Okay, so as a middle-aged Christian woman, in light of the recent rash of Driscollisms doing the rounds, I feel at this point I need to stand up say something. Someone certainly needs to tell these Bible-college educated boofheads a few home truths about marriage, leadership and sex. I’ve been hearing this same inane, misogynist drivel preached from church pulpits for about three decades now, and I’m so bloody tired of it, I just can’t tell you.
I wish everything they keep telling us to do actually worked, really I do. I wish all gender issues in the church and the larger problems of the world could be cured if I as a Christian woman agreed to never write essays or read books or rise above the creche roster at church, and promised to wear a french maids outfit while I dusted and baked. But this largely sexist idea that you guys – and it is the guys for the most part – seem to have about how all Christian men and all Christian women are wired – or ought to be wired – just doesn’t work in the real world. And believe it or not, Mr. Anti-Women-In-Leadership, your church is in the real world.
And, about that leadership thing. Let’s get this straight. You should stop telling men they ought to want to be leaders all the time, and telling women they ought to want to not be. Not all men want to be leaders, and not all men can be leaders, good or otherwise. And not all men want to live in a system of marriage or church or community where the kind of leaders you and your ilk advocate they become are even necessary. I mean, just listen to the way you talk to people, for crying out loud. Not all men are averse to the leadership of women, and many resent the fact you’re always telling them they ought to be. As hard as it is to believe, many men actually like women as fellow human beings, and don’t think women are just for marrying, or leading around, or sticking their willies in. I put it to you that an awful lot of men – more than you probably think – don’t want to be leaders, of their wives or anyone else. And these are not broken men that need fixing.
Another thing. Despite all that weaker vessel stuff, not all women are weaker than men, physically, mentally or spiritually. Some women are naturally very strong, and many have had to learn to be, and that is not an anomaly that needs solving or correcting. Little Man, not all women who are strong want to emasculate you. I am a strong woman, however, when I come into the presence of others, I do not assume because I am strong I am the boss of everyone else, and therefore all those present must defer to my strengths because there can be only one. I am happy to work with and appreciate the strengths – and the weaknesses – of other people, and give credit and respect where due. Regardless of what the misogynist men church teachers say, neither men nor women should assume their strengths are God’s gift to others, and that others must therefore submit and make way for them. My husband and I work together. He knows what my strengths are, and he is happy to use that to his advantage. He’s a smart guy. We try to let the other one do what they are good at and naturally enjoy, and we work hard not to dominate, but to compliment each other.
I tried downplaying my strengths once to allow my husband to rise up and be more like the strong Christian man the church said he was supposed to be in every area of our marriage (because he had the penis) but that was a disaster. He didn’t want to ‘lead me’ – he married me because he liked me and thought I was attractive and interesting, not because he thought I was weak and stupid and needed him or I would die alone in the woods. We figure God knew just what he was doing when he put us together, and when we both use our powers for good and not evil, everything works just fine. When things go wrong, it won’t work to blame someone else for being weak or a usurper. We just get onto the problem and sort it out.
Let’s just call this need some Christian men have to dominate and control others exactly what it is – basic emotional insecurity. If a man is intimidated by and feels he needs to dominate another person, and this is further compounded by the fact she is a woman, he is insecure first, a bully second, and a silly misogynist third. Buddy, your problem isn’t that your wife won’t follow your leadership, its that you’re trying to create an autonomous dictatorship in what is meant to be a democracy. Ironically, I have met a lot of incredibly strong women who got that way after surviving their stupid, despotic husband who used spiritual, emotional and physical rape as a “Biblical” leadership strategy. If you try to break your wife by demanding she follow your leadership because God said she has to, she may get strong in a whole bunch of ways you didn’t count on, with Gods help…and I will promise to help her do it.
Now, the sex thing. Pay close attention, because this is very important. Regardless of what they preach in church and write in their preachy marriage books, not all women have naturally low sex drives. A lot of women have naturally high sex drives, higher than their husbands do, higher than most men do in fact. Many men have naturally low sex drives, and it’s perfectly normal, i.e.: not a problem that needs fixing. If your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you, that is YOUR problem, not hers. You’re the one with the erection – sort yourself out, for goodness sake, and leave her alone. You do realise her part of the equation bleeds for a week every month, yeah? And besides, maybe your breath stinks. Maybe you stink. Maybe she really is tired or has a headache because of all the other problems she has to take care of as a result of the other times you put your thingy in her – i.e.: your children. Your dick is your priority, not hers.
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that if a woman has a low desire for sex she’s called “frigid”, but there is no derogatory name for a man with a low sex drive. As if it were impossible for a man to have a low sex drive, or for a woman to be sexually frustrated. Hello. There’s no name for a man with a low sex drive, because we don’t presume that everyone with a penis will just instantly feel like sticking it into us when we snap our fingers, and – funnily enough – your puerile name calling didn’t make us horny when you did it to us. Neither did those sermons you wrote telling us we need to deal with our sexual “problems”. The fact that you wouldn’t even know a sexually frustrated woman if you fell over her – and yet a sexually frustrated man doesn’t seem capable of thinking or talking about anything else – says a lot about our genders ability to take care of our business, don’t you think?
Mr Sex-Obsessed, Misogynist, Power-hungry Pastor-man, every time you talk at people about what is normal and what is not when it comes to sex, family and relationships you effectively cause 99% of your congregation to become just a little bit more neurotic. I don’t care to read your book and find out if God gets mad when we put that into there. If you’d stop banging on about it – no pun intended – many people would not ever presume their sex life was broken and needed fixing in the first place. And this is the real problem, isn’t it? The church stopped talking a long time ago about how great and amazing and awesome people are and all the things they are capable of and can aspire to and create together, and instead started repressing everyone and bitching about them, while at the same time complaining about being repressed. I’ll come back to church when you guys start healing and uniting all people, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, celebrating their humanity and diversity, and just stop with the generalisations, the misogyny, and the micro-managing sin via behaviour modification. It’s just boring.
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