Today I witnessed an event that I expected would not come for some time or at all. I was really, really praying never. I can handle the language of submission as they appear on profiles as: "servant-hearted, grace-filled, humble, meek, quiet and gentle." I know that it is all the new evangelical candy coated speak for the now passe term "submissive." That is not to say the idea has somehow become passe. No it's still en vogue, if not more so now than it was a generation ago, these men just do not have the chutzpah to come out and ask for it (how ironic). However, today when someone posted they wanted a "patient, faithful, submissive wife," initially I laughed a little or vomited a little in my mouth, let's just say combined it was a moment of reflux and then all my emotions could be summarised as:
Yes apparently by that sentiment I am not the woman he is looking for to marry. However, I do not think any human is, although there are many mammals living at the local animal shelter who would fit the bill. There might be differing opinions on the roles of women and what the ideal dynamic is for marriage; the problem I have is that there is this belief that submission is necessary as if that is the only way, a colonial conquering rather than any type of mutual agreement. This belief is perpetuated by the belief that a woman is not a full human; she is only the extension of man. I'm not going to trod down the theological road on this one other than to clarify that humanity (both man and woman) in one flesh was created first, thus end of the whole dance around who got there first.
So why am I all ruffled about this? Because of dating advice like this (OFFENSIVE CONTENT) that reaffirms beliefs that a woman is little more than a child you can have sex with complete with the need for discipline (that is a sentence I never wanted to write or will write again). Submission and all its other forms are only models of conquering or oppression and can only be maintained when a person is stripped of the fullness of their personhood. This is not to say that complementarian relationships are the same as relationships that are founded solely on submission. A woman can subscribe to the suggested traditional roles of motherhood and still maintain her whole selfhood and live out of that wholeness, but I believe only when that is her whole choice and not the demand of the male in her life.
Yes that is a little detour and it really did not need to be said, but as my ex-boyfriend said after he and I had a conversation about this issue, "where did you find these misogynist jerks," it made me sad. I was a little sad that I had to have the conversation with him but even more so because this is what we're creating in Evangelical circles, we are teaching men that the only way they can be men is by making women less. It is the same structure that reinforced colonialism, racism and classist behaviours around the world and it reflects nothing of the Gospel.
*Yes, I did quote the Spice Girls and it was intentional.