Feminist Dogma Debunked

Feminist Dogma Debunked

by Craig Smith
L-R: Craig and Barbara Smith, Kaitlyn 6, Charmagne 20, Zach 25,
Jeremiah 15, Alanson 23, Jedediah 9 and Genevieve 27. Absent: Grace 2
For years elite opinion has maintained that women are
happier in marriages that represent a union of equals and
where spouses share identical responsibilities in the
workplace and at home. Even as very few couples actually
live this way, a study by two noted University of Virginia
sociologists debunks the feminist spin, finding that women
— even those who espouse egalitarian ideals — are far happier
in marriages that have a traditional division of labor.
Looking at a subsample of 5,000 couples drawn from
the second wave (1992-94) of the National Survey of
Families and Households, Bradford Wilcox and Steven
Nock measured women’s marital happiness, women’s
satisfaction with the emotional attention they receive
from their husbands and the time husbands spend with
their wives against a number of independent variables
associated with various theories of marriage.
Their findings reveal that women are happiest when
they tend to hearth and home and their husbands bring
home the bacon (earning at least 68 percent of family
income). This did not surprise the researchers because
they also found that men who were married to
homemakers are more likely to spend “quality time”
with their wives. These traditional wives also
expressed greater satisfaction with their husbands’
emotional interaction with them.
In contrast, women who aspire to having “companionate”
marriages, thinking “equality” will deliver what they really
desire — the emotional engagement of their husbands —
actually end up spending less time with husbands than
their traditional peers. And these wives are less satisfied
with the understanding they receive from their husbands.
Also contributing to women’s marital happiness is a
dynamic generally missing from egalitarian marriages:
a shared commitment to marriage as a social and
normative institution, where each spouse views
matrimony as a binding commitment that “should never
be ended except under extreme circumstances.” Wives
also reported higher satisfaction with their husbands’
affection and understanding when couples share high
levels of church attendance.1
As we have traveled from Cape Reinga to Bluff (and
fairly large swaths of the USA) over the past 20 years,
talking to hundreds of home educating families as well
as local, state and national home education support
group leaders, a couple of things have become clear: if
dad is alive but not involved, mum is working against
major obstacles. Everything becomes more difficult:
not just the home education endeavours but also the
discipline of the children, getting their cooperation,
maintaining motivation or momentum or consistent
standards, etc. And when dad becomes involved,
exerting his authority (using effective methods, not just
a loud voice and intimidation) as head of the
household, there is an immediate increase in
orderliness and cooperation. And when mum and dad
are both committed to the same vision of training,
educating and discipling their children, working as a
unified team on the same projects, their effectiveness
increases again.
After 28 years of marriage, Barbara and I can say
without a shadow of doubt that it is the commitment to
each other and the children…and the massive amounts
of selfless work which that entails…every bit of it
made possible by the grace of God, that has given us
all more strength of character and satisfaction of life. I
met a heart-breaking loser on our honeymoon, an
emergency dentist in Sydney who was getting married
the next day. When she heard I was on my honeymoon,
she downed tools, pulled up a stool and asked if I ever
had any second thoughts about the marriage. “No
way!” I said. She said she and the boyfriend had been
living together for three years and had decided their
marriage would be based on the understanding that, if
at anytime in the future, one or the other decided –
unilaterally – that the spouse was restricting his or her
character development, the restricted one was free to
leave. I confess that, mindful that she was about to drill
my teeth, I choked back what I really wanted to say
and should have said: that if they wanted to see real
character development they’d commit to each other “til
death do us part.” We all understand that trials and
hardships build character, though we all also
understandably avoid unnecessary trials and hardships.
Great things are achieved through personal and family
disciplines. The Scriptures have been teaching these
things for millennia: “Count it all joy, my brethren,
when you meet various trials, for you know that the
testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let
steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-
4, RSV. See also Romans 5:3-5 & Hebrews 12:3-11).
The effectiveness of every family member being
committed to the same vision can be enhanced by not
letting “good” things stop you from getting your teeth
into the “best” things. Barbara was plowing untold
efforts into the local home education support group.
This is good. Very good. I was giving my all to the
Home Education Foundation. This is also good. Our
daughter Genevieve, having been home educated, was
pursuing a legal career and the big OE. I remember
thinking that the Feminists and other critics could only
have a go at our Christian faith, but not at our division
of labour and individual pursuits and the fact that I –
the head of the household – wasn’t telling them what to
do. A fascinating series of events caused Barbara and
Genevieve to see that their efforts and mine could be
multiplied if we joined forces. Our second daughter
Charmagne was even quicker to jump in and commit
herself to the “Smith Family Corporation” which
includes our calling for each of us to be full time
working for the Home Education Foundation.
Being thick as a brick, I was the last one to see it. I
partly didn’t want to see it. It came into our
conscienceness somewhere along the line that when
Barbara and Genevieve and Charmagne brought their
efforts back home to make them completely available
to what I had been called to do, that we were starting to
match up with the Biblical model of wives being
subject to their husbands (and by implication, to their
husbands’ calling); children obey your parents (and by
implication, their parents’ calling); and husbands, as
head of the wife, love her as Christ loves the Church
and train up the children in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord. Our Lord does not leave us to our own
devices: He gives us the Scriptures and expects us to
do as it says. To love my wife and train my daughters
means in part to give them the directions of how to be
my help-meet and help-meets in training. I had
swallowed feminist poison for so long that it took ages
to see that encouraging my family members to get out
there and “do your own thing” was neglecting my
responsibility to shepherd them, especially when it was
so easy to get them involved in my calling. Since then
I’ve been trying to take up my responsibility as head to
lead, to provide the guidance and direction required for
three full-time workers apart from myself. It is hard
work: neither my mind nor my shoulders are used to
the increased load, and I am still affected by the
feminist poison I’ve ingested for so long. But the
increased cooperation and effectiveness have been
remarkable. And the unity of vision makes not only the
future but each new day exciting…we enjoy getting
out of bed and tackling each and every day, difficulties,
unpleasant duties, challenges and all.
The extra load feels right. I like the idea that I’ve
relieved my wife and daughters from stresses and
responsibilities they don’t need to carry. More things
seem possible now, for I know I can count on this
massive backing of three of the most profoundly
capable and committed people I know: my wife and
daughters. (And the one adult son in NZ comes home
from the RNZAF most weekends to help out as well!)
I tell you: this home education movement is the
greatest thing in over 100 years at least. The acid is
decidedly not on the children…it is on us parents. We
are forced to get our act together, a very painful but a
very good thing. It is also the best self-improvement
programme you will ever enroll in. Not only does the
acid burn away the junk, you are way outside the box
as a home educator, if not exactly shunned by others
then at least treated to the raised eyebrows and the
pursed lips. But once outside the box, and once you
learn to ignore the negativity of others, you start
looking at other cultural “sacred cows” and are just not
as likely any more to swallow what the feminists and
homosexuals and Marxists and media moguls and other
assorted special interest groups tell you. Indeed, we’ve
started believing what we’ve confessed for years —
that the Bible is our faithful guide through life — by
actually doing what it says and conforming to the
patterns of what it says are the norms. We love it! ?
1.W. Bradford Wilcox and Steven L. Nock, “What’s Love Got to Do
With It? Equality, Equity, Commitment, and Women’s Marital
Equality,” Social Forces 84, (March 2006), as quoted in The
Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, World
Congress of Families: Family Update Online, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2
Jan 07.

From Keystone Magazine

September 2007, Vol. XIII No. 5
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email: craig@hef.org.nz

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