Egalitarianism is an investment in future generations of women:
Growing up in a patriarchal church handicaps a woman for decades. You may remember wearing white anklets, black patent shoes, and a little purse with a dime in it for the Sunday school collection. You also heard, “don’t be pushy, don’t show off, wait your turn, sit still like a lady.” Add to that, “stand back, get out of the way.” There were many messages that small girls were mostly to blend into the background. The day I put my hands on my hips and stomped my foot with as much fury as I could muster, the only result was laughs. No one listened.
Following is a compilation of the many ways a woman suffers from a childhood of patriarchal teaching experience. This is not a legacy you want to leave to your daughters . . . or sons either.
She regrets many missed opportunities to…
- apply for jobs, grants, and scholarships for which she did not feel qualified.
- ask for appropriate wages.
- apply for jobs requiring leadership skills.
- speak up, contribute ideas, add to a conversation.
- approach possible mentors, take advantage of mentors.
She is genuinely…
- content to volunteer her skills because she doubts her skills are worth wages.
- amazed if an employer would ever pay her to increase her skills.
- certain she must work twice harder than other employees.
- amazed if a male elder or pastor sits down with her and asks, “what’s on your mind?”
She is convinced…
- if she gets a job, it is because no one else is available.
- if someone more qualified comes along, she will be replaced.
- another person, especially a man, can do it better.
- her best is never good enough. She must be perfect.
- she is too ugly, old, short, young, weak, or not cool enough to succeed.
- if a man has half the credentials, he will get the job.
- in an emergency, it is best to consult a man.
She lacks self-respect so she…
- does not demand respect from others.
- never goes to the front of the line.
- sits in the back row. First -class is too good for her.
- defers to even much younger men, including brothers.
- occupies the minimum amount of space.
In relationships, she feels she…
- must always defer to others or she will lose friends.
- does not deserve good opportunities that come her way.
- must expect that good opportunities will disappear as fast as they appear.
- must share or deflect praise; escapes being in the center of attention.
- must do the larger share of maintaining a relationship.
- is naïve, if she is taken advantage of it is her fault.
- expects people to talk to her only if no one more interesting is available.
- is used to people looking through her or over her shoulder.
- if a friend or spouse leaves, it is her fault.
- will only attract a “flawed” spouse, she must “settle” because no one better will like her.
- has been taught to distrust her intuition, emotions, feelings.
- feels that men’s rational, logical thinking is superior to her haphazard thinking.
- tends to talk too loud because that is the only way she gets attention.
- talks too fast because she only gets limited time with important people.
- knows that when men in dark suits approach her, she will be reprimanded.
- is afraid to challenge men, backs down easily when challenged.
- quickly gives others the benefit-of-the-doubt.
- pretends to understand more than she does to save face.
- feels dreams are delusions; hope will disappoint.
When she reads the Bible she …
- understands it was written by men for men.
- must always filter between verses for men only and verses that include her.
- knows if empowered women appear in the Bible, they are explained away.
- does not trust her own understanding.
She considers that God…
- puts her prayers “on hold” until everything else is done.
- has more important people in line for his attention.
- does not speak directly to her, men are more important.
- has no call for her; only men are “called.”
- She notes that…
- young men get opportunities. Older women never got offers when they were young. Now they are old, they are not considered worth investing in.
- when she offers her ideas, no one pays attention. When a man suggests the same thing, it is applauded.
- a residue of sin remains in women that the cross did not erase. Brought to light by all the various restrictions.
Growing up in a patriarchal church places your daughters into chains.