Over at Singing and Slaying, which is a great blog title, I don’t care who you are (“get in formation cuz I say slay!”), Peter Jones is blaming conservative Christian mums for stunting the masculinity of their sons. (I know! It’s complementarian “blame the females” at its finest, see it here.) So I thought I would answer with a silly egalitarian parody because that’s about what it merits … We here at Love Minus Zero No Limit love everyone, so no offense at all is intended — and keep in mind this won’t seem that funny if you haven’t read the other post, painful as it may be.
Conservative Dads & Stunted Femininity
Girls can have a hard time becoming women in conservative settings. The problem is not universal. Many, maybe even most, conservative moms and dads are doing a good job raising feminine girls.
Conservative dads view themselves as going against the flow and fighting against the feminism in our culture. Many of them would rather die than be stay at home dads or part time stay at home dads who reject a career to raise children. They go to worship and are active in their church. They dictate to their wives. They dress however they damn please. These are all good things. But as Doug Wilson has taught: when you condone abuse of women and children, you get abused women and children. And when you have conservative Christian dads, you get men who do not see how they could possibly be a blockade to femininity in their daughters and wives. But in conservative churches this is an issue and pastors ignore it to their own peril.
How do conservative men make their wives and daughters butch?
- They do not allow their wives to be second-class citizens. Conservative dads are just as prone to usurping their wives’ servant status as liberal husbands are. The difference is that conservative dads don’t do it openly. They find ways to empower their wives while appearing patriarchal. The couple wants to look like the man is head, but in reality they are equals. That means in public he will never indulge his wife. But of course, by the time they get into public the husband has already allowed her to believe she has equal value in God’s eyes. Their joint issues are the family issues. The husband is a co-leader. The central problem here is that both spouses are setting the course in mutual submission to one another. What kind of example is this for a girl?!
- Conservative husbands refuse to make their wives submit to their elders or church leaders. Often conservative husbands will allow their wives autonomy to follow Christ as they feel led. “One mediator between God and humanity, the man Jesus Christ” is the idea, though those words are rarely spoken. A man who is not really pushing his wife around will not force her to submit to a male session. This can lead to serious conflict because the daughter will see a woman treated as a co-laborer together with Christ and will expect other men and her own husband to treat her the same way some day.
- They refuse to function on fear. For some reason many conservative Christian men in the 21st century are fearless about just about everything. Dads must learn to hold their daughters back from speaking up, dressing to please themselves and expecting equal rights. Fear must be imposed on girls. Selfhood must be knocked down. Independence must be fought. Blood must be spilled — just not anywhere a dad can see or be forced to deal with it. Yuck. Fathers should push their girls (and wives) to stifle their personalities. A fearless father who fails to control his daughter’s every move toward taking initiative will ultimately leave her prepared to lead. Horrors!
- They take responsibility for the problems in their daughters instead of blaming others. As girls get older, spark and prowess begin to appear. A dad begins to reap. Suddenly he is faced with a fully-formed personality and integrated character who knows who she is in Christ and refuses to be bullied or silenced. Some seeds we plant grow into ugly weeds. And who is to blame? The dad who refused to break her spirit should at least try to blame the culture, the feminists, even his conservative wife! But no, this kind of father will simply be proud of his independent, fearless and talented daughter. For shame!
Any pastor with two eyes has seen this happen. Conservative dads need to be humble enough to admit that they can, at times, be unwilling partners with the feminists in failing to promote true docility in their daughters. They need to step up and make everyone without male genitalia in their home submit! Dads play a key role in making girls into women and helping their wives be women. And they do this by constantly watching them, berating them, and forcing them to submit, thus making them fearful and pliant enough to serve their fathers and future husbands as a matter of duty rather than as some ecumenical exercise in “following Jesus” or “mutual submission.” Puh-lease!