In my case, the path started when I became involved in various “patriot” groups.
Ironically, I was at first very careful to weed out the chauvinists and the misogynists. How women were viewed and treated was a make or break issue with me. My husband at the time was like most “average” guys meaning that he believed(or claimed to) gender equality to some degree. As in my previous experience, it was a mixed bag, some people were great, but sure enough we ran into a few rabid patriarchs. I remember one man, a preacher saying that women who were serving in the army ought to be ashamed of themselves and should instead, be at home changing diapers. Afterwords, my husband and I both laughed at what an abrasive jerk the guy was. Later, when we did join a group, the first questioned I asked was whether or not the women were accepted on equal terms or not? Fortunately, the guy running the group was great about it and true to his word, we women did all the things that the guys did. In fact, we later had one potential recruit leave after he saw that one of our group leaders was a woman. He was from a nearby Bible school and claimed that he couldn’t submit to a woman’s leadership. Everyone thought that he was a jerk.
How I wished that we had stayed in that crowd. To this day, I still know a few folks from the group. They really had their heads on straight.
In many ways, I was not so wise and I was in many ways like a young girl from a small town hitting the big city with a pocketful of dreams. Nervous, but not immune to the small hooks which caught me and gently reeled me into Patriarchy.
My trouble came when my husband and I joined up with a small church that a friend was heading.We had been thinking about God and how maybe we should start going to church. Our new friend too had been in the group, but had never voiced his opinions on Patriarchy. An affable fellow, he was not one to stir dissent. Also, I think that since he wasn’t in charge of the group, he let certain things slide in an effort to work together.
This same politeness was a poison in certain ways. Maybe this fellow wasn’t a conscious deceiver as a pimp would be. As KRwordgazer reminded us however, he had something that a pimp doesn’t – God. Worse, in his mind, this guy thought that he was inviting us along on a journey. Something positive and good for all of us.
We were going to study the Bible and have a small fellowship group. He was unlike the earlier Patriarch we had met, humble and nice. He was in many ways, a perfectly nice person. Unfortunately, this perfectly nice person was a believed that the Bible commanded a Patriarchal lifestyle. While he respected a certain variance in people’s adherence to it, he made it one of the central tenets of the group.
Like a pimp pulling in his victim with small gifts and favors, I (along with my husband)was slowly reeled in. Patriarchy came in small bits and pieces, but for the most part, the onus was on basic issues-Baptism, the Sabbath and so on. Patriarchy was just one of many issues and we slowly changed into it as we learned various “truths”. In my case, I literally changed into it. First it was wearing dresses and skirts for church. Of course, we were making all sorts of changes in our life in an effort to live “God’s” way. We started attending a local church (thought their doctrine was different) in an effort to honor God in our daily lives. The Patriarchy started out as a small vein amidst many.
By using my own example, I hope that everyone can see how a rational “smart” thinking woman can allow herself to be trapped.
The Patriarchy pimp/salesman has another hurdle to overcome. Once he’s got the woman to “go along” with him, he has a new problem. the Patriarchal issue and the enactment of its tenets. To to introduce them without chasing the woman away…..
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NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce