(Don’t let me bore you, but try to read to the end). I’m taking a feminist course right now in my masters’ MFT program (yes it’s required). My professor is terrific, mixing in humor, information, discussion, and I appreciate how much she encourages our freely expressing views that dissent with both patriarchal and classically feminist orthodoxies. It’s a riot and epiphany every Monday night.
The largest issue looming in the class right now—in both the books and articles we’re reading and in class discussion—is the role of “sociology.” The trend towards blaming this component for how we are seems simplistic and question-begging to me. Do we blame Homer Simpson, or Archie Bunker, on just their “socialization”? I think this over-credits nurture. After all, isn’t “socialization” just US? WE contribute to the traditions we wind up calling socialization. This really matters because postmodern academics see gender purely as a social construct. Besides reproductive anatomy, they tend to equate the sexes, blaming “socialization” for any other differences.
Genesis offers some clarity. When God casts Adam and Eve out of the garden, he warns them of curses they will face. To Adam, He says, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” To Eve, He says, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Remember, these were consequences, if not curses (“because you have done this…”).
Men, then, seem addicted to work. Women, then, seem addicted to “a relationship” (or their husband). And we all know addiction isn’t the goal. These Genesis 3:16 characteristics are as true today as they’ve ever been, and if all of this is just “socialization” then I’m Gloria Steinem. There is a “nature,” a temperament at work here, not just society.
Keep in mind that these are curses, not strengths. It’s not a strength for women to be “all about relationships”—it’s insecurity. It’s not a strength for men to be “all about career and success”—it’s insecurity. BOTH sexes need the healing that comes from Jesus, and with it, the grace to transcend these consequences, while still affirming the different strengths God respectively gave men and women. Men AND women are each incomplete on their own—and that’s by beautiful design. If you don’t understand that, go see a UW volleyball match.