09 October 2008

No to the Status Quo

I have noticed lately I have an aversion. Perhaps it has always been there, but lately I have become overwhelmingly conscious of it. The aversion is the male supremacy of our society in general. I am not sure what opened my eyes to this when it seems perhaps I have been half-asleep for so many years, but I can hardly stand it. My sister had a guest come over for dinner the other night, and while it was the right thing to do to serve dinner to that guest, since it was a man, something inside me wanted to scream, "let him get his own plate!".
This being said, I have served my husband many dinners, drinks, laid out his towel in the bathroom for his shower, and any number of other things. I have done these out of the love in my heart for him, and not out of some primitive idea that I owe him these things. But I have noticed more and more lately that men often sit back in silent expectation, as if they deserve to be served. Women tend to fall into the natural role of serving and our society has this unspoken structure that prevails to the point that I have noticed I do it without even a second thought. It is interesting that I find myself in this position when my mom wasn't the subservient kind of woman. She expected to be waited on and served. Nor was my dad a model of this kind of man that sits back and waits for women to do certain things. He has always jumped in and done what needed to be done, be it laundry, dishes, etc.
As a woman, I have been pushed out of intelligent conversation with men. I have watched other women serve food and drinks to the men in a gathering while the women, who are also guests are to serve themselves. I have seen boy children given preference and allowed to leave the dinner table and run and play while the daughters must stay and assist with clean up or are expected to help with the smaller children. I could go on and on with paragraph after paragraph of such examples.
I have been noticing that this doesn't just happen in marriage but in male and female interaction across the board. I am not sure I'm able to fully articulate why this is bothering me so much recently. I know that I feel the same way when a man holds the door for me, as if he is in some way indicating that I deserve preference because I'm a woman. I appreciate the gentlemanly gesture, while at the same time I know that this comes from the same mindset. I know that I am overthinking it all a bit, and hope that one day I don't have some mental fracture that causes me to jump behind the door and refuse to walk through it just because a man is holding it.
Even the Bible and Christian culture tend to follow the Jewish patriarchal model and show preference for the most part to men. Jesus however never modeled this. He said that the greatest in the kingdom must be the servant of all. He did not indicate a gender prerequisite, therefore making this premise applicable to everyone. We must all serve one another. When the world around us elevates men and diminishes women, Jesus spoke to both equally.
I am just feeling a little tired and frustrated with the status quo. Can anybody feel me?


  1. well, duh. :) I know traditionally it is a "man's world" and I think a lot of selfishness has been tolerated because of that. But I figure in my own personal world the way I am treated by men is up to me. Like most other issues, I don't think it is best resolved in a militant or rude fashion, I hate when people act ugly to get what they want.I left the Animal Rights Activism because of the mean rudeness, it made the message ineffectual. Animals rights, women's rights,whatever. Just had huge argument over this kind of stuff at our house ('why do we always live life your way & not mine') and although I think a lot of guys were raised like you said, it still comes down to someone's personal choice to be selfish, man or woman. Here's the thing...I LOVE men.Always have, always will. My mother hated me, my father loved me, women generally scare the hell out of me. At our house we finally threw away all the Christian marriage books that said he should/she should cuz stereotypical roles don't work here & now we are much happier not trying to BE a certain way or DO certain things.I am thankful for much of feminism but cautious as well. I don't want ANY large group speaking for me, it is up to me to speak for myself and create my own personal world. Virginia Woolf's husband, Leonard tolerated her running off with her lesbian lover for the weekend. HA! So although she was abused by a man as a child, she wouldn't be able to say that her world was exactly dominated by a man. I guess I believe that yes, men can be extremely domineering, selfish & abusive. But so can women. I guess it is up to each of us to decide how we want to be treated, what we can and cannot tolerate; create our own status quo for ourselves & teach our sons (& daughters)to be kind and respectful to men & women (and animals)& to expect the same in return. So I think it is perspective. We can choose to wake up & see we are living in a man's world or that we live in a world with other selfish people. Then we can choose to demand our way, demand respect or we can extend respect,grace & peace & not settle for anything else in return.Whenever I get a choice between peace and drama, I am always gonna choose peace. In reference to your closing line, "Can anybody feel me?" um, sorry girlfriend, you're gonna need a man for that! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :)

  2. Julie, thank you again for another great post! There is something about your writing that is so healing to me...when I read it, I find myself taking every word in and relating in SO very many ways. :o)

    Love you lots,

  3. i think it's really sad that women still struggle with these issues.

    respect, man... if we could just learn to respect each other, life would be beautiful.

  4. We're studying Japan and they have an extreme of what you're talking about!
    James has expected a lot less of that now that he's retired.

  5. Yeah,
    I have a feeling men are in for a BIG surprise when they get to heaven and are asked to repay every woman who ever served them because they expected it. :) Kidding.

    But, no doubt, I think there will be some reorientation of the brain, to discover that women were, in fact, their equals all along. I just hope, for the first time, they'll see our value completely separate from our looks, or what we can do for them... if you know what I mean. :) (Interesting how this goes somewhat with my most recent post.)
    There is a severe lack of seeing women for anything BUT those 2 qualities. Ok, I better shut up now. :)

  6. I don't really have a comment just wanting you to know I'm reading :)


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥