Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Does empowering women inevitably dis-empower men?


 Does the empowerment of women inevitably divest men of their power? 

Polarization and misconceptions among conservatives are two of the biggest barriers against conversation and progress in the women's autonomy debate. 

Pictured left, five authorities are listed. These are part of an "Authority Crisis" PowerPoint created by the late, and highly esteemed, Chuck Missler. Two are legitimate. One is often questionable. And two have no business being included in the list at all...because they are usurpers of autonomy--false authorities.  This article deals with only one item in the list, the second. The so-called "marital authority" and will address some misconceptions concerning the issue of marital authority as it relates to female autonomy.  

When discussing or implementing equality of the sexes, it is female autonomy that is the elephant in the room, the crux of the whole matter.

Misconceptions 

  • You cannot support autonomy of the sexes and be conservative
  •  Egalitarian couples all consist of masculine women and effeminate men
  • All who support autonomy of the sexes support abortion
  • There are no stay-at-home-moms among egalitarian couples 

 Did I miss anything?

One conservative male, a political activist with a large following, announced that he will be a featured speaker at a conference focused on empowering women. To say his followers were "triggered," is putting it lightly. Their responses ranged from thanking him and wishing him well (a few), to lecturing him on his poor choice of causes (most), to downright abuse, with some declaring they were unfollowing him. 

The flurry of declarations, lectures, accusations, and abuse stemming from one simple statement reveal just how polarized Christians and conservatives are on the subject of women's autonomy. Their positions were one extreme or the other, either for or against. Almost none were ambivalent or even willing to talk about it. None were successful in initiating any kind of productive dialogue on the subject. 

What a shame, that in the year 2020, Christians are still debating as whether grown women, especially married women, should be autonomous adults. Make no mistake about it. The debate indeed rages. Only it's more like a one-sided lecture by leadership figures within the Christian community. Most everyone else simply parrots their easily spouted mantras and slogans, designed to stifle any productive conversation or debate. 

Don't think you're familiar with their mantras and slogans? Think again. Most people are so familiar with them, I wrote a whole chapter about them in my book.
 
Some fear women's autonomy and cannot rationally discuss the subject. Others, who support women's autonomy, are often ridiculed, called names, marginalized, and silenced through fear of social consequences.   Either way, the polarization is all but complete, and there is little productive communication between the groups.

It is a cultural tragedy that the subject of women's autonomy remains mired in an either/or mindset that supports divisive "Speak to the Hand" rhetoric that engenders disrespect and accomplishes little. Either a woman marries, has children, stays home and raises them while supporting her husband in his God-given and Constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or she is a God hating, family hating, baby-killing, radical, Marxist, feminist.

Consider the following objection to women's empowerment, made by a woman: "What are you empowering women for, fight harder to abort their babies, or work outside the home while fathers stay home with the kids? It is men who need to be empowered, not women." 
 
The shame of it all is that many women who make these kinds of statements are highly educated, yet to say something like this is the epitome of ignorance.
 
Here is another example: "It took me almost 34 years to realize the hypocrisy of these women who "need" empowering. Come to NYC watch them run to their corporate jobs, all the while another woman is raising their children, doing their grocery shopping, doing their laundry and running errands....and when that woman gets home, she has to do the same...If we women understood our sacred responsibilities and support our men, our families will be happier...the world will be happier..I AM A WOMAN too, but I love to support and empower my sons and husband." -- Anonymous
 
In the above examples, these women see only the extremes. For them, the only alternative to solving the problem of women's autonomy is to become baby-killers or emasculators of husbands.

Efforts to shore up traditional gender roles seems to automatically follow any movement for female empowerment. One man said, "Men ought to be concerned with empowering other men. Let the ladies take care of themselves. They are more than capable of doing so." 
 
The polarizing premise stated above, presupposes that empowering women inevitably divests men of power. Which is not true. But as far as I can tell, few are having this conversation. Is it possible that productive dialogue might be started by asking the question, "Does the empowerment of women inevitably divest men of their power?"  

Christian leaders are responsible for much, if not most, of the polarization among conservatives on the subject of women's autonomy. As stated, many have taught their followers to chant mantras on the topic rather than actually engage in conversation about it. 
 
A commonly heard mantra among conservative Christians is: "Role reversals have ruined our society. Taking God out has ruined what his purpose for creation was." That is a veritable declaration of war against women, an accusation against anyone who supports women's autonomy and empowerment, who by supporting the empowerment of women, are accused as having a hand in ruining society and frustrating God's purpose for his creation.
 
Roles! That is what makes God's glorious design work. God's divine purpose is absolutely dependent on everyone [especially women] knowing their place (roles) and staying there. Derek Prince said it, so it must be true.

 Following are a few comments from anonymous men who feel that women need no empowerment, nor do they need the right to vote:   

  • "Empowering women? Why do they need empowered?"
  • "What do you think of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Has it been a net positive to the USA, or has it been a catalyst for launching radical feminist attacks on American values, the nuclear family, open borders, etc?"
What open borders has to do the with conversation is anyone's guess, but it is this writer's conclusion that both woman and men are, by their creator, intrinsically empowered adults, who within legal and moral bounds, are endowed with the inalienable and autonomous rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 
 
These inalienable rights are not just bestowed upon men but on women as well and can only be accomplished through autonomy. So, the answer to this article's question has to be, that the legal and moral empowerment of women does not divest men of their power, unless such men desire an ungodly, unscriptural, and utterly sinful power...over women.


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