Millennial Women Are Burning Out

Written by Father Bill 3 Comments

Larissa Faw, a contributor to Forbes, tells us that “a growing number of young professional women who seem to ‘have it all’ are burning out at work before they reach 30.” Most of her piece summarizes various reasons for why Millennial Women – “ambitious go-getters [who] are working as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and advertising executives, blessed with great salaries, health benefits, and paid vacation – nevertheless flame out while their male peers do not (at least not nearly in the same numbers, with the disparity increasing as the Millennial Careers advance beyond entry-level positions).

For example, Ms. Faw opines that lack of relaxation probably takes a toll. She cites Melanie Shreffler of the youth marketing blog Ypulse: “These women worked like crazy in school, and in college, and then they get into the workforce and they are exhausted.” On the other hand, Captivate Network reveals that compared to their female peers “Men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to take a walk, 5% more likely to go out to lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks ‘just to relax.’”

Here’s a shocker: “It’s not as if these women expected their jobs to be parties and good times, but many underestimated the actual day-to-day drudgery.” And why, you ask, is this so shocking to read? Well, it’s because the classic work of women – to make a home for husband and children – was so thoroughly trashed by all the feminist founders of the Millennial Woman lifestyle, beginning with Betty Friedan in the 1950s and on to all the Women’s Studies centers in universities which insinuated their agenda into every other degree program in every other college on campus for the past 50 years.

Home making? Drudgery! And, now the workplace is filled with drudgery too? Who knew??

Ms. Faw continues, without the slightest hint of embarrassment: “Also, while earlier generations may have opted out of the workforce through marriage or motherhood, these paths aren’t viable for these self-sufficient women, who either are still single or unwilling to be fully supported by men.”

Well, there you have it. Women need men like fish need bicycles, right? Self-sufficient Millennial Women can’t “opt-out” through marriage or motherhood. These are paths Millennial Women are unwilling to take. Evidently, they prefer single self-supporting drudgery to the drudgery of companionship and (yes, it’s shocking to say such a thing nowadays) the support of a husband. It’s soooo demeaning to be a “kept-woman,” dontcha know!

Purdue University’s Teri Thompson’s analysis is cold comfort. Ms. Faw summarizes Thompson’s insight this way: “Ultimately these women are going through the difficult realization that they may have to redefine their goals and come up with different measures of success in order to thrive in the corporate world.” Why, we wonder, is departing the corporate world for something more – uh, well, sheltered? – not a possibility to consider? Instead, Millennial Women “are turning to therapists and prescription medicines, as well as [to] explore alternative remedies, including acupuncture, yoga, and even psychics.”

Over a hundred years ago, when feminism was giving its first full-throated cry, G. K. Chesterton had its mistake accurately analyzed and published for all to read in What’s Wrong With The World (1910). Following the teaching of Christendom, which itself had learned from the Bible how men and women differ in their work, Chesterton nailed the feminist mistake about the old way of women in the home with these words:

When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean.

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.

These days, of course, “woman’s function” is nothing like what it was in Chesterton’s day.  That function –  to be wife and mother to a family – is now deemed to be drudgery in the nonsense meaning Chesterton describes above.  Rearing children is something for the State, at as early an age as politics will permit.  And wifery?  Well, Friedan broke women out of that comfortable concentration camp (her term for domesticity, in case you haven’t read The Feminine Mystique).  Now women are free to pursue their Millennial Careers as Millennial Women – single, self-sufficient, and burned out.

The penchant women have for playing the generalist, in contrast to the specialist bent of most men in the workplace, is a distinction between the sexes as old as Adam and Eve in the Garden. And, if we take the human who is by design (yes, yes, feminists won’t grant you that one either, I know) equipped to administrate in a private domain 100 disparate agendas simultaneously and place her instead in competition against the male in the public arena where he excels in a narrow focus relentlessly pursued as a hound chases a fox – well, might we not predict the woman to burn out as Ms. Faw describes?

“Man, the glory of God” Means What? Part Two

Written by Father Bill No Comments

Getting at an answer to the question “What does it mean to say that man is the glory of God?” is not really all that difficult. But, before laying out an answer, it’s vital to dismiss two false answers that are sometimes given to this question, lest they confuse subsequent discussion of the meaning of these phrases.

First, some claim that “man is the glory of God” is telling us that man glorifies God in the sense of giving glory to God or ascribing (or being) an honor to God.

There are a couple of things wrong with this idea.

As noted in an earlier blog, Paul is everywhere in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 drawing distinctions between man and woman. Note also the formal identity between the phrases “man, the glory of God” and “woman, the glory of man.” Each follows the form “A is the glory of B.” So, if the point of such a phrase is that “A gives glory to B,” then the two phrases about man and woman distinguish men from women only insofar as each sex gives glory and honor to different “targets” as it were.

This understanding of “man, the glory of God” and “woman, the glory of man” leads to spurious conclusions. Manifestly, such a sense does not distinguish men from women or vice versa. Women give glory to God, for example. They do so in most of the ways men do: singing God’s praises, confessing faith in Him, offering petitions to Him, and so forth. While women were not required to attend the three annual feasts of the Lord under the Old Covenant, they were always permitted to do so. And, so, Mary went up to the Feast of the Passover with Joseph on the occasion that Jesus stayed behind in the Temple.

And, if “man, the glory of God” means that men give glory to God, it follows that “woman, the glory of man” means that women give glory to men, and that in pretty much the same way that men give glory to God. Such an idea – no matter how one tempers it with caveats – is far afield of whatever Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 11!

So, “man, the glory of God” does not mean “the man (i.e. the male of the species) gives glory to God.” He may, in fact do so of course; but, that is not what this Pauline phrase is telling us.

Another failed interpretation of the phrase understands “man” to mean “mankind.” And, so, “man the glory of God” means that mankind glorifies God, or mankind gives glory to God, or something similar.

And, of course, one may argue on other grounds and from other statements in Scripture that mankind does exactly that. Indeed, the kings of the earth are exhorted in the strongest possible terms in Psalm 2 to do this:

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way,

When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

But, “mankind gives glory to God” is not what Paul is getting at when he says that “man is the image and glory of God.” For one thing, the use of the word “image” pulls us back into Genesis 1:27 where “mankind” (in our vocabulary) is said to be created male and female. “Man” in Genesis 1:27 is the inclusive masculine – referring to both males and females, as the immediate context confirms. “Man” in the Pauline phrase “man, the glory of God” must be referring to man as a collective noun for the male of the species, for it is contrasted with “woman” which is a collective noun for the female of the species.

The one place where “man” may, indeed, be the male inclusive for “mankind” is, ironically, in the phrase “woman is the glory of man.” But, to see this clearly, we must turn our attention, finally, to elucidating what it means to say that “A is the glory of B,” a subject for the next blog in this series.

“Man, the glory of God” means what? Part One

Written by Father Bill No Comments

If anything in Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 sticks in the modern religious craw it is his statement in verse 7 of that chapter: “Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” Most religious feminists choke at “man, the glory of God” exactly because it is juxtaposed and constrasted with “woman, the glory of man”

First of all, to avoid saying – nay, to deny – that woman is the glory of God is to insult every feminist sensability you can think of. Whatever Paul means by “man, the glory of God,” it necessarily follows that woman is not the glory of God in the same sense that the man is. Of course, it is also true that whatever Paul means by saying that woman is the glory of man, it necessarily follows that man the male not the glory of man in the way that the woman is. For that matter, the man is also also is not the glory of woman! Again, leaving aside precisely what Paul means by these concepts, they are not reciprocal. They are strictly hierachical (cf. 1 Corinthians 1 11:3)

“Glory of God” and “glory of man” are ideas that identify male and female and which distinguish each from the other. And, this can be known for certain from Paul’s exposition even if we do not understand what either of these phrases mean! Throughout the entirety of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, males and females are distinguished from one another. Their natures, their behaviors (both what they do, what they should do, what they should not do), they relationship to one another – all these are distinguished from one another over and over again.

“Man, the glory of God,” then, is an idea Paul predicates of males, not females. And, “woman, the glory of man” is an idea Paul predicates of females, not males. Before we delve into what Paul means by either phrase, we must acknowledge this: the phrases are not synonymous in any sense though they are formally identical. And, we know they are not synonymous in any sense because they are used by Paul to distinguish the man from the woman and vice versa.

To see this, examine the following text of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 in which the words man and woman are rendered in a color different from the surrounding text. Just glance over the passage and you will see – in a visual rather than a semantic way – how Paul distingthishes man from woman and woman from man throughout the entire passage:

 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man , and the head of Christ is God.

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man . 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man . 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

Again, this little exercise establishes that in Paul’s writings, this passage is undoubtedly teaching us about men (i.e. males) and women, and that it distinguishes them from one another at every point. The core distinction between men and women is contained in those phrases man, the glory of God and woman, the glory of man.

We have not yet engaged the meaning of these phrases (that’s coming in subsequent blogs).  But, even without a handle on the meanings of these phrases, we may confidently affirm the following:

  • Men and women differ from one another as glory bearers.  Man is God’s glory (whatever that means), and woman is not.  Woman is man’s glory (whatever that means), and man is not.
  • Paul’s purpose in this passage is to urge upon the Corinthians a specific practice: the covering of women and the absence of covering of men.  In just what context this practice is to be followed is the subject of another blog.  All Christians who comply with Paul’s prescription do so within some sort of context, even those Christians who, for example, have their women with some sort of covering on their heads in all settings, public and private.  Men, for example, will cover their heads because of the weather, but will uncover in settings deemed appropriate for compliance with Paul’s directive in 1 Corinthians 11.
  • There are three glories specified in this passage: man (who is God’s glory), woman (who is man’s glory), and the woman’s hair (which is her own glory).  Keeping these three glories in mind is critical to understanding the meaning of Paul’s prescription.  Specifically, the woman’s hair is given to her both as a covering and as a glory (both are mentioned in verse 15. Consequently, the covering Paul mandates in verse 10 covers two glories: the woman’s glory (her hair) and the woman’s head (for she is man’s glory).  Only the man (God’s glory) is uncovered.

Before fully elucidating Paul’s teaching here, there remain several interpretive points to illumine, and these are the subject of subsequent blogs.  Watch for more.

 


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