What’s wrong with Equality?
The growing affirmation of the acceptance of equality between men and women makes this answer seem simple: Nothing.
Nothing is wrong with equality. Men and Women are equal. This should be simple.
However, the truth is, the answer to this question is a bit more complex.
I’m going to focus on gender roles in the context of religion. I firmly believe the church I grew up in, for the most part, was progressive and open-minded, not firmly sticking to the mindset that men should lead and women should submit. I think I was lucky in this case.
However, that isn’t to say there aren’t moments I look back on and wonder what was going on and how did I manage to not adopt the “traditional marriage” way of thinking. There are plenty of memories I consider that make me wonder what could have happened had I not seen the difference between acceptance and choice.
Growing up, my parents weren’t reliant on traditional gender roles in the home. They were equals. I think seeing their relationship helped me to gain perspective on the idea of what is sometimes “expected” regarding gender roles. It is my belief that there should be a conscious level of choice in taking on these roles.
I still remember as a young child, attending a kids program run through the church, and being told I couldn’t play outside with the boys as us girls were being taught inside…we were almost always inside. There was a layer of separation that couldn’t be reasoned with—and it took me a long time to figure out why. I remember when sermons revolving around traditional gender roles took place, and some of the teachings became a little sexist in terms of a woman’s place and role. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. I come from a church background in which traditional gender roles weren’t generally questioned. Ideas like, men and women are biologically different, and that women are meant to be pursued and the man should be the pursuer, are commonplace. While there was a more open-minded approach, we were still being taught that this is just how things are supposed to be. Men lead and women submit. As I grew older, I began to realize the implications behind what was being said.
I began to realize I didn’t agree with everything that I was being taught.
I’m a person who strives to see the good in all things, and I truly believe the church has gotten better in terms of women’s roles, but there is still so much progress to be made.
I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with traditional gender roles. Traditional gender roles within the church, or within any context, aren’t the issue. I respect and am open to understanding all points of view. If a woman (or man) would like to conform to traditional gender roles, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Really, I don’t.
However, this argument isn’t about whether or not traditional gender roles are “okay.” It’s about defining the difference between a relationship with God in contrast to religion. Taking on traditional gender roles should be a decision made between a couple before entering into the relationship. If there wasn’t a conscious decision made—if this is just “how things are,” that’s when I see a problem.
The difference is the choice. The woman is choosing to have the man lead and both the man and the woman are making this choice together with open communication.
There is acknowledgement that both are equal and both are in control, but they have chosen together that they would like to abide by traditional roles, whether to raise a family, financial reasons, or whatever the reasoning behind. It’s a choice—not an expectation. Not a given, not a requirement. When the choice is taken away—that’s oppression.
The church often correlates that there is no choice. That women are inferior to men. That women must submit to men. After all, this is just how things are. Right?
This argument is based on evidence in the Bible.
I believe the Bible is true, but I don’t take everything in it verbatim. I’m not convinced that I should believe a book written through a patriarchal lens, based on a religion known to be oppressive toward women, when it says that men should lead and women should submit. Why not the other way around? Why can’t there be equality between both genders?
God loves us all equally. Why can’t we treat each other with the same love?
I’ve heard the argument that it’s not about domination. Men and women are just biologically different. Apparently these biological differences make women inferior to men. We should accept that this is how things are and how God intended them to be.
Well, here’s the thing: I’m not going to accept that. And if wanting equality between men and women makes me a sinner, then that’s not a God I want to serve. The way I see it, the basis of this argument isn’t about having a relationship with God—it’s about following the rules of religion.
I don’t want to follow a religion. I want to follow God.
And that’s the difference.
Religion can break people—God saves.
Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.