You know, one of the hardest pills for me to swallow when I was in fundamentalism was the whole women's equality-submission trope. I'm by nature a fairly independent woman, and it stung every time I was denigrated or dismissed when I lived in FundyVille.
Unfortunately, I did end up swallowing some of that bad medicine, and the damage it did is still with me (though it is healing more and more the longer I am out of it). For a while, I even believed that women were unable to be as spiritually discerning as men - though it was really more that I believed that good Christian girls were supposed to believe it. My soul raged and raged against the notion, but I bit back the tears and meekly said, "ok". Surprisingly, one of my Bible Doctrines teachers in Fundy University clearly repudiated the notion my junior year, and made it okay for a good Christian girl to not believe that steaming pile. But the daily practical theology applications still constantly whispered to me that I was less than what I was.
Then, along came "complementarianism". It's the "kinder and gentler" conservative christian view. It supposedly acknowleges the abuses of men perpetuated on women in the world and in the name of Christianity, and walks a middle ground between that and a "unisex" culture. Whatever that means. Seriously, go read John Piper's treatise on it. It's very weird.
In my experience, one of the interesting things about conservative Christian teachings on men vs. women is that it's nearly always accompanied by protestations that these statements don't mean that that men and women are unequal or that men are better than women. Again, the longer I'm out of FundyLand, the more hollow this feels to me. In fact, I see them as signaling direct lies anymore. If your beliefs don't really indicate sexism, then why do they feel as though they do? And why do you insist on telling me so often that they don't?
Anyway. I set all this up because I recently spent a weekend at various functions associated with my 20th high school class reunion. I went to public high school, and graduated with in a class of 370 or so students. After high school, I was in Fundy University, and then I went through a medical education - and the medical field is still pretty sexist. So really, it's been 20 years since I've been treated like a human in an educational setting.
At the reunion, however, I was utterly flabbergasted at how I was treated by the men from my high school graduating class. No one, male or female, made assumptions about my role in the medical field (no, I'm not a nurse). I was treated with respect and dignity by every man I talked to. I helped cook breakfast at one of the events, and I was the *only* woman in the kitchen. Men everywhere were shouldering at least an equal share of caring for the children who came along with them and were respectful and kind to their wives.
Let me tell you, I was bust-my-buttons proud of my generation and my graduating class. My eebil godless public school produced a kind, responsible, and fair group of men (and women). It was very validating, because not only does time and distance from FundyLand ease the pain, it also makes me wonder if things actually happened differently from the way they felt. Experiences like this confirm the awfulness of what I had accepted for years.
But no more. Complementarians can talk out of both sides of their mouths all they like, but I don't buy it. I've tasted real equality outside their circles, and I will never settle for their cheap imitation again.
Oh, and go Tigers. I'm proud to be one of you.