I see him across the room, making his definitive and confident claims.
He’s handsome, well dressed, clearly smart. He himself likely has served in leadership positions since he was young. Sports teams, school groups, clubs in college . . .
Authority figures (especially males) are eager to take him under their wing. Women in authority are eager to foster him into success.
His peers often thank him for his insight and leadership.
Most women have a secret crush on him.
He is not used to be questioned unless encouraged.
And as he argues about women in positions of leadership in the church. I realize the support and praise he has received all his life has become a breeding ground for his weak arguments.
His success is rooted in the way he and the way others around him conform to the molds of patriarchy.
And as those around him continue to elevate his words despite his lack of efforts, research, or compassion, patriarchy will continue to destroy him.
While some reading this may think I, the woman, a member of an oppressed group was the victim in this exchange.
I would beg to differ.
Yes, he was arguing for my silence. Yet he was standing on the crumbling ground patriarchy had created for him. And it was making him blind to his weakness.
Patriarchy built that ground for me too, but as a woman I felt it’s instability much earlier then he did, and I jumped off, now he is left to try to balance on the rubble, and he is losing his footing.
Women are offered two options—especially those from patriarchal religious communities. We either bend in submission and stay silent, or fight.
For some, this means going against their families’ wishes for their life. Others it’s having romantic relationships differently then their faith teaches. But it always means not conforming.
And this require strength, personal investigation, self-reflection, and deep theological research.theological research.
It is a process I coach women through and am deeply honored to witness. And it is something that makes us strong.
Women who abandon patriarchal molds know who they are, know what they stand for, what they believe, and why they believe it. And if patriarchy comes to challenge them, it will fail.
If patriarchy tells women never to question men, it tells men they should never be questioned.
It tells them that so long as they stay in the nice comfy bubble of patriarchal religion, work hard and smile; they will be worthy of respect and celebrated by their community.
So while women are fighting out of the grips of patriarchy, challenging it’s theology and growing into badass queens.
Their male peers are floating down the river of life in a relaxing tube. Expecting all the praise and respect patriarchy promised them. Only to realize that women are building oars out of driftwood and quickly speeding past them.
Some men take the hint, they also start looking at the systems keeping them small, and rise to the occasion.
While others refuse to change, they demand women slow down, demand they help them, sometimes they even ask to be hitched to their ride with no intention of trying harder.
Those who don’t help are, “bitches,” “sluts,” “whores,” and “Jezebels.” Because our success equals their failure. And if a woman is doing better then them they are weak.
This question rings so loud and true for thousands of women who are experiencing this deconstruction right now. Lost, and overwhelmed by a sea of voices telling them how they should think, act, and believe as women.
In my own journey, I was told I could be and think whatever I wanted so long as I bend to patriarchy. It was when I realized by spiritual liberation was intertwined with breaking free from patriarchy that I was able to take wide steps in my deconstruction journey.
Today I coach women through spiritual deconstruction, helping them form their own liberating sprituality and become the badass queens they are designed to be.
*Did you grow up in Purity Culture? I’ve been studying feminist theology for the past seven years and love talking with women about how purity culture hurts women in the church. Interested in sharing your story? Let’s talk! Schedule a meeting with me here.
Spot-on observations. I would love to talk with you sometime. Not just yet. Too much going on about the holidays.