|From the Huffington Post: an ad showing a better time,
when men and women knew their roles!
Have I told you all about our dishwasher, the Mock family contested space of domesticity?
My husband is very particular about how the dishwasher needs to be loaded. I am not, figuring as long as a dish goes inside the machine, it will somehow get clean. Plus, I’m a little lazy: and in fifteen plus years of marriage, I’ve discovered that because Ron is so particular about dishes, all I need to do is throw something into the upper rack any which way, and Ron will rearrange things so that the dishwasher works perfectly.
After all, why spend a whole lot of time putting dishes in just so, when Ron is going to rearrange them anyway?
Turns out, getting clean dishes out of the washer is also a problem. For some reason, I hate that chore more than any other in the household, probably dating back to my childhood, when my mom used to leave me notes demanding that I “Emp. the D.W.” So that’s also become Ron’s job, mostly by default, because I would rather scrub toilets than put plates in the cupboards.
I think God designed me that way.
But Ron, helping me with domestic chores? That’s a different story, at least if we follow the argument posited by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in this month’s gender blog. In an article titled “The End of Traditional Masculinity?” the writer wrings his hands about those men—now about 3.4 percent of all Americans—who become stay-at-home dads, and who have submitted (gasp!) to the lies presented them by culture: that men can take care of children, be homemakers, and allow their wives to work outside the home, supporting the family.
Indeed, because the Bible is “objectively and authoritatively stable,” we can read that it absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt tells men they should be men. And the Bible defines, in absolute terms, what a man should be: not like that Jesus fellow, of course, who said something about the first being last, and blessed are the meek, and that we should all be as children, but like all those other manly guys in the Bible, who hunted, and killed folks, and served as clear outside-the-home leaders.
The Bible apparently says little about whether a man should load or unload the dishwasher, but plenty about what a man’s role in the household should be: provider, protector, a brave and valorous soul who sacrifices for the family. (I guess I mess with godly design, then, every time I sacrifice and let my boys eat the last cookies I’d been eyeing, or give up an afternoon nap to take my son to soccer practice.)
What the Bible does say, too, is that men are NOT to be homemakers. Maybe you were absent the week your Sunday school teacher talked about that verse, and everyone in class colored cutouts of men doing manly things, but it’s right there, in that objectively authoritative passage.
Lest you worry that perhaps culture is screwing with our understanding of scripture, and that we are reading the Bible through some kind of subjective lens, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood lets us know that even the statistics—that is, about 3.4 percent of men choosing to be stay-at-home dads—say more about our sour economy (curse you, Obama!) than anything about changing norms, and that many of these men really do want to be providers, but can’t because of unemployment or disability. So egads! They have to take on the unnatural role of caring for their own children. (And if God wanted dads to care for their own children, then King Solomon wouldn’t have hired so many women folk to do it for him!)
Those families who make the choice to have a stay-at-home dad? Well, okay, that’s their choice, the Council says, but tsk tsk: they clearly aren’t following God’s plan, because they have not “carefully pondered the Scripture offered here” and “God has much to say about the home.”
So start wearing some pants! Quit letting those cultural influences tell you what it means to be a man. And take heart: according to The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, even if more men decide to be stay-at-home dads, “men will still be men,” and “even stay-at-home dads will likely still pursue their God-given desire to take the reins.”
Which, to be honest, complicates life in the Mock family. Because, you see, if I am designed as woman to take over the household, and Ron is designed to be leader, protector, provider, and all-around outside-the-home super man, what does that mean for our dishwasher? Doesn’t he already take the reins when reloading the dishes I’ve thrown in the top shelf, letting me know that his say about such things are final? But the dishwasher is a woman’s tool, so . . .
I’m definitely confused, which is commonly the case when I read stuff asserting that there is only one way for women to be, and one way for men, and God forbid we take on roles that reflect our gifts and interests. Thank goodness the Council article tells us once we accept our gender roles, we can “show the character of Christ.” Because more than anyone I know, Christ wants us to stay in our boxes, rather than feeling free enough to express all God has meant us to be.