I could never stand the idea, so common in the 60s, that our beliefs and traditions were "conditioned" by hostile or irrational forces, but such an idea is freely thrown about as the explanation for everything someone thinks is wrong with society and of course feminism slings it about too. "Oh it was just conditioned in us by people who want to control us." Blah blah blah. By a "priestly class" perhaps or whatnot.
I hate the practice of giving made-up explanations anyway and this one is pure fantasy. The very term "conditioned" curdles something deep inside me. Yeah I know I'm not being very clear here. This is a post for venting reactions and I hope I'll get more analytical later.
But here's famous anthropologist Margaret Mead being quoted about how we're "conditioned" into our sex roles:
"Mead, in Sex and Temperament (1935) and Male and Female (1949), contended that there was no fixed pattern of male-female interaction and roles. She concluded that differences between male and female were learned and conditioned by culture rather than set by nature." (36)I knew somewhere deep in my inarticulate gut that was false the first time I heard it. I have a feeling many others did too. But the "scholars" and the "intellectuals" chaired university departments with such idiocies and filled up the world with such mystifying nonsense for years and years, and I guess they're still doing it.
Of course the biggest stupidity, contained in this cultural conditioning notion, was the idea that men and women aren't really different at all, the differences are all made up; therefore the solution to inequities is to assume we're identical by nature and change social forms to free us up to remove all barriers to full and complete personal expression and define ourselves from scratch. The absolute mess that's been made of the family and sexuality and marriage since such notions took over ought to have woken us up, but uh uh.
I could also never see the sense in fighting biology. Women get pregnant. That seems to me to be a rock-bottom fact of life. But feminists knocked themselves out trying to overcome that simple biological fact. How does it help us better know our worth as women to have our very nature talked about as something we have to get rid of?
These things are all problems that have to be thought about in any discussion of female complaints about disenfranchisement by culture or the church, but it seems that feminists and other activists always have to rush to a "solution" before they understand the problem. Or they "understand" the problem by pasting a fantasy label like "conditioned" on it.
I also hated the analysis that women's discontents were the result of Patriarchy (of course patriarchy being a purely "conditioned" artificial cultural situation imposed on us by men rather than God). I never had anything against patriarchy. I always LIKED the idea of men being at the head of things, family or society -- the right KIND of men of course, the just ones, the fair ones, the kind ones, the competent ones, not the "silly boys and drunks and rowdies" Elizabeth Cady Stanton so rightly complained had powers and privileges women didn't have, and not tyrants and misogynists. No, patriarchy in itself isn't the problem, and now I know also that patriarchy is given by God.
You can see that I didn't find much in feminism to attract me. Mostly it gave me a stomachache, EVEN THOUGH I had at times felt mislabeled and insulted for being female and welcomed SOME kind of redress, so you'd think I'd be eager to grasp at any effort to remedy the situation. But I wasn't. The remedy was more offensive than the problem.
Let nobody think all this apparent wisdom I'm showing here worked itself out in my life though. Nope, I didn't live by my own wise intuitions. I was more than happy to "invent" myself, do as I please, ignore biology and get myself deep in sin and social catastrophe. Even with my cynical inner voice telling me it's all a crock. Boundaries were broken down nevertheless, meaning was lost, order was lost, standards were lost, the world was spinning out of control even if it WAS all a crock.
Well I'll try to go on reading Kassian. I would like to know how all this worked itself out in the church, because of course I wasn't a Christian in the early days of feminism, the 60s and 70s. Oh well -- *sigh* -- on second thought I'm sure I know anyway. Liberal Christianity refuses to take the Bible as God's word and so did feminism. We'll just rewrite it to suit our idea of what's right and proper. It was all just invented by men anyway.
No. Any real analysis of the problems of women has to start with a forthright acknowledgement of the facts of life and the fixed decrees of God. THEN we can maybe start to think about it all.
Hm. Come on, Mary Kassian, let's get to the part where you brilliantly dispense with the feminist mistake and show us the REAL way to understand our female dilemmas, our role in the church particularly.