Statesboro, GA, USA
There's always going to be ideas of what is better. And that's fine as long no one dictates their own choices on anyone else. Life is always going to be a series of compromises, and the ones you choose likely won't be the ones I choose.
First of all why does "dictate" keep coming up in this talk? I certainly don't think that even the most militant feminism "dictates" anything.
But still your point about flexibility and variation has little to do with my point ... that extreme forms of feminism have prescribed that we scrap traditional gender roles, because they were soley based upon male domination rather than anything in nature. I'm not drawing the line for anyone, but rather suggesting that those who feel it is best to erase it are erring, and that any homogenizing philosophy applied to gender is bound to do so.
Stephanos, I don't know how to say this with the respect that you deserve
Firstly, I don't consider disagreement as a lack of respect. I respect you very much despite our different angles on this subject, and many others.
the presence of monogamy in the first book of the Bible only proves it is the original form of marriage to a very limited number of folks. I am not among their number, nor are most of the people I know.
But if it is prescriptive, it proves no such thing. And as a matter of fact it is the idea now embraced by Western Civilization (and much Eastern), regardless of whether we are able to practice it as well as we should (as I mentioned above). So regardless of whether you were personally among the earliest civilizations that practiced monogamy, it still applies in a myriad of ways.
I have been reading some interesting stuff on the nature of revelation in early Greek culture which I think might interest you and which we should talk about elsewhere, but that's a special case. I don't think that most reasoning would allow that here.
We could talk via email if you would like. I think I would enjoy the company.
I don't think you can ask the rest of us to take that leap with you without what is probably a conversion experience first.
I don't think a conversion experience is required for the degree of consideration or acceptance I'm talking about, Just like the ethics of Jesus have been greatly embraced by many who could (at this point) care less about the distinctly historical and religious aspects of Christianity. A question you might ask yourself is why monogamy was embraced by Western Civilization to start with. And while I'm sure you would cite economic and sociological conditions which made it simply more practical, you would be only looking at half the picture if you didn't take into account our tendency to consider monogamous matrimony to be the ideal expression of romantic love, and the reasons that most of the world has done so. You can cite history, but to me a return to monogamy was a reformation and progressive. You seem to espouse a merely descriptive view of history (probably postmodernism here), rather than a view which is critical. Accompanying critique, there of course can be a definite lack of compassion and rigidity that you have mentioned several times. But it need not be so, any more than a postmodernist need feel "superior" to those who do not view all cultural expressions as leveled.
For those of us who feel that is not necessary, you will have to find another way to make your point, I'm afraid. For those of us who agree with you already, you will have wasted your breath in the first place by making it at all.
Though Divine authority is an argument worth exploring, I've never made that argument in isolation from this-world-considerations. Would you feel I have done you justice if I said:
"For those of us who feel that cultural relativism does not rule out a real distinction inherent in gender, you'll have to find another way to make your point. For those of us who agree with you already, you will have wasted your breath in the first place by making it at all."
I said that for your consideration, but I usually shy from such statements because they are intended to reduce, and therefore marginalize someone's views. Why not let others determine for themselves what is sound in our respective positions here? I know that despite our differences, we still have common ground.
I am not familiar with this as a Feminist agenda. I have heard right wing distortions of Feminist thinking characterize it in this fashion. In fact, I can't say that I recall any Feminists characterize their thinking as "an agenda" at all. ... Feminists who talk about women who are mothers and home-makers talk about the tradition choice as a decent honest and honorable one, near as I recall.
Again, my criticism is not of Feminism per se, but of a certain expression, or extension of it. There are many statements in the writings of feminists that initially painted the homemaker in a poor light:
“A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism...the housewife's labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable.... Woman's work within the home is not directly useful to society, produces nothing. The housewife is subordinate, secondary, and parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a 'career' for woman." ('The Second Sex' by Simone de Beauvoir)
""As long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed.... No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction." ('Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma' Saturday Review, June 14, 1975., Simone de Beauvoir)
""Housewives are mindless and thing-hungry... They are trapped in trivial domestic routine and meaningless busywork within a community that does not challenge their intelligence. Housework is peculiarly suited to the capabilities of feeble-minded girls; it can hardly use the abilities of a woman of average or normal human intelligence." (The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan)
"Housewives are dependent creatures who are still children ... parasites." ('What It Would Be Like If Women Win' Time, August 31, 1970, Gloria Steinem)
"Feminism was profoundly opposed to traditional conceptions of how families should be organized, since the very existence of full-time homemakers was incompatible with the women's movement.... If even ten percent of American women remain full-time homemakers, this will reinforce traditional views of what women ought to do and encourage other women to become full-time homemakers at least while their children are very young.... If women disproportionately take time off from their careers to have children, or if they work less hard than men at their careers while their children are young, this will put them at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis men, particularly men whose wives do all the homemaking and child care.... This means that no matter how any individual feminist might feel about child care and housework, the movement as a whole had reasons to discourage full-time homemaking." ('Why We Lost the ERA' Jane J. Mansbridge)
There are more, but that should be enough to convince you that what I'm saying is a real reaction to a real strain in feminism, and not merely a right-wing caricature.
A guy with the sophistication to look at theology with the depth and insight that you have certainly has the understanding to understand the difference.
Yes, I hope I can. But you also have the understanding to know that I am not referring to the aspects of feminism which rightly dealt with issues of human rights.
Being forced to be a mother against your will, in fact, is most places these days, illegal. Though if you look at marriage law you will notice that it has not always been so, and that marriages could be forced without consent as late as the 19th century. The sexual consequences would have been as predicted. That is also part of the good old traditional marriage.
Again, not once have I mentioned law, only ideology, though it keeps coming up. Legislatively, I would be against a law that forces women to have children. Personally (and ideologically) I think that a spouse who refuses to have children in a marriage while their partner desires children (for other than health reasons), doesn't yet understand what marriage is about, being still caught up in individualism. Of course we all do this in a number of ways, but this is pretty significant I think, which would explain (though not justify) the existence of such laws.
The "agenda" of the Feminists is that the role be chosen and not forced.
And my argument is that there has been more to it than that, at least in some circles. There is a definite shape which some feminist minds want women to become, certainly not including the freedom to be "more traditional if one wants to".
Is there something about this "agenda" that you would actually quarrel with?
As you have stated it, legislatively, to ensure the human rights of women ... no. But again, I was speaking of something different.
These are laws that are directed at the subjugation of women in this culture and at the continuation of the power of men over women in social relations in general and marriage specifically.
Are these present laws? Or laws dealing with human rights which have already been overturned? I am not for laws which would violate basic human rights. We're still talking around each other aren't we?
The battle about choice (or abortion, if you'd rather) is one that continues.
Yes it does continue, and since I would oppose it even if men had babies, I cannot view this as even remotely having to do with feminism. The fact that women have babies is somewhat incidental to the debate which at its heart has to do (at least on the side of most anti-abortionists) with the human rights of the unborn human being. To say that pro-lifers are sexist is anachronistic and unconvincing. Though I recognize that you're not really saying this is the case, you're just mentioning it as a part of the historical unfolding of the feminist dialogue.
While to my mind the issues around violence in marriage and in relationships are very much about gender roles
Yes, often involving the abuse of traditional gender roles.
I'm trying to offer information here, not win a point. Look, think and maybe the two of us can have a better discussion together than we could going at things hammer and tongs. I'd rather work with than against.
I appreciate your sentiment here. I share it more than you might think. Though I don't think the discussion is going badly or anything. Intensity is not a counterproductive thing always. I consider what things those who disagree with me say, even though I probably come across as abrasive at times. We are learning from each other.
Gonna ask me the same thing about Catholics or Jews or Blacks?
White men? Republicans? Churches? Old Folks? The Poor? The Starving? The Military? The wounded military? Why women in particular?
Because the thread is about feminism?