Call me crazy, but I’m going to wade into a very dangerous topic: gender domination. Gender domination began after Adam and Eve first sinned. God then declared that man would rule over woman. We can assume that prior to the Fall, man and woman lived in total harmony. Because they were not tainted by pride, envy and selfishness, they lived together in ideal love. It was not a completely equal relationship, but that fact did not cause resentment, bitterness or anger. Adam’s role as head of the marriage was characterized by loving service, not by condescension or callous domination.
After the Fall, for thousands of years, the male generally dominated the female. Many husbands were kind and loving, but the paternal cultural climate allowed mean-spirited husbands to abuse their wives with virtual impunity.
I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, in what was still a male dominated culture. Women certainly had their say, but men generally had the final say. Most of the husbands seemed to treat their wives and children well, but occasionally I saw men abuse their wives. The only feminism I witnessed was portrayed on TV shows such Mary Tyler Moore, One Day at a Time and All in the Family. Things were changing, and, as usual, the media was leading the way.
I would argue that now we are living in a culture that is largely female dominated. The highest levels of power are still controlled by men; however, women seem to dominate in many other areas, particularly in the home and in the broader social culture. This was accomplished through a great deal of social engineering, principally by encouraging women to enter the workforce, by providing state welfare, and by changing public attitudes.
What’s interesting is that before the feminist revolution our culture was openly and unapologetically male dominated. However, today, most people still seem to think that females are at a disadvantage and that male domination is still the norm and the enemy to be conquered. If you don’t agree that our modern Western culture is generally biased in favour of women, look critically at the way men and women are usually portrayed by the media, listen to the way women talk about men in social situations, and examine the marriages and other male/female relationships of the people you know.
In any case, ask yourself: Why has feminism been championed by our liberal, secular culture? Why are men being encouraged to discover their feminine side, and why are women being encouraged to challenge men, be independent and even dominate their husbands and boyfriends? What effect will this have on our children? What effect will it have on the stability of marriages and families? And what effect will it have on Western nations in the long run?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that God wants males to selfishly dominate women. It sickens me when I see or hear of men abusing their wives. However, I believe that “equality” sounds nice in theory but doesn’t work in practice. Someone has to have the final word in any organization. I believe that the Bible and our Catholic tradition teach that the male should lead. However, that leadership should be characterized by love, not by selfish domination. God doesn’t favour “male chauvinism” or “female chauvinism.” He favours humility, faithfulness and a spirit of self-giving.
I believe that the devil’s strategy in this generation is to sow discord between the sexes in order to divide and conquer. I would challenge Catholic husbands and wives not to focus so much on “who’s the boss” but rather focus on putting the other first, in a spirit of love and humility. The ideal marriage is characterized by unity, godliness and love. The desire to dominate is rooted in sinful pride. Humility is the antidote.