"Women and men, heh?" she said as she looked at her friend's sociology book. "...we're not equal! and God set it up that way." *awkward pause* What do you say to that when it's coming from a woman's voice?
It has always been puzzling to me whenever I hear of women who think that men are somehow 'higher' than women or that women just aren't cut out for positions of authority. To be honest, it's surprising to me. How could a woman believe such a thing about their own? There is a movement underway toward equality between men and women, and it's one thing for men to be a dissenting voice in that conversation, but women? It may be that I'm just more surprised by it so it sticks out to me more, but I believe that some of the loudest voices I have heard against the equality of men and women are the voices of women. It has caused me to wonder--were there black people saying "no, white people deserve better treatment, we're not equal, God set it up that way" during the Civil Rights Movement?
I'm sure there are huge social and psychological aspects of this phenomena, women speaking against women, but in my context the largest factor in play is the Bible. Christians read about men and women in some of the Pauline texts--passages that talk about the "head" being the man and "wives submit to your husbands"--and treat them as contextually transcendent formulas. We rip Paul's words out of the Bible, out of their contexts, and slap them upon our own. We even find ways to read this hermeneutic back into the Old Testament creation narratives, saying that it's God's ordinance. And thus, the same Bible that tells of the Jesus who empowered women beyond social and cultural boundaries--the same Bible that says "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" has become such a weapon of oppression that even the oppressed themselves become the oppressor.
The Bible should be a liberating and empowering force for women, and anyone who is subjugated in culture. Women, don't buy it! Don't place yourself lower than you should be placed on account of God's Word! Jesus was a Feminist!
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "if you can't fly, run, if you can't run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving."