In the most recent Synchroblog I participated in, the idea of marginalizing the already-marginalized kept coming up in conversation with other bloggers. Does our focus on the marginalized exacerbate their situation, rather than empower and aid? The point made by several others was that those of us in priviledged positions should be speaking primarily to affect change among our own groups, classes and spheres of influence. But a point made by someone else reminded me that if the marginalized themselves aren't actually brought to the table, we have a bunch of elites spinning our wheels about issues we have no real perspective on. Too often, this is the case. I used an example that liberals love to use tokens like women or blacks until they say something that contradicts our agenda - like Michael Steele or Sarah Palin.
In the New York Times today, there's an article about author/teacher/housewife-for-God Priscilla Shirer. While certainly "empowered" in her platform and career, Shirer's teaching revolves around the place of women in the house and in the church: "the man is the head and the woman must submit." She decries "feminist activists," and warns of Satan's attempts to undermine traditional, complimentarian gender roles in the home.
Now, I hope I've made it quite clear here that I am a feminist (well, at least an aspiring feminist, chauvenism takes a long time to recover from) and I reject any social or theological model that is anything less than egalitarian. I have also said before: even if subordination were somehow appropriate in some marriages (which I don't believe) I have NEVER, EVER met a man worthy or deserving of such submission. In faith, as people of faith, we choose to submit to God because God is holy. To transfer that relational paradigm from the realm of religion into the sphere of the home and family isn't just non-conducive to contemporary society and morality (which it is), it's also dangerous. People don't deserve the mantle of godhood. There's a lesson to be learned here about abusive pastors and priests, too.
All that said, am I marginalizing Priscilla Shirer by calling her teaching out of touch, reckless and tragic? After all, I am a man.
Do I have the right to tell a woman that her theology is bad and her social views, toxic?
I'm honestly asking, and I think, perhaps, I don't.
Instead, following the recommendations on other Synchroblogs, I should probably stick with speaking to my own group of affiliation…
So, men: I don't care what you hear, you don't have the right (theologically, biblically, ethically, socially or any other way) to subordinate the women in your life. If a woman tries to subordinate to you, you probably have an obligation to subordinate yourself simultaneously, so that she remains your equal. Not every woman is going to like this. Priscilla Shirer will probably call you weak. Lots of Evangelical pastors will call you a sissy. I know dudes whose wives don't want them to be "equalized." It doesn't matter: inequality is wrong, regardless of whether or not it's comfortable for the marginalized. That's a symptom of long-term oppression that becomes normative (and thus, comfortable).
Click here for the full article at NYTimes.com
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