Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Standards

Perhaps it's the crazed feminist in me, but I hate double standards.

Here's a little backstory: I attend a Baptist church on a weekly basis. I endorse the practice, regardless of personal beliefs, because I feel like there's something to learn from all experiences in life. A conglomerate of people holding each other accountable keeps a check on individual morals, and I like the balance. But for those who don't agree with every dogma endorsed, ignoring the culturally insensitive part and embracing the universal wisdom aspect can prove to be difficult.

I've been speaking in rather vague terms, so here's the exact situation. As a Father's Day sermon, the preacher spoke of how all men had an innate desire for greatness--because little boys dream of becoming superheroes and astronauts, while little girls only want to be saved by their proverbial princes. He also told tales of how men had a fear of failure that ruled their actions. How men are insecure of their role as the leader of the household and not asserting enough control over their docile domestic counterparts. How the decisions and leadership of men affected the beliefs of the entire family moreso than any other person.

Perhaps I'm misconstruing the whole situation, but I find a few fallacies in this. Am I the only girl who never wanted to be a princess in the Disney saved-by-true-love's-kiss sense of the word? Because I distinctly remember "Sailor Scout" and "cowgirl" being atop my list of aspirations. And let's talk about failure. People have a fear of failure. People want to be remembered for greatness, for making a difference in someone else's life. I, personally, am driven by a fear of failure. It's kept me from participating in many, many activities. I hate being subpar, or not living up to expectations. And I can't express how large of a fallacy it is to assert that it's requisite of the Jim Caseys and Sydney Cartons in the world to have testes. Oh, and last time I checked, a marriage was a partnership, not a hierarchical structure. Go read or watch A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, and we'll talk more about subservience and domesticity.

As much as I tried to replace every "man" or "men" with "person" or "people", and tried to extract wisdom about humanity, I only felt slapped in the face by the feeling that I was the sole person in the congregation who wanted to scream out that dreams and fears of failure and goals and influence are not characteristics exclusive to a particular gender.

1 comment:

  1. As a Christian myself, I completely agree with you. I've always been deeply ashamed of religious people who use the Bible out of context to imply that women are somehow to be treated as slaves of the household. Yes, there is a valid place for the man as the "protector" of the household in the classical sense, but an equal amount of the time you find reference to the absolute necessity of the woman of the house to maintain the same level of wisdom because the man of the house isn't going to be right all the time. It's, as you say, a partnership, the two becoming one, and thereby becoming more valuable than either on their own.