This quote comes from the comments section on Biblical Personhood. The post is entitled When Soft Complementarianism is Too Hard: Part II
“Here’s what really bothers me– the way in complementarianism, definitions change depending on who’s doing it. The man in this scenario could decide to listen to his wife– he could say, ‘She knows more than me about this, so I’m choosing her way’ — and when he does that, it will be called ‘leadership.’ ‘He’s such a good leader, he appreciates his wife’s expertise.’ BUT if the thing was reversed– if the husband was the one with greater investment experience, and the wife chose to listen to him– THAT would be called ‘submission.’ ‘She’s such a good submissive wife, she yields to her husband.’
But it’s the exact same action– one partner deferring to the other’s expertise.
It’s a double standard.”
~ Kristen Rosser, writer at Wordgazer’s Words
This is absolutely true: I see it happen all the time. What’s happening is that husbands are functioning in the same way as wives by bringing their gifts to the marriage and using them productively. What makes it “complementarian” is that words are used to mean different things, even though they’re talking about the same exact action. So why is this being done? Because it’s not really important what the husband or wife does; it’s where they stand in the hierarchy of marriage. Husbands lead, wives submit. So even if the wife is “leading” in an area in the marriage, they have to say the husband “defers to her”, because a wife leading doesn’t fit into the definition of complementarianism. It’s a disingenuous, insincere, twisting of words to promote an idea.
There’s a very good post on Emotional Abuse and Your Faith about Mary Kassian’s teaching at the True Woman Conference(2008) entitled “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”. You can read the entire post here and listen to Kassian’s talk, which is about how modern women fancy themselves liberated from the patriarchy of the 1950’s, and that somehow this is a bad thing…somehow.
Hannah’s post does a great job of going through each point and shedding light on the fact that while Kassian uses the 1950’s era as an example of “the good ole days” for morals and gender roles, she completely ignores the negative aspects of the times. It’s a good post and you should read it; it will make you think, and that’s a great thing!
There is one thing from the video that Hannah didn’t comment on, though. If you take the time to watch the video, let me draw your attention to the section from 3:38-4:00, during which Kassian refers to an advertisement in which a woman is being dragged off a beach by two policemen because she is dressed immodestly. The woman is depicted as shouting, “Someday, we’ll be able to wear any bathing suit we want!” (She also mentions women having their own cigarettes, but it’s a cigarette ad, so that part doesn’t concern me.)
What does concern me that is that Mary Kassian is depicting the woman’s desire to wear “any bathing suit” she wants as a bad thing. What in the world? Has she ever heard of the Taliban?? How women in Afghanistan would be beaten with sticks by the Taliban if their ankles showed below their burqas? Does Mary Kassian really want women to follow some dress code of modesty at public beaches and swimming pools? Is this the kind of world she would have us living in? Should law enforcement be able to dictate what women wear? It’s absolutely ridiculous and I just cannot understand the point she’s trying to make here. There are women all over the world, right now, fighting for basic rights that we take for granted. Being able to choose your own wardrobe would be one of those rights. Do we Christians really want to take a stand against women being able to choose what they wear?
This is just one of the problems I have with Kassian’s teaching about the “good ole days”. There were so many problems during that era, so much denial and pain. Let’s not pretend it’s a golden era we’ve lost, and if only we’d follow the rules then everything would be rainbows and butterflies. This is a lie. It is a lie that women should not have control over their lives, their wardrobes, and their career choices.(Of course, I acknowledge God’s ultimate sovereignty in our lives; I simply believe that women should have the same autonomy that men have typically enjoyed.) Again, I recommend Hannah’s post, as she goes through all the problems with Kassian’s view that the ’50’s were a superior decade than the current one, another lie.