My little boy started preschool this year and picked out a pink backpack with flowers. At first I was hesitant to let him have it for fear that he would be teased, but decided that if we were truly going to be egalitarians we had to take that risk. Concerned, I asked him what he would do if anyone made fun of him for having a pink backpack. He replied, “punch them in the nose”.
Sexism, simply put, is the value of one sex over another. This is rampant in our culture still today. Men use “cry like a girl” or other feminine references as put-downs. It is glorified if a girl is a tom boy, but shunned if a boy is a tom girl. Colors are assigned genders and while all colors are permissible on women, some colors such as pink and purple, threaten the masculinity of men. Worse yet, sexism is made holy in the church. Women and men have different roles and women cannot teach men or have authority over men. God glorified sexism?
I know for so long I have been in hiding about being a Christian egalitarian for fear that I would be shunned or not taken seriously. Maybe though, sexism needs a little “punch in the nose”. Recently I was talking to my friend who said, “I think women should be allowed to speak in church”, she hesitated and finished with, “Of course my husband is the spiritual leader…..” I responded, “I don’t even believe that.” To which she responded, “You know what? I don’t either! I just give it lip service.”
I wonder how many others give sexism “lip service” while quietly living egalitarian. Perhaps if we all gave sexism a little “punch in the nose” the momentum of it would stop it in its tracks and we would find many quiet dissenters among our complementarian churches.
*Update: I wrote this a few years ago and my friend is now active in both our local CBE group and a new, egalitarian church.