Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where Womanhood and Careers Do Mesh

I spoke yesterday about the clash of the woman's role and the pursuit of career (as well as the pursuit of all things male and having to do with the male role). From what I said, you may think that I'm totally against women having jobs, but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm against, as the Bible is against, women shunning their womanhood to pursue a career in conflict with it.

If you notice something about the pop-feminist argument, that argues women must employ reproductive technologies in order to suppress their natural functions so that they can compete in the workplace and be considered of equal value with men, it specifically targets younger women who have the potential of becoming pregnant in a relationship were she to allow her biology to function naturally. In other words, pop-feminism didn't just want women to be represented in the workplace. That's a lie that they tell. Plenty of women were represented and can be represented in the workplace, who are older and can no longer have children, or are not married (or in their minds, in a relationship). Pop-feminism doesn't simply want representation. It genuinely sees, and has attempted to convince, women who take upon their biology as women as being weaker and as of lesser value than men. It thus demeans the traditional role of women and acts as if it is a lower or more unfulfilling path to take. In this latter campaign, it was largely successful, as women who used to seek out fulfillment in family to the exclusion of career, were made to believe that they were wasting their lives. And once that seed is planted, there's virtually no removing it from one's entire view of her life.

However, the Bible, obviously would argue that the woman is most fulfilled when she takes upon the role consistent with her biology, not one that would cause her to reject it. Does this mean that she cannot have a career? Not at all. Let me explain.

First and foremost, the Bible would have women see their primary career as motherhood, even when they are not married. Motherhood is who the woman is, so she must always be in training for it when younger and in practice of it when older. When her children are grown, she can adopt children (either literally or figuratively) to disciple and bring up in the Lord. She is always a mentor, a nurturer of younger women and children. Hence, she is always a mother, and this is where she will find her fulfillment.

So the first thing women need to do is to see motherhood as the ultimate career. The problem is that they don't really, even when they say they do. Our culture has placed too many seeds in their minds for them to fully believe that motherhood is the most honorable and fulfilling job for them to spend their time doing in the world. The reason why I say this, is that if they truly believed that it was the most fulfilling and best job in the world, then that would take priority over all else, and it often doesn't. It would be like my saying that God gave me a job to save the world from Nuclear destruction like Jack Bauer, and it is the most important and fulfilling career I can think of, but I also feel like something's missing if I don't go get a job filling out surveys for a ketchup company. There's a disconnect there. So I realize that women say that motherhood is the most fulfilling thing, but what they have been trained to believe in our culture is something quite the opposite.

But does that mean that they cannot have a career? Well, I think I would call any secondary ":career" they got a job, not a career, simply because I think the word "career" denotes a full-on commitment that places itself in conflict with the having and raising of children if it is not the having and raising of children itself. But can women have a secondary job? Sure.

I would break down the women who can have a career and not be in conflict with who they are according to Scripture into four categories: Women who are not married, women who are married but don't have children, women who no longer have kids in the house, and women who can do their job with their children. The latter is the best, as it uses the woman's secondary job as a vehicle to do her primary career, motherhood. In each of these cases, a job is not in conflict with who she is as a woman, and it does not place the family in peril within itself (although there are jobs where the woman is working with other men that may place it in peril from another angle, but that's a post for another day).

However, I would say that it is possible for women to be training themselves to be secondary career women and shunning their role of motherhood if they put too much time and energy while they are young into seeking a career. They might feel that they are giving up so much work that they have accomplished or schooling they have gained, or just simply get used to fulfilling themselves with that job. But to have the job or seek one in and of itself is not in conflict with who she is, as long as she falls into those categories. Of course, the modern practice of sending kids off to school, I think, is contrary to motherhood, as it just assigns the kids the career that takes them away from being mothered, and the mother is left with no motherhood to do during the day. Hence, she takes a job to fill that gap. If the kids are not home, obviously, there is no conflict with who she is by her getting a job, but the very sending off the kids to school, I would argue, is in conflict with it. Hence, we see that how we view schooling is also linked to how we view the career of motherhood and the role of the woman according to her God-given nature.

But let's look at what I think is the best model of motherhood presented in Scripture that incorporates a secondary job. In fact, I would say the type of motherhood that takes upon a secondary job is the best model of motherhood, period. I think the incorporation of a job that allows the woman to raise her children and mentor them while doing the job is the best model. That doesn't always mean she gets paid for the job. For many women, the job is homeschooling, and there is no pay for it. But for others, who either do both or one, they seek out jobs that allow their children to be with them. The job is not an escape from children because they've been brainwashed to think and speak about children as an insanity from which one must pursue every little moment away from them, but a vehicle through which she can spend time with her children and mentor them with as much time as she can muster.

In Proverbs 31:10-31, we have the model of the excellent woman (the word in Hebrew is "woman," which here can mean wife, but the meanings are not as divorced as they are in our culture--a real woman is a wife because she is on her way to expressing her womanhood through motherhood). Notice her commitment to her household first and foremost, and her pursuit of jobs that support her role in the household (doing good to her husband and raising her children--teaching has to do with a daily/continual instruction through both word and deed in the Israelite mindset, not just a teaching here and there).

A real woman, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 
The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. 
She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 
She looks for wool and flax, And works with her hands in delight. 
She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 
She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong. 
She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. 
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. 
She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 
She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. 
She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 
She makes linen garments and sells [them,] And supplies belts to the tradesmen. 
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. 
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 
She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband [also,] and he praises her, [saying:] 
"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all." 
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, [But] a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

This is a working woman. This is far from the helpless, lazy woman that is often painted by pop-feminists as the typical housewife in our culture. Look at all of the stuff this woman does. Look at all of the jobs she has. She is constantly making and selling things. She is involved in real estate transactions. She is a working woman, but all of it is in support of the household both spiritually and financially, not just financially in contrast to the spiritual and daily mentoring of her children, who rise up and bless her, having been taught by the words of wisdom on her lips and the daily example to them while she is working. Notice, "she looks well to the ways of her household." The word here for "looks well" is tsapha, which means "to watch over something closely," which has the connotation in this passage to mean that she is intimately involved and informed of everything going on in her household. In other words, this passage is not in conflict with Titus 2:3-5 that teaches that what is good is a woman loving her children in relationship and being a worker at home. This doesn't mean she can't have a secondary job. It just means that her secondary job should feed into her primary one, rather than detract from it. If it detracts from it, then what needs to go is that secondary job. If they can exist in harmony, in terms of the woman not having to shun her womanhood, either by having to suppress her biology in terms of reproduction or her role that follows from it, then there is no conflict.

Hence, pop-feminism set its sights on women who are not of these categories, precisely, because it had a disdain for true feminism, a hatred of genuine biblical feminism that expressed womanhood in all of its glory. In short, pop-feminism wasn't just trying to represent women in the workplace. It hates women, and wants a womanless world, precisely, because it is an expression of false humanity, the line of Cain, those who shun the image of God and the role of filling up the earth with humans (which is why pop-feminists were also the biggest supporters of the overpopulation myth that was, and is, constantly circulated and recycled time and again).

So the primary career of the woman is motherhood, but there is no conflict with having a secondary job, or jobs, as long as they help her raise her children and "look well to the ways of her household" above all else. In fact, if they help her do that, according to Proverbs 31, secondary jobs may be the way to go to fulfilling the role of motherhood. But if they are taken because of the lies of pop-feminism, they will be taken for the wrong reasons, and looking to diminish womanhood and to exalt manhood, and this is the gnosticism that Christianity, as the beacon of true humanity (i.e., true manhood and womanhood), must fight forever and always.

1 comment:

  1. God has been blessed us enough so that I can stay home with Elijah full-time while Sam finishes seminary and works 2 part-time jobs. And while it's hard on us financially (and on Sam time-wise!), taking care of my son has been so rewarding. I can't imagine anyone else doing that for me just so we can be a 2-income household. But it's interesting because I actually feel a less effective worker of the home now than when I was working full-time, maybe because I'm not as "busy"? In any case, I need to be very careful not to become lazy.