Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working Mothers Turn the Sky Green

People often ask me where I find the blogs and websites that I snark on*. Well, see that list of recommended blogs on the right hand side of your screen? Everybody does that, so when I find one blog that looks promising, I put it in my reader and then start clicking. Rinse, repeat. My reader is now full of fundamentalism (and quite possibly a rather impressive cross section of mental illness), which can be both overwhelming and depressing, but I do get a chance to see trends in fundamentalist thinking in a way that's a bit hard to express to you.

For example, I see a lot (seriously, a lot) of this:

To follow close on the heels of the last post, I have to say that there is a mission field out there that is ripe for the harvest. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. It's heavy work. It's hard work. And it has an incredible impact on the Christian community and the world. It's 24/7 missionary work that ends only with the death of the missionary.

If you really want to pour out your souls, to sacrifice your life for Christ, to do something that actually matters in an eternal way...become a mother.

That post is entitled "A Call to War". I have no idea why.

That's just one from today. Here's another:

That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity. That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife

Yeah, don't trust anything that rhymes.

It got me thinking, and not just about religion and patriarchy. Fannie had a great post about much the same thing yesterday. So did Echidne of the Snakes.

When we discuss men, the default assumption is that men will be both working and parents. Nobody ever has said the phrase "working father". There's no need to specify that a father works. Men work, it's what they do. It's totally normal and expected. It's peculiar when men don't work. Their parental status is irrelevant. Nobody does studies on the impact of fathers working outside the home, any more than anyone studies the impact of blue skies upon children's perceptions of colour. There are no other colour skies to compare this impact to.

But women . . . that's different. Women are supposed to be at home, waging war. Women are supposed to be at home supporting their husbands, the men who do things. Because they are men. God wants this. Your children want this. You owe it to the future. It's entirely possible the sky might turn green if you don't and then where will we be?

Nobody suggests that fathers might need to stay at home, that fathers working might impact their children's health, that fathers might need to the reallyreallyreally hard work of . . . erm, what was that? . . . the heavy, hard, impactful work of sacrificing eternally to be a parent.

This is in no way arbitrary. True freedom is slavery. Up is down. Black is white, if only you believe**.

It's the patriarchy, it's got its shackles firmly around your ankles and wrists and most of the time, you can't can't even see it. And I'm seeing the same misogynist argument from secular scientists that I am from fundamentalist preachers. Every day of the week.

*I always appreciate recommendations, so if you ever want to suggest a blog or website, or want to see something snarked to pieces, feel free to email me the link at personalfailure[at]

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