Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

I just encountered an absurd new definition of egalitarianism. I do not know what group teaches it, but I do know members of that group will read my blog and completely misunderstand it. A commenter on this blog claimed:


“…egalitarianism places women’s equality and worth on our ability to function sexually and socially as males. The term to function sexually-socially here should be treated as a whole-not two separate entities.
Let me explain using simple biology: male sexuality itself is free from pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and raising children and this biological reality has always enabled men to be the ones to go outside of the home and have a career-even if it is plowing [sic] the fields. Once our society changed its primary desire of child raising for a desire for sensuality and materialism then the males ability to exchange child free sexual pleasure which allowed them to have a career and earn money was highly desired by both sexes. Therefore, a woman needs to absolutely sterilize herself during her childbearing years once she is sexually active in order to gain and have the same equality and functionality of a male which liberates her from children and the home.”

There are several strange assumptions in that quote:


Assumption 1: Being free from childbirth, pregnancy, and raising children is acting like men.

Many women do not have activities related to child rearing in their lives. These include young ones who are not married yet, newly married ones who have no children yet, the infertile, those who – for whatever reason – never marry, and the ones whose children are out of the house.

My mother, for example, is 70 now. She had her share of pregnancy and child raising – I am the oldest of four siblings. Yet she had one or more children under 18 for only 26 of those 70 years. Has she acted like a man for the other 44 years? Preposterous. She acted like a woman who is not in a child-raising stage of life. I myself am single and childless, (I would have really wanted to be a mother), does that mean I act like a man? Ridiculous.

And the Bible itself calls bringing up children a manly duty (too):

Fathers*, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Eph. 6:4

* Fathers: The Greek word translated here could mean “fathers” or “parents”, but not “mothers” alone.

 

Assumption 2: Egalitarians advocate for women to be free from childbirth.

Christian egalitarians does not tell women to have no children1. Egalitarians are fine with women having 7 children, or 1, or 12, or 3 or none. Egalitarians say that, regardless of your amount of children, your gifts and input should matter.

There are 2 classes of things we are not fine with:

1) Women (regardless of how many children they have) being prevented from having speaking or leadership roles, because they are female.

2) Women (regardless of how many children they have) having less say in the home, because they are female. This particular point is even more important when they have children: The World Bank found that children and society benefit when women have authority over money:

When women do well, everyone benefits. Giving women access to better jobs and financial security are keys to ending poverty. Gender gaps harm the entire economy. We know that when women control the finances, they tend to spend money on the things that matter most – essential food and water, school fees and health care for the family. (World Bank, 2017).”

Assumption 3: Egalitarianism are based on a desire for sensuality and materialism.

Christian egalitarianism is based on a desire for a counter-cultural society where all believers submit to one another (Eph 5:21), nobody lords it over one another (Matt 20:25-27), and all gifts are used.

Women do not desire to be preachers and elders (use all their gifts) in order to be rich, nor do they want to do it in order to get more sex.

Mutual submission/not lording it over others is not about materialism. (Lording it over others is a way to take people’s money, so that can be materialistic). But a society with more male-female equality tends to be richer. Being richer is good news not because of materialism, but because there are more poor people in the world than rich ones. Being richer, for most people in the world, is not the difference between a house without or with a swimming pool, but the difference between taking your child to the clinic when she needs medicine and not taking her as you can’t afford it. Fighting poverty does not equal promoting materialism.

Equality is not about a desire for sensuality either – the women who inspired me to speak up for equality never said anything like: “I wanted to have loads of fun sleeping around.” When they spoke of sex in a way that inspired my egalitarianism, they spoke of being forced (men believing they have a right to lord it over women), of painful sex, of being treated like objects and not people, of accepting bad treatment because women are supposed to submit. I did not have visions of women acting like men (forcing or pressuring unwilling partners, using sexually degrading names for men, causing pain, sleeping around, men being afraid of rape when alone and seeing a female stranger, etc.). I dreamed of women being free from male sexual (“sexual” as in intercourse-related) oppression.

 

Assumption 4: Women who desire sensuality has to stay childless for the desire to be fulfilled.

Why on earth can a woman with children not enjoy sex and sensuality? I am no expert on the topic, but this sounds very wrong!

 

Assumption 5: To be equal, women have to sterilize themselves.

By Christian egalitarianism, women do not have to do anything to be equal. If you know what “help meet for him/ helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18) means in the original Hebrew, it means women are equal. Christian egalitarians want that equality recognized in non-hierarchical relationships, in women’s voices counting – whether the woman have 10 children or none.

It is as simple as that.

——————————————–

1This particular blog may have a few entries which oppose the way the Full Quiver movement uses the Bible. But those entries do not advocate for childlessness. Instead they want couples to leave false beliefs behind.

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Comments on: "Egalitarianism – it is not about being like men" (7)

  1. Because of strong cultural tradition (decades long — mostly since the Industrial Revolution), there has been a thread of thought that has dominated — that women cannot be interested in children and anything else at the same time. it must be either/or. Men leave the home for work and leave child-rearing to the women. Men are not interested in child-rearing — at least not until the child is a young man or a young woman about to encounter the world or when the child’s choices and behaviors reflect on the family. Women are interested solely in child-rearing (because they don’t have the brain power to do more than one thing at a time? or they are assumed to not have the time for anything else?). This assumption is prevalent in the argument for man-like women.

    The big problem with this argument is the assumption that men have power and agency and freedom because they are not burdened with children. Even if they have children, other people bear the burden of caring for the children. Thus, if women desire power and agency and freedom they must become like the men who leave child-rearing to other people. BUT, men SHOULD be “burdened” with children just as women are. Men and women should share in the joys and costs of having children and rearing children (if they have children).

    As for women and sexuality — If women are capable of only caring for one thing at a time, then, of course, they don’t care for sensual experiences (of any sort). They only care for their families. They don’t have any personal cares or wants or needs. Men (and women) who lie to themselves about this create environments where women stuff down their personal wants and cares and needs and become “neurotic.”

    Retha — Your point by point responses demonstrate why this assumption (that women are only really interested in children) is faulty. Thanks.

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    • You are so right! The problem is the assumption that manhood is about not taking responsibility for children. Of course, any sensible society should want fathers to care about their children. Whether the labour division has dad and mom waking up equally often for the baby, or is traditional with the mother more hands-on while the dad goes to work, or even dad as housekeeper and mom at work, fathers taking shared responsibility for their children is very important for a stable society.

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  2. Hi Retha

    Your post grossly misrepresents what I have written on this subject. I give you the benefit of the doubt that you missed something and then ran with it.

    The feminism/egalitarianism philosophy equates female equality by male sexuality which is free from pregnancy and childbirth, which, in turn, entitles men to plant both feet in the workplace. In summary: women’s equality is based on achieving the same sexual and social functionality as a man. Lets see how this plays out.

    Here is the definition of an egalitarian marriage:

    “An egalitarian relationship is a relationship in which the benefits, duties, and obligations are equally shared by its members”

    A sexually active couple has to prevent childbirth in order to equally share the same duties, responsibilities and obligations if this is the primary purpose of their relationship. Thus, the arrival of a child would completely change their relationship without maternity leave and benefits, dropping of a child to daycare or even the right to eliminate the situation all together with abortion.

    (Retha answers: Your problem is with the word “same” in “the same duties.”. The mere fact that people cannot equally share pregnancy does not mean they cannot share equal responsibility: She can be pregnant while he does extra work to look after her and make her comfortable. She can breastfeed, but he – for example – change nappies, or do whatever else needs to be done. That is egalitarian, even if they do not do the same.
    This also counts in things not about children: An egalitarian couple may have him going to work and her working at home to raise children. Or her doing the family bookkeeping and him repairing broken stuff, this one cooking and the other one cleaning… Egalitarianism does not mean sharing every task 50-50.
    )
    Retha wote: Assumption 1: Being free from childbirth, pregnancy, and raising children is acting like men.

    No, it is desiring the function of men which liberates women from the confines of child raising and the home to have a career.

    (Retha answers: Careers are not “the function of men.” Even if we agreed that women with children under a certain age should be at home, careers are as much for women without children, and women whose children are not in that age group as for men. If careers are not just for men, women who want it does not ask to be like men. )

    Retha wrote: “Many women do not have activities related to child rearing in their lives. These include young ones who are not married yet, newly married ones who have no children yet, the infertile, those who – for whatever reason – never marry, and the ones whose children are out of the house”

    I am not sure how any single women would be trying to function sexually-socially as a man in order to secure a career if she is not actually sexually active. However, if we take this in the sense of a sexually active single women it makes the point much more clear. She would be involved in relationship(s) that is primarily organized around functioning sexually and socially as a man or else the news of a pregnancy also completely changes the primary purpose of the relationship.This situation is what redefined marriage over time. When people have premarital sex they generally bring this with them into marriage, therefore, when premarital sex grew with each generation and became commonplace it reached critical mass and redefined marriage.

    (Retha answers: So okay, if I understand you right, only *single women who are sexually active* are allegedly trying to function like men? According to me, most single women who are voluntarily sexually active are man-pleasing, catering to a secular patriarchy: Women, for the most part, don’t actually enjoy sleeping around. They are statistically more likely to orgasm in a stable relationship. Men, so say women who do sleep around, mostly don’t know how to please women, and there are enough dangerous men to make sleeping around something women do for other reasons than their own pleasure.
    I explained enough of male sexual actions to explain why I do not want women, sexually, to act at all like men. You yourself admit that most women are not “trying to function sexually-socially as a man” (most are not single but sexually active, as you seem to find a requirement for that). So, we are both glad most women are not acting like men sexually-socially, neither of us promote doing it, and neither of us want to do it ourself.
    )

    Infertility? Empty nesters? Oh, you forgot widows! Why not throw in monthly infertility.

    Retha wrote: Assumption 2: “Egalitarians advocate for women to be free from childbirth.
    Christian egalitarians does not tell women to have no children1. Egalitarians are fine with women having 7 children, or 1, or 12, or 3 or none”

    Egalitarians may virtue signal but the actions point in the other direction because they spend so much effort to limit children in order to stay in the workforce or collect maternity benefits and drop their offspring to a day care. The wife-mother who is forced to stay at home because she has one more kid than is economically feasible for daycare but still thinks she is egalitarian is in the same pickle as the complimentarian wife-mother who goes to work and drops her kids off at a day orphanage and thinks they are practicing a biblical marriage.

    Retha wrote:Assumption 4: Women who desire sensuality has to stay childless for the desire to be fulfilled.
    Why on earth can a woman with children not enjoy sex and sensuality? I am no expert on the topic, but this sounds very wrong!

    This is scary? I really don’t know how this is even close to the zip code of anything I have written?

    Retha wrote:Assumption 5: To be equal, women have to sterilize themselves.
    By Christian egalitarianism, women do not have to do anything to be equal”

    This is called moving the goalposts of a conversation. The topic is women sterilizing themselves in order to secure a place in the workforce.

    (Retha answers: No. My goal was never about women sterilizing themselves, thus my goal never moved. “Women sterilizing themselves” was what you hoped to talk about and I described as not the egalitarianism of the blog.)

    Retha wrote” If you know what “help meet for him/ helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18) means in the original Hebrew, it means women are equal. Christian egalitarians want that equality recognized in non-hierarchical relationships, in women’s voices counting – whether the woman have 10 children or none”

    The term helpmeet in context of Genesis 2 is about Adam being a lone individual cut off from a family and community and the creation of Eve would help him form a community. in herself and their offspring.

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    • Naama: You had your opportunity to talk about your pet topic: “Women sterilizing themselves to be like men” now. It is not my blog topic or the post topic of any post on here. You discussed this in at least 6 comments on at least 3 threads, even though I repeated ly told you the egalitarianism I promote is not about that.
      Now drop that topic, as you are not on topic.

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  3. Hi Rdeesjoy

    You wrote. “Because of strong cultural tradition (decades long — mostly since the Industrial Revolution), there has been a thread of thought that has dominated — that women cannot be interested in children and anything else at the same time. it must be either/or”

    This statement isn’t based on any facts and is just an emotional pitch to set up the rest of you argument.

    You wrote: Men leave the home for work and leave child-rearing to the women. Men are not interested in child-rearing — at least not until the child is a young man or a young woman about to encounter the world or when the child’s choices and behaviors reflect on the family. Women are interested solely in child-rearing (because they don’t have the brain power to do more than one thing at a time?

    Oh ya! another fact-less emotional appeal that men are only interested in child rearing once the children are older. Good grief!
    It just gets better: Ya, I hear it all the time that women are interested only in child rearing due to lacking brain power? LOL

    You wrote: “The big problem with this argument is the assumption that men have power and agency and freedom because they are not burdened with children”

    Male sexuality is not “burdened” with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Do you understand this biological reality? If you answer “yes” then we can move.to the next point. This biological fact has always permitted men to be secure in the workforce. However, this security in the workforce is what allows men to support women to raise their children.

    You wrote: “Thus, if women desire power and agency and freedom they must become like the men who leave child-rearing to other people. BUT, men SHOULD be “burdened” with children just as women are. Men and women should share in the joys and costs of having children and rearing children (if they have children).”

    Alright, if i need to share in the costs of rearing children it would mean abandoning my children to a day care to be raised by paid strangers while i drive off to work. Oh, a husband does share in the “burden” of raising children by going to work and supporting his family and he enjoys and raises them when he comes home from work

    You wrote “As for women and sexuality — If women are capable of only caring for one thing at a time, then, of course, they don’t care for sensual experiences (of any sort). They only care for their families. They don’t have any personal cares or wants or needs. Men (and women) who lie to themselves about this create environments where women stuff down their personal wants and cares and needs and become “neurotic”

    I am not sure how any meaningful discussion can result with such statements?

    Like

  4. Why is it assumed that just because the woman carries the child for 9 months that after the birth of the child it is still her responsibility to raise the child more so than the mans? They both made the child, she just took the bulk of the work at the beginning. Afterwards they are both in the same situation. Both capable of work and raising a child. To say that just because she carried the child for 9 months = her being the better parent to also take on the bulk of raising the child is nonsense.

    Like

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