The Atlantic has a new piece up titled The Scourge of the Female Chore Burden:
All over the world, women are doing work they’re not getting paid for. In rich countries, it might be folding the laundry or staying home to take care of a sick child. In developing countries, unpaid labor tends to be more physically arduous, like hauling water and chopping wood. Wherever you are, it’s considered women’s work.
This is standard fare, and part of the constant bombardment women receive encouraging them to be discontent. It is also part of a very long tradition, going back to the Serpent and Eve in the garden of Eden. This particular piece is noteworthy however because the stand in for the Serpent is billionaire Melinda Gates complaining about the patriarchal oppression of being married to Bill Gates:
For those who think it can’t be done, Gates offers an example from her personal life. Though Bill and the couples’ children would always help with after-dinner cleanup, she nevertheless was always the last person left in the kitchen, “doing those last few little things.”
Finally, she issued an edict: No one leaves the kitchen until mom does.
The Atlantic piece whispers that if only men worked more around the house and slept less, women would finally be content. This is a lie even the Serpent would be proud of.
Gates is a feminist; what about complementarians?
But the whispering doesn’t stop when women enter the modern church. Complementarian pastor Matt Chandler explains in his sermon Women’s Hurdles that feminist resentment isn’t a hurdle for women; it is a sign that men are oppressing them. If men work hard enough, do enough of the housework, and are loving enough, the temptation of feminist rebellion and resentment will not occur (emphasis mine):
Where this happens, where men exercise biblical headship, where they are sacrificially loving, they are creating environments that honor and uplift the name of Jesus Christ, they’re establishing a place where the Word of God is seen and honored, and we understand God as he has revealed himself, and where they provide for, where that happens, and where women come underneath that, the idea of male headship might be attacked as a philosophy, but if they came into our homes, our wives would not want to be freed from anything.
Really, men, here is a great way to gauge how you’re serving, loving, and practicing your headship. If the most secularized feminist in the world showed up in your home and began to kind of coach your wife toward freedom and liberation from your tyranny, our wives should be so well cared for, so nourished, so sowed into and loved, they would say, “What you’re describing is actually tyranny. I love where I am. I am honored. I am encouraged. My man sacrifices so that I might grow in my gifts. He will oftentimes lay down his own desires in order to serve me more. My husband goes to bed tired at night. He pours into our children. He encourages me. All that comes out of his mouth, sans a couple of little times here and there, is him building me up in love.”
Chandler immediately follows by telling men they need to repent if their wife feels the temptation of feminist rebellion.
Men, here is a good opportunity. If you’re like, “Well, gosh, I don’t think she would say that at all,” then, men, I think on the way home, you should probably repent and confess before the Lord to your wife. Quit asking me about you, though. We’ve already covered you. We’re here to talk about the ladies.
In the last “Quit asking me about you” bit, Chandler is making light of the fact that this is supposed to be a sermon about women’s temptation to sin. Even the Serpent would high five Chandler for the brilliant tactic of setting the couple up for a fight on the drive home from church. I don’t see how this could have been accomplished any better.
Leaving aside what this does to the husbands in the congregation, marriage as an institution, and the children who will grow up in a home filled with strife because of what Chandler is teaching, consider how cruel this is to the wives themselves. All of the constant whispering to women (from all angles) is a source of great torment. No doubt some of the women watching the sermon have figured out how to fight this temptation. For such a woman, here is her pastor explaining that her efforts to combat this sin aren’t real; her husband can take the credit for her ability to overcome this temptation. It is even worse for a woman who struggles more with this temptation, as her pastor is telling her that her temptation to feel resentment has been her husband’s fault all along!
Aside from the Serpent and Pastor Chandler, who profits from this message?