For International Women’s Day, many mainstream rags are posting all kinds of fempowerment rhetoric. This makes women feel good about being more and more like men in the short term, but inevitably leads to dissatisfaction and misery in the long term. [See for example Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness in The National Bureau of Economic Research (May 2009).]
By way of contrast, I’m going to post what God would have women hear. It will tend to make most of them very angry in the short term, but will lead to contentment and happiness in the long term—because it reflects their design:
1. Wives, be subject to your husbands. This especially applies to Christian wives; but all women are designed to want strong leadership since that is the role God created them for. This is why, despite the best efforts of feminists, a vast majority of women still marry. But if you want your marriage to work, and to achieve the fulfilment that every woman dreams of, you must repent of believing that it is a partnership where man and wife have equal rule—and you must accept that it is a partnership where man and wife have equal roles. It means you cannot defraud your husband of sex if you aren’t in the mood. It means you cannot lead from behind through manipulation, saying that if he disagrees with how you think he should run things, he is not loving you properly. Submitting to your husband isn’t something you do because you agree with him; it is something you do because he is the one given authority in your marriage. He must answer to God for how he uses that authority; but you must answer to God for how you respect it.
If you’re not yet married, stop assuming it will be available when you’re 28 and finally decide to stop acting like a kid. You’ve probably already met the man of your dreams, and discounted him because it wasn’t according to your timetable. Here’s some hard news: after the age of 23, men are going to want you less and less, and other women are going to want them more and more. Would you rather adjust your marriage timetable for a good man, or settle for a mediocre one later? You have to submit to him either way, so best to choose wisely.
2. Conduct yourselves with respect and purity. This means you have to treat abortion as what it is: the murder of a child. There is nothing more disrespectful to God, or the image of God, than child sacrifice—whether the altar is Molech’s, as it was for Israel, or Mammon’s, as it is today. It means you must abandon identity politics, because identity politics, by nature, is disrespectful of others. It means you must stop lying about the gender wage gap, because lying is disrespectful of others, and of God. It means you must stop backbiting others—and especially your husband or boyfriend—to your girlfriends. If you’re unmarried, it also means you must stop pretending that the ability to get wasted and fornicate with whomever you choose is empowering, because it is not—it is enslaving you to impurity.
3. Don’t adorn yourself on the outside; adorn yourself on the inside. Expensive hair-dos and jewelry, fashionable clothing, spending hours “putting on your face”—these are vanity. Just as men are inclined to certain sins, so are women: vanity, envy, covetousness. When you know these sins, you can be proactive about both preventing them, and repenting of them. Concentrate on developing the kind of beauty that does not fade: gentleness, quietness, service—in God’s sight these are precious. Sarah is commended for calling Abraham “lord,” if you can imagine such a thing. You cannot develop this inner beauty by valuing the vain kind more, envying other women and competing with them in clothes and makeup. You cannot develop it by despising your husband, or by secretly fantasizing of divorce. You cannot develop it by coveting the eyes of men, dressing to entice them. All of these things will only lead to discontentment.
4. Do good and do not fear what is frightening. If anything in the Bible was written for you, it is this. We are in the grip of a religious war. It is a war on women, by women, through the worship of women. It is a war that has almost consumed the church, which means you have few allies. It is a war which has turned your friends and your husband and your pastor into double agents for the enemy. This is frightening, but you must not fear it; you must do good anyway. You must do good by practising the things above. You must do good by teaching these things to your daughters. And you must do good by refusing to apologize for them when people say they are offensive, by refusing to be cowed when people call you a woman-hater, by refusing to compromise the word of God when people try to convince you it is backward and out-dated.
5. Finally, to be fair, here is some advice for husbands: live with your wife in an understanding way, showing honor to her as the weaker vessel. She is just as much an heir of the kingdom as you are—a daughter of the King. God will not incline his ear to the prayers of a man who lords over or looks down on the wife of his youth.
This advice, of course, is all taken from 1 Peter 3:1–7, with a liberal dose of biblical theology and modern research to pep it up.
If you’re a feminist, and you’re about to post a reply expressing your outrage, please don’t. As I have said, feminism is a kind of false religion. You are in the grip of a cult-like fervor. You don’t need to post a reply. You need to repent of worshiping women instead of God.