The big problem is how hard it is to achieve equal relationships in a society whose work policies, school schedules, and social programs were constructed on the assumption that male breadwinner families would always be the norm. In cities like Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Fort Wayne, marriage rates jumped 100% from 1941 to 1942. [9] Thought the debate about same-sex marriage in this country incorporates many issues and values, it is interesting to note that it continues to elevate marriage as a pillar of happiness, something to aspire to. Unlike our grandmothers, once we have partners, we worry about how to make modern marriages work in a society still working on an outdated model of marriage created for a patriarchal breadwinner system. However, patriarchal structures and institutions more strictly confined their generations of American women to certain gender roles. The soft power of patriarchal culture continued to guide her choice to put her career on hold for the sake of her children. However, we must also contend with the pressures of trying to cultivate a successful career in a society that does not have as vested an interest in that success. [9] Though American society has shifted to allow women to have careers in many fields, this obsession with marriage remains because the patriarchal heritage of American culture remains as well. the mainstream American attitude, though the legion of people commenting and sharing the article show that it is not an unwelcome opinion. [3] Middle class white America viewed being a wife as such an immense responsibility and so time consuming that it was encouraged to be a woman’s sole vocation. The messages we received as girls about the importance of boys have evolved from subliminal cultural messages into a pressure to take the expected next step into womanhood and adulthood. 8765 W Higgins Road It was not until the Depression in the 1930’s that the policy to fire teachers who got married was instituted, due to the idea that each household only needed one employed person to survive economically, and that married women teachers were taking jobs from unemployed breadwinner men. superior to the boys, who were gross. Heather Dean recently graduated with honors from Grinnell College with a major in history, Phi Beta Kappa. [2] Kristin Celello,Making Marriage Work (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 47. With Facebook announcing engagement after engagement of women with whom we went to high school and college, it is easy to feel as if we are being left behind. However, despite new emphases on women succeeding in the classroom and at work, many women still feel a lot of anxiety regarding the pressure to get married. [4] However, because of her historical context, she was led down a very different path. [6] Embedded in the article is the assumption that being content without a spouse is [4] However, because of her historical context, she was led down a very different path. There needs to be a shift in American society to combat the hard and soft power of patriarchy so that we can build a country in which gender equality can actually be established and sustained. Christian theologians, inside and outside of the academy and pulpit, also have the ability to articulate theological insights that stress the importance of finding one’s full vocation outside of solely familial roles. She continued to teach after returning to the mainland, and she was not forced out of her job after becoming pregnant. to the boys, who were gross. All Rights Reserved. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person--questions, complexities and all. But I've often overlooked the way that men are held captive by patriarchy too. Being single at age 22 could often mark you as a likely spinster. I have started talking to my son about it informally, through conversations we have in play and during our day to day activities. [7] I myself grew up in the 1990s in a household where gender equality was assumed and actively taught, but not as present in the greater society as I was led to believe. Marriage manuals flooded homes in the 1950s for couples who had gotten married after very rapid courtships due to WWII. Volume 13, Issue 1. While women, being in the subordinate position in this hierarchy, suffer the effects of patriarchy to a far greater degree, men too know its cost. This emphasis on a fallback plan further suggested a system in transition. These included things like – we play in the park together, we dance together, we play ball, we build cubby houses and have tea parties with our toys, we make pizza together. Chan, Amy. Huffington Post. It affects many aspects of life, from political leadership, business management, religious institutions, economic systems and property ownership, right down to the family home where men are considered to be the head of the household. I challenged these social constructs within the books by asking him “what things does mummy do with you?”. American culture pressures women today, like their foremothers, to worry about marriage, even though women can pursue full-time careers that render the breadwinner system unnecessary. Although the hard power of sexism has decreased in our society, and generally laws can no longer be overtly sexist, echoes of these marital expectations reverberated into the next generation, and down into my own as well. If the patriarchy was all bad, how would it become such a dominant societal pattern? [3] Madeline Northcraft, my maternal grandmother, passed away in 2000. However, there are many ways we can push back against the system of patriarchy. Edit: Sorry all I can't respond - I'm banned! Yet there was an unwillingness to abandon this unreliable model on which the ideal American family was built. Lutherans, utilizing the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, should also recognize the power of theology in this system. An example is some books we were reading – one book was about “My Mum”. Ibid., xvi. Thought the debate about same-sex marriage in this country incorporates many issues and values, it is interesting to note that it continues to elevate marriage as a pillar of happiness, something to aspire to. bell hooks in her book I don't think anyone does. We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. Through this conversation, I highlighted that the range of activities and play should not be defined by gender. We are all members of the body of Christ: the harm done to another human is also done to each of us. While ridding society of patriarchal systems that are designed for a male breadwinner system, we must also dig deeper to remove the cultural pressure to find happiness in committed love relationships. It was also a new golden age for Disney films, bringing Ariel, Belle, and Mulan as new heroines to admire. With Facebook announcing engagement after engagement of women with whom we went to high school and college, it is easy to feel as if we are being left behind. Journal of Lutheran Ethics The big problem is how hard it is to achieve equal relationships in a society whose work policies, school schedules, and social programs were constructed on the assumption that male breadwinner families would always be the norm.[14]. bell hooks describes this phenomenon by stating, “Girls feel besieged by the mixed messages that come from being born into a world where women’s liberation has been given a small place even as girls remain trapped in the arms of patriarchy.”[11] These messages are driven home when girls are told that they live in a society where men and women are equal and yet women still make 77 cents to the male dollar, evidence that the hard power of patriarchy still exists and is exerting itself. I continue to be aware and notice the subtle ways patriarchy is embedded in aspects of our lives and continue to have ongoing conversations through play with my son, to challenge these attitudes and expand his view that gender should not define our roles in society. This mirrored a national trend. communion: the female search for love. Maintaining a husband’s happiness was achieved through a proper diet, making sure he was reaching his full potential at work, had a clean and inviting home to return to, felt like he was needed around the house without burdening him with household tasks, and was properly sexually sated. Kristin Celello in her book A new call from within the Church advocating for the support of women as individuals, rather than framing them as wives or mothers, can help reframe the role of women in this society. Women in the 1940s married in their late teens and early twenties. So, what am I doing to push back on patriarchy? Though American culture is full of rhetoric about gender equality, the American society is still rooted in the breadwinner model, making it very difficult for marriages to function with two working parents. hooks does specifically point out that this phenomenon for women does not discriminate based on sexuality—women in the queer community were also raised in with this patriarchal emphasis in deriving self-worth from the love of others, however they seek this love from women rather than men.

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