Christianity and the Role of Women – Barefoot and pregnant

April 11, 2007 at 5:00 am 15 comments

Pregnant womanIn my previous blog, “Christianity and the Role of Women – A Woman’s Place,” I wrote on the phrase – “the woman’s place is in the home.” In it, I quoted a minister who used these two Bible verses to show that a mother should not work outside the home:

1 Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.”

These verses are also used to perpetuate the old adage mandating a good wife to be “barefoot and pregnant,” an even more humiliating phrase. It reduces women to nothing more than a tool used for producing a son to carry on the family name or for working in the field.

However, I can see why men felt so strongly about keeping their women restricted to the home. First, the man obviously wanted cheap labor, someone to clean the house, do the laundry, raise the kids (since he was never around to help), cook the meals and a sundry of other household chores that would otherwise be his responsibility.

The only expectation placed on the husband was to put a roof over the woman’s head and food in her stomach and she would do the rest – even satisfy his sexual needs. He was not required to satisfy her though. Since she was his property, he could treat her anyway he wanted.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if women were as sexually satisfied as the men? Think about the clear-headed confidence that follows a man around all day after he has had sex. Oh, that there will one day be as many women walking around with that same clear-headed confidence that comes from sexual satisfaction!

Secondly, by keeping the little lady busy at home “barefoot and pregnant,” the natural result was her continued ignorance about the real world. This insured a timid approach to travel, education, politics and working outside the home. If the woman had shoes, that meant she had the first tool necessary for walking outside the doors of her home. If she got far enough without the aid of her husband, she might actually realize her potential and not want to stay at home everyday while he pursues his own endeavors. God forbid that he’d be expected to share the workload of the house.

Can you believe this type of thought is still practiced in some stricter religious circles? Even today in the 21st century! Is it any wonder why more and more women are turning from religion?

- Stellar1

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. storbakken  |  April 11, 2007 at 10:07 am

    The wife is to be loved by the husband like Christ loved the church as commanded in Ephesians 5:25. She is to be honored as none other and she is to be praised by her family, Pro. 31:28.

    “To love their husbands” is a command. To love your husband means that you are a partner with him, working together toward a common goal.

    “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 25-30.

    I never understood why critics always pick verses around the point of this passage. The point is that the husband and wife must serve one another so that God might be glorified. The husband must be willing to sacrifice himself for his wife as Christ did for the church. The godly wife must love and obey her godly husband. It must be made clear that this is a letter to a church of believers in Ephesus. It is not telling a woman who is in an abusive relationship to obey her husband even though he beats her. It is saying that a husband and wife in Christ should love, respect and honor one another.

    Blessings and more fire!

  • 2. tobeme  |  April 11, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Interesting thoughts. In societys where women have freedom of choice, then this is their choice and this should be respected. In societies where women do not have the freedom to choose this is not the issue, their lack of societal freedom is the issue.

  • 3. amandalaine  |  April 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Just for another perspective, I’ve never been to a church that preaches/advocates the above. None of the churches I’ve attended or related Christian institutions teach this. For that reason, I don’t think it’s fair to imply that this is a Christian teaching. There are aberrations in all groups. If the position is held by a minority then I would say it’s an aberration. As far as I can tell, this position is held by the minority (and it’s a minority I’ve never even run into – I assume it exists somewhere).

  • 4. MTran  |  April 16, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Amandaline, I think that Agnostic Atheist made it clear that the issue being discussed was derived from a Christian minister’s use of particular verses to justify his position.

    It’s not misleading for AA to use it as an example of some of the teaching out there. It’s not what I learned in the churches I attended when young (I’ve been an atheist for a good many years) but it is surprisingly alive in far too many US churches to be called an aberration of Christianity.

    If you have never encountered it in real life, though, it is really hard to imagine that there are lots of people out there who are at this level of belief.

  • 5. MoLL  |  October 7, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I agree with the “no wonder so many women are turning from religion” I myslef have turned away from teh Bible, because of how many suicide attempts I have made because it is a horrible thing to be born a woman. I hate living everyday because of teh inequalities that the world ensures me I have.

  • 6. CheezChoc  |  October 7, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    storbakken,
    why must a wife obey the husband? Should she do so even when he’s wrong? Why would she need to obey at all if they have an equal, loving partnership? Why not have him obey her? Ah, but that doesn’t make sense to me either. It’s fine for kids to obey parents, but a spouse obeying a spouse? What?

  • 7. Cooper  |  October 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I myslef have turned away from teh Bible, because of how many suicide attempts I have made because it is a horrible thing to be born a woman.

    MoLL—-

    Have you gone for any counseling regarding the suicide attempts and thoughts in that direction? I would agree that women have it harder then men (I am a man), but many women love being women, and are glad they were born that way–in fact, I think the majority do. It sounds like their may be some deeper underlying issues you might want to discuss with a counselor. Just my two cents.

  • 8. tusing  |  March 4, 2009 at 5:02 am

    can you please send me more on the role women in Christianity as I am going to present a paper on this topic

  • 9. stellar1  |  March 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

    The best source you can use is the Bible. Here is a list of Scriptures straight from the Bible about how Christians are to view women.

    http://de-conversion.com/2007/03/08/with-sincere-apologies-to-the-ladies/

    Also, here’s another link that may be helpful:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/lfe_bibl.htm

    Stella

  • 10. bg  |  November 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    thanks for posting this. just ended a relationship with someone who wanted me to be barefoot and pregnant. i can’t imagine giving up everything i’ve worked so hard for. thank god i escaped.

  • 11. CheezChoc  |  November 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    amandalaine,

    These churches and this mentality do exist. It’s still that way in the Baptist church I used to go to. The men have the prayer breakfast and the leadership positions. The women get the auxiliary and the child care.

  • 12. Miriam  |  November 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I will never understand why there should be any difference in the expactations put on somebody because of what they have between their legs. It is the most unsubstanciated teaching i have ever come across.

  • 13. CheezChoc  |  November 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    It’s all about Eve.

  • 14. Anonymous  |  November 22, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Someone actually told me last week that Christianity had done more to advance the social position of women than anything else in the world. Actually, I think he might have said, “than any other religion”.

    Has Christianity done more for women than other religions?

    Objectively speaking, has Christianity done anything at all for the advancement of women in society?

    If so, when did it take place, and are we sure that it shouldn’t be attributed to other social factors taking place simultaneously?

  • 15. atomicgumbo  |  November 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Sorry, that last one was me. Forgot to sign in.

    Brad
    aka PaleAle

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