Letter to the Editor: Gender Roles and Religion

1 Corinthians 3:19: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”

When I was growing up, everyone seemed clear on what it meant to be a woman. I could have been much more than the wife I am today. I had a 3.8 GPA in a private college—pursuing Music Theory and English Literature degrees -– and was asked to join several Ivy League universities. My professors were quick to encourage my writing and studies. I was known for working hard, doing things unconventionally and exhausting all venues of learning my crafts as best I could. Promiscuity was encouraged, and had I been inclined, I could have indulged my sexual desires freely and with much enjoyment. I had all the opportunity to be the empowered woman that society told me I should be.

But I didn’t want to be that woman. Sure, being recognized was appealing, but I never once desired the life of a career woman. I didn’t care about being a smart student, having a flashy career or being equal to men. I wanted to prepare myself for marriage, raising a family and running a household. I wanted to be modest and submissive. As a Christian, I believe that this is the highest calling of any woman, and I hungered to live that life; however, when other people—especially women—saw how little value I placed in a flashy job and free lifestyle, they despised me. They mocked me to my face, telling me I was pathetic for vowing to live for my husband—to obey him, to be faithful and to submit to him.

When I was clear in my belief that all Christian women should do likewise, even those stifled by the high expectations of the Feminist Movement were quick to say that I only believed what I did because I was sheltered, because I didn’t understand how women were used, because I wasn’t smart enough to do anything else or because I didn’t have any pride. Some, because I dealt with chronic illness, claimed that my physical weakness was a good “excuse” to stay home. Although it made accepting my decision to not pursue a career easier for them, it made my personal sacrifice worthless.

I sometimes wonder: Do people, even Christians, consider what I do a noble thing? Has having a career become such a necessity that attaching importance to anything other than that makes a person idiotic?

I am a housewife. I believe this to be the true calling of all women, with few exceptions. The Feminist Movement actually makes me sick. I have yet to agree with any point it makes. “Well, women should have equal pay to men.” Sure. But they really shouldn’t be working at all. “If a woman is a single mom, she has to work to provide for her children!” Actually, it is the church’s responsibility to provide for her needs. “Women get raped!” Yes. I was molested as a child… by a man who was raped himself, which shows this isn’t a gender issue.

“Women should be able to vote and have their opinions heard.” If they are living at home, the father is the voice and in marriage, the husband should be concerned with the opinions of his wife. “Women need to own their own property after they’re married.” Not really. By the commandment of Christianity, everything in a home belongs to both the husband and the wife. As one flesh, they treat everything in their home as belonging to one being. “What about the pro-choice movement? Women have a right to their bodies.” No more than a man has a right to rape a woman.

All of these points are wrapped up in my life as a Christian woman. I do not expect non-Christian women to follow my example, but I believe scripture is clear on what Christian women should be doing with their lives. It isn’t easy to fight for my beliefs in a world so ready to say I’m an idiot, but I knew it wouldn’t be when I decided to live for Christ. I know that my husband and the children I will one day have will be the better because of how I live now. I’m not willing to sacrifice their happiness simply to indulge my own fantasies.

 

–Sarah Wollin

  Wife of Benny Wollin ‘14

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