I thought long and hard about writing this post. I don’t like linking to websites that promote harmful ideologies because I inadvertently raise their viewcount and reinforce their feelings of legitimacy. But sometimes, sometimes I find something that’s so egregiously harsh I feel like I am compelled to respond. This is one of those times.
Those of you who follow my blog frequently (hi! thank you!) probably picked up on the fact that I was homeschooled. You might have even noticed that I have a fundamentalist background – the extreme kind of Christianity that advocated women not wearing pants or cutting their hair. Growing up in that kind of atmosphere makes for a … skewed worldview.
I like to think that I’ve grown as a person and in my faith since then. Despite all of that bad history, I am still a person of faith. I’m happy to talk about that if you’re interested, but I’m not going to talk about it if you’re not. And most people are not interested. Why? Because of blogs like this one.
I stumbled across this blog titled Biblical Gender Roles in my WordPress feed, and I read the post advocating not teaching our homeschool daughters anything more than they need to marry, breed, and homeschool. Feminine independence is cited as the source of the world’s ills, from declining birth rates in the West to the decay of the institution of marriage. This author quoted specific scriptures to back up his points.
I know those scriptures. They were used as weapons against me as a teen. I have whole sections of counter-quotes memorized as self-defense. I don’t intend to pull those out, because arguing minutia against someone so certain will only end in nastiness. I do want to point out that the biblical passage used by the author to justify his argument refers to specific young widows sponging off of that specific church instead of pulling their own weight. So the real meaning of the passage reads more as get your butt off welfare and go do some work. That’s some tough love right there. It’s not a directive towards all young women – just these specific troublemakers.
No, instead of engaging in an argument, I would like to introduce you to Lydia. Especially for you secular homeschoolers that we hang out with – this is a biblical figure that you want to bookmark and use in response. (Yes, I know you don’t believe the biblical account is factual or real. Know your enemy and all that, right?)
Lydia was a women. According to the biblical account, she lived during the Roman empire era in a Macedonian colony named Thyatira. She is presented as a successful business woman: a dyer, who produced the famous Tyrian purple and scarlet fabrics that only the nobility wore. Given the expense of these dyes, she was obviously a wealthy woman as well.
For all of that business acumen, Lydia was a civic-minded individual who was also spiritual. She became involved with the early Christian church, and offered support, lodging, and money – even caring for Christian prisoners released from jails. Not a task for the squeamish, given the state of Roman prisons.
Lydia was successful. She was compassionate. She didn’t sit down and wait for a man to solve her problems. She didn’t quit her business after converting to follow the (erroneous) marry and breed directive. No, she remained a prosperous businesswoman, managing the business and caring for those who needed her help. She was independent, resourceful, and an expert at her job.
We are raising the Princess to be like Lydia: self sufficient, independent, and educated. We are raising our sons to appreciate women like Lydia instead of underestimating them or ignoring them. Unlike the other blogger, I don’t see a conflict between our faith and raising our daughter to be her own person.
In fact, if my daughter skates through life with her only goal being to find a man and marry, I’ll be severely disappointed in her life choices.
The next time I hear someone state that girls don’t need the same education as boys, I’ll swallow my spitting anger and politely reply with Lydia. There’s a certain delicious irony in that.