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Is the modern woman going down the road to insanity?

Is the modern woman going down the road to insanity?


by Suzanne Joachim Tue, Mar 6. 2012

March 8, each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated! Events around the world mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. While it is commendable that women have achieved much, has the pendulum swung too hard – too far? Does the modern woman need to be less self-centred and understand that as womankind, we begin small processes that spawn big results?{{more}} Should we begin to overlook the valuable contribution women make as nurturer (encouragement given to somebody or something to help him, her, or it grow, develop, thrive) and replace with a contest and conquest? Is the modern woman going down the road to insanity and dragging the world with her?

An adaptation of what one commentator has said, states:

1. The modern woman is realizing why men have been workaholics and absent parents all these years – the modern woman has now entered the workforce in full force and has captured some of the coveted positions;

2. The modern woman is grappling with the Catch-22 of being equal and wanting to look up to someone – but having made men – our helpmate – the endangered species, who is there to look up to;

3. The modern woman wonders, if she has the best of all worlds, what’s left to want?

4. The modern woman fights for woman power as a concept and hates her own clan – she hasn’t changed all that much.

5. The modern woman is driving the world forward and it’s driving her crazy.

Some of the aforesaid things about the modern women may seem ungracious and unappreciative of the struggles that women have undergone. As a modern woman myself, I don’t think so! To my mind, the intention is to exaggerate the point that with the privileges now afforded to women, and the broader opportunities open to them, they are liable to die of their own excesses. The line of vision to “have it all”, especially without the requisite life of sacrifice, and at the expense of the family – the axis upon which the world turns – is creating chaos and if left unchecked, could lead us to down a path of frenzied intensity.

I strongly believe that “women power” is rooted in the fact that we “begin small processes that spawn big results”. For example, families – from which all else originate, emanate, ooze and ultimately radiate, were much stronger, anchored and sturdier when women were more purposeful regarding their nurturing role. This nurturing, starting with the family, including husbands and sons, migrates into the schools, then the workplace, into communities and society as a whole. WOW! Talk about positive impact and spawning of big results. Yet, as modern women, we feel that unless we can take over those coveted positions in the workplace, unless we fight our male counterparts tooth and nail, unless we level the playing field and are equal to men, we have not accomplished anything. Have we disturbed the natural equilibrium? Have we contributed to – an untethered (unrestrained) generation, the onset of endangered male species with a line of sight toward extinction? Intriguingly, we revolt against being of service, as it connotes subservience in our homes; yet, we acquiesce, comply and are submissive on a daily basis in the workplace, in order to climb the corporate ladder.

Frankly speaking, some men have not shown the level of leadership that would befit being head of the small Church – the family. Consequently, it makes it quite uncomfortable heeding the command “wives submit to your own husbands”. I, too, much prefer the version “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ”. I find solace, however, in the fact that the commandment given to husbands is greater and more onerous in that it says that “a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the church and sacrifice himself for her” – indeed, the mystery has great significance.

It has been long established that women are indeed capable of doing, in most cases, what men can do. To underscore this, we need to look at the impact women have had when they took over the reins, so to speak, when men had to go to war. Moreover, cooperative equality, if there is such a term, was practised as far back as the hunting and gathering societies, where there was greater social cooperation in the hunt and in gathering by women and men alike. The diet was well-balanced and ample, and food was shared. “A balance and ample diet” in the metaphorical sense can be applicable, as it relates to the roles of men and women in the home and wider society. We could do well, in this regard, to emulate some of the norms of the hunting and gathering societies.

Interestingly also, the eulogy of wisdom speaks in feminine terms “wisdom is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things – she is a breath of the power of God – she renews the world”. That said, we need to have not only an appreciation of the importance of both male and female perspectives, but the institutionalization of it – it ought to become an established and accepted part of the structure of the larger society.

Before there were officially women’s rights, women have impacted the world around us. Just to name a few:

Esther, an orphaned child, brought up by a guardian; was granted release for the Jews in all the provinces of her nation and saved her people from certain death.

Ruth was faithful, courageous, obedient and loyal. As a young woman, she made a sacrifice as she left her comfortable surroundings and the security of her homeland and embraced all the uncertainties of a new home, a new culture to go to Bethlehem with Naomi – not just physically, but spiritually. She demonstrated her commitment to a covenant relationship with Naomi. She gained God’s favour and became a paragon of faith and virtue who remains a role model for women today.

Small of stature, rocklike in faith, Mother Theresa gave her life in the service of the poor. She lived through years of unremitting “darkness”, feeling rejected by God, but determined to “love Him as He had never been loved before”. Her heroic and firm faith, her fidelity, courage and cheerfulness throughout this painful and extended trial, highlight the outstanding degree of holiness she attained.

My own mother was a sterling example of quiet determination, stubborn hope, and an infector of positive virtues and moulding of intrinsic worth. Today, her grandchildren repeat many of her maxims and will pass on those virtues to their own children. Evidently, therefore, she would have positively impacted the lineage to the third and fourth generation, improving the pedigree or at a minimum maintaining it. As children, we all knew that she “was in charge,” so to speak; she ruled with her femininity, her wisdom and dependence on God; but she always gave our father the place of honour and respect in and outside the home. In many cases, she protected him from the world and defended him with the tenacity of a mother brooding over her chicks – not that he always deserved it!

Many of the aforementioned women made no demands for themselves – Esther could have asked for anything she wanted but she asked for nothing for herself when her turn came. Instead, she waited to be appointed and showed an unassuming manner of humility and submission by seeking counsel. In a beautiful act of commitment, Ruth gave herself completely to Naomi. Mother Theresa was a source of solace and hope, especially for those experiencing darkness in their lives. My mother’s life was one of sacrifice for her family and lived to a HAPPY old age. All these women have given loyal fidelity and faithful service and in some quarters could be considered subservient. The common thread seems to be service, without any connotation of subservience.

Women fought for so long to achieve what we have now. Some choose to abuse it, some take the opportunities afforded to them and others decide everything must be handed to them and people actually feed into it. That said, the conversation needs to start with: is the modern woman going down the road to insanity and dragging the world with her?