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Equality > Superiority

October 7, 2018

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“There should be no division between males and females. Among the family of God, we are all equal.”  (Galatians 3:29)

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A couple of years ago, I was standing in a dugout during one of my daughter’s softball games.  I was in there because I was the unofficial “team mom” for her team that season.  I can remember one particular game where the umpire looked over toward our dugout and asked what the score was.  We were in between innings at the time, and he wanted to double-check with us to see if his calculations were correct.  I told him the score.  He asked again.  I said the score again.  He didn’t say anything.  A male voice from nearby confirmed the number that I had just said (twice).  At that point, the umpire nodded his head, seemed satisfied, and got back into position so that the next inning could begin.

My voice was ignored.  It was not valued or trusted.  But, the voice from the male standing nearby was not ignored.  It was valued and trusted.

It was a pretty frustrating moment for me.  But, I knew that any frustration I was feeling paled in comparison to what so many other women have faced in the past.  So, I brushed it off, and moved on.

I wish I could say that was the only time in my life when a male has viewed himself as a superior of mine, rather than an equal, simply because of my gender.  But, I can’t.  It has happened many times.

For centuries upon centuries, women have been fighting for the right to have their voices heard, acknowledged, and respected as much as the voices of men.  Thankfully, much progress has been made in the realm of women’s rights over the years.  Now, more than ever, women’s voices are becoming more and more valuable.   We are being heard.  But, in some pockets of our imperfect society, there is still work to be done.  And there probably always will be.

Pushing for women’s equality is something that I will always take seriously.  After all, God has entrusted me with the responsibility of raising three future women.  And I have every intention of watching them blossom into strong, confident women who believe – without a doubt – that they are equally as valuable as men.

But, you know what?   God has also entrusted me with the responsibility of raising three future men.  And I have every intention of watching them blossom into strong, confident men who believe – without a doubt – that they are equally as valuable as women.

Unfortunately, in recent years, I have watched as the fight for women’s equality has, on many fronts, turned into a fight for women’s superiority.  In certain pockets of our society, I have watched as our mission to transform our daughters into confident women has, in some ways, morphed into a mission to transform our daughters into arrogant women.  Confidence and arrogance are two very different things.  Confidence says, “I am strong and capable.  I believe in myself.  My value, as a person, is equal to those around me.”    Arrogance says, “I am strong and capable.  I believe in myself.  My value, as a person, is superior to those around me.”  

For some women, equality is no longer enough.  For some, it is no longer the goal.  For some, the push for equality has become a push for superiority.

Don’t believe me?  Just look around.  Pieces of evidence are everywhere.  Here are just a few:

~Last month, a talented professional tennis player was penalized for her behavior during the final match of the U.S. Open.  The referee had given her warnings, and was well within his right to penalize her.  But, after the match was over, she claimed that the penalty had everything to do with the fact that she was a female.  Instead of owning her mistakes on the court, she decided to paint herself as a victim of sexism.  Instead of looking for equal treatment from a referee who has penalized many male tennis players before for the same infractions, she went looking for special treatment.  And when she didn’t get what she wanted, she lashed out at him and cried foul in the days following the match.   (What’s the message?  Superiority is greater than equality.) 

~An incredibly famous American musician, who not-so-humbly likes to refer to herself as the “Queen Bee”, wrote a song several years ago entitled “Run the World”.  This song of hers became hugely popular, and is still widely embraced today by young girls and women alike.  It has became a feminist anthem.  Here is just a small portion of the chorus:  “Girls, we run this motha!  Yeah!   Who run the world?  Girls!   Who run this motha?  Girls!  Who run the world?  Girls!”  (What’s the message?  Superiority is greater than equality.) 

~Several days ago, I listened and watched as a very high profile “he said/she said” story unfolded on television.  It involved an accusation of sexual assault that allegedly occurred 30+ years ago in an unknown place on an unknown date.   I listened, along with the rest of the country, as a woman told a story of alleged assault.  Then, I listened as a man passionately refuted her story.  Before both of those accounts of what did/did not happen were shared, so many in this country had already concluded that the man was guilty, as charged, simply because he had been accused…paying no attention to the fact that the details from the woman’s story were cloudy, and that there was no evidence to support her claims.  Could she be telling the truth?  Absolutely.  Could he be telling the truth?  Absolutely.  But, before everyone had even heard him pour his heart out, staunchly denying the woman’s claims, he was already guilty in the minds of so many.  Guilty until proven innocent.  It wasn’t a “he said/she said” situation.  It was simply a “she said” situation.  Her word was taken as gospel, from the moment she spoke them….without even taking a glance at the life, the background, and the emotional testimony of the man who was accused.  From the get-go, and by default, the female voice was valued and respected far more than the male voice.  (What’s the message?  Superiority is greater than equality.) 

Ladies, for centuries, we have been pushing back on the notion that men are superior to us.  It has been a long, frustrating battle.  It’s a battle that still continues to this day, on some fronts.  But, we cannot retaliate against instances of male superiority by claiming female superiority.  That a toxic tactic.  It’s damaging.  It’s counter-productive.  And – quite frankly – it’s hypocritical.  If it’s superiority that we are seeking, we are embracing the same ideology that we claim to condemn.

The fight should be for equality.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The goal should be equality.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The mission should be one that focuses on raising confident sons and daughters who grow into confident men and women who view members of the opposite gender as different, but equal, to themselves.

My husband and I are raising six children.  Three girls.  Three boys.  Out of those six children, there is one who struggles with confidence more than all the others.  It happens to be our oldest son.  So, whenever I hear people claim that a lack of confidence has become an epidemic among young girls in this nation, I have to shake my head in disagreement.  The evidence in our family does not support that claim.  And I know that many other families could say the same.  Low confidence levels are just as prevalent within our nation’s boys as they are within our girls.  Our boys AND our girls need to be built up.  They are all in need of reassurance that their God-given worth is equal to the person sitting next to them – male or female.  Our boys need to see the men in their lives defending the equality of women, and our girls need to see the women in their lives defending the equality of men.  If they do, there is a good chance that they will someday become men and women who are more interested in elevating – not subjugating – the opposite sex.

Last week, I found the sweetest letter on my oldest son’s bed.  My oldest daughter had written it to him and placed it there for him to find.  She had written it in response to a note that he had written to her, a few weeks prior, telling her how much he admired her.  Needless to say, this little exchange melted my heart.  Those two have always been close.  They have always been so encouraging to one another.  They have always displayed a mutual love and respect for one another.  When I read through both of their letters, I was struck by the fact that neither of them was interested in building themselves up.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Each of them was focused solely on building up the other.  Each of them was writing from a place of humility.  Each of them seemed to grasp the truth that equality is greater than superiority.

It was beautiful.

As a fourth grader and a sixth grader, they are both still trying to master their math facts.  While I certainly hope that they memorize those facts, and take them into adulthood, I also hope that they take an important math fact (of a different kind) with them as well.

It’s one that matters far more than any that they could learn in the classroom.

It’s one that they have already begun to grasp.

It’s one that I hope they will commit to memory.

And it’s one that I hope the rest of us will, too…

EQUALITY > SUPERIORITY

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