Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Inequality: So Women Are Like Fine China?

Recently I quoted a piece at NLQ on how Christian men are supposed to treat their wives in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Someone over at John Piper's The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood compared women to 'fine china'.

Firstly I am outraged yet again that some self-proclaimed 'Good Christian Man' is objectifying women yet again into animate objects instead of treating them like living, breathing, thinking humans. Just objects to be used. The only thing I didn't find sick about his entire women as objects schtick is that at least with fine china it can be washed and reused again and again.

I am not like fine china in most ways. I do not sit on a shelf, cloistered away in the china cabinet against the dirt and crudity of real life, I am in the thick of it. I'm not out and about only on special occasions when deemed by my owner/master, I am out in the world whenever I damn well please.

 This is my Lomonosov porcelain - very fine china. Thin, delicate, strong.

And here's the thing that the author apparently does not know about fine china or bone china - it is stronger and much more chip resistant than stoneware or earthenware. It has to be because it is fired at a much, much,  much higher temperature than it's lesser cost alternatives.

If I am fine china that means I've come through incredible heat and am stronger for it and I am okay with that version of fine china.

I reject the original author's version of fine china as dirt, the world, and life do not bother me to the point where I need to hide away and have my darling husband be my protection against life.

One of the few right things I did in my life was marry a man who knows he can give me the freedom to be 'me' and that everything will be alright without him hovering over me, ordering me to do this or that, forbidding me to live. In fact, I'd venture to say that the way we've lived for the last 29 years as a married couple would likely make a good Christian patriarch throw up.

As I've stated before neither of us is wedded to the strict gender roles of patriarchy even if we are still Christian. He has no problem with me painting the bathroom or doing our taxes and I have no problem with him washing the dishes or rearranging the deck furniture.

Do we both do stupid things occasionally? Well, yes. This last weekend he tried to mash down the lawn trimmings in the trash can by jumping down into the trashcan and falling over to smack his head on the ground. I locked myself out of the house one afternoon last week just as a big bad bout of IBS struck and you can just guess what happened (hint: I'd just watched a wilderness survival show and used their tips). Not either one of our finer moments, but we both gave each other the grace to do stupid things, not remarking or blaming each other or claiming that either of us shouldn't have done those things. No rules, no strict gender roles, no blaming when things went haywire from our own stupidity.

That's the other thing that burns me up about patriarchy. There is no room for mistakes or messing up. No grace. No forgiveness. Just rules and roles.

We are all uniquely made and made quite differently, so why do we allow those good patriarchs to try and sort us all into ill-fitting boxes? To dehumanize us by forcing us to do things that are against our God-given talents and natures.

One of the good things to come out of NLQ lately is that I stumbled across a Christian blog written by someone that realizes that one size Christianity doesn't suit everyone, that seems to have the common sense lacking in most of the Patriarchal types. His name is Tim Fall and he wrote a great response to the women as china posting - Patriarchy: When Husbands Possess Wives Whenever I discover the existence of reasonable Christians it gives me hope, hope that we can wrest back the church from those that have taken it into realms that Jesus likely never meant us to go.

My faith or lack thereof is a work in progress and I really don't like having someone call me by the name of an object. It sure doesn't make me eager to embrace the type of Christianity they push.

1 comment:

Brian said...

"We are all uniquely made and made quite differently, so why do we allow those good patriarchs to try and sort us all into ill-fitting boxes? To dehumanize us by forcing us to do things that are against our God-given talents and natures."

I don't know about "God-given" but can speak to what I know as 'human' and I have an answer to your possibly rhetorical question about why we allow....

We grow up into a structure already formed (our parent's lives) and are expected to fit-in, as if the structure was more important than each part of it. It is not more important, in fact the opposite is true: Each part of the structure is most necessary and important. It is the each and every child that forms the foundation called the future. For this reason, the child should lead in matters of learning, not the parent. The child is naturally born to learn and if we follow the lead of each child we can allow them freedom to learn without patriarchy and subjugation of women, or at least with less and less of that toxic past.

I am happy to know that your husband does not tow that line and seeks to find an equality with you, an equal responsibility and wish to love....

(The use of the imagery regarding fine china is typical of patriarchal imagination. They believe that women are made from them but only a piece of them and need to be formed and controlled and fired to perfection to be useful in life. It is a crock of shit, a big lie and you have uncovered it.)