Tuesday, May 16, 2006

About the Sexual Revolution.......

The sexual revolution happened before I was born. All I know of it was what I saw on TV - women marching, burning their bras and equality being demanded for all women. Equal pay, equal rights and the equal ability to sleep around.

Or, at least, that's how it was portrayed.

I think the sexual revolution and the women's equality movement were beneficial to me in many ways. I appreciate the fact that I am paid as much as my male counterparts. I appreciate the fact that my future daughters can play any sport they want. And I appreciate all the minority government contracts that were set aside for women. (Not to mention my previously obtained rights to vote and to own property.)

But I also think the sexual revolution brought great losses to women.

One of the issues I have with this 'revolution' is the idea that women are now 'equal' in their ability to sleep around. Women of my generation and of the generation preceeding me were told we were free to sleep with whom we wanted. Birth control became widely available and sex was no longer tied to the idea of procreation. Now, we could just have sex for fun. We could be just as sexually adventurous as man, we were told. Live a little. Date. Sleep around. Enjoy yourself. It's your Right.

But they never told us the other side of the coin. That with sexual promiscuity comes a higher level of responsibility. That getting pregnant no longer meant a man would ask you to marry him. Or even stick around. As a matter of fact, abortions were as widely available as birth control, so that was now one of the choices we had to make for ourselves.

They never told us that since sex was no longer tied to procreation, not only would the man not necessarily stick around, but may never even acknowledge his child. Nor would there be anyone to pressure this young (or old) man into being responsible. Women were now solely responsible for themselves and, in many cases, responsible for the welfare and development of their children.

And they never told us that men and women process sex so very differently. That the hormonal and biological interactions that occur during sex cause men to become distant and women to become clingy. The Bible even says that sex is the only sin you do to your own body - and that you are 'joined' with every person you have sex with. The Bible meant that you are joined 'spiritually' - so you connect with every single person you have sex with. And, unless you go through a long period of cleansing and renewal, you will always carry those people around with you in your spirit. For the rest of our lives.

They never told us that.

The other problem I have with the sexual revolution is that I don't think it prepared women to deal with the reality of being 'equal' to men. Yes, we could join the work force, and no longer had to stay home to raise the kids, but we also lost quite a bit. Because we said that a woman has no set place, we now don't seem to know who we are or where we belong. Most women (myself included) love going to work every day and making a living, but when it comes to the idea of marriage and the 'equal' roles that I am told I should want - I am left at a loss. So now I don't have to cook, clean or be a full-time mom. But, what if I want to do those things? Does that make me any less a 'liberated' woman? (I am often struck not by how many women work these days, but how many women still choose to stay home and be full-time moms. College-educated, smart, work-oriented women. And studies show that women still do the majority of the household and child-raising duties. So, what did we really gain? A new expectation that not only would we work full-time, but that we would do the majority of the household chores and still do most of the child-rearing.)

The Bible admonishes me to be submissive and humble as a wife. To respect my husband and to serve him as I serve the Lord. Society tells me to be equal to my husband (or even to be dominant in the relationship) and to demand my 'rights'. Who's right?

I can tell you this for sure - I do want my rights in my future marriage. I want my 'right' to have a husband who loves me as much as he loves himself. I want my 'right' to have my husband minister to me spiritually and emotionally. And I want my 'right' to have a husband who will do what he needs to do to support our combined household (spiritually, financially, etc.). And I want my 'right' to a husband who feels just as responsible for our children, our spiritual life and our marriage.

I'm just not sure where all that fits in with the 'sexual revolution.'

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Refreshment in Refuge said...

Sonya, I love your openness about this subject. I would like to post portions of this on my forums site at Studylight.org in the forums at STudylightforums.org, if you'll allow me. I think this goes along with the discussion in Wives Submit to Your Husbands thread. You are so correct! The feminists have drawn a line in the sand and dares anyone to cross that line. When we cross it, we're considered the offal of society in their minds.

ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

I really enjoy the thoughtful consideration you placed in crafting these concerns. I think you make some salient points that are not myopic or polarizing. I appreciate that in an essayist.

I have always considered myself both fully a feminist, and a Christian.

I don't think feminism is always evil, or Christianity is always oppressive. I believe liberation from oppression is rooted in Christ.

Like you I fundamentally agree that women have both benefited and lost in the women's rights movement.

The concept of being somebody's property is a familiar one to both women and Blacks, but I don't think that it a Christian concept. The New Testament speaks of there being equality in Christ, with Christ as the uniting factor. We belong to God first. We submit to human authority only because God permits it, (think of Jesus telling Pilate that the only reason he was in authority was because God permitted it) but the bible details that there is this concept of divine justice for those in authority and those not in authority that will someday be reconciled.

Most of the New Testament laws about submission are reciprocal; however they are often quoted independent of each other. We quote "Wives submit to your husbands" and forget that the bible said "Husbands love your wives". If you look at those two admonishments, they were clearly meant to go together for a reason. What does the perfect relationship require? (Jesus and the Church in the future tense here represent the perfect relationship.) It requires love. It requires obedience. You cannot have love without obedience, or obedience without love. Submission without love is manipulation.

There is an equality there. As God's children we obey, but he loves us. If either part of that trust is broken, the relationship is broken. I think often we forget that, and that is why I struggle with submission, because the way we teach it in church is always long on submission and short on love.

God permits inequality to exist, in part because we live in a fallen world, but that doesn't mean He condones it. It means it is permitted. I don't think that after the second coming, when Jesus said we will not be married but be like angels in Heaven that God will still require the submission of one human to another; we will all submit to God, and thus, the requirement will be greater: we will be required to love one another.

Submission and love are not the same thing. Love requires submission, but submission does not require love, it requires discipline and obedience.

What does that have to do wit the sexual revolution?

Simple. We fought for equality in the world, but not equality in Christ. Equality in Christ requires both women and men to submit to God. Equality in the world requires men and women to have parallel experiences.

So while it is good for a woman not be considered property, and to be able to earn wage for herself if she chooses to support a family, it is not good for women to emulate men who sleep around, destroying women and families with their lusts.

Let's face it, not everything men do is something women should imitate. It has little to do with equality, and more to do with morality. Equality in the world means women can be self destructive as a man, but I would disagree that that is progress. It is perpetuation.

I say this as both a feminist and a Christian, because I think feminism has gotten a bum rap, (and deservedly in some cases) and Christianity has been labeled as oppressive, which I also believe is false. I think that true equality is the first and second commandment both centered on love.

The real reason we have male oppression, or any oppression for that matter is because we lack love, for God and ourselves. It would be untruthful to deny that.

Feminist scholarship and movements in my opinion cannot fix that. Only Christ can.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ms. Mimi 100%.... we have a long way to go before society fully realizes that we are all human beings, therefore we are all equal to one another. We do not need a "revolution" to make this so. We create so much division, diversion and erosion in this world, that we are slowly slipping away from our true purpose -- to represent God in all that we do. If we truly represented God, then there would be no need to equate ourselves to one another.

Tom said...

It seems it is everywhere. Its just not freedom or equality for women, its getting it for any and everyone these days. There is no right or wrong it is what makes you feel good. It comes to what ever you want it's yours.

That may be great and all but with so much freedom comes so much responsabilities we tend to forget. Then the trouble sets in, and also the value goes down. If everyone has sex then it becomes like the dollar, the more there are, the less its worth.

Not only women but men too. The more we get the less we want God these days. The power of self is what it is becoming.

Anonymous said...

Gina -
Absolutely! Whatever you'd like to do with it is fine with me. Just let me know the topic so I can follow the thread.

Ms. Mimi -
I love your take on equality in the Bible. I'm still seeking that 'perfect' love to take with me into my marriage. And I agree with you that we should not choose to emulate men in some of less helpful habits.

Anonymous -
Representing God is definitely our highest purpose and I hope that one day we will truly believe there is no male, nor female, Jew nor Gentile in God.

Tom -
Welcome to this blog! I've been visiting your blog, and reading your story and it's truly interesting. And, you're right, with freedom comes responsibility. I just hope we all learn to use it a bit better (our freedom, that is).