The modernized world we live in would make assumptions that continual peace has led to elimination of gender related factors that degrade the image of women. Gender role stereotypes has been a preconceived idea whereby females and males are arbitrarily assigned characteristics and roles determined and limited by their gender. Gender role stereotypes has been an integral part of our history. There have been improvement in the last couple of decades but not in all aspects of socialization. Well, one may ask how Christianity ties to gender role stereotypes? Christianity for decades have witnessed inequalities within individual churches for a long time. In relation to gender role stereotypes, Christians have seen devastating results in differentiating between its practices, doctrines, teachings, values and that of applying the truths as equal partners in the ministry. Gender role stereotypes dates back to biblical times during the time of Adam and Eve when it was said that Eve was created out of the ribs of Adam. Many Christian evangelicals recall this account and in regards to that are asking why women in societies are seen as subordinate to their male counterparts? Disappreciation for women stems from looking down upon our own women in our homes and the women we worship with in churches. The women we believe not to be considered equal to man are seen as an object to satisfy the needs of man. In the modern world, there have been an uprising in eliminating unequal and oppressive beliefs in the Christian faith. Christianity has brought a negative impact on women in regards to gender role stereotypes. Women are really paying a hefty price for men’s assumptions of stereotypical roles. The effects of Christianity on gender role stereotypes includes immersing of culture within God’s ministry ,feminist activism and entanglement of women to Biblical doctrines.
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Nevertheless, before Christianity entered our homes and present life, there were cultural beliefs and values each person held respectfully within their own personal background. Christianity has made infiltration of culture into the Lord’s ministry become the values and practices we observe at home. Someone who is really a devoted Christian is likely to observe the values and practices of its religion if that is what is said in its holy doctrine. Because we all grew up with gender expectations in our respective personal backgrounds, we may not be fully aware of how gender role stereotypes impacts our reading of the scriptures. There are people whose cultures directs Christian men and women in wearing certain clothes and directing them in careers through their gender. “While scripture teaches the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood, nowhere in the Bible do we learn that all women are called to marriage, motherhood, home making, or pink clothing” (Haddad). People have taken upon themselves to outline roles within their homes to distinguish how important being a male shows much superiority over being a women even though Christianity does not support that claim. With outlined stereotypical roles, we allow infiltration of culture to represent our faith and cultivate it as being part of Christianity. Both males and females worship under Christianity but it is harder for women to have equal partner relationships. When society has long been ingrained with the gender role stereotypes, it becomes harder for women break down cultural barriers.
Infiltration of culture have made men use biblical doctrines to promote gender role stereotypes. In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, women did not have major active role in leadership and anything of sorts. Husbands are likely to quote their wives using doctrines from the Bible to let their wives do something. Infiltration of culture in God’s ministry divides both male and female in their call to minister including marriage and family. “The idea that Christian faith must be lived only in “pink or blue” terms may dampen not only God’s call to ministry but also the passion that often accompanies our spiritual gifts” (Haddad). Infiltration of culture into the Lord’s ministry has somehow made harder for women to have that believe that they can be viewed equally and have roles in church. Some women continue to adhere to the idea that they are meant to be mothers and take care of the home as they might have heard from church authorities. “Some thirteen years ago, I questioned the church’s teachings regarding women’s and men’s roles in society, the family, the church. Often, when senior positions became vacant in my church, a woman was the most qualified choice to fill the vacancy and each time the issue was discussed that the man was the right person for the job”(McCauley). From the quote above, It suggests that infiltration of culture in the Lord’s ministry has been the part of the gender inequality women are fighting for within society. Individuals sometimes say Christianity is a religion and we should abide its rules. We cannot not overlook it if it is not helping society improve. It is still not eliminating the gender role stereotypes that still perpetuates within our homes and outside boundaries of Christianity. We cannot allow infiltration of culture within church ministry. Disadvantaged women do not have effective roles and leadership in the Christian faith. It will continue to become an apparent idea that women having authority over men is inconceivable.
Moreover, as feminist activists are fighting for gender role stereotypes, it becomes impossible for individual churches within Christianity to change the long standing tradition in their churches. No one is saying that Christianity is bad because people are using it as a way to promote gender role stereotypes. “In many world religions, women are making inroads in religious professions but the trend is resisted by the Catholic Church that allows women to serve as nuns but bans ordination. When one considers that some religions face a crisis of falling priestly vocations, yet refuse to ordain women, it seems that the churches would literally rather die than accept women as equals of men” (Barber). Even though we all worship the same Lord, it seems impossible that for men in authority to incorporate women’s leadership within church activities. Recurring events in Christianity have led to the rise feminist movements. Without new changes in roles for women in Christian churches, feminist women are more likely to become atheist if they believe that Christianity is not changing its way of incorporating women into leadership roles. One of the questions most women likely ask themselves is that does Christianity oppose female rights? If you were to ask your bishop who is a male, his response would be no. “Whether it’s one of the world’s major faiths or an off-the-wall cult, Christianity means one thing and one thing only for those women unfortunate enough to get caught up in it: oppression. It’s the patriarchy made manifest, male-dominated, set up by men to protect and perpetuate their power”(Aune). Feminism is inspiring women to reject christianity and even if they do not affiliate with the Christian faith. Due to feminist movement on gender role stereotypes, women are now seeing marriage as not the end but rather as the choice to have children and unlikely to be catered by religious institutions. Gender role stereotypes has continued to be an issue in Christianity bringing about feminist movement. Feminist movement has given women the option to change and shape their course and decisions and are longer bound by patriarchy dominations.
Furthermore, certain parts of the New Testament shows entanglement of women to Biblical doctrines, outlining roles for women in the scriptures. The King James Version of the Holy Bible gives its opinion on the entangle of women to Biblical doctrines. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church”. (1 Corinthians 14: 34-36). This quoted verse from the Holy scriptures itself references on the fact that women are to be submissive to their husbands. This suggests that certain parts of the New Testament support the gender roles stereotypes in Christianity. Women observe these practices within their traditional family homes. It makes women question their belief and faith in Christianity and that of truthfulness in the Holy Bible including both Old and New Testament. Are women afraid of the repercussions if they do not observe the Holy doctrine’s practices and teachings? “There’s always been a segment of women who conform to traditional gender roles who feel threatened by gender non-conforming women”(Morgan). Women are likely to feel bad about themselves in disobeying the teachings of the scriptures. Christianity definitely have changed the ways people worship. It has driven most women away from churches when it is in support of gender roles stereotypes in churches. Many evangelical Christian women have seen that they are willing to fight against marginalization depicted against them in the holy scriptures. Entanglement of women in beliefs of gender roles have led to the traditional value practices which continue to hold complementary roles for women. The chain of authority of submitting to God have led to the gender role stereotypes. In this revolutionized age, there is still the traditional value practices of gender role stereotypes that have force some women to know their place as lesser or weak.
Entanglement of women to Biblical doctrine have made many women not realize the value of having their own dependency within the Christian faith. Afterall, observing these practices for a long time makes some women lose confidence in standing up for themselves and challenging parts of the Holy doctrines if it challenges teachings of oneself.
Although, leadership for women have been the reason why some women have remained in christianity. In these present times, many women do not feel the nudge to still be in patriarchy dominated leadership in churches. When you look at bible stories and so forth, women have not always played the lesser role in church worship. “The depiction of Deborah and Jael in Judges 4 and 5 stands out as the contrary to the general patriarchal and male-gendered power of the Bible. These chapters provide an alternate view on how women can become fearsome warriors and the stories undermine patriarchal assumptions”(Zucker). This quotes suggest that women can be leaders within their individual churches and fill any vacancies. Within various churches in the Christian community, many women have roles as pastors, prophets, bishops. Women leadership in Christian community helps bring different sort of ideas from their side. I have been to churches where women are made bishops, pastors and prophetess. Women are not conforming to stereotypical roles in christianity anymore because if the Lord had made Deborah be a leader over men and their husbands, it suggests the notion that women can take over church leadership roles. When Christ began his ministry, He had radical notions about women in which he talked with them freely and were even friends with Mary and Martha. One could tell that his ministry here on Earth was also to promote equality among men and women. There have been sayings that Paul might have written it while others say that someone might have written the said scriptures that support the gender roles stereotypes in the Bible. After Christ had left the Earth, men stirred back to their old ways just as the Israelite had always done when they repented before the Lord. Looking at the scriptures, the true followers of Christ would not have written the gender roles stereotypes within the scriptures. Even if men and women have different roles to play in Christianity, it does not support the notion that one gender would be viewed as weaker and being submissive to the other.
Overall, gender role stereotypes within our Christian faith has made many women view of the religion become an unacceptable one. Even as the world and society we live in change so should we also change. If we continue to believe in having stereotypical roles for women of faith, then many women will believe that christianity is a big promoter of gender stereotypical roles. Culture infiltrations, feminist activism and entanglement to biblical doctrines has shown that there are many potholes within christianity we have overlooked on women in relation to leadership roles. We cannot not always assume to worship the Lord as one gender in christianity and then come back home and act differently or have stereotypical roles within our family homes. As Jesus Christ came unto the Earth, he viewed of both genders as equally and did not view one as important over the other. After all, if we want to up lift christianity to its greatest height, we must include women within church activities especially in leadership and equality. The Christian faith of women allows more membership in the religion and we are continuing and breaking down social barriers within christianity.
- Aune, Kristin. “Why Feminists Are Less Religious | Kristin Aune.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 29 Mar. 2011, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/mar/29/why-feminists-less-religious-survey.
- Barber, Nigel. “Why Religion Opposes Female Rights.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 6 Oct. 2012, www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/female-clergy_b_1738954.html.
- Haddad, Mimi. “Christian Faith in Pink and Blue: Cultural Preference Or Biblical Absolutes?” Mutuality, vol. 15, no. 1, 2008, pp. 30, https://www-lib-byu-edu.erl.lib.byu.edu/cgi-bin/remoteauth.pl?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=32588865&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
In the article, Haddad talks about how Christians believe in the Bible outlines different roles for men and women. The author examines how we all have grown up in a culture with gender expectations, we may not be fully aware. She examines how gender stereotypes impact our reading of the scriptures. Haddad talks about the many Christians who are willing to allow perceived gender roles direct their calling, even determine their color of clothing. Haddad explains that history is filled with examples of Christians, both men and women, who fanned into flame with God’s gift rather than allow gender expectations of their culture. Let’s allow God’s voice in the scriptures to redeem our cultural expectations of women and men so that they can have their fullest impact in the world. Haddad argues ministry in Christianity is still rooted in cultural preference for gender expectations and I disagree with that statement because this modern generation we live in has changed and we are not obliged or bound to cultural gender expectations required of women.
McCauley, Xana. “Culture Isn’T Everything.” Mutuality, vol. 21, no. 2, 2014, pp. 12-14, https://www-lib-byu-edu.erl.lib.byu.edu/cgi-bin/remoteauth.pl?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=97018849&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
In the article, the McCauley talks about the church’s teachings regarding women’s and men’s roles in society, the family and the church. McCauley said in her article that when there is a vacancy in the church, a woman who can be the most qualified choice to fill the vacancy is rejected from taking over the job. She said that it became an apparent idea of women not having authority over men was inconceivable to the church leaders. She goes on to explain that within the church culturally, women are seen as being created to satisfy men and education is still regarded as unimportant within church principles. She talks about leaders incorporating culture within the church’s doctrine in which it should be different from God’s principle. McCauley argues that sometimes the church’s teachings go hand in hand with society expectations for gender roles of women and I agree because many churches do not want to preach a different thing at church and have a different saying in our society so it would be much better to incorporate both.
Morgan, Mary Y. “The Impact of Religion on Gender-Role Attitudes.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 3, 1987, pp. 301, https://www-lib-byu-edu.erl.lib.byu.edu/cgi-bin/remoteauth.pl?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=8841912&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
In the article, Morgan analyzed and evaluated the growing significance of religion in American life is a general problem between religious orientation and gender-related attitudes and behaviors. Morgan explained that women devotedness to religion(Christianity) still allow women to adhere to the traditional gender roles that still roams in our society. Since women are more likely to follow the principles in the doctrine about serving their husbands, women are not able to get themselves and restrain themselves from stereotypical assumptions and roles society seem to have in place for women. In relation to religion devotedness, there is extrafamilial roles, male/female stereotypes and familial roles women observe in relation to Christianity. Morgan argues that Christianity is really a big influence in gender related attitudes and I agree because most Christian women believe that going against the doctrines and principles of the Bible is going against God.
Zucker, David J., and Moshe Reiss. “Subverting Sexuality: Manly Women; Womanly Men in Judges 4–5.” Biblical Theology Bulletin, vol. 45, no. 1, 2015, pp. 32-37, https://www-lib-byu-edu.erl.lib.byu.edu/cgi bin/remoteauth.pl?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=100777300&site=ehost-live&scope=site, doi:10.1177/0146107914564823.
In the article, Zucker summarizes that women in the Bible do not play any major roles in leadership as much that they are most often portray to be as wives and mothers. She speaks of two women found in the Old testament of the Bible whose name are Deborah and Jael. She speaks highly of Deborah who is known to be a prophetess, a judge and is also believed to be the only woman in the Bible to have leadership apart from Queen Esther even though her leadership and role is derived from her husband, the King. She speaks of Deborah as a Manly woman to takes on the courageous heart of men to battle the King of Syria. Zucker goes on to summarize that women in the Bible are not always portrayed to be second to man but they are also portrayed to take over leadership roles such as Deborah. Female power is directed against patriarchal oppression. Zucker argues that women in the Bible also have leadership roles and I agree because characters such as Deborah in the Bible showed strong promise for women and they are valued as equal partners rather than being treated as something else.
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