I've never met writer Heather Koerner, but our similar backgrounds make me think we would have a lot in common. I really appreciated her article this week in Boundless, "Weaker Partner." She introduces her background as a competitive little girl, and then writes about how she came to have a better understanding of biblical femininity through studying God's Word, the loving leadership of her husband, and, oddly enough, a secular article about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim woman who grew up in Mogadishu, Somalia, and now lives in the States. I recommend Heather's whole article, but here's the excerpt that really caught my attention:
"When I first came to a Western country, I was astonished to find men who said, 'Ladies first,'" [Ali said]. "I was amazed because I was born and raised in a culture that put me last because I was born a girl."
"A culture that holds the door open to her women is not equal to one that confines them behind walls and veils," Ali continued. "A culture that encourages dating between young men and young women is not equal to a culture that flogs or stones a girl for falling in love. A culture where monogamy is an aspiration is not equal to a culture where a man can lawfully have four wives at once."
Unfortunately, not all women are as appreciative of an opened door as Ali. Some women, and men, link the impulse to open a door for a woman with the impulse to repress and abuse her. But Ali's experience has taught her the exact opposite, and I think she is right: There is a difference between a culture where women are honored and a culture where women are chattel.
But, for me, it goes further than just "culture." Many modern day feminists have tried to argue that they offer me honor while Christianity offers me chattel. But they've got it backwards. I only have to look around to see it. The hook-up culture, the abortion culture, the depiction of women in media — they're all proof. It wouldn't take me 10 seconds flipping the television to see that — though Ali is gracious enough to see the positives in our culture — there is plenty of chattel-like behavior towards women.
As a seventh-grade girl, I was incensed that someone would treat me differently because I was a female. Now, though, I take comfort in the fact that God commands my Christian brothers to treat me differently. God's balance, of course, is perfect. He commands that I be respected, but also that I respect. He commands that I be honored, but also that I honor. He commands that I submit to authority, but also commands that authority to submit to Him.
Those last two sentences are priceless truth. You can read the full article on Boundless.org.