The Struggle is Real

 

This week, I was invited to three women’s events.

As a missionary-minded Christian, interested in relieving oppression, I went.

Call me a burgeoning feminist.

But the events weren’t quite what I had hoped for.

At a forum on women’s leadership (which was quite good), we ended with a male institutional leader joking that we might get “bossy.” He actually said this, about a young female co-leader, after he interrupted her and did not allow her to give her closing remarks.
He thought it was funny.

I didn’t.
I have yet to hear a man called “bossy.”
It is an intensely female word.
Usually indicating leadership. Or ambition.
When discussing men, we say “strong leader.” “ Ambitious.”
Not women. The word itself signifies that there is something inappropriate about feminine leadership.

I have known bossy men.
Inappropriately so.
When I brought it up I was told, “oh, don’t mind Joe. That’s just how he is.
It’s part of being a strong leader.”

Huh?

At another event for female leadership, I heard a prestigious woman refuse to take credit for her achievements, a corporate leader (first in her position) say that we needed to be very careful assuming that anything was sexist, and a Hispanic leader proudly relate that her family never calls her by her name.
She is “doll” to the people who love her best. And proud of it.
I left bewildered, but grateful.
At least someone called for the meeting.

And then I went to a church event.
It wasn’t billed as female only, but my husband and the sound guy were the only men in the room.
I heard the founder of a spiritual network that builds real relationship and close community insist that “we are not a church,” and “I am not a pastor.”
During her teaching time.

And I wondered, what is a church?
Because a gathering of people, in community, around the Scriptures, sort of fits my definition.
I guess the fact that we were women is what negates it.

As I looked for the event, which was centered on Christian yoga, we ended up at the wrong campus of a very large church.
I talked to two preschool teachers, coming in for a meeting.
Then I asked a group of men leaving their Bible study.

“Have you seen any yoga people?” I queried.
“Oh, yeah, there were some women over there,” one said.
The preschool group.
Facepalm.

“Were they yoga people, or just female?”
I didn’t let him off the hook.
“Oh, females,” he said, sheepishly.

Ok.

Church, there are reasons millennials are staying away.
In large numbers.

We have a long way to go, baby.
Sigh.

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