7.03.2006

Chauvinism or Chivalry?

“I don’t know what to do, I am a man when I shouldn’t be and not a man when I should be. I’m confused.”

Yes, that is something I have repeated in a few conversations over the last couple of weeks, the most recent being this evening while walking with William through the luscious grass and tall pines of the Seattle Arboretum. So here is my plight (and the plight of many men I suppose); I have grown up in a society that has stressed women’s rights so much that now men, in turn, have virtually none. Well maybe I should rephrase that, they have plenty of rights; the right to be emotional, the right to be in touch with their feminine side, the right to watch their children while women run off to earn degrees and “take on the world”…you see where I’m going with this. Understandably this does not sum up all women nor am I naive enough to believe that all Western women even want to be associated with the pseudo-feminist version of womanhood that has been created within the last 50 years. No, this is not some woman bashing rant, it is however my attempt at an honest assessment of the role reversal that has occurred between male and female in Western society.

For the sake of trying to prove a point, I have chosen not to write this entry from a balanced perspective. Forgive the disjointed nature of this entry as these are thoughts in progress.

I read the bible (from time to time) and even though I don’t claim to understand much of what I read, I do see a pattern that God has setup for healthy interactions between man and woman that I believe we have severely disrupted over the last half century.

I spoke with my sister the other day (an amazing woman). She told me the story of a teacher who already had her Masters and was working towards her Specialist with plans to acquire a Doctorate. She quoted the woman as saying, “I plan to move up very fast [in the school system]”. I asked my sister if the woman had any children and she said yes, two. My sister said she knew the kids and told me they suffered from a lack of attention and affirmation in part because of their mothers ambitious plan to “move up the ladder”, inevitably leaving the kids at the bottom looking up and wondering where mommy was climbing to. Maybe no one has told this woman that in the end she runs the risk of only bettering her own future, her own image and not her children’s. Kids don’t care about money or status; they need attention and love.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman raising her children in a healthy atmosphere in which she is heavily involved (a.k.a. a stay at home mom). In vast majorities of the rest of the “undeveloped” world women see child raising and homemaking as a privilege and take great pride in creating the best setting possible for the development of a healthy family unit.

Is it wrong for me to want my future wife to desire child rearing? Am I a male chauvinist for wanting my wife to enjoy taking part in creating a home for our family?

I know that I have left out various issues (like what the responsibility of the man is in all of this) that might make this a more balanced post, but I felt that I needed to speak into areas that aren't spoken into enough.

Any thoughts of your own?

5 Comments:

Blogger Carlene said...

I have been contemplating this one for a couple of days. I guess I can speak to it from three different perspectives.
The first is from that of a child growing up in a family where Mum went out to work while we were still pretty young due to both her desire to work and the necessity of a farm that often ran at a loss. I must say that my strongest memories were of my Dad getting breakfast for us in the morning, coming home with little treats when he did the grocery shopping, and inventing fun cures for childhood ailments (lemonade to always follow the yucky medicine!) My Dad enjoyed his extra role as a homemaker, possibly even more than Mum did. I know I enjoyed him being there, and working with him on the farm from a very young age.
The second point of view is that of a stay at home Mum for most of my children's early years. I loved being at home with my children and I know it would have been heart wrenching to have had to leave them. I even home schooled for the first six years because I didn't want to hand them over until we started a Christian school.
The third perspective is that of a Mum who then went back to school and work. Going back to work was exciting and I enjoyed having the opportunity to make a diffirence in the lives of others in the wider community.
I guess the result of having all these perspectives is that I can understand why women may make the decisions they do. The perspective you offer is just as important and relevant. I think the most important thing is that the children should come first and involved parenting from both parents is the ideal. From a Biblical perspective check out Proverbs 31.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

good stuff. and difficult and interesting questions.

i guess from my perspective it's easy because anna wants to stay at home and love and shepherd our future kids. but i agree, there is something terribly wrong with the picture of having a baby, taking off from work for a month, and then shipping off an infant to a daycare or pawning them off on relatives. i'm fine with the husband staying at home, but i think there has to be some sort of stability. if that means lifestyles and "quanitity" of living has to be changed and downsized, to me personally . . . it's a good trade.

p.s. i'd be fine being a stay at home dad until they started the diaper business.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous jacqui said...

i'd like to believe that husband and wife would be parteners in raising kids - whatever that looks like. i'm especially encouraged by the folks i know in vancouver who are missionaires with ywam and also raising children - although the onus usually lands on the wife to do the staying home with the kids, which is ok.
i often wonder what a real woman is supposed to be like - i think we're all healing from some of the hurts inflicted on our culture by 'womens lib' (which really wasn't liberating for anyone because it increased a gender competition complex that is unhealthy anyway). men and women are meant to be different and when the lines get blurred it's a real mess isn't it?

3:23 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

Solid comments. Thank you for your well thought out responses.

I plan to expound on this entry in the coming weeks. Your input and experience helps me to process through my thoughts.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Ella said...

I'll draw your attention to Star Wars: Princess Leia is considered to be a snappy, smart, diplomatic woman who never gives a rest. She's got 3 kids, 2 wookiees, a Jedi-Master brother and a smuggler husband. After finishing off her job in the 6th movie, she goes on to continue diplomatic missions and she trains under her brother to be a Jedi. In one of the Expanded Universe comics, Luke ends up to turn to the Dark Side, temporarily. She resists. That is said to have happened many many times later on.
While I understand that this moves the story along, it's hard to believe that she'd be such a "pillar of light", as it's said, for so long. It's over-done. Too ambitious for her, I think.

I understand what you're saying. Men are being pushed under the carpet quickly. What was originally intended by giving women "freedom" was to give a female more choice. It was not intended to replace men. People, I think, lose sight of that and make women powerhouses. This may lead to something not-too-good.

And I'm sad to say that many women tend to be hypocrites. "I'll be a better spender and I'll run this company with help from my family", is what many say, and then they go and buy a few pounds of make-up (I can't stand make-up, and I'm a female!). On their way "up the ladder", they get so wrapped up in competing with someone who's also aiming for the top that they forget the goals and the people they left behind at the bottom rungs.

When I get married, I hope my husband and I run the house equally. We don't split the jobs, as in "husband=work, wife=house". Dinner would be made by one of us and desert by the other. Or Ziti by me and Chicken by my husband. I know arguments and things can't be avoided, but I hope maybe we'll figure it out. Together.

But what I don't see is many popular female characters from games that aren't either half-dressed, damsels in distress, or wrapped up in makeup. I guess it kind of also mimics the outside world today. While the older women have goals to go for before "their heads turn grey", the younger ones look for the most clevage-revealing shirt and the club that holds the most rappers. It's getting kind of hard to figure out a woman's place in a world that does so much yet does so little at the same time.

6:53 AM  

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