Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why I Hate Complementarianism

This article from Inside Cathloic attempts to present a particularly toxic doctrine called "complementarianism" as a form of humor. The writer goes to the hardware store to buy an extension cord and fails miserably because she's a silly girl and can't be expected to understand the Einsteinian complexities of extension cords. Apparently she also can't read or write, and therefore is excused from writing down the specifications and taking the note to the store with her. This is all supposed to be a real laugh riot.

The philosophy she demonstrates is called "complementarianism" which teaches that men and women are completely, utterly, and irreconcilably different, and men are supposed to be in charge of everything. The advocates of this view sugarcoat their doctrine by claiming that men and women are equal in dignity but unequal in roles. Men are supposed to be "active" and women are "receptive." Men and women do different things, but they're supposed to be equally useful. In practice, it never works that way.

This article from the same website discusses "Catholic maniliness," but the same arguments apply to other faiths as well. What interests men is important and what interests women isn't. The writer of this article blames feminists for all sorts of horrors inflicted in a church that has no women whatsoever in its hierarchy. Felt banners and bad music are somehow uniquely a female vice, not simply bad taste demonstrated frequently by both sexes. If men were in charge, all this long list of horrible things wouldn't have happened.

The original linked article is the same way. The "I'm a complete idiot who can't make a shopping list, and all women are exactlyl as stupid as I am" is the only subject the writer, one Danielle Bean, ever publishes. She's actually written for a number of magazines but apparently never gets paid for it because . . . . No, of course she gets paid. She gets paid for presenting herself as a perfect epitome of Womanhood, all members of whom are morons. The skills she uses to make this case -- a command of language, organization, the ability to make time to write the article -- are the precise opposite of the dimwitted persona she presents in all her articles, but no reader would ever get that message. That women have to hide their talents even as they express them is the poison of "complementarianism."

Complementarians claim that the only want to support long-term happy marriages, but they do that by positing that men and women really have nothing in common. What they really want is for men to feel superior to women. Men and women have different interests. Men are bored by what interests women and women are baffled -- too stupid to appreciate -- by anything that interests men. This dynamic appears over and over again. When women demonstrate a skill, it's always ascribed to some natural, accidental or unintentional ability, never to logic, effort, or hard work. Men are masters of linear logic; women just sort of pop up with stuff. Somehow, men will enjoy a lifetime with a boring nitwit. Women don't have the mental capacity to enjoy anything.

The worst idea complementarians peddle stems for their idea of men as logical and women as illogical; that men need respect in a relationship and women don't. They don't phrase it that way. The usually say that women need love and men need respect, but what kind of love doesn't have respect as a component? It does not speak well of complementarians that they believe women don't need anyone to acknowledge their accomplishments. My interpretation of this is that they believe they don't believe women HAVE any accomplishments. It's one more way of telling women we're dim. Don't attempt to think, dear, it'll hurt your pretty head.