Quick Hits: Doug Wilson on Women and Submission

From time to time, Doug Wilson posts quotations from some of his many books. I want to share two of his recent ones.

Here’s the first:

“A husband’s authority over his wife and a wife’s particular submission to her husband are a subset of this broader Christian duty for all believers to be filled with the Spirit and to be mutually submissive to one another” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 24).

I’m still trying to figure out how this statement even manes sense. How is the idea that a husband is to have authority and a wife is to submit in any sense a subset of the idea that all believers are to be “mutually submissive” to one another? Where’s the “mutually” part? It’s not there!

And here’s the second:

[Concerning 1 Cor. 11:1-16 and Is. 4:5] “The NKJV translates it this way: ‘For over all the glory there will be a covering.’ This is what Paul is referring to — a godly wife is to her husband what the Shekinah glory was to the tabernacle. Now this is how it all ties in with our foundational theology of marriage, and what we believe marriage actually is. The Bible teaches that a woman is the glory of her husband. She is his crown: ‘A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband’ (Prov. 12:4a). And a man does not walk down the street kicking his diadem in front of him in the hopes of making himself look better or more important” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 37).

Wilson is trying to do is make an argument that men shouldn’t mistreat their wives (and acting like people should jump up and down and pat him on the back for doing so), but what he’s actually accomplished is shamelessly reducing women to object status. Doesn’t it make you feel great to know that you’re your husband’s crown? Yeah, me neither. I mean, in that analogy my husband gets to be a person and I get to be . . . a crown. Yay?

Yeah, no.

What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • AnotherOne

    But sweetie, crowns are so purty and nice! (And silent and lifeless and cold, but what does that matter? They’re shiny!)

  • Chrissy

    Nope, I read that first quote 10 times and still can’t make sense of it. It only works if you redefine the word “mutual” to mean “more on one side than the other”. It must be hard being a man with such a poor understanding of vocabulary…

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      Best I can figure out is that the wife has input, the husband makes the final decision. But it really doesn’t work that well with a guy unwilling to ask or listen, and a woman who believes she’s not allowed to disagree with him ever.

    • Athena

      “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  • Cylon

    What? You’re not content to be a glorified hat? I can’t imagine why not. :/

    • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

      Well, Oliver Sacks did write a book called The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Of course, the man in question had brain damage. Which sort of works for Doug Wilson, in a snarky way……

      • Noelle

        good book.

  • Jason Dick

    I think the “mutual submission” bit is in there to act as a way for the women to feel better about their submission. Basically it’s a way of pretending to do one thing while actually doing something completely different.

  • el

    Hmm, here’s the thing. Most people would not mistreat valuable possessions. But if something is a possession and the owner wants to destroy it, that’s *entirely their own business* and no one else has a right to interfere.

    Woman as a crown is a scary analogy.

  • Ismenia

    What does being mutually submissive actually entail anyway? It sounds like the inverse of a power struggle where everyone is trying to make someone else be in charge.

    • Monimonika

      *at a four-way stop sign*
      A: You go first.
      B: No, you go first.
      A: Just go already.
      B: I’m waiting for you here. *taps fingers*
      A: MOVE!
      *either A or B presses gas pedal in anger first and both leave the scene stressed out*

    • http://lyricalpolyphony.blogspot.com Mary

      Mutually submissive, in my own egalitarian understanding, is just christianese for “no one is in charge, we sacrifice for each other, love and help each other, and decide who makes decisions based on whatever works for us in the context of a mutually healthy partnership and friendship.” For my spouse and I, that would mean that either the most competent or the least ambivalent about whatever makes the calls.

  • Karen

    He’s still at it.

    I have asked every advocate of patriarchalism that I have been able to ask the following question and I have never once received an answer: If the husband is to be the leader in the household and have authority over his wife, what can he do to her if she misbehaves?

  • Stacey B.

    What is this obsession with submission? Are the Quiverfull men really so insecure that they must have a wife who has no mind of her own, and that can easily be controlled? Everywhere you turn in the Quiverfull belief system there just HAS to be something about women being submissive to men. Is the Quiverfull movement just a place where insecure men gain justification by having wives who are “submissive” all the time? EXACTLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

  • wanderer

    So….the women is the glory and covering? I thought the man was meant to be the “covering”….
    It’s all so confusing….