The Good Wife: How the Cult of Domesticity Still Reigns in the 21st Century
The following mentions Christian gender complementarianism, which is a sexist position held by Christians – some well-meaning – who still harbor unbiblical ideas that make women second class citizens, though they love to argue up one side and down the other they only believe women are inferior in “role, not in worth.”
I have long observed that today’s brand of Christian sexism, called by its adherents “gender complementarianism,” pays no mind to certain classes and types of women, such as never-married, childless women. American Christian gender complementarians think in terms only of married mothers who are middle class or upper middle class. Bear that in mind when reading the content below.
(Link): The Good Wife: How the Cult of Domesticity Still Reigns in the 21st Century by Laura Turner
Here are just a few excerpts (please click the link above to visit the page to read the whole thing):
- by L. Turner
- On the cost—and subtle persistence—of the cult of domesticity.
- [The author explains how the Industrial Revolution took men from the homes to go look for work and earn money, which meant that often, the wife stayed at home all day. Previously, men stayed at home and did farm work and so forth. This change – men leaving the house to go to the city to go to work – gave rise to the Cult of Domesticity.
- There were four aspects to this cult, one of which women should not receive much of an education, but should stay at home and do laundry and look after children. The other qualities were submission, piety, and purity]
- …Women’s magazines and religious literature were two of the primary ways the cult of domesticity was promulgated;…
- …The development of the cult of domesticity also leaned heavily on religious principles. It drew especially from a chapter of the Bible…
- …Of course, different groups of women had different experiences with the cult of domesticity. Women of color, immigrants, and poor women were largely ignored by the movement. …
- …The pressures of the Industrial Revolution and 1950s America have been recycled for our modern area. The notion of the home as the domain of the feminine persists to this day.
- …We can also see this battle being waged in contemporary religious circles. Complementarianism—the notion that men and women occupy different but complementary roles in marriage and society—was a direct antecedent of 19th-century thinking about women.
- That doctrine still has a foothold among conservative Christians, in local churches and organizations like the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. It is rooted in verses like Ephesians 5:23 (“For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church…”), and gained prominence with the rise of domesticity as a virtue.
- Complementarianism often looks like a return to 1950s gender roles, and continues to insist in its most extreme forms that women remain at home to raise as many children as they can bear.
The cult of domesticity created a box that stifled women, and continues to do so.