Over the past thirty or forty years, what have feminists accomplished for the good of women? To answer this question today is to be in the heat of a raging debate. Many women today are forming groups to vocalize the fact that they are not man-haters and to proclaim their disagreement with the radical feminist agenda aimed at putting women on top.1 “Enough is enough,” they say.
Prior to the rumblings of the women’s movement in the 1960s, most women expected to marry, have children, and “keep the home fires burning,” while their husbands earned a living to provide for the family. As it had been for generations, women primarily cared for the children, made the meals, did the laundry and served as the necessary touch that made an address a “home.”
Who decided it was so much better, so much more equal to leave the house, commute to work, earn a living by working forty hours a week and maintain the car? Was it you? It wasn’t me.
In the name of financial independence, freedom of choice,2 and the necessity of equality in everything, women became vocal about their need for recognition and identity. Discontented with being homemakers, they saw careers as more desirable. Children were placed in day-care centers and push-button technology made housework quicker than ever.
The prevailing winds rose to gale force. Woman declared herself equal to man. She could do anything he could do! Woman was well on her way to being set free. She was determined to find her own identity and worth. She strove to rule every area of her life. She gained control over her own body, her finances, her career, her education, and her general pursuit of happiness. The book Our Bodies, Ourselves was a manifesto of woman reclaiming her body — married or not, it was hers.
So how is she now? What is the fruit of woman’s hard-fought-for gains of freedom and equality? Acquiring independence and economic clout at home, she has made being the head of the household a contest. Desiring to control her own sexuality, she has assumed the right to say no to her husband’s physical needs and has emasculated him in the process. As she stepped into a man’s role, she threatened man’s maleness, fueling an alarming rise in adultery and homosexuality. She has opened wide the door to divorce, single-parenting and lesbianism.
Children have been affected tremendously. Drugs and weapons in schools, teen suicide, and sexual promiscuity among youth are routine. In our search for self-worth and importance, haven’t we neglected our children’s needs? Instead of being a normal and instinctive concern of parents, a “child’s best interest” has become mandated in law — a sure sign it is no longer very important otherwise. Who’s at home to greet the children when they come home from school? Who knows what they’re doing and with whom they’re associating? Who cares for them when they are sent home sick? Who talks to them about the feelings and insecurities they are grappling with?
And what of woman? Is she happier? She carries more responsibilities and demands than ever before. The search for that “something” lacking in her life hasn’t brought her any closer to her purpose. Mistrust, strife, and insecurities continue to plague her. The truth is obvious for any woman willing to be honest: women were created with an amazing capacity to love, capable and willing to sacrifice everything to be mothers, wives and friends. When a woman selfishly takes back her self, the life of giving and nurturing that is her essence is lost. Children are without mothers to depend on, husbands are adrift without devoted wives, and families are broken, broken beyond repair. Broken families means broken people, adrift without a source and without a foundation. What is left to build upon and to bring life? Where can a child find the love needed to thrive? Where can families find healing?
Do the Christian denominations offer woman hope of being set free to love like she desires? I couldn’t find that hope anywhere in Christianity. The many books I read and seminars I attended did not change me. While I struggled to digest their principles, and tried to be a supportive, submissive wife, I was powerless to do it in any way that really worked.
And besides, there were so many differing opinions! Every church seemed to be in division over such basic issues as whether or not women should be priests and elders. Just as the Roman Catholics and Anglicans were entertaining the distant hope of greater unity, two women became Anglican priests and their whole church went into a schism over it. The Pope says “Never!” to women priests in the Catholic Church. The result is that many Anglicans are transferring to Catholicism. Is this normal? The Bible refers to the “one true church.” Why do I have to figure out which one it is? Why isn’t it obvious? Will the unhappy Catholic women who want to be priests change their faith just to get what they want? I wonder.
It seems that to keep pace with the times, churches bend and change — not just their policies but their beliefs — so as to accommodate whoever screams the loudest. If there is only one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all,3 why isn’t there one mind about the function of women? Where I live now, all the women are priests.
While many women desired “to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, subject to their own husbands,”4 in Christianity we were encouraged to have careers and fewer children, to make our own decisions and leave others to train our children, just the same as in the unbelieving world. We saw our Christian friends divorce and have abortions. Unfaithfulness and adultery were not uncommon. Even within Christianity, marriages are broken and women are ruling over their husbands, labeling it “Christian feminism.” What’s the difference? It’s everywhere. It’s embarrassing. But, still, woman intuitively knows she should be a helpmate and support to man — it is in her conscience and in her heart.
Woman was created to complete man. It is her purpose — a noble purpose. It has worth and dignity. It is not second class or second rate. It is enough. Had Adam remained alone, all the potential and capabilities that God had put in him would have lain dormant. Like yeast, which is only activated when warm water is added, Adam’s spirit was inactive until Eve’s presence released and brought to completion everything God put into him. Adam could not be complete without Eve. Together they were to bear God’s image, and to rule the universe like He would.
Recently I read a review of Madeleine Kunin’s book chronicling her years as governor of Vermont, Living a Political Life.5 By her own account, she spent much of her time in office behind a facade, necessary to convince the world a woman was as capable of governing as a man. “My womanhood and its relationship to my capacity to govern were the central issues of my political life,” she writes. What a tragedy, I say.
Her capability and capacity should not be an issue; but what she does with it is critical. Woman was created to rule with man, by his side. Doing so alone, she is dysfunctional and left feeling dissatisfied, frustrated and restless, as Governor Kunin seems to reflect. If man and woman would just work together, the contest would be over. Both would get what they need. The differences between man and woman are good. These days World War III might erupt if you dare to articulate such a difference. You risk not being politically correct.
It is woman’s rejection of her role in creation, literally in the universe, in preference for what has traditionally been man’s function, that demeans her. She brings confusion and breakdown to all of society by striving to compete, in ways never imagined just a few decades ago. Women are needed to be women and men are needed to be men. Isn’t it telling that to make this simple true statement in the 1990’s is to risk the wrath of many?
God forgave Eve for her role in the fall of man. He loved her. Adam also forgave her. He loved her too. But the chain of unity was broken and since then there has not been peace between man and woman. The gulf between them widened as he mistreated her. She became bitter. Yet it was still in her conscience to support and help him. That is why there is something even in battered wives not to leave their husbands. These days, women are faulted for “taking such abuse,” but the essential quality in woman of wanting to be faithful and loyal is good, not bad. It needs to be cultivated, not thrown out like a weed. The feminists consider as fools women who are steadfast wives to imperfect husbands, but the feminists are wrong. Both man and woman thrive on needing each other. Sacrificing the self for the other is the essence of love, it used to be the essence of marriage. It is good — it is even the essence of true romance.
It is in man’s conscience to love woman. That is why a man wants his wife to stay with him no matter how much he fails. He knows he cannot make it without her, and despite his faults he wants her by his side to help him make it... together. The good news is that it is possible for the missing link in the chain to be found. Redeemed woman is the missing link. Where is she?
We, the women in the Communities writing this paper, have found her! We have discovered who we are and it makes us happy. We don’t have to compete with men any more. We are man’s helpmate. By obeying the commandments and direction of our Master Yahshua we have found a life of healing to wash away the years of bitterness and mistrust. We are being set free to love. There is no greater purpose woman could have than to be the key to restoring relationships among mankind. Do you have a better one?