She notices little things at first. She notices how husbands relate to their wives in public settings. Compared to “worldly” husbands, patriarchal husbands to be quite frank seem rude or even mean to their wives. In fact, they think nothing of rebuking their wives in front of other people.
Unlike couples in the outside world who sometimes quibble in public, it is strictly a one way street in the patriarchal world. No nagging, back-talking wife here. Men only are allowed to “correct” their wives in public. In fact, only husbands are allowed to correct. She sees this over and over again. Husbands think nothing of chastising their wives. Worse, they do so in tones reserved for a disobedient child. this is no marital spat between two adults, rather it is a parent correcting his child.
Come to think about it, she can’t help, but wonder how her friends on the “outside” would react. Even the guys would find it offensive. Not here, it’s just part of being the head of household. In fact, she has a sneaking suspicion that many of the would be patriarchs act this way on purpose just as they would in refraining from working on the Sabbath or listening to certain types of music. It’s all part of walking in God’s way.
It sounds petty. She tells herself this over and over again, but in time she realizes that it is all part of a larger dynamic; men are God ordained to rule over women. Godly women, in turn must embrace such a role and both parties must follow their roles to the fullest implication in order to be living in a “Godly” manner.
It gets worse when she sees what sort of nation such men plan on running if and when they get to power. Forget any marriage rights for women. It doesn’t stop their however, women are denied the right to vote, hold any sort of position which would give them authority over a man or one that might in any way put another woman in conflict with some male authority. Under a patriarchal system, a woman must answer to some “God” ordained “head” starting with her father (or if dead nearest male kin) and into adulthood with her husband as her “covering”. Single and widowed women have to depend and answer to the nearest male relative. Some even advocate a widow answering to her oldest male child. Even without kin, the Godly woman must seek shelter under the surrogate “covering” of her pastor. It is a perpetual childhood without the innocence and their is literally No Exit.
Our hypothetical “woman” has by now more or less completed her journey. Thanks to the efforts of the patriarchy salesman/pimp she voluntarily entered a patriarchal lifestyle. Now ensconced in such a world, our hypothetical heroine is exposed to both the “good” and the “bad”.
However, it is here that we come to the crux of the matter; just how much of either attribute is to be found in such a world. Stepping back, I think that most everyone here agrees that the bad far outweighs the good. By in large, we participate on this forum because we are convinced (in large part by personal experience) that patriarchy is harmful and that there is very little “good” to be found in it at all.
The sad fact remains that for as many women (and men) who become disillusioned and eventually leave patriarchal lifestyles there are many who remain. It is tempting to explain away those who stay on. A myriad of reasons come to mind, but in the end I am willing to hazard that a fair portion of these women hold to their beliefs as truly and dearly as we cling to ours.
Instead, I think that such women have indeed found the answer that they were looking for in patriarchy. Does this vindicate patriarchy then?
In honest terms no. As it was mentioned a several “pages” back, women often willingly become involved in harmful lifestyles such as prostitution, no trickery needed to “sell” the lifestyle. Just as many women condemn prostitution, many practice it as a way of life.
This does not mean that it is something to be promoted or ignored, but it does show that people can and will seek out a way of life that includes self harm. …
Comments open below
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