' as an excuse to behave selfishly. We need a good definition!

Jordin said...

Amen!

Anna S said...

Buffy,

I already have the post half-written. I will publish it in a day or two, probably. It's easy to write because I've been thinking about it so much ever since I rejected feminism! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna-

I'm just recently visiting your blog (over from Coffee Wife), and what I have read impresses me very much. This post is no exception!

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about this very issue you've addressed-- and the way you address it. We women, as a whole I mean, really have ourselves in a bind when it comes to complaining about the lack of men willing to be family men, to take on the role of provider & protector. We've been nagging at them for over 30 years, telling them (in practical ways as well as outright!!) that they are not needed, not wanted. They're nothing but a bunch of knuckle-draggin' idiots with only one thing on their minds. Or, in the more successful cases (tongue definitely in cheek!), we have "wuss-ified" men to the point that they are barely recognizable as men anymore. Dear God, help us.

I like my husband masculine. I don't care if he never gets in touch with his feminine side. He is already kind, caring, and able to see and appreciate the more tender side of things-- he just expresses these things differently than I do. And that's just fine, thank you. We complement each other very well in most areas. Sometimes it is hard to submit to his decisions. Over the years, though, I have noticed that he has come to rely on me as his best advisor in many areas. And I'm more than happy to help......as God has created me to.

Brenda

Anna S said...

Brenda,

Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

Candy said...

Anna, I love reading your posts smd always look forward to what you write. I have to say it again, you are a wise young lady. :)

I agree with your post of course :)When I think about your point and how true it is that some men out there are probably happy not to be the breadwinner because their wifes are working too, just really hurts my heart. Whats next.......men end up staying at home to raise the family and women work. I know that already exists too but could you imagine a MAJORITY of that. And then the next thing you know politicans are all women, everything is led by women.
I can totally see things go that way. First it takes a female president.
Im not saying women cant do anything like that...its just Id really hate to see the MAJORITY of leadership type roles be switched from men to women.
Because its not about what we want, what men or women want. It always comes down to (for me especially) the Bible and what God wants. I happen to believe firmly that the womens place is in the home and the husband works.
I just dont undertstand why so many women feel differently than me. Why they would rather work, socialize and all the junk that comes with that, instead of being in their home, keeping their home, being their for their families. Have women forgot what JOY and blessing comes from being at home. Its AMAZING being able to stay home. There is nothing better, no job, nothing, truly nothing...being a homekeeper. We were made for it. We had to be because it comes so naturally for us to care for our families and keep the home. It just "fits" you know.
Love this post,
Candy :)

PaulaB52 said...

As a mom of 2 boys, it's very difficult trying to raise them not to be "wussified" (LOL, love the term). My husband and I point out them them all the time about proper roles in life. They also see us as examples in these roles.

Sometimes my youngest son will say something like "poor dad, he has to work all the time" (for the record, my dh works 60 hour weeks, but is always available for the kids in extracurricular activities, etc)I'll point out to him that dad works so hard because he wants to make sure that his family is taken care of, we have enough to eat and a safe place to live. I think leading by example sets a strong tone.

We also point out the mother/wife at home example. My son has asked me why don't I work like so & so's mom so we could have "insert big ticket item". I told him that I was a housewife and that was my job. I then proceeded to rattle off all the things that wouldn't happen if I worked outside of the home.

I used to aspire to be a feminist. Something happened to me when I became a mother. The pull was so strong to be with my children. I know it was the Lord that was working on me thru my children. I still struggle with submission, but I do try very hard. As time goes on, it does get easier and easier to let my dh assume his position of leadership.

Anna S said...

Candy - I agree with you that it all boils down to whether you trust God's word or not. It's truthful. It's eternal. The fact that our social norms today might be different has nothing to do with God's word being wrong; it's our culture that has gone astray!

Paula - I thought I was a feminist before, too. But then I realized it's just because I've never seen the other side.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you are so right, Anna. The fallout of this kind of thinking has affected virtually every aspect of our lives today, and as broken as things are, people refuse to turn to Him for the answers & guidance. We can not educate ourselves out of this problem, we could never tax ourselves enough (though surely some politicians will always try). We just need to stop, and make a decision, in faith, that God really does know best, and then act as though we believe it. His ways are so wonderful.

blessings,
Brenda

Anonymous said...

P.S. Your kitty is adorable! All curled up, taking a little nap. We are cat people too, and our Tommy is an important (and much fussed over) part of our family.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
You have a lovely blog here. I think that I will allow my 12 year old daughter to visit, too. I have often thought that feminism was instigated by stupid women (I think that this more charitable than evil women :) ) and perpetrated by lazy men.
Suzanne

Country Rosebud said...

Hi,
Being a sister of three brothers, I can understand what you are talking about. I totally agree with everything. I like my men masculine. My sisters husbands are somewhat masculine. Sean is a man who likes to play video games, and such. Clay is a carpenter, and one of the best brother in laws. It is a great life.

Feminism is not good, for it teaches us not to be dependant on men, our sole provider. I do not have a husband yet, but I have a Dad, who is my provider, and I think he is the greatest!

I really appreciate everything you said in the article. Keep up the good work!
Laura

Serena said...

Well put, Anna.

Anna S said...

Thank you for your support! Coming next: why I don't think we should thank feminism for fighting for our 'rights'.

Scootergal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. Brigham said...

As a "recovering feminist" I must offer my applause at your post! :o)

Anonymous said...

On trusting your husband:
...a Christian man once acknowledged how difficult and scary it can be for women to let their husbands make mistakes, as the head of the household. "And our wives are right. But they jump in, we won't learn the lesson God has to teach us the hard way." Ladies, the principle from a man's perspective is: "Duck, so God can hit your husband!"
The idea is to trust God!

Anonymous said...

Firstly I'd like to say, that for all those ladies who really are naturally suited to this position - I admire those who do what they believe is good and right, even when they are not in the majority.

In that spirit as a minority here, I'll try to explain my opinions. I am not a feminist, but I should be the most disasterous mother/housewife ever attempted if I ever should try. I am very awkward with children, and lack the nature to happy be in the home. I believe womens' rights are the same as everyone else's - to food, shelter, to be healthy, not to be abused.

I don't believe in misandry. Feminism has demoralised men. To allow women to choose a different role is not the same as pushing for extra consessions for women, forcing (feminine)women into masculine roles, and causing resentment between women and men, where there should be none as they were designed to exist alongside each other.

There are such a thing as non-feminine women, through creation, not just choice. I lack the feminine qualities a wife and mother should have, I have what I've been given only, and I intend use it as I can best use it to do good, and in my case, that isn't in the home, not because women should or shouldn't be there, but because I'm very ill-suited to being a wife or a mother.

But I also believe I am in the minority, I am a woman in body, but not very feminine in character, so I will do the best I can with the attributes I have.

Everyone is saying "trust God" and if I were to rebel against the nature I've been given, that would be defiling God's gift, not trusting Him.

Machelle said...

Hello Anna.

My name is Machelle, and I came across this blog through the LAF and your writings, like so many others I find through that website, is inspirational.

I am 17 years old and, living in a society that glorifies the "strong, independent" woman, I find it hard to find someone I think to be a good, wholesome role model who doesn't say I have to be a savvy single business entrepreneur to be happy. I feel so joyful to find other women who share the same views and values that I do.

Much Love,
Machelle

Anna S said...

Machelle,

Thank you for visiting, and I'm SO happy for you that at 17, you already came to understand what I only understood much later! God bless you!

Molly said...

I'm late chiming in on this discussion--sorry. I came here by way of surfing LAF and wanted to share some of my own thoughts and questions about the Genesis passage. :)

I agree that Genesis appears to be saying that men will rule (and the word includes basic rule, including both good rule and bad rule).

What makes me scratch my head (as far as accepting patriarchy as God's initial/best design) is that this is the FALL. It's not a pre-Fall thing. Male rule seems to become a norm AFTER the Fall, after sin.

The other things that happened to us as a result of the Fall are all equally undesirable---pain in childbirth, for example, and labor in the fields. Yet we don't say a farmer is sinning if he uses a tractor in the fields instead of plowing by "the sweat of his brow." That's probably because we don't view "laboring by the sweat of your brow" (as God said Adam would when they fell from Eden) as a Biblical COMMAND, but rather simply a statement of how life will be after the Fall. For example, now the farmer has had to work to AVOID the negative effects of the Fall--hence the invention of John Deere tractors, etc--lol. But I wonder if using a tractor is a sin? He is, in using that tractor, avoiding the full weight of the Fall. (And if we say it's okay for him to use the tractor, then would it be fair to say it's equally okay for women to seek ways to avoid being ruled by men)?

This is one of the things in Scripture that makes me really wonder about male rule (something I formerly advocated and lived out, but now question due to Scripture).

For example, male rule is first mentioned in Genesis 3...AFTER sin happened. Now that sin entered the picture, would it be fair to say that perhaps God was not giving an actual command, but rather just saying, "he will rule over you," as a way of describing what life would be like post-Fall, simply because relationships are screwed up now.

I mean, through history, we *do* see male rule, across time and across culture, it's just the way things have always been...sometimes it's not terrible, but many times it has been (wearing a burqa was not a female idea, for example). Male rule is the norm, not the exception, all through time----just as pain in childbirth (another fact of the Fall) is the norm and not the exception all through time.

So is male rule an actual "command" in the Fall, or is it simply and sadly letting us know the way things will now be in a world that is no longer free of sin? It's interesting the post-Fall, we do have a world of fallen humans who live by "strong conquers weak," and we all know that when it comes to a physical contest, most women are weaker than most men. Is male rule simply a natural extension of a fallen humanity? I think it's a valid question.

My wondering mind will go wonder about something else now, while I'm getting breakfast going before my noisy giggly troop wakes up. Thanks for letting me pop in here and share some of my mind's wonderings. I love God--LOVE God. I just want to see Him rightly expressed in the earth. At one point, I was firmly convinced that patriarchy was a right expression...I lived it and I joyfully taught other women to do the same. Now, I have to admit, I am not so sure and have a lot of Biblically-induced questions...and I regret most of the teaching I did, for the simple fact that I am afraid the Bible does not seem to support what I thought it did... :( One thing I do know though--we are to treat others as the Messiah treats us---so I love and respect my husband regardless of whether or not I ascribe to patriarchy or not, simply because I know with assurity that God values love above many other things (1 Cor. 13). :)

Warmly,
Molly

Anna S said...

Molly,

Your question is very interesting and I admit I have never thought about it: sure, we live in a fallen world and must obey God's instructions for this fallen world, but is this the ideal situation? I will definitely need to think about it more. Do you mind if I publish your comment (or part of it) as a separate post, and maybe we can hear various perspectives?

What I think can perhaps partly answer this is that Eve was made to be a helpmeet for Adam in the first place, and this has nothing to do with the fall. If we have a pair of which one is a helper, to me it's natural that the other will be a leader. Just my humble thought.

Diane said...

In response to Molly, our roles have their roots in creation, not after the fall. Here are the Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 11:3-16 (especially verses 8-9,14)

Ephesians 5:21-33 (especially verses 31-32)

1 Timothy 2:11-14 (especially verses 13-14)

I've recently begun reading a book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I've got the book, but it can also be read online here:

http://www.cbmw.org/rbmw/index.php

I highly recommend it.

This is the first time I've been to your blog, and this was a very good post.

MarkyMark said...

Hi Anna,

How are you? I stumbled on to your blog via LAF, which I arrived via a link from Henry Makow's site. I must say that it is indeed refreshing to see that there are indeed some feminine women left in the USA! I thought that they were on the endangered species' list, if not extinct by now...

That said, I would like to offer my understanding of the husband's vis a vis the wife's roles. I'd also like to touch on the responsibility that comes along with leadership; you're wise to see this, Anna.

How do I see the roles of the husband and wife? To steal Henry Makow's analogy (it's succinct and good), I see the family as a little 'ship'; the husband is the captain, while the wife is his first mate. As the captain, the buck stops with HIM-end of story; that's heavy duty when one thinks about it...

We can see this after The Fall, which you alluded to in Genesis 3. If you'll remember, God called Adam on the carpet, not Eve, after they ate of the tree of knowledge of Good & Evil. Why did God do this? Because Adam was in charge, and he BLEW IT; granted, that may be oversimplifying things a bit, but that's the essence of what happened. When Adam blew it, God had a serious bone to pick with him! It's been said that every Biblical principle can be found in Genesis; the concept of the husband's leadership is no exception, and it's beautifully illustrated here.

Truth be told, that is why I didn't marry right away. I took a good, hard look at myself, and found myself WOEFULLY inadequate for the challenges and duties that being the leader of the family entails. Thought I cannot think of it offhand, I know there are Scriptures that make it abundantly clear that God will hold the HUSBAND accountable for how his family turns out-ouch! Facing the Lord & Master of the Universe is heavy duty stuff; if I were to face Him and give account for my family, you can bet your bippy that I'd want to make sure I'm GOOD & READY TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE before assuming such awesome responsibilties. I don't see how any guy who has even a passing awareness of the Bible and its teachings on the family could not be awestruck with what God expects of him if he marries and has a family; you could mix in some fear or trepidation too while you're at it! I found it sobering, to say the least...

Another responsibility the husband has, one that I've seldom, if ever, heard discussed, is this: he has to, if necessary, lay down his life for his wife & family. In Eph. 5:25, it says, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." Christ laid down His life for us; since we're instructed to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and since Christ gave himself for the church, then a husband has to be ready to give his life if necessary-wow, talk about heavy duty! I never found anyone for whom I'd be willing to do this, so I never married.

I'm going to close for now. You're welcome to visit my blog, of course, but I must warn you: I'm backslidden, and I'm not much of a diplomat when it comes to expressing my thoughts and opinions. Have a good night, and I'm going to take a look around...

MarkyMark

Mr. Hope said...

Just want to let you know that I'm utilizing this blog as discussion fodder for a group of men regarding male headship of their homes.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Anna is right: God's plan for male leadership is creation-bound, not Fall-bound. And Marky Mark is right: leadership equals responsibility. Men who marry have heavy accountability to God for their families.

That said, I wonder if MarkyMark has considered that God may actually expect men to be "woefully inadequate for the challenges and duties that being the leader of the family entails." For if men were fully able to handle the responsibility on their own, they wouldn't need God! For men to do their jobs as husbands and fathers well, they must rely on the Lord for strength and guidance.

Likewise, for women to do their jobs as wives and mothers well, they, too, must rely on the Lord for strength and guidance. Marriage wasn't Adam's idea, it was God's alone. If we are in Him, He will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I spent this morning reading through all your posts on this subject and just wanted to thank you for your courage in tackling such a politically incorrect topic. As usual, you cover the subject with insight and kindness. I linked to this post in something I wrote on the subject today -- thanks for the inspiration!

Jennifer said...

I used to call myself a feminist too, before I realized it's about rampant rights and not true and natural rights. I don't, however, believe the husband rules. I believe "rule over thee" was a negative prediction God was giving Eve that her husband would wish to dominate her in his sin. This doesn't negate the truth of submission.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I've just come across your blog while researching essays on a biblical view of womanhood. You started out by quoting Genesis 3 but didn't highlight the fact that this verse is in fact Eve's punishment! She will desire her husband but unfortunately, instead of mutual dominion, he will now rule over her. This is not meant to be read as a positive statement, despite what commentators have made of it. Please can you expand further on this?

Triple P (pray, prepare, play) said...

Amen! that is a hitting the nail on the head. i valued molly's depth in thought however it is not correct.

Grace in Torah said...

While I agree with most of your blog, I believe it is important that all things are kept in balance. Men and women are different and have different roles and purposes given to us by God. However, we live in a fallen world. The enemy loves to keep us on one extreme or another when the truth is often found in the middle of these extremes.

I am NOT a modern feminist, but I am for equal rights. If you care to step outside of the western world, female oppression very much alive and well. This constitutes a great percentage of the world's population. Fallen Adam has the tendency to take the "ruling" part of Eve's curse to the extreme. For those that deny that the “ruling” of man over women is not part of the consequence of Eve’s sin, I urge you to research this in the Hebrew text. Before the fall, God created woman as an ezer kenegdo (help meet). This term does not mean “housewife”. (Though there is nothing wrong with being a housewife) It is a term (ezer) that is usually reserved for God Himself in its other uses. It means help, rescuer, savior, etc. A woman will “help” man in a similar way that God helps His people. This term obviously has nothing to do with her washing dishes and clothes.

It is only after the first sin that God gives the natural result or consequence for Eve’s disobedience. How is it that we can clearly see the serpent’s curse and Adam’s curse, but when we read about Eve’s curse we naturally assume that it’s God’s purpose or role intent for Eve? God already gave us Eve’s purpose or role intent BEFORE the fall. He didn’t change His mind.

I highly recommend Dr. Skip Moen’s book: Guardian Angel: What you must know about God’s design for women. Read and it just might change your life. By the way, this book is not about feminism; it is about role biblical restoration for both men and women. It is balanced and chock full of scripture --- beginning at the beginning: Genesis.

One last point, there seems to be dismissal by blogs such as yours of the history (and present!) circumstances of women. While western societies have that have biblical foundations haven’t always mistreated or oppressed women, there is still a whole wide world out there that does. Slavery is alive and well with more people (80% being women and children) in slavery today than in 1860. There are an estimated 24 million of them. This is happening in western countries, but it is rampant in other countries. Women are less than human in these places. They are denied education (this helps the men maintain control). They are abused mentally, physically, and sexually. I again urge you to research this. One great resource is a book and DVD documentary called Half the Sky. It is secular, but true none the less.

Like I said, I am no modern day feminist. I strongly support God’s original design for men and women. But we are not in balance yet. We are still lacking and thus perishing. I find it most fascinating that in these 3rd world countries where women are treated worse than dogs, that it is generally other women who are standing up and fighting for their sisters. The “ruling” men like things as they are or they are cowards. If you do one thing this year, research these women. Read their stories. Learn about human trafficking. It is REAL and closer to your doorstep than you ever imagined.

Remain diligent and passionate! We need more women willing to stand up and speak truth, not its twisted counterpart.