In the 21st century we reject the idea that kings are born to rule, that some men were born to rule over others merely because of their bloodlines. We tolerate royalty, look at them as though they are celebrities or museum pieces (at least in the western world – in the middle east, unfortunately, kings still rule in some nations), and read of the births of even more royal offspring with delight (why???). I think it is similar to why people visit the Amish country here in the US, and think they are so quaint and precious because they are stuck in time, drive horse and buggy rigs, and don’t have telephones. They treat their women and horses like crap. Oh, how cute . . . Huh?
I was a Christian wife who bought into the baloney that man is the head of woman. I know. I can’t believe it either. Because a man is born with boy parts he automatically rules over woman. Where did this idea come from? It has been here for . . . well, almost always. I think we can look back to caveman days when the strongest led the weakest. Here we are talking about physical strength. I know this is really simplistic, but it really does make sense. As time went on men realized that while they may be physically superior (in the strength department – they aren’t so good at birthing babies), women were really smart and could turn a man into a puddle of mush by merely batting her eyelashes (sexual power is a whole other topic). Cliché, I know, but I think there is truth in this. Women have great power, and it scares men. I think it scared early man and ancient man and medieval man and Enlightenment man and revolutionary man and continues to scare modern man. I think the power of women scares women, too. With great power comes great responsibility. I think we give up much of that power because it scares the poo out of us. I know it scares me sometimes.
In hand to hand combat, a woman rarely stands a chance against a man. His size, weight and physical strength via muscle mass typically make him superior in this kind of combat. He has that testosterone thing going on. In our modern age, we are not limited to throwing rocks, spears or sword fighting, though. We have different kinds of self-defense methods and even weapons available to women now. I call these the great equalizers. So do we need men to protect us? Do we need men to rule over us because we are so weak and cannot be trusted with our power? These are good questions. Gun control advocates don’t consider this when they work to outlaw and confiscate privately owned firearms. [This is not a pro-gun essay, but I just wanted to mention this as an aside.] My point is that today women are not weak, are definitely not inferior to men in any way, and do not need to be protected if we are taught to care for ourselves, to protect ourselves, and to celebrate our innate strength.
I challenge all those who adhere to headship theology to consider rejecting the rule of man over woman because “the Bible says so!” Jesus never said so (and if he supposedly did who said he said so?). Paul supposedly said so (he also said women need to wear head coverings, and none of my Christian friends wear head coverings. Hmmmm . . .). I challenge all of my male and female friends to consider how you interact with the opposite sex. Are you an egalitarian? If not, what stands in the way of embracing this mindset, this way of life? Just sharing some thoughts on this snowy Tuesday.
Check out The Junia Project for more information on equality in the Christian home (thanks to my friend Connie for directing me to this site months ago).
Postscript: I regret that I stayed in my dysfunctional marriage so long as it harmed not only my daughter’s perception of herself as a woman and the role of men in her life, but my sons were exposed to abusive behavior for much too long and have serious anger issues now as a result (they are conflicted about how men and women relate, why their father was harsh to them and me, and why God would allow such a situation to continue for so long — I ask this one myself). Parents need to consider what they are modeling for their children, and the marriage model is the first and most important that children are exposed to as they grow up, in my opinion.