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Austin Cline

Women's Role in Society (Book Notes: Ungodly Women)

By June 28, 2006

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What place should women have in society? Traditionally, a woman's place has been inferior to that of the average man. Whatever is considered most valuable in society is placed under the direction of men; whatever is considered less valuable is given to women to care for - even when people ostensible know better.

In Ungodly Women: Gender and the First Wave of American Fundamentalism, Betty A. Deberg writes: Ungodly Women: Gender and the First Wave of American Fundamentalism

The education of women, especially higher education, was of greatest concern from 1880 to 1900, although the issue nearly dropped from view by the turn of the century. Although there were a few scattered comments in favor of identical education fro males and females, most commentary took one of two approaches. The first supported education for women within their sphere. Women should be taught to be “teachers to their children” and better housekeepers, and they should receive “some careful instruction regarding the beauty of girlhood as shown by modesty, by unselfishness, by unostentatious care for others.”

[In 1917], an article in the King’s Business said that even though women were superior to men intellectually, morally, and spiritually, “her divinely appointed position is that of subordination and it is her ruin to fight against that which God ... had ordained for her.” Women were warned that “man does not suffer as much as woman does when she gets out of place.”

Many people in modern America complain that motherhood and raising children have been devalued by the feminist movement and the efforts to get women into the workplace. These same people, however, are the religious conservatives who have throughout America’s history been responsible for the actual devaluing of women’s contributions to society.

Motherhood and raising children haven’t been devalued because of feminism and women working in the corporate world; instead, they have been devalued precisely because they are seen as “women’s work” and unsuitable for men. Women who work as CEOs are unembarrassed by this fact; there continues to be some embarrassment, however, on the part of men who life as “house husbands.” Is this because of feminism? Of course not.

The same is true in the many professions traditionally filled by women. Men who worked as nurses struggled for a long time against prejudice and discrimination — not so much by female nurses, but by other men who looked down upon male nurses precisely because nursing was considered a profession for women and, hence, of little value.

Religious conservatives say that they value mothers and motherhood, but their actions over the past couple of centuries speaks much more loudly. Greater valuation of occupations like raising a family won’t be achieved by stopping feminism and taking women out of the regular workforce. It will be achieved only when women’s contributions to society, whatever form they take, are valued as much as men’s contributions. That, however, won’t happen until women are valued as much as men.

The complaints of religious conservatives about feminism not only don’t serve to achieve that goal, but in fact hinder it — just as religious conservatives have been hindering women, their education, and their rights for millennia. Changes have been a long time in coming and we still have a long way to go.

 

Read More Book Notes from the Book Reviews on this site.

Comments
May 9, 2006 at 9:41 pm
(1) Marie says:

Feminism has destroyed not only the home but it has destroyed the sex life of women. When women are feeling secure at home and being Biblical women, they enjoy deeper and more satisfying orgasms. Only God’s way can bring this reward to a godly woman who is a traditional Biblical woman. You won’t ever know it until you learn to trust your husband and his leadership. A woman has to have a mindset of being committed and trusting. I am not saying she must submit to abuse. A husband won’t abuse a woman who has the best attitudes toward herself and role. Her dignity brings her much honor. Her children rise up and call her blessed and she is honored above all.

June 28, 2006 at 9:25 am
(2) JAlanBrown says:

It’s strange to me that all the Biblical advice about marriage was written by either Paul, who was not married and argued that no one should marry, and Solomon, who had a thousand wives and three hundred concubines. Peter, perhaps the only disciple of Jesus who was married, had absolutely nothing to say about marriage and the “proper place” of wives.

I’d like to take a look at your evidence that Christian women have better orgasms. Where did you get your information?

June 28, 2006 at 11:06 am
(3) Karley says:

Feminism has destroyed not only the home but it has destroyed the sex life of women.

Darn- someone should have told me I could have explosive, gooey multiple if only I didn’t have the nerve to vote and trust critical thinking. *le sigh*

Seriously, anti-women folks will stoop to anything to make women give up self-reliance and equality- now they’re promising better orgasms?!? Laugh. Out. Loud.

June 29, 2006 at 9:07 am
(4) JAlanBrown says:

Seriously, anti-women folks will stoop to anything to make women give up self-reliance and equality- now they’re promising better orgasms?!?

Odd, isn’t it, how Marie hasn’t provided the evidence we requested for this claim. In the interest of fairness, I’ll go ahead and make an unproved assertion: When women are respected and have entered an equal relationship, rather than a marriage of subservience and dominance, they are free of anxiety and feelings of lower self-worth, which can lead to deeper and more satisfying orgasms. There…balance in the Force has been restored.

Remember, assertions without evidence may be dismissed without argument.

July 6, 2006 at 6:33 am
(5) Sonal Panse says:

I come from a country where women’s rights are for the large part only on paper, where, culturally, women are suppressed, where ‘modernity’ usually means that women have to slave two shifts – at home and at the office, where female infanticide is very common and female education far less common.

I’m amazed that people who are far more luckier can’t appreciate the freedoms they have – who seem to want nothing more than to give up these rights and return to the dark ages.

Really, how incredibly stupid can you get?

October 15, 2007 at 5:52 pm
(6) vikingmother says:

Women, girls today have a few more chances in the workforce, but there is a long way to go. There’s another way to damage women, girls as well as unfair pay…the “sleep around” hookup culture.

Along with employers who STILL do not pay women fairly, what about the males (teens, adults) who sleep around with girls, women, and then leave the females to deal with the pregnancy?

Planned Parenthood and many other sites show that POVERTY is a big problem for many pregnant women, girls. And thus they are FORCED into a horrible choice: The child with poverty or a more adequate income (or college) with no child because they abort it.

Women, girls today are treated as disposable toys…and some men make them feel ashamed if they ask the C word (Commitment).

So men, don’t rant against the straw man here (the eeeevil conservative faith person). How are YOU damaging women? OR are you a real man who raises the kids he’s created?

October 19, 2007 at 2:43 pm
(7) Brooke says:

“When women are respected and have entered an equal relationship, rather than a marriage of subservience and dominance, they are free of anxiety and feelings of lower self-worth, which can lead to deeper and more satisfying orgasms.”

i do agree with you, JAlanBrown, except that you seem to be suggesting that only & ALL christian marriages are “a marriage of subservience and dominance.” if i have misread or misunderstood you, please feel free to correct.

October 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm
(8) Todd says:

Pay inequity has several well documented causes aside from gender itself. Women for some unknown reason, will sometimes take 6 or so years off from their careers. That means they won’t have as much experience as a male counterpart of the same age. Women are less likely to ask for raises than men. On the occasions when the do ask for a raise, they tend to ask for less than men. So if a husband and wife work in the same field and are otherwise equal, he might likely surpass her in pay. Not because of his third leg, but because he didn’t stop working to raise kids to school age and because he asked for more and bigger raises. That’s not his fault or the fault of the employer. That’s a matter of individual choices. There might be some bosses who are sexist in awarding salaries, but that’s why we invented lawsuits.

September 13, 2009 at 5:35 am
(9) Gopika M. Byju says:

I would generally say that women are really suppressed under men’s pressure and the inferiority complex. It is that, when a women try to get a high position in the society as a man requires, the complex from their inner heart bulges out to be jealous and that feeling make them do the cruel duties against the women. But there are exceptions in some cases that in a family life, a husband encourages his wife or a brother encourages his sister.

September 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm
(10) Todd says:

Cases of such are rarer in the Western world than Western women like to think. Men are generally “over it”. Most of my bosses have been women (even when i was in the USAF!). i have no problem with it at all. Of the men who have a problem with it, most have the sense to be quiet.

Sometimes a man might use his power over a woman in some bad way. And there again, is why we have lawsuits. However, Western culture seems to have a kneejerk reaction of assuming Man holding back woman == Sexist! When maybe he’s holding her back for a legitimate reason. The burden of proof falls on the accused male.

Soon we’re going to see serious cultural problems in the US as we have pushed so many girls into college and so many boys out. Thinking that making our daughters go to school will somehow magically erase the abuses of the past (it won’t). In our push for equality will are creating another injustice.

Also: i think you meant envious, not jealous. Envy is wanting what someone else has, “I want a Porsche like Steve has!”. Jealousy is wanting to keep something for yourself, “Get away from my girlfriend!”.

September 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm
(11) Austin Cline says:

Cases of such are rarer in the Western world than Western women like to think. Men are generally “over it”.

Which is why there is such parity between men and women in so many fields, like politics. Ooops, only countries like Sweden have reasonable parity — America doesn’t. I wonder why?

Western culture seems to have a kneejerk reaction of assuming Man holding back woman == Sexist!

Maybe because that’s been the overriding factor for… millennia?

When maybe he’s holding her back for a legitimate reason. The burden of proof falls on the accused male.

The burden of proof lies with the person claiming that the woman can’t do the job, yes.

Soon we’re going to see serious cultural problems in the US as we have pushed so many girls into college and so many boys out.

Because higher education just isn’t as appropriate for women as it is for men?

Thinking that making our daughters go to school will somehow magically erase the abuses of the past (it won’t).

That’s true; sexist people will discriminate against well-educated women too.

In our push for equality will are creating another injustice.

Like?

September 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm
(12) John Hanks says:

I don’t understand this comment at all.

September 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(13) Zayla says:

Marie, since I am not married, nor am I ever going to be, how am I too enjoy a sex life? I have nobody here being biblical with me, at least not someone that would fall into your definition of “happy and secure”.

I know what to do, but I’ve already lost most of my eyesight so I figure I’m on my last “legs”, so I figure all I have left is paying for male prostitutes and snorting meth.

September 23, 2009 at 2:47 am
(14) Karleigh says:

@Todd: I would contend that the main reason why women tend to ask for raises less often than men, and ask for less, is because they have been pigeonholed from birth into the stereotypical passive, gentle mindset that seems to be accepted as the social norm for females. They may not think they are deserving of or worthy of a raise.

“Masculinity and femininity are thought to be products of nurture or how individuals are brought up. They are causally constructed.

“Women are stereotypically more emotional and emotionally dependent upon others around them, supposedly finding it difficult to distinguish their own interests and wellbeing from the interests and wellbeing of their children and partners. This is said to be because of their blurry and somewhat confused ego boundaries. By contrast, men are stereotypically emotionally detached, preferring a career where dispassionate and distanced thinking are virtues. These traits are said to result from men’s well-defined ego boundaries that enable them to prioritise their own needs and interests sometimes at the expense of others’ needs and interests.”

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/#GenSocCon

January 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm
(15) Karen says:

I believe that men are superior to us women. I was raised Roman Catholic and for my entire childhood, my grandmother (whom my mother and I lived with) cooked, cleaned, and took care of the children daily. She is the example I wish to lead my life by. Men have built us this country, and we owe it to them to dedicating ourselves to their happiness for our entire married lives. If women didn’t do the baking and baby making, who would?

January 24, 2012 at 11:07 am
(16) CheChe says:

Many women created this country by working side-by-side with men in the fields, picking cotten and other cash crops, along with doing “women’s chores” in their owner’s homes (and having they’re babies, whether they wanted to or not). The same thing was true of serfs in Europe and Asia. Black American women have been working women since forced immigration to the Americas starting over half a millenia ago. The “luxury” idea of being a stay-at-home mother is an alien concept to most unless you’re unwedded, poor and on the dole. If you’re able bodied and even have a rudimentary skill set you’re expected to work and raise your kids whether you have a man or not. So this debate only exists in the realm of white America.

January 24, 2012 at 11:12 am
(17) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Back in the 50′s I read a comment to the effect: “Educate a man and you educate one person, educate a woman and you educate a whole family.”

Today, some would call that “sexist.” And maybe it is. But I think it’s true. Generally speaking.

Grandpa

January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm
(18) The Big Blue Frog says:

Karley, that was the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Thanks.

January 25, 2012 at 4:46 am
(19) OZAtheist says:

Karen, you would fit in very well in an Islamic community today. I doubt that many present day Christian women would be as comfortable as you in your chosen subservience.

January 31, 2012 at 10:48 am
(20) Gwaithmir says:

Karen said: “I believe that men are superior to women.”

>You have no basis in fact for such a statement. Male superiority is a myth which you would be wise to disabuse yourself of. In my long life I’ve known plenty of women who were far more intelligent or industrious than I will ever be.

Karen said: “I was raised Roman Catholic for my entire childhood…”

>So was I. In fact, I went through the entire Catholic indoctrination mill. Like Karen, I received extensive instructions on how Catholic couples were supposed to conduct their lives and households–by celibate nuns and priests, none of whom had any experience of human sexuality, none of whom ever actually worked for a living, and none of whom had ever raised families of their own.

Karen said: “Men have built us this country, and we owe it to them to dedicating ourselves to their happiness for our entire married lives.”

>Karen, we no longer live in the 18th Century and if you would take the time to look around, you’d notice that the “Men that built us this country…” are no longer here and have been gone for quite some number of years. It’s high time that you educate yourself to the fact that women are no longer the chattel slaves of their husbands.

Karen said: “If women didn’t do the baking and baby making, who would?”

>It takes two to make babies and raise a family, Karen. Cooking happens to be one of my hobbies and I always prepared most of the meals when I had live-in girlfriends. Men are just as capable of doing the “baking” when they put their minds to it. The fact that there are cooking programs and cookbooks aimed at male audiences indicates that there are a substantial number of households across the country in which men share in the cooking chores.

>Times have changed, Karen. You should wake up to the fact that we’re living in the 21st Century.

February 8, 2013 at 6:35 am
(21) Sarah says:

Wait, I was pretty positive that Karen’s comment was a joke. Now I am confused, was she actually being serious?

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