Women's Role In Religions

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Silverbackman, Aug 24, 2005.

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What Control Should Men Have Over Women?

  1. None, Men have no moral authority over women, Absolute 50/50

    31 vote(s)
    79.5%
  2. Little, Men can be head of the house but cannot force women to do something

    6 vote(s)
    15.4%
  3. Moderate, Women must obey men but men cannot punish them if the disobey

    2 vote(s)
    5.1%
  4. Total, Men have abosolute moral authority and women must obey men or be punished

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. At_the_Wellspring

    At_the_Wellspring ...always learning

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    Wow, that was long... and I'm s'posed to be working on an assignment... oops!
     
  2. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    So that means it's my responsibility to keep from getting raped? What about the responsibility of the man not to harm another person? How am I responsible for whether or not another person chooses to commit a crime? What about the responsibility of society to teach boys and young men that that is an unacceptable way of treating others?
    By that logic, if I get killed and robbed, it's my responsibility - I shouldn't have been wearing those fancy sneakers.

    I gather from this that you don't disapprove of homosexuality and homosexuals, correct? Well then, if my partner and I both "specialize in homemaking," as you put it, who then will "specialize" in providing for us? Or do you suggest that we find some gay male couple and talk them into providing for us while we clean their house?
     
  3. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    I have no wish to be seen as "promoting" anything. I am only attempting to explicate a bit what Baha`i's obedient to the authority of the faith understand.

    *********************
    The effect is that women are not allowed to be elected to the House, and this gives at least the substantive appearance that this policy is "patriarchal". That cannot be escaped.

    It is however, a nuance, rather than a ruling principle. Its based on two things ultimately. Baha`u'llah says that a House of Justice is to have "nine believers" (believers to the number of Baha). This includes Local Houses of Justice (Local Spiritual Assemblies, National Spiritual Assemblies) - and "believers" is a non-gender based term.
    Baha`u'llah in the Aqwdas and its attendant tablets says the Universal Houseof Justice is to consist of nine "men" ( a gender based term). Baha`u'llah is confirmed by Abdu'l Baha and Shoghi Effendi.

    Abdu'l Baha and Shoghi Effendi were the only appointed "interpreters" of Baha`u'llah's and the Bab's Writings. "Interpretation" is meant here as taking the words of the Messengers and saying what they mean for the body of the believers as a whole.

    Shoghi Effendi passed away without appointing a Guardian. There was no one to appoint, since a Guardian had to be of the lineage of Baha`u'llah. Shoghi Effendi was the only descendant of both Baha`u'llah and (collateral) descendant of the Bab to remain faithful to the cause. So for the first time the Faith had to function without a living, authoritative interpreter.

    The authority rested in the Assembled Hands of the Cause of God. There were 27 Hands of the Cause living at that time in 1957 when the Guardian succumbed to heart failure as the result of a virulent strain of flu.

    Of those Hands were ten women and 17 men. One of the women was the widow of Shoghi Effendi. The Hands residing in the Holy Land went through Shoghi Effendi's papers looking for an indication of his wishes, there was none. ALL the Hands signed a declaration to that effect (including the defector - to -be, Mason Remey).

    The Hands elected nine of their number to reside in the Holy Land and see through Shoghi Effendi's plan to elect the first House of Justice by the centenary of Baha`u'llah's declaration in 1863. ALL the Hands signed off on this by joint declaration.

    In the course of events the Hands with the assistance of the scholars of the Archives went through the sacred text of the Faith to see what this entailed.
    They decided to honor Shoghi Effendi's plan to teach extensively and see to doubling or tripling the number of National Spiritual Assemblies by the anniversary in 1963, and using these National Spiritual Assemblies to directly elect the House. In the Faith's elections there are no nominations, no campaigning, and no such thing as a "constituentcy".

    The Hands by joint declaration decided that the text was clear about "men" to the number of Baha. Therefore the women amongst the Hands were not eligible to serve. A short time later, the Hands decided that the International Bahai Council to be appointed in 1962 would not have any Hands of the Cause on it, and that the Hands of the Cause would not be eligible to serve on the House of Justice. Mason Remey reluctantly signed the first, and refused to sign the second - this triggered his claim to be the second guardian - but that's a whole other story.

    The effect was that the Hands of the Cause who were in firm control of the faith, selflessly removed themselves from consideration for service on the House of Justice. They gave up their authority to the House, left in the hands of the House of Justice the ultimate decision regarding women serving on the House and whether or not a new guardian could be appointed.

    For six months the House deliberated on both topics and concluded that the Writings did not allow for women to serve on the House, and there was no Guardian to appoint.

    In this they upheld the interpretations of Abdu'l Baha and Shoghi Effendi and acknowledged that they had no authority whatsoever to "interpret" the Writings because Baha`u'llah intended them only to rule on things NOT covered in the sacred text. In other words the only authoritative interpretation in the faith are the written interpretations of the Center of the Covenant and the Guardian of the Cause. Neither the House nor the appointed Hands had any authot\rity to interpret.

    Is this an equivocation? Does the House indeed interpret? I say not. Others may say as they will.

    It is unfortunate that the appearance of patriarchal authority masks the essence of the faith from some who investigate it. An individual's investigation can be ruled by naught but the individual. No Baha`i has a right to say anything about an individual's decision in that regard.

    The last House of Justice was elected by the participation almost 200 National Spiritual Assemblies. On the NSA of the Baha`i's of the United States, five of those voting members were women. I see no gender bias in that. In places around the world the concept of electing women to a governing body is very strange, yet local Baha`i's manage to do just that all the time - every year.



    That speaks volumes to me, but that is the result of my own personal investigation of the issue, please feel free to make your own.
    ********************************

    Main Entry: pa·tri·ar·chy [​IMG]
    Pronunciation: -"är-kE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -chies
    1 : social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
    2 : a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

    ""Bahá'í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity.... "The true marriage of Bahá'ís is this, that 'husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Bahá'í marriage."
    (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 368)

    I think the Webster's description of patriarchal to describe our relationship would reduce her to laughter.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  4. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman Prince Of Truth

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    [font=&quot]Hello Again At_the_Wellspring:)

    I'm glad you have the opinion that it is better for a mother to raise the children rather than some nanny. The truth is though in the West today does have a lot of propaganda suggesting that it is better for women to leave their kids and work full-time in a career and a nanny could provide the same care. That is hogwash IMHO, no other person in the world can show as much love as a mother can. There is a big difference when a mother raises their own kids as opposed to some lady who has no biological ties to the child, only money ties if you really look at it;).

    I think in most countries in the world women have a choice to do what they want legally, except for a few radical Muslim countries. I do agree that parents should pressure their kids to do anything they don't want to but keep in mind they do have the right to do so. However as an adult it is up the woman to make the decision. Parents have no say to what their kids want to do, that is how it is in Nature and it applies to human beings as well.

    I don't think we have to follow Nature literally, but at least follow the outline. I do not believe the purpose of motherhood is to have many kids. That is up to the mother and father how many kids they have, and I discourage too many kids. I believe the most important role of motherhood, whether you have 2 kids or 10 kids is raising the kids. Kids need to be raised to be good kids and having a fulltime mother helps a lot. A lot of the kids in prison today in any Western country had a mother who did not spend anytime with their kids and more on their career. Having a career is fine but a mother's number one role in life is motherhood, because kids are the future of the world and need to be brought up with love by their own mother. Fatherhood is equally as important, so where does this put the father.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not saying a mother should be the sole parent of their children and the father does not get to have any say in anything. I encourage fathers to spend as much time with their kids, they after all can teach the children some things the mother could not. In fact 90% of criminals in jail grew up without a father believe it or not, so fatherhood is very important.

    I'm not saying all people fall into the rigid men and women category. There are defiantly people who are different, and because there are a few different people the government should not force men to be men and women to be women. However these people who are different are minorities, so the minority point of view should not be promoted more than the majority point of view. All people should have tolerance for any type of lifestyle, if a woman wants to become a world class boxer or wealthy business woman let them go right ahead. If a man wants to become a nurse or full-time homemaker let them. However as we know these are all alternative lifestyles, which are okay but there are lifestyles that should be practiced more than other ones. They obviously cannot be strict majority lifestyles, but they should be logical and ideal;).

    So of course I want all people to be tolerant of any men and women who are not that close to their gender. It is okay, they are only doing what they believe is right. But when the minority tries to push their beliefs down our throats it is not right. Typical example is Gay Marriage. A marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, which is how it has been forever. Even the Greeks who were so open to homosexuality which I encourage would have never thought of the idea of members of the same member married. Marriage basically means man and woman, and it is an oxymoron to consider it to be otherwise. Man or woman, male or female, man and women, woman men, however someone likes to put it male and female is an absolute when defining marriage. You can love your best friend who is the same gender as you, and if you want you can even have sexual relations with him (if you love him that much) but no matter what it can never is marriage. Sorry to sidetrack, just wanted to use that as an example:).

    Homemaking is a choice yes, but keep in mind if a woman wants to commit her life to raising children in being a proper adult she will be at home a lot;). Why not make things easier for the family and do housework? It’s the woman's choice, I really don't mind if she and her husband find a better way to do house chores, but motherhood is the number one importance here;).

    About stay at home dads, while it may seem to be no different than a woman there is a difference. Women have been doing this type of stuff for the longest of times, they will always be far superior in what they do than men. Nature also did not intend for men to stay at home as the woman did. There are some species of birds that do this, but the bottom line is we are not birds, we are human beings;)!

    And besides, stay-at-home-dads are more prone to health problems, which isn't surprising. Read this article about health problems for stay at home dads;

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/HEALTH/conditions/04/24/heart.role.reversal/

    If men want to do it let them do it, it is okay. It is their decision and no one else should care about it. However it is something that should not become a majority activity.

    The whole idea of society on alternative life styles is tolerance. If there is tolerance in society people who do different things or have abnormal conditions we will all get along;)
    .
    [/font]
     
  5. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    If I may interpose slightly - adoptive parents may have no biological ties to the child, (other than the food the child eats every day of their life and medicines they take throughout their life, while in their care) I would not welcome this kind of characterization of their/our position.

    Just something to pull in another perspective on the situation of society and parenthood.
     
  6. At_the_Wellspring

    At_the_Wellspring ...always learning

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    [font=&quot]
    Hi again Silverbackman... :)
    Don't have much time so i'm gonna try and be brief...




    Parents have a huge influence on their children. I agree that in the end the child must make the decisions, and not all children from 'bad' or 'broken' families turn out that way themselves. But i would not say that everyone is liberated enough to be completely free of our family/ society's influence.

    For example I admire the first women to go through university, when they were outnumbered by 1000 to 1. I'm not sure I could've handled the pressure/ disapproval etc. They must have been very tough women. While they were legally allowed to go to university, I am sure that many would not have been thick-skinned enough to handle the attitudes and discouragement they faced. So what I'm saying is there is more 'pressure' around than just legality. Some very shy and sensitive woman should also have felt that she could freely and openly attend university without breaking under the pressure of prejudice. I know that at a certain level we all have to pick up our socks and face our fears, but i think at the same time freedom to break free from a societal mold should not be reserved for those able to handle the subtle judgement/ rejection that comes along with it.

    Freedom and equality starts with the law, then comes in freedom from racism/ sexism etc then comes from freedom from expectation and pressure. Surely we have heard many a story on TV talkshows where people remain in situations and relationships where they are completely unhappy and even in abusive relationships. Yes they have the 'choice' to leave, but sometimes a choice to leave is so extremely difficult to make that it is barely a choice at all. Such is the power that one human being can have over another. It may be subtle, but sometimes subtlety can be extremely powerful.

    My main point is that nothing at all should be discouraged. What about the loving parents who choose to have 10 kids, these ten kids, brought up in such a loving home go out into the world and do amazing things making the world a better place?


    Yes, and father, glad you added that. Probably, historically it has been the abuse or absence of the father that has had the most negative influence on children and their future life, rather than the mother. (Not sure if you have stats on that). Maybe it is about time that fathers are allowed to be more nurturing and engaging with their children in family life, sharing more of the house-bound role with the wife?

    So why not split parenting 50/50? or 60/40 or whatever? Both can earn some money, be intellecutally challenged and interact with other adults on a regular basis, and both can spend equal time with the kids. Perhaps the father can do the household tasks that he is quite capable of - grocery shopping, fixing things etc, and the mother can continue to do the tasks too highly skilled for the male species, such as ironing, cooking and cleaning.


    My main problem is that I don't understand people, and lifestyles in the two categories of 'minority' and 'majority'. So does that mean that someone who is gay/ lesbian gets put into the same category as someone who is a woman and a world class boxer, and someone else who is japanese and living in brazil? Life is too complex to reduce it into 'majority' and 'minority' we should scrap those words altogether when we are talking about people and their place in society.


    The minority is not trying to push their view down anyones throat in my opinion. Gay marriage as I understand it is about giving people equal rights, both in rights of property passing on to their partner after death etc, able to have partner as 'next of kin' for such issues etc. Also it is about trying to acheive freedom from prejudice and judgement.



    Like I said, I have no problem with motherhood, I hope to have children myself and look forward to it as one of life's most amazing things. But I also know that I, personally need to have my intellect stimulated as well. I think I might go nuts if my only human contact in a day was with someone I could only coo and gaa at. It doesn't sound so good when said like that, but I do know from talking to my own mother and also hearing other stories, motherhood can be very tiring and stressful, and often mothers who don't get out of the house much crave the ability to talk with, chat with, debate with, adults of their own intellectual ability. I don't think that is so unusual. i would say it is very important for this interaction with other adults is essential to stay connected to the world outside the house. And I know some women find that relief in 'coffee groups' and 'playgroups' socialising with other parents, but I think it is an equally valid option to find that stimulation in a working environment.

    To be a good mother, the mother also needs to have time for herself and for her own passions, whether this be in creating art or writing a book, or in a working environment.



    I don't think ironing, cleaning, doing dishes and cooking are actually such difficult tasks. Saying that women have it in their nature to do those things and men therefore can't possibly, is just a nice excuse to not have to do chores! And everything can be learnt - there just needs to be a willingness to learn. Wow, some men can even change nappies! I understand that there are natural 'mothering' instincts in women, that occur more naturally in women than in men. But they cannot not be learnt.

    Why is that not surprising? I am surprised and will have to read the article. I think it could be good for some men who may otherwise spend all day in an airconditioned office with artificial lighting, where they sit at a computer most of the day and move around only to go to meetings or to the lunchroom where they may sneak in a 10 minute lunch break and yet another cup of coffee... to actually have a more balanced life, get some fresh air and sun while playing with their kids, engage their senses in cooking the evening meal, get creative doing fingerpainting with their toddler...!!! I don't see any problem whatsoever in a balanced lifestyle for both men an women.



    Well, not so brief after all!!!

    interesting chatting with ya :)

    [/font][/font]
     
  7. I am free

    I am free And anything is possible

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    Hello Silverbackman,

    You seem to be antagonised by fire brand feminists who claim that women are superior to men. I agree with you there. Women are not in any way superior to men just as men are not in any way superior to women.

    Nature has indeed designed men and women differently. The fact that the bodies, brains, hearts and minds of men and women work differently is very obvious. But men and women are complete human beings nevertheless. Each individual is independant regardless of whether they are male or female or both or neither ;) .

    The only "role" a person has is to understand his/her true calling and follow that. That is nature. That is how each individual can contribute best to society. It just maybe that more women find that their calling is to be a mother. So be it.

    When you generalise "it is the nature of all women to want to be mothers and that they should stick to that role", the person no longer is looking within to understand her true nature, her true passion. This is not nature.
     
  8. At_the_Wellspring

    At_the_Wellspring ...always learning

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    Hi smkolins :) thanks for pitching in, and interesting point.

    In the end the most important thing (in my opinion) is the existence of love, acceptance and nurture in a childs upbringing, whether this be a family of 1 or 12 kids, whether there be one or both parents, whether those parents be biological or adoptive, and even whether or not the parents are a straight or gay couple. Heck, there are enough screwed up families in the world, why do we harrass those trying their utmost to bring up their children in an environment of love?

    Hmmm anyway,,,
     
  9. At_the_Wellspring

    At_the_Wellspring ...always learning

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    Hi, I am free
    Looks like my mammoth post managed to slip in just before yours. And I meant to be brief! ha!

    I agree with you :)
    Nature is to discover who we are and become our True Self, and one of my main problems is the categorisation that we humans seem to like to do, the defining lines between everything.

    Anyway I need to stop writing now... eyes are going blurry from looking at this screen too long...
     
  10. I am free

    I am free And anything is possible

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    Hi ATW, I enjoy your posts too. I would write massive posts as well if I had the patience :D
     
  11. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Or you can find us spending an inordinate amount of time chatting about religion online! :p

    lunamoth (mother of two)
     
  12. At_the_Wellspring

    At_the_Wellspring ...always learning

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    Too right! ;)



    (and here I am talking about motherhood, when I actually have no experience of it myself... just speculating, hope I don't sound like a know-it-all ;) )
     
  13. fastspawn

    fastspawn New Member

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    I am new here, and I may have leapt unto a cold topic, but I just have something to state about the Baha'i Administrative Order.

    It is true that there is a hierachal elected system that is the Administrative Order, the Local, National and Finally the Universal.
    There is also the appointed arm of the administrative order, appointed based upon their qualities and knowledge. Their only function is to advise their relevant elected bodies, and cannot make a decision.

    The only thing to remember is that, every Baha'i who either gets elected or appointed is not "promoted". It is service and should be viewed as such, it is not to be viewed as a position of honor, or something that should be aimed for.

    That being said, human beings, often mistake status on this world as true status. As such meaningless things, like being CEO of a company or President of the Country or in this case member on the Universal House of Justice seem like a status symbol. These symbols are only temporal. The status of being a UHJ member is not going to put you closer to God than not being one.

    It is immaterial, although many cannot see that because of one's experience in the material world, where one is influenced so much by the concept of status and station.

    Yes, the women are not considered for service on one of the elected arms of the administrative order, and I do not know why. Yet that is unimportant in the wide spectra of things.
    The only important thing to know is that women and men have the same status in this world, and have had the same status in the eyes of God since time immemorial.
     
  14. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    fastspawn!

    Welcome!

    You're right I think some of that material was gone over earlier..

    - Art
     
  15. hunain

    hunain New Member

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    ‘As-salaamu Alaikum Warahamatullahi Wabarakatuhu’… meaning… ‘May peace blessing and mercy of Almighty Allah, be on all of you’.

    WOMENS’ RIGHTS IN ISLAM
    MODERNISING OR OUTDATED?
    by Dr. Zakir Naik

    video of the Lectures
    PART 1

    PART 2

    PART 3

    PART 4

    right click and select save target as
     
  16. hunain

    hunain New Member

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    ‘As-salaamu Alaikum Warahamatullahi Wabarakatuhu’… meaning… ‘May peace blessing and mercy of Almighty Allah, be on all of you’.

    WOMENS’ RIGHTS IN ISLAM
    MODERNISING OR OUTDATED?
    by Dr. Zakir Naik

    Audio format

    PART 1

    PART 2

    PART 3

    PART 4

    PART 5

    PART 6
    right click and select save target as
     
  17. n4h1z

    n4h1z Thirst for 'Ilmi...

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    Peace to all....

    To me womens' role in religion is much much needed and important as the men. Although created differently , men and women are equal. Men and women are complimentary to each other.

    It's hard to specify in which field women is very much likely to be and which is not as women n this age is very versatile, highly intelectual and more self determine compared to men. I think the best how to put it is women can play any role in anything as long as it is not against her nature and it doesn't cause her to neglect her motherly role.

    In religious perspective a womens' role, in my opinion is as important as men. Their role in religion is the same as men except for the things that has been forbidden by respective religion. Men also are forbid to play roles which is meant only for women. But much of womens' role in religion is the same as mens'. Some roles are different but equal as important.
    Womens' role in religion is very much uplifted, especially in some of the major faiths in this world. But people tend to perceive these religions' law for women as an act of opression, subjugation and descrimination.
    It is those men and women of faith themselves who are responsible to bring forward the true image of their religion towards women.

    Peace..
     
  18. eman

    eman New Member

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    Hello, amd Merry Meet. (to all my friends)

    Good topic, I think woman should have equall roles in church and if you look at the older religions say from about 20,000 years ago in the neolithic times when some of the first earth religions were discoverd, and some in these modern times they hold a woman as equall and even worshiped them :

    Goddess origin

    Circe Greco-Roman, Sun Goddess

    Hera Greek, Sun Goddess

    Isis Egyptian, Sun Goddess

    Luna Roman, Sun Goddess

    (some had more than one Sun Goddess, and God.)

    I believe it is a good thing to give woman equall status in church, some religions claim to be so honorable,and full of good will, more so then other religions, but there it is in black and white in writing for all to see. You would think we would all just wake-up and smell the incense.

    If I belonged to a church that preached one thing, then I used my brain long enough to read further (the stuff thats not covered in sunday school) it might be difficult for me to understand if I took things word for word.

    Good for me I don't.

    Are we not all equal in the lords eyes



    Merry Part:)
     
  19. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    You can sure get an Amen outta me! ;)

    andrew
     
  20. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    I'd like to run with the first part of this quote by path_of_one. What people tend to forget, because we're locked into historical thinking, is that humans have been living on Earth for anywhere from 50,000 to over 100,000 years, according to antropologists. The Aborigines of Australia have a continuous culture dating back 50,000 years, and women are highly respected and at least treated as equals in their culture.

    In this thread, there's been much debate about Baha'i and whether it is a patriarchal religous system. I would just like to comment that we are embedded in a patriarchal culture, and it seems that the Baha'i faith reflects that; perhaps it is an adaptive measure--that is, to function and have influence in a patriarchal world, one must conform to those systems. I clearly see the patriarchal structure embedded in 9 Harmony's response:

    What I gather from this is that as a Baha'i woman, Harmony feels that her role is to educate her children. This seems similar to the traditional patriarchal role of women: to stay at home, cook, tend to the children and the house.

    There has been some talk in this thread about an idea of men and women as being separate but equal, or "different but equal." The idea is that you stereotypically define a person according to their gender or sex, and call that equal. Equal or not, it doesn't strike me as very human.

    As path_of_one pointed out, there are many different genders, sexual orientations, and I would add personality types; we are all unique individuals. To categorically assign someone a role because of their biological sex is, to my mind, a subtle form of violence: trying to force someone to conform to a mold that they may not inherently fit into.

    For example, as a man in stereotypical American culture, I am expected to work at least forty hours a week, be stern yet affectionate towards my wife and children, read the paper every morning, watch the news, pehaps go to church on Sundays, and not show emotion. The problem I face, though, is that I do not fit into that stereotypical mold. My partner and I strive for equality in our relationship and ebb and flow in our responsibilities around the house. I cry and I laugh and I get angry and I express my emotions, and that feels good to me. I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen. I detest newspapers, for the most part, and prefer not to watch TV. I don't value money or many possessions, and I'd rather not work forty hours a week if I had my way. I look forward to being silly with my children one day, and re-evaluating the world as they grow up with their questions.

    I am not defined by my gender and don't feel that anyone should be. Are women and men equal? Hell yes they are, just as all human beings are. Are they the same? Hell no they're not, just as no two human beings are the same.

    The problem with looking into history for examples of equality between men and women is that history is patriarchy. Want an example of egalitarian society? Look at tribal culture, what people call 'pre-history.' That's our way out of patriarchal dominator culture, and can serve as a model for the future.
     

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