May/June, 1997 Volume XII Number 6 - DEPARTMENTS

The three roots of abortion - Part III:
Female careerism

by Rick Livingston

Let's visit the little town of Nazereth two milleniums ago as a couple of 20th centuery social engineers. Ah, there's Mary. Oh, no. She's in a crisis pregnancy. We should have come here sooner with condoms. Well, no major problem for us; we'll merely inform her of her reasonable choice to terminate the pregnancy. After all, she's too young to be saddled with that fetus, and besides, she needs to fulfill herself. She hasn't completed a good classical Greek education at Capernaum nor prepared herself for a rewarding career in parable book publishing, ship transportation brokering, or marriage catering management. Besides, that fellow she's hanging with isn't too reliable anyway; he'll probably get rid of her one way or another when eh hears about this unwanted, unplanned pregnancy. After dealing with that problem, let's give her some good counsel on self-esteem which, of coourse, can only be found with a vibrant career in the marketplace. After making her mark in society at the workplace, then she can have a couple of incedental kids with which to amuse herself. Of course, we'll have to set up an efficient day care center so she can keep herself occupied with what is really important. These Gallilean yokels are so backward.
Because parenthood has fallen on bad times, along with the eroding of the biblical and historic family model, the role of the woman as a home working mother has been subordinated to that of a career woman. Mothers like Mary are no longer seen as influential. The Marxist idea of each individual's value being linked with its part in the societal whole, thereby obliterating the need for family, churhc, and voluntary community institutions, propagates a dependence on central governmental control. All needs such as education, health care, charity, social interaction, common belief and identity, work fulfillment and so on are collected into one system. Such a "Brave New World" approach is described by Christopher Lasch in Haven in a Heartless World as follws:
Parenthood, too important to be left to ameteurs and dilettantes, will be professionalized by assigning children to special clinics or, if that seems too cold and impersonal, to couples specially trained and certified for parenthood (a solution advanced by Margaret Mead), or even to communes or other kinds of extended families. The rest of the population, freed from the burdens of child rearing will find spiritual enrichment in the intensive exploration of one-to-one relationships.
Therefore, if he survives pregnancy, Jesus would be left off at Nazareth Daycare Center to be indoctrinated and trained by in experienced non-parents (that are replaced periodically by other inexperienced employees) under the auspices of enterprising or governmental managers. Or worse yet, in futuristic Mraxist dream as above, Jesus would never know any parents, let alone God's intended ones, or woudl be assigned by the Platonic experts to specialized and secularized "parents"stamped by the Social Services Department. Meanwhile, Mary would be allowed to self-actulize away from home and family as one of the cogs an the socialized wheel.
Female careerism as a movement is a modern invention of feminism. While women have worked outside the home in the past, their historical and biblical role has been primarily as workers in the home. Never before has there been such a vast drive to separate women, and paticularly mothers, from their natural responsibilities as homemakers. Public schools heavily propagandize women as careerists in their textbooks, classrooms, and counseling. Laws now favor women with outside careers over women committed to remaining in the home, such as child care tax benefits subsidized by all families, not to mention the high tax increases on the family over the past two generations that have driven many reluctant women into the work force - so much for women's "liberation."
Scriptures make clear distinctions between men and women. In the beginning, God made people "male and female" (Genesis 1:27). While they are equal, the husband (not employer or any other man for that matter) had an assigned authority to protect his wife and family (I Corinthians 11:3). Their roles are unique in relationship to one another. The man was assigned by God to be the provider, or breadwinner (Genesis 3:17-19), while the woman was assigned by God to be the childbearer, or homemaker (Genesis 3:16). The curses associated with the positions occured as a result of the Fall, but the positions existed before the Fall (Genesis 1:28). These roles are considered so important by God that a man that fails to be a breadwinner to his family denies the faith (1 Timothy 5:8), and a woman that fails to be a homemaker for her family lacks holy behavior (Titus 2:3-5). Furthermore, a woman finds fulfillment in childbearing, paticularly if she raises the child in a home atmosphere of faith, love, and high standards (1Timothy 2:15). Younger widows, in fact, were not encouraged to be independent feminists, but to remarry, bear children, and guide, or rule, the house (1 Timothy 5:14).
What about the famous super-career mom in Proverbs 31? Let's take a closer look. In verse 11, the "heart of her HUSBAND" (not employer) trusted her. She did "HIM good...all the days of her life (v.12). There weren't two men to whom she had to divide her loyalties and submission. Contrary to illogical thought, in verse 14 she really was not a merchant paticularly, but a wise shopper, probably catching the best deals economically and nutritionally. Additionally, she was not a real eastate salesman either (v.16), but rather an active homeworking wife and mother whoo would go out of her home to buy a fiield (note, one field - not a series of listings) and do some intelligent and industrious gardening. She was an enterprising homeworker, selling her crafts from her home business (v. 24), and a compassionate homeworker, helping those in need (v. 20). This creative and energetic homemaker also rose early (v. 15), made beautiful things (v. 22), planned wisely (v. 21 ), and managed the home effectively (v. 27). There was no confusion of having two people in the home "winning the bacon" and making their seperate marks in the world. Her husband and she worked well together in their complimentary roles (v. 24). No wonder her HUSBAND, the only man in her life, along with the children, paid her the highest esteem (v. 28). Blessed is the married woman who does not feel she has to find herself in the man's work world, but is secure in the appreciation of her children and husband (rather than the corporation) for her God-given role.
What is the legacy of female careerism? First, less time occurs of parental interaction with their own children, noted in a Family Policy article stating, "The amount of contact parents have with their children has dropped 40 percent during the last quarter century". With less mom (and dad) time with children, no wonder drugs, youth violencem and promiscuity have increased without their guidance. Second, the day care industry has sprung up in the past two decades, but "Americans are very enthusiastic about group day care and are quite concerned about risks posed by such centers." Third, the opportunities for divorce with all its upheavals and ill effects, especially on women and children, increase dramatically with working moms. Temptations increase when a woman is out in the wok world, particularly with an already strained marriage. Dependency of the man on a home-centered wife and dependency of the woman on a breadwinning husband decreases as the roles are obscured. And fourth, birth control and abortion become necessary to sustain the female careerism movement. After all, an incovenient baby could interfere with career plans in the well-oiled machine of modern society.
The Proverbs 31 woman indeed provides an exciting model for the woman who desires to come home and return to her natural, God-given role. The press has been weak in the area of homemaking, emphasizing it as merely drudge work. But even the routine work becomes special when done in love for the family and to the glory of God as His servant. Former militant feminist, who returned home after her conversation to Christ, Mary Pride shares an inspiring vision for the homeworking wife:
I believe the homeworking wife is the new Renaissance woman...interested in everything...Today's business world has whittled down a person's achievement opportunities into a narrow specialization... (which) needs a counterbalance, which the home provides. At home a woman has the opportunity to try her hand at anything that interests her, from making laboratory slides of the drinking water to building a room on the house to writing a book. I must say personally that my interests and abilities have expanded tenfold since I left engineering and began homeworking, and seem likely to continue expanding in the future. In the "economic-opportunity shere" I would never have had an opportunity to pursue such diverse interests as education, architecture, economics, calligraphy, poetry, writing, clothes design, gardening theory and practice, piano teaching, and so forth, all at the same time. But at home I am being broadened almost without limit. With the diversity and flexibility available to the homeworking wife and mom, it seems men should be pining after the woman's role, not the other way around.
There are only two real "careers" anyway, from a biblical point of view, breadwinning and homemaking, from which modern Marys may choose. All the rest are merely sub-categories. How important to you as a 20th century man is ordering your home in God's ways and providing the best life possible for your wife and children? How important to you as a 20th century woman is raising your own children and building a home in the will of God? Perhaps we should allow our children, and the Word of God, to answer those questions.

Copyright © 1997 AFLM