For this conversation, we need to take it back to the beginning…
Genesis 3:16 (NIV) To the woman he said, “…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Growing up in a “religious” environment, I heard this verse referenced one too many times in regards to a “woman’s place”. A “place” I always knew I didn’t belong and didn’t care to try. It goes without saying, this idea of an imaginary pedestal for anyone with a Y chromosome, has always been something I could see through. However, it has taken years, to understand the truth behind the conveniently omitted context of it all.
In the midst of Women’s History Month, and having just celebrated International Women’s Day, it’s a convenient time to offer my take on it all. Me Too, Times Up, The Women’s March, and the long standing connotation around what it means to be a feminist is enough to make me want to tell everyone to — go fly a kite. The idea that life is a zero sum game where someone winning, means others inherently lose, is at the core of issues well beyond gender parity — but for the sake of this conversation, I must say, it behooves us all to understand, when you hurt a woman, you hurt yourself.
The part of this Adam/Eve story that’s never discussed, is the context of the verse. If you start at the beginning of the chapter it’s clear that this statement took place at the beginning of the downfall of man. Not because Eve sinned, but because Adam AND Eve BOTH lacked self-control. The Bible goes on to reveal numerous parables about how this deficiency will show up in our lives and how we must be diligent and consistent in our efforts to restore our goodness. In other words, this notion of a submissive sex, is explicitly tied to the downfall of humanity and was never how God intended us to live out our lives. Backtrack a little more, and you will find the truth:
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
It goes on to say that the two will be united. Not equal, not in gender parity, but united.
When you REALLY get this, it is crystal clear that in one sex suffering, we collectively suffer. There is no hierarchy, pedestal, or separation of status. This is not about a shift in power, a takeover, or the suppression of men. This is about the optimal expression of all human beings, a restoration of how God (in my opinion) intended us to be. If you do not subscribe to THIS definition of feminism, or equality, or parity, then I don’t care what movement you’re apart of or speak out against, you my friend, need to go fly a kite. You can not simultaneously be a part of the problem and a part of the solution, so hurry on, go get worked up over other things, because your opinion has no place in this conversation.
As a minority, I’m even more passionate about the subject considering we have generations of damage to our families to reconcile…but it all starts with our perspective on one another, as men, and as women. No family stands a chance without 2 restored individuals, becoming 1. So for the love of God, can we get this sorted out sooner rather than later?
I’ve mentioned this TED Talk many times, and in other forums, but if biblical excerpts don’t do it for you, I also love the story Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells in We Should All be Feminist.
In whatever manner it most resonates with you, one day (hopefully in my lifetime), we will stop arguing over semantics and realize that life can be much, much better for us all.
Until then, here’s to phenomenal women of the past, present, and future.