On being Queen

I don’t have much real-world experience of a Queen.

In London I went on the requisite tour to see the Queen’s precious jewels which were pretty impressive after standing in line for about an hour. And once, while in Edinburgh, Scotland, I saw a dignitary of some sort arrive at the Queen’s summer palace—Holyrood—and she may or may not have quickly emerged to offer her welcome in much fanfare. There were hoards of people and it was pretty hard to see. At an earlier visit to Edinburgh, since she wasn’t staying in her castle at the time, I was able to take a tour. So, I guess you can say I’ve been in the Queen’s home, although we didn’t have tea together.

My hunch is most Americans have little knowledge of actual Queens since living in a representative democracy pretty much has meant our closest idea of monarchy is that of Great Britain’s.

So I’m always baffled when I see language of monarchy emerge so strongly either in reference to the divine, as in God or Jesus (I’m never sure which one) is King and God’s Kingdom is something here and later, not seen but clearly present (I’m pretty vague on this one, too, I guess).

In the midst of my confusion you can imagine, to my great relief, how helpful I am finding Queen of the Home by Jennifer McBride. A collection of essays by Christian patriarchy proponents of one kind or another, the book teems with information about how to embrace one’s God-given role of Queen.

From what I can tell, this Queen is to create a peaceful and harmonious home, preferably decorated—I imagine—with several Thomas Kinkade paintings and perhaps some Precious Moments figurines. The Queen while inwardly beautiful because of her diligent prayer life, including family devotions where her husband reads the NIV Study Bible each morning over freshly scrambled eggs and toast, is also cognizant that she is a reflection of her husband who is a reflection of God and therefore she dresses with great care and keeps her face and hair fresh.

Despite rearing multiple children at home—and home-schooling too—the Queen keeps a canister full of home-made cookies on the counter and prepares a delicious meal pleasing to her husband each evening. With a smile because she is praying for him she irons his button-down shirts and khaki pants. Doing his laundry is her opportunity to bless him with thoughtfulness, to demonstrate she respects his role as man of the house.

The Queen does all of this, of course, because God designed the world to function this way and because feminism is bad, very, very, bad. Just like Eve.

As I’m working to understand my role as Queen of the Home, I’m feeling, though, a little like this idea might be based on someone’s fairy-tale. I mean, I hardly imagine this life of being beautiful while cooking, cleaning, decorating, and caring for children if I had any, doesn’t reflect very closely the lived reality of say, Queen Elizabeth who probably has never cooked or cleaned or done anything so mundane as to pick up the laundry, though her life presumably has its own challenges.

It seems instead this rather make-believe portrayal of an idyllic existence within the home is a device to convince women they should be glad for an existence outside of the nasty and vile world that is secular society, leaving that to men since they are stronger and less likely to be tempted by its wiles.

I think most feminists are perfectly happy to support women who want to stay home, raise a family, bake cookies, even. What feminists don’t want, however, is for someone else to tell them they must stay home; they must believe God wants them to embrace their inner Queen.

But as a Christian feminist, may I also suggest one other tiny concern I have about Queen of the Home and all other Christian Patriarchy propaganda?

Idolatry. Making the home or husband, the quiver full of children, or the ever-popular idea of fulfilling roles, the primary expression of one’s faith is idolatry.

But then, again, isn’t that what Christian Patriarchy is about? Creating their kingdom.