Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Claims and answers

I got quite a few claims and queries through the comments section over the following weeks. Answers to some of those can be found on my sidebar (see FAQ). Others I don't think I've answered yet. However, first I'll just address arguments that begin with "of course, if you take the Bible literally, it is true, but..." - well yes, I do. If it is said explicitly in God's Word, it is the only Truth I need. I cannot discuss any subject with the premise that God's Word is somehow faulty, wrong, or imprecise.

"There is no such thing as masculine or feminine nature. Men and women aren't born different - they are simply shaped by society"

It is written in the book of Genesis, "male and female He created them". Obviously, we don't learn all we need to know about masculinity or femininity just from reading this - but it's equally obvious that if there had been no difference between men and women, there would be no need to mention that we were created "male and female".

"A woman can have a career, a family, a social life, and help to take care of the home, without neglecting any of the above"

Yes, we can "have it all", in the sense that we can cram every single day of our lives with activities we cannot fully dedicate our attention to, or enjoy in a relaxed manner. We can rush through our days without getting together with our family for even a single meal. We can neglect our homes until we feel like running away from them. We can go back and forth and back and forth about how many children it is "reasonable" for us to have so it won't interfere with our career plans. It has been hammered into our heads that this is, in fact, the most appealing of the alternatives we have - but somehow, it doesn't seem so to me. Dedicating my all to my highest calling seems so much more comforting than a life of endless cramming and juggling.

"A woman should do anything in her power not to depend on, or submit to a man"

Another lie we have been sold is that independence is the ultimate, highest value. "Authority", "submission", "humility" and "respect" are dirty words, and having your way is more important than marital harmony. We chose to ignore the fact that Eve was created to be a helpmeet for Adam, and not the other way around, nor were they told "you will BOTH be help meets for each other". What did we get? Series of meaningless relationships, bad marriages, divorce, and men who hate and fear women so much that they swear they will never marry. Sorry, but I prefer the type of marriage where my husband is a king, and I am his queen. No type of rebellious obsession with so-called independence can give me the satisfaction of living out marriage for the glory of God.

"If it weren't for feminists, you wouldn't have the right to speak your mind as a woman"


If there's one thing that drives me up the wall, it's how feminists paint themselves as the saviours of womankind, the ones that led us from darkness to light, from being a flock of mindless sheep who were chained to the stove and told to shut up, to thinking, feeling beings. Well I'm not sure what you've heard, but I've been taught that a godly woman "opens her mouth with wisdom" (Proverbs 31). These words were written a long, long, long time before feminists stepped into the picture. And yes, I'd rather do my best to open my mouth with wisdom, than fight for the right to utter any kind of nonsense that pops into my head.

31 comments:

Ace said...

Once again, right on point Mrs. Anna T.

Especially about the whole Feminist painting themselves as the saviors of womankind. Let's take a look at woman kind currently, shall we. They wear very unflattering pant suits, at all cost. Have horrible "sassy" hair cuts that men only have when they have lost a bet and it seems to be the sole purpose in most young women's lives is to sleep with the most amount of random strangers possible.

And the "older" women are leading the charge, being divorced in record numbers and sacrificing it all for some career. Any career. Not for their children, their religion or to save their marriage. For some JOB! You have got to be kidding me. If you drop dead tomorrow they will have someone at your job to replace you within a week. The only place you can't be REPLACED is with your family, the ones that so many toss by the wayside so a bunch of strangers can tell them how empowered they are and throw them a paycheck.

We have lost our way.

Yes, thank you feminists. You have taken what was beautiful and dignified and turned it into the sad and common. And the chickens are only BEGINNING to come home to roost.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Elizabeth said...

Anna, you always do such a great job! Thank you! :)

BTW, I love your new profile picture! *Hug!*

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

I loved this. Particularly your starting point that the Scripture is true and you refuse to argue any points that assume that Scripture is faulty, wrong, or imprecise. Great post.

Amanda said...

"A woman can have a career, a family, a social life, and help to take care of the home, without neglecting any of the above."

As someone who is trying very hard (against her deepest wishes) to do the above: no, a woman cannot have it all and do it all without neglecting something. I see my children for about 3 hours a day. My bathroom hasn't been cleaned in weeks. By time I get home from work, make supper, and attempt to interact with my children before they go to sleep, cleaning isn't high on my list of priorities.

No, I'm not lazy, I'm not a bad housekeep, I'm not a bad mother. There are simply not enough hours in the day to "have it all" or "do it all".

Tiffany said...

It is so refreshing to see someone else with this view on feminism. Sadly, it's not even popular in most churches. I love visiting your blog to take in a huge refreshing breath before I go back to the others I'm around.

Tiffany

Neuropoet said...

Just had to say I love your response to the last comment you posted, and I heartily agree with you! :)

~Jenny

Mim - wife, mother and homemaker said...

Thankyou Anna for your last paragraph on feminism vs speaking with wisdom. I have been struggling lately in how to voice my opinion on this to some friends when the topic of 'feminism saving women from drudgery' has come up. What you say is so true.

My mum always says that when one group of people fight for 'their rights' another group ends up losing theirs. In the case of women fighting for their right to have careers AND be a mum, ultimately children will lose their rights.
I love your blog, and read it every day. I appreciate how you think so deeply about things and often help me put my beliefs and opinions into words. It's very encouraging for me as more often than not you are writing about things that I am currently thinking about.
Cheers,
Miriam

Dani said...

Just wanted to say you did an excellent job in responding to these comments in a graceful manner. And I totally agree with you! :)

Naomi Rebecca said...

*LOL*

Gotta love that last line!

Holly said...

Wonderful post! As a currently working wife I can honestly say, work gets the best part of my day and most of my effort. My husband and I are working torwards being debt free so that I can stay home without worry.We made mistakes before we married only a year and a half ago and are striving to correct our actions. I am blessed to be married to a man who understands that I cannot give my all to work,the house and cooking (we are remodeling the kitchen so cooking has been pretty amusing lately, we only have a few countertop appliances.) We have truly learned to live on way less than we earn and are very happy. To all the women who stay home for their families and love the role God has given, may God bless you greatly!

Maiden Meghan said...

AMEN!
You said it!

~An avid blog reader for awhile that is now popping out of the woodwork.~

Anonymous said...

"There is no such thing as masculine or feminine nature. Men and women aren't born different - they are simply shaped by society"

Anyone who believes this doesn't know any men! Men and women think very differently. Any marriage counselor will tell you that. I've never married but I can see this just from working with my male coworkers.

I love Ace's point that a woman will be quickly replaced when she leaves a job, but is irreplaceable to her family. Which would you rather sacrifice and work for - a job where you'll be forgotten in a week or your family?

Susan

MarkyMark said...

Ka-ka-kaboom! Anna DRILLS another one!!

Anonymous said...

Of course a woman cannot have it all. Neither can a man. Life is always about compromises, and that is what some early radical feminists may not have realised.

However, I think you and many of your readers are painting feminists with one broad stroke. There are many different kinds of feminists, with very different beliefs. The belief that the differences between men and women spring wholly from society is limited to certain streams of feminism, and is hotly refuted by others (such as essentialist feminism).

And while I agree that some feminists can be arrogant about 'saving womankind', I still think that one cannot discount the many achievements they have made. Or at least I consider them achievement....the right to vote, to support oneseld in dignity, to be heard in court, to inherit home and land (imagine, we could all be in the situation of Austin's heroines, desperate to find a mate with money or be destitute)

ladyakofa said...

Hi Anna T,
To add to your responses, if you don't mind. :)

"A woman can have it all?" Whaaaat? Are we trying to play God? Nobody has it all together, male or female, that's why we depend on God.

"A woman should do anything in her power not to depend, or submit to a man." How absurd! Even as a kid, we depended on our parents or some other elderly person(s) for our daily necessities till we grew up. Also we depend on one another that's why we are a community-oriented. God built us that way.

The very fact that we obey the laws of our land means that we do submit to authority.

Anonymous said...

sorry....I pressed 'publish' by accident, and sent a comment unsigned and incomplete.


I also want to state that there are many religious people, both Christian and Jewish, who read the verses you quote differently. Eve was created as 'ezer kenegdo', a help CORRESPONDING or across to him - not under, not submissive. Adam wasn't doing too well on his own, and God decided he needed a partner to help out. Not a servant.

(The part about men ruling came as a curse, and is not something we should aspire too, in my opinion).

I agree with y'all that a woman can't have it all, and that working full-time and trying to be Martha Stewart at home, particularly if you have more than the standard 2 kids, is often a recipe for mental breakdown. However, I will respectfully have to disagree that the best alternative is wifely submission.
Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy,

Of course, a helpmeet is NOT a servant. There's a world of difference. When I talk about wifely submission, I don't mean the wife's opinions don't count, or she has to feel inferior to her husband.

A captain cannot do without his second-in-command. However, it doesn't change the fact that the second-in-command's entire purpose is to help and support the captain.

Anonymous said...

I don't view men as captains, I guess, or women as second in command. I also think that if women are to serve men, then they can be called 'servants'.

But the real reason I'm responding now is that I am appalled at my typos in the first post. I do know how to spell Austen!!!
(my excuse: too little sleep and a bad keyboard).
Tammy

Linda said...

"If there's one thing that drives me up the wall, it's how feminists paint themselves as the saviours of womankind"

A big, fat AMEN! ;)
greetings from the netherlands!

Anonymous said...

If there's one thing that drives me up the wall, it's how feminists paint themselves as the saviours of womankind, the ones that led us from darkness to light, from being a flock of mindless sheep who were chained to the stove and told to shut up, to thinking, feeling beings.

What on earth?!? I am truly shocked by this statement. I am not saying that in an indignant way-- more in a genuinely startled way.

Feminists certainly do take credit for fighting for very concrete rights that women have won in many societies over the last century. But that is NOT the same thing as saying that women were not "thinking, feeling beings" before. It is really the other way around. I am a feminist because I am absolutely convinced that women ARE intelligent, thinking, feeling, motivated, yearning, caring human beings with a full and diverse panoply of qualities and desires. It is not that women needed feminism to become full human beings. It is that feminists have advocated for women's humanity to be treated with respect.

-- Pendragon

Mrs. Anna T said...

"It is that feminists have advocated for women's humanity to be treated with respect."

Pendragon,

In Jewish scriptures, a man is told to love his wife as he loves himself, and respect her more than he respects himself. These blessed words were written a long, long, long time before feminism came into the picture, and were passed down from father to son long, long, long before that.

No, we don't need feminism to "advocate" for our respect. We simply need men to treat their wives the way God ordained.

Liz said...

Anna-
(btw, thats my daughter's name!)
I read your blog from time to time (I found you through jennywren), but I just wanted to write and tell you that you are right on. I love reading your views, especially the pro-life ones.
I heard a sermon at a wedding recently (I am Catholic) that really hit me. The priest started out by saying that the husband was there to serve the wife. Immediately, I thought, what is he doing? where is he going with this? I didn't need to worry, as he painted this analogy. Yes, the man is there to serve the woman, just as the police are there to serve the townspeople. Yes, they do serve and protect us, but in return, we must submit to them and their regulations, otherwise things would be out of control. It is the same for a husband and wife. He offers his service (in the form of supplying a home, food and material things that are needed) as well as his protection to his wife and future children. In return, she must offer her submission to his service, as well as an element of obedience. I don't do the actual sermon justice, as it was beautiful and almost made me cry, but you get the idea. He went further to say that this give and take is completely centered around the woman's womb, as this is the center of the family and the main reason for their being in marriage. It is all offered back and forth for the conceiving and raising of children in a stable environment. Just amazing to listen to...I wish I had a recording.
Anyway, just thought I would share that. I also wanted to let you know not to listen to the people that say that your life will be turned upside down at the birth of your baby. Yes, that will happen, but in a good way. Babies have such a way of fitting into your lives, as long as you submit to it, which I am sure you will be quite good at doing. let them sleep when they want, let them eat when they want, and hold them when they want, and they will be happy and so easy to love. When I first started out, everyone said I was spoiling my babies. When the first grew up relatively easily, they all said, 'just wait till your second, then you will have it hard' and so on and so on with the third. Well, we now have four, and I have to say that it hasn't gotten much harder. Yes, there are hard moments, but in all it is a joy.
Have a wonderful day and may you be blessed...
Liz

Anonymous said...

Anna,

But I didn't say that feminists are the ONLY ones in history who have respected (or at least have claimed to respect) women's humanity. I just said that it is wrong to portray feminists as believing that they turn women into "thinking, feeling beings" as though women weren't such before.

(Certainly, I take issue with the notion that there is no need for feminism just because a culture claims "respect" for women as a value. But that is a different issue than the one I was addressing.)

-- Pendragon

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have to say feminists have spent a good portion of the last century emphasizing that women are NOT -and were never- mindless sheep, and ARE thinking beings, which is why they deserve to vote/go to university/broaden their life-choices.
One can argue as to whether the feminists' achievements are positive or negative, whether they saved womankind or ruined it, but one cannot deny the innate respect of most schools of feminism for women throughout the ages.
Tammy

Kristi said...

"...I'd rather do my best to open my mouth with wisdom, than fight for the right to utter any kind of nonsense that pops into my head."
That just caught my eye. I am desiring to be one who opens her mouth with wisdom also. Controlling the tongue...

Kim from Canada said...

I always find it interesting that women who consider themselves independent, self-sufficient and strong feminists because they refute the idea of husbands having authority, have no trouble putting themselves under the authority of a man (who is not their husband) as a boss. Where is the wisdom of helping (pouring your life into) an employer to be successful and respected, but not in a husband?
As many times before, I agree with your thoughts here, Anna. So many feminist women see themselves as successful as they build up someone else's business, but unsuccessful if they are expected to build up their homes. Funny, because that business/employer/boss isn't going to remember them more than a short time after they leave - family is forever.

Anonymous said...

The analogy of husband=policeman doesn't do much for me. To be married to a man whose job is to 'protect' me and punish me if I do wrong, who can give me fines and send me to jail....well, that's just not my cup of tea, romantically.

I don't think most feminists would claim there is no need for any authority in our lives. As far as I know, the bulk of feminists are not anarchists. HOWEVER, they would claim that the husband-wife relation should not be one of authority or hierarchy.

I also don't understand comparing husbands to bosses. I have a boss now and have had many in the past. When I am late, I sneak in quietly, out of fear. When I make a mistake, I try to hide it. I never discuss my problems, or mention that I didn't sleep all night, so my boss will not suspect my working capabilities are not 100%.
I think I am good at what I do, and receive much praise. But my relationship with my boss is ultimately based on fear of being fired. I am willing to accept this hierarchy in exchange for a good salary. I would never be willing to accept it in a marriage....authority is ultimately based on fear of punishment, and I don't see that has a place between husband and wife.
Tammy

Mandi said...

@Amanda

Because you are struggling to fulfill your responsibilities another woman couldn't do it better? That is not a valid argument. If you are struggling it is good reason to believe that you cannot manage all those things but not good reason to believe that someone else cannot do it.
There are plenty of women who struggle to keep it together with one child and a small house and there are others who manage multiple children, a large home, write a novel or two and teach a class. Different people have different levels of competence. Fortunately most of us live in a age that we can shape our lives according to our abilities rather than have them shaped for us by our gender and our social class.

Liz said...

"one cannot deny the innate respect of most schools of feminism for women throughout the ages."

I disagree...many schools of feminism are very pro-abortion, and I do not believe that a stance such as that can contain any respect for women.

Anonymous said...

I always find it interesting that women who consider themselves independent, self-sufficient and strong feminists because they refute the idea of husbands having authority, have no trouble putting themselves under the authority of a man (who is not their husband) as a boss. Where is the wisdom of helping (pouring your life into) an employer to be successful and respected, but not in a husband?

First, no one is completely independent in life. This goes for men and women. We all have people we have to answer to. You can't be an island if you are going to accomplish anything in life, either within the family or in the larger world. The question is not about total independence, but rather what roles we are to play and how we are assigned those roles in a world of interdependence. As a feminist, I reject the idea of always automatically being in the supporting role, rather than the leadership just because I happen to be female.

Thus, being a working woman does not necessarily entail submission to a male boss. Many of us ARE the boss. Many of us work for women. Many of us are self-employed. And yes, many of us are employed by male bosses, but . . .

Working for a male boss does not mean "submission" to him in the sense that you talk about submission to a husband. My acceptance of the boss's authority is only for a limited time and for a limited purpose. My boss is not at home with me, in bed with me, or a part in any way of my intimate family and personal life. I work hard but my boss has no say over what I do on my own time, how I structure my family life, or how I nurture my spiritual life. I am free to quit my relationship with my boss any time. I am also free to threaten to quit as a way to gain more leverage in bargaining with my boss for better benefits or assignments. Also, by working for my boss, I enhance my future earning capacity and my opportunity to get other jobs -- in a way my work for the boss makes places me in a position to be more independent in the future.

None of this is to disparage women who work at home without pay. I am just responding to the notion that a boss is somehow just a substitute husband.

-- Pendragon

Anonymous said...

I have a question, Anna, to you and your readers.
It is the duty of an authority figure to discipline and punish when necessary. The state disciplines its citizens; a teacher disciplines/punishes his students; an employer can punish his/her employees; a parent disciplines his/her children. God most certainly has disciplined and punished his people when they strayed off the straight and narrow.

So to those who believe in wifely submission: can a husband discipline his wife when he deems it necessary? Say, no TV because it causes her to burn dinner? I'm not being cynical, I'm sincerely curious as to how this works.
In my opinion, it is empty rhetoric to endow a husband with 'authority' without realistically expecting him to exercise his duty to punish and discipline.
(And yes, I know a husband is to love his wife more than he does his own self. However, I love my child more than life itself and it is still my duty to discipline him/her. Love does not negate the necessity for discipline).
Tammy