Dear Sue Bohlin,
I'm writing about your response to "Probe Answers our E-Mail: Should a Woman Work or Stay Home with the Children?" I would like to express my extreme disappointment in your answer.
First off, I should say that I am young Catholic and a strong feminist. I believe that you have feminism's mission all wrong. You stated that the "feminist viewpoint values materials above people." I find this highly contradictory to feminism! Feminism is about equality. Plain and simple. It is difficult to debate the fact that men and women are equal. If so, what does it matter if the father stays home with the children? Why should the female sacrifice her goals in life and be "submissive" to her husband? What makes it okay for the male to follow his goals and watch his wife's be thown away? Parenting is a two person thing. The idea that the man is the mightly breadwinner to whom the wife obeys without question passed in the 1950's. It disgusts me to think that other young women like myself are reading your response. We're living in the year 2001--the world has changed quite a bit since the time of the bible! Maybe Titus instucts women to stay at home, but we're far from that. When the bible was written, women were treated badly. Virtually the only thing a woman was good for was cooking, cleaning, and childbearing. In case you haven't noticed, women do quite a bit more than that today. The contributions women have made to society are immeasurable. If you ask me, Jesus would never say to a female with aspiring hopes and dream the same as her husband, "You stay home becuase you are a woman, thus the only thing that should do it take care of the children and the household." I think Jesus would see the importance of strong parental roles in a child's life--but equally, both mother AND father. Raising a child where the mother is the only active parent in their life is as bad or worse then sticking the child in daycare their whole life!
There are two things that I would really like the reader to get out of this letter: first, feminism is about equality, not material things. Second, we are not living in the time of Jesus! We should try to be Christlike, not mimic the lifestyle of 33AD!
Thanks for writing! I am anxious to reply to your letter, but I would like to know one thing first: Are you married? Secondly (I guess that's two things <grin>), how old are you?
Thanks so much,
Thanks you for your interest in my letter. After rereading it, I want to apologize for seeming...harsh. I'm just opinionated. I think your site is truly wonderful--I've had countless questions answered there.
As for your questions, no, I'm not married. I'm 14. I've never even had a boyfriend. (Actually, I spend most of my time at the library reading Ms. magazine! LOL)
Thanks again for your time--and your part in probe.org.
Thank you SO MUCH for your sweet message and apology and your honesty with me! I am truly delighted to hear that you like our web site and have benefitted from it, especially since you're 14 and there's so much to learn. It's great that you're reading things from a Christian perspective to help you form your opinions and your worldview!
OK, to answer your thoughts about feminism. . .
First off, I should say that I am young Catholic and a strong feminist.
Not surprising, actually. Feminist philosophy has so permeated our culture that it's unusual to find people who haven't been brainwashed by its values and perspectives. Yes, "brainwashed" is a strong word to use, but it's just as true as the way Communists indoctrinated their students in the last century.
Of course, if you spend your free time in the library reading Ms magazine, you are doubly steeped in feminism!
I believe that you have feminism's mission all wrong.
Is it possible that there might be more to feminism than the "public face" that it presents? Is it possible that someone who has spent time investigating the underlying philosophies and values of feminism might have a perspective different from what the rest of the culture accepts without question? And finally, ::::said in a low but respectful voice:::: is it possible that someone who's 48 might know more about this subject than someone who's 14?
You stated that the "feminist veiwpoint values materials above people." I find this highly contradictory to feminism! Feminism is about equality. Plain and simple.
Uh. . . no. It's not that simple, ______. Have you ever seen pictures of icebergs? A mountain of ice rises out of the water, but there is another 9/10ths of the iceberg submerged below the water. Feminism is something like that: there are parts of this philosophy that remain hidden until you start digging. For instance, particularly as a Catholic, are you comfortable with feminism's strong insistence on unrestricted access to abortion for all women? Abortion is an essential part of true feminism. Are you comfortable with the strong link between feminism and a lesbian lifestyle? While there are many many feminists who truly enjoy their femininity and their relationships with men, many of the movers and shakers in feminism have bought into the belief that men are the enemy. Do you plan on marrying and having children? Feminism has an anti-family agenda because it sees children as a drain on women and sees women who stay home to care for children as parasites, choosing a path that has no value because women are not paid for it.
It is difficult to debate the fact that men and women are equal.
Equal in value, absolutely. Equal in function and role, no way! Equal does not mean "same." Men and women are not interchangeable. We have different strengths and gifts, and different perspectives. We not only have different bodies, we have different emotional and mental make-ups. The biology of maleness and femaleness is hard-wired into the brain. Feminism's mantra for many years has been that the only differences are those of plumbing and reproduction. (And those differences are despised. There is a contempt for a woman's capacity for carrying and nurturing babies because of the fact that it makes a woman more vulnerable and needful of care and protection. That's one reason feminists are so insistent on the need for across-the-board access to birth control and abortion, because getting pregnant is so distasteful and threatening to so many of them.)
If so, what does it matter if the father stays home with the children?
Because mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. They nurture children differently. When children are very young, they need their mothers more intensely than their fathers. (But please hear me: children need BOTH a mother AND a father. It's like asking, "Which do you need more, air or water?" We need both, but air is more immediately essential. It says no more about us not needing water than the idea that children don't need their fathers.)
Furthermore, God's intention is for men to be providers and protectors, and for women to be caregivers and nurturers. This is only construed as an indictment on women because of the way the culture has de-valued the contribution of women. Since we don't put a dollar amount on caregiving and nurturing, those contributions are dismissed as unimportant. (That's why I made my point about feminism being materialistic. Only those things that have been given monetary value are worth doing.) Feminism's contempt for women who are "only a housewife" or "only a mother" has spread to the rest of the culture, where many people hear "caregivers and nurturers" and snort their disapproval of such a lightweight role.
Maybe we ought to ask the kids who have grown up without the caregiving and nurturing, the kids who have had to raise themselves because their parents were so busy doing things that "mattered," if caregiving and nurturing is so unnecessary. And to go back to your original comment, if a father stays home with the kids and the mom works, when the kids are very small they are going to feel abandoned by their mother. That's just the way it works. It might not sound fair, but that's because mothers and fathers are not interchangeable.
Why should the female sacrifice her goals in life and be "submissive" to her husband?
OK, two subjects here: goals and submission.
If a woman sets her goals apart from God's values and intent for her life, they are worthless. Once we die and we stand before God, everything will be revealed for what it is. Those who have trusted in themselves and refused to submit to God and trust in Jesus will go to hell. Of what value will their goals be then? For those who HAVE trusted in Christ, if their goals were self-serving instead of God-serving, then everything they accomplished to meet those goals will burn up in the flames of God's judgment. (You can read about this in 1 Cor. 3:9-15.)
It's like the person who climbed the ladder of success and discovered his ladder was leaning against the wrong wall!
Concerning submission. Why should a wife submit to her husband? Because submission is what we were created to do! We submit first to the Lord and then to those who are in authority over us. I think you have a misunderstanding of submission as "mindless doormat." Biblical submission is a deliberate choice to use one's strengths and gifts to serve another, to fill up what is lacking, to support and respect and yield to another. That is neither mindless nor subservient. (And I think, by the way, that many people hear the word "submissive" and think "subservient." They are not the same thing.)
What makes it okay for the male to follow his goals and watch his wife's be thrown away?
Nothing. God's plan for husbands is that they love their wives the same way that Christ loves the church. That means serving her, supporting her, being her #1 fan, and, as one writer put it, stewarding his wife's gifts so that she becomes everything God wants her to be.
But some women think they ought to be able to pursue their own goals with no regard to what it will cost their family. Children grow up fast, and there is time for women to pursue all kinds of goals after the children are no longer so needy and dependent on her. Are you familiar with Maria Shriver's book Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World? She says, "You CAN have it all. . . just not at the same time." Try to find a kid who will say to his or her mother, "I'm so glad you went out there and pursued your goals, Mom--even though you weren't there for me and I was left alone to fend for myself so often, but that's OK, you're the only one who matters." Obviously, I'm being facetious, but the message of feminism is, "You're the only one who matters." It's tremendously selfish.
Parenting is a two person thing.
Yes, I agree.
The idea that the man is the mightly breadwinner to whom the wife obeys without question passed in the 1950's.
I will agree that the concept of the obedient wife who obeys without question was a fallacious concept that needed to be corrected. There is a difference between submission and obedience, although it's not a huge one. Wives are never commanded in scripture to obey their husbands, and there's a good reason for that. Obedience belongs in a relationship between non-equals because it's a power mis-match. I obey God and the governing authorities, my children obeyed me (...though not always. I gave birth to sinners <grin>). Those relationships are not between equals. If a husband-wife relationship, which Scripture explicitly says is one of spiritual equals, is one where the husband is authoritarian and the wife obeys him like a robot, there cannot be the emotional and spiritual intimacy that is God's plan for marriage.
It disgusts me to think that other young women like myself are reading your response. We're living in the year 2001--the world has changed quite a bit since the time of the Bible!
We use a clock to tell time, not to tell truth.
The world may have changed, but people haven't. God's created order and His plan for human relationships hasn't changed. The Bible's relevance to our lives is just as vibrant as it was the day each word was originally written, because when God inspired the authors of each book He knew what would unfold in human history in the years to come, and His book has timeless concepts that are just as valid today as when they were written.
Maybe Titus instucts women to stay at home, but we're far from that.
______, are you in a public school? Are there metal detectors at the doors of your school? Does your school have a lockdown plan for what happens if someone starts shooting a gun like at Columbine? Does your school have a problem with drugs? How many girls are pregnant? Are there any who bring their babies to school?
This is the world we live in--the world that is so far from the place of safety that it used to be. Yes, you're right, moms don't stay home much anymore. . .and the kids are paying for it. Families don't stay together much anymore. . . and the kids are paying for that, too. The amount of respect between family members has dropped dramatically as women demanded to be treated like men, so they are no longer respected the way they used to be, and kids don't respect their parents, and parents are afraid of their kids. . .who are paying for that, as well.
When the bible was written, women were treated badly. Virtually the only thing a woman was good for was cooking, cleaning, and childbearing. In case you haven't noticed, women do quite a bit more than that today.
Yes, I have noticed. The Probe web site you tell me is "truly wonderful" is a woman's creation and responsibility--mine. Among my women friends are published authors, speakers, company owners, entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, trainers, teachers, real estate investors, and doctors. And the Bible's pattern for wise living is just as relevant and life-giving to these women as it ever was.
The contributions women have made to society are immeasurable. If you ask me, Jesus would never say to a female with aspiring hopes and dream the same as her husband, "You stay home because you are a woman, thus the only thing that should do is take care of the children and the household."
I agree. The Bible doesn't limit women to only caring for children and homes. There are many ministry opportunities that women are called to give themselves to regardless of family status. There are ways to have a home-based business that does not sacrifice the best interests of a family and smoothly running home. You might want to read Proverbs 31.
I think Jesus would see the importance of strong parental roles in a child's life--but equally, both mother AND father. Raising a child where the mother is the only active parent in their life is as bad or worse than sticking the child in daycare their whole life!
I think perhaps you're either engaging in hyperbole or you really haven't thought through what you're saying. There is no way that a mother's input and love is more harmful to children than the stress of daycare. (Assuming the mother is not evil or mentally ill. It's too bad I have to mention exceptions like this.) You might not know what daycare centers are like. They cannot come close to the power of a mother's love and just "being there" with and for her child. Talk to me about this 15 years from now!
I'm glad you wrote, and I hope you think about these things. I invite you to read another article I wrote, "Ten Lies of Feminism," and see what you think. God bless you, ______!