How Christians Keep Christians Single part 3 – Restrictive Gender Roles Taught as Biblical
Christian males are being taught to turn their noses up at perfectly good Christian single women due to complementarian gender role teachings and unrealistic ideas about female beauty. Read it here:
(Link): Feminism and Me: When I cannot cook but I am still a person by Emily Joy Allison
The first time I began to wonder if perhaps the evangelical narrative of gender roles I’d absorbed needed a little tweaking, I was 19 years old and finishing my first year of bible college, and I was in love with him. I sometimes like to think that he was in love with me too (a story for another day), but only to the extent that a heart as superficial as his could possibly be. One morning after a particularly intense cup of coffee the night before, I woke up to a novel in my inbox which basically boiled down to “I like you but you are unsuitable because you are initiatory in your relationships with men and also you cannot clean or cook.”
I began to ask questions like, So what if I can’t cook? So what if I’m expressive in my relationships with men? Does that make me less desirable as a spouse? Is this what the church is teaching people these days? Does every Christian man feel this way?
As it turned out, a lot of them did.
I remember sitting across the dinner table from a male friend talking about gender roles and how I believed that submission ought to be a mutual thing, and I remember him raising his eyebrows and saying, “Wow, nobody’s ever gonna want to date you if that’s what you believe.” I remember another friend telling me, joking-but-serious, that I was in his “danger zone.” I remember the looks I got for something as simple as wearing red lipstick. (I just really like red lipstick, ok?!)
And most of all, I remember two years of trying to make it work with Mr. Darcy that ended with him telling me that I just wasn’t pretty enough, and if I were prettier he would be more motivated to stay with me, but he needed to marry somebody extra pretty so that later on he wouldn’t cheat on his wife.
I don’t care how good your theology is in theory—if this is what it’s yielding in practice, something is desperately wrong.
Blessedly, it was during this time that words of grace and truth and freedom were first spoken to my heart. Feminism came to me in an unlikely form—through the blog of a stay-at-home mother and grandmother in middle-of-nowhere Illinois, Karen Campbell.
At the time she was working through a podcast series on radical Christian patriarchy in far-right homeschooling movements, and I devoured them. The thing that struck me most was that the difference been these “extremists” and “moderates” like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and the Gospel Coalition, was one of degree and not quality. At bottom they basically believed the same things.
It wasn’t long after that till I discovered Rachel Held Evans and the excellent work she was doing, and from there it was only a hop, skip and a jump to all the wonderful Christian feminists, male and female, who are writing and speaking and changing the world and whom I could not possibly begin to mention here.
And slowly but surely, I began to entertain the possibility that perhaps I was ok, perhaps I did not need to be something else in order to be loved, perhaps God made me passionate and outspoken and perhaps he could use that, perhaps the people telling me I wasn’t good enough were wrong.
Said one woman visitor on her page:
J.R. GoudeauFebruary 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Emily, I LOVE this. I had a boy tell me years ago no Christian man would date me because I wanted to wear the pants in the relationship. I told him I wanted to wear the pants, the shorts or the skirts, it was my choice (still proud of that response–usually I clam up and think of something great much later!). I ended up marrying his roommate, who loves my strong voice. I want to keep having these conversations because I want girls like you and me to realize there’s nothing wrong with them; the system itself is broken. Your story is beautifully told–thank you.