Talking Turkey: Gender Roles

November 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm 2 comments

She arrived the day before Thanksgiving after a two-day road trip from Chico, CA. The long drive in the rain had taken it’s toll and even though she was tired, she was never too tired for a good debate. We were discussing our plans for Turkey Day in the kitchen and the conversation somehow turned to one of my favorite topics – gender roles. Perhaps it was because my husband and I share the kitchen so much. If there’s one topic I get passionate about, it’s gender roles and something my mom said stirred the fires and got me thinking.

“It’s great that you and Ken share so much of the cooking, but you know, God created men to be our protectors.” “Really?” I thought. Then, thinking out loud as I so often do, I processed some of my thoughts with her. “Really?” I said, “Why would God create man to protect woman if there were no threats in the Garden of Eden?” Thus began a lively debate about gender roles over preparations for Turkey Day.

Some argue that before the Fall of Man – ok, I’ll be fair and use gender-neutral language here – before the Fall of Humanity, there was no death. So, no death, probably no violence and likely no need for protection. And who was it in the garden that needed “help” anyway? Many systems of defining gender roles look to creative intent as the orientation for defining what is “true” masculinity and femininity. I’m wondering if we have read some things into our origin texts that might not be there.

I still have much thinking to do on this issue, and will be processing some of my thoughts here, but the question I am asking myself about this idea of male=protector is: Do I want to communicate the subtle message to my girls that they are not safe in this world unless they have a human male to protect them? Where does God fit into that picture? What about all the single ladies and all the fatherless girls out there? Is there no hope for them?

Scot McKnight of Jesus Creed posted “Save the Girls” which is an excerpt from The Case for Girls in Fast Company that reminded me to blog about this today. Even though my refrigerator and I are stuffed with more turkey than we need, let’s not stop talking turkey about this important topic.


Entry filed under: "the fall", Creation, faith, human nature, sexuality.

How to and How Not To… Rules or Relationship


  • 1. Elise Haskell  |  November 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I got along quite well without my father, my mom was more than enough to take care of me.

  • 2. Elizabeth Chapin  |  November 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Elise, thanks for commenting. In what ways were you without your father?

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