As egalitarians, we must acknowledge the extra difficulties we are currently experiencing on top of the usual challenges of working toward mutuality in a culture which seems to assume traditional gender roles.
“Healthy” is not exactly the adjective I would match with the word “sexuality,” especially when it comes to the ways the church and Christians have portrayed and lived out what we believe about sex these past few centuries.
On average, one woman a week in Australia is killed by a man who says he loves her. The prevalence of domestic violence is staggering. The figures are breathtaking and hard to believe. An unimaginable number of women’s lives are blighted by this scourge. In the US, Europe, and Australia, one in four women will experience physical abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
God called Mary to something much greater than her social location. I find it comforting to note that she was called “highly favored” before she said yes to God. It wasn’t her obedience that made her highly favored.
My elementary school music teacher once asked us to count the beats in a measure of music. She ignored not only my hand, but also the hands of several other female students around me, saying, “Boys you’re supposed to be good at math. I’ll wait for one of you to answer.”
A few weeks ago, I was in Sofia, Bulgaria, for a day. I stopped for about twelve hours between night buses to see the sights, including a beautiful, vibrant mosque near the center of town. I did some online research on dress protocol beforehand: cover your skin, wear something on your head, take your shoes off. Nothing unexpected. I had a scarf and a maxi skirt in my backpack for this purpose. I was happy to be respectful, and excited for a new experience. I arrived at the mosque, circled around to the front, and . . . walked away. I felt nervous, suddenly, and upset.
Female students at my evangelical university experienced both misogyny and racism. We were asked to conform to impossible standards. And we are not the only ones to struggle against injustice in the classroom. Women and girls all over the world face bias in school. From primary school to undergraduate to seminary, the system is not built for us.
All parents—and especially egalitarian parents—should talk to their kids about boundaries, consent, bodies, shame, double standards, peer pressure, and sexism in school. Have you had these conversations with your kids yet?
Try as we might, there is no way to equally share the joys and struggles of carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. When my husband and I were ready to grow our family, I wondered how we would be able to maintain our nontraditional gender roles and split work equally.
How can churches become more effective at hearing what our marginalized sisters are wanting to communicate to us? In this workship, Muted Group Theory (MGT) is presented as a tool for explaining and promoting communication between churches and marginalized women. First, after a brief overview of MGT and its tenets, Linda Lee Smith Barkman looks at how MGT informs gendered communication generally. Then MGT is specifically applied within the micro-differential power dynamics that further complicate communication.