An interesting blog post crossed my feed the other day. At least the first half of it was really interesting, more on that in a minute….
The following (half) post copied from Move From This Mountain has some valuable pieces of insight regarding headship and patriarchy. Of particular interest is the author’s assertion, which I believe correct, that men must deal with men. Or, put another way – Men innately know that women do not have authority over them.
Here’s the long quote and a few thoughts. The full article is available here.
Unpopular confession time: I like the “male authority” concept. Husbands as heads and men at the city gates and as judges and in the priesthood–I have since at least grad school. I have a reason for that now that I couldn’t have articulated in this way for the last twenty years:
Bad Men Do Not Listen to Women.
I hope you’re hearing me on that point.
Let me spinoff a few derivatives:
Men who don’t fear God will abuse people with less power: the poor (male or female), the immigrant (male or female), the widow, or the fatherless.
Only men can stop bad men from behaving badly. (Sometimes by killing them after the fact through the justice system.)
Women who are not protected by men (specifically within their families [fathers, husbands, or brothers] or generally within their culture’s legal system [built and maintained by men]) are open to attack from any man.
Disclaimer One: Yes, I know women are police officers and judges and jailers. But you know what would happen to an all-women’s “justice club” that tried to restrain violent men without the backing of a broad, hierarchical male authority structure protecting them?
They’d get laid right down, G-d forbid. You know it. I know it. They’d be laughed at. In fact, men will laugh at men as they’re dragged to the gallows and hanged. But men have the power to structure-up and hang ’em anyway.
Disclaimer Two: Of course not every male-headed power structure will do good instead of evil. But who’s going to build a kingdom or an army to oppose that?
Liberated Women Don’t Need Men to Defend Them–Unless They’re Being Attacked
Y’all, I grew up in the 80s, second-generation liberated woman. I had self-defense classes in my gym class in middle school: “If an attacker grabs you like this, do this.” We practiced.
Little girls. Practicing. Defending ourselves. Against. Grown. Men.
“Aw, isn’t that cute? Look, little Cupcake is trying to kick him in the *.”
It took me until *this year* to unlearn the idea that I should be able to physically defend myself against a man.
Do you know what an attacking man thinks of a woman who thinks she has a shot at defending herself from him in a physical fight? He thinks it’s funny. Pathetic. Makes it more fun to put her down.
Some women will surprise him and put him down, sure. But guess what? I can’t. Most of us can’t. I haven’t been able to do it. So what’s the right solution to that problem for women? More self-defense classes? Carry a deadly weapon that will most likely be grabbed and used against her?
Call the police, and–whether the officer is male or female–invoke the male-built, male-sustained justice system to protect you. Bring in other men, organized in groups, to deal with that man.
In an abusive culture, you have no guarantee that the attacker won’t lie and bring the power of that system right back down on your head. And, yes, the system itself can be infiltrated by abusers who want to cause harm from within the ministry of justice. I am not unaware of abuses of power.
So the Torah courts focus on male-to-male settlements. Plenty of payouts go to women: read about it. Jews have written down their case law; you can read their legal decisions on Sefaria. So why fall back to the fathers and kinsmen redeemers as the defenders of a woman in how the Torah sets up courts?
It is not because God doesn’t care about women.
It is because bad men will not listen to women. They will intimidate them and accuse them and threaten them and do whatever the hockey sticks they want to them–in the courtroom or out of it–unless they are restrained by authoritative groups/systems/societies of other men.
Consider Amnon’s response to Tamar after he raped her. Putting his body part into hers is one of the four legal ways to acquire a wife in God’s law, so he had just acquired her, illegitimately, by his act. From her perspective, being acquired and then rejected immediately after that was worse than his attack.
If they had involved the authorities, the law would have given her the opportunity to say she was willing to be his wife or she was unwilling. The rapist already made his choice by his act. (Seducers in the Torah are like rapists in every way except that because they get the woman to lay down willingly, they don’t pay the fine for hurting her body.) The law steps in to give her a choice. She can veto his acquisition act. Why does it mention her father? He’s the most likely person to get the rapist into court in the first place. If not him, she’ll go to the elders. It will take a man to get a man into court to pay what’s due to a woman.
You can see how much influence Tamar had on her brother as he ignored her protests to rape her and ignored her cries when he threw her out of his house afterwards. In a word: none.
Bad men do not listen to women.
Absalom, Tamar’s brother, told Tamar not to go to the authorities. He wanted to deal with Amnon himself, so he didn’t take him to court where the matter could be settled with fines and other punishments. He had Amnon murdered. Men deal with men.
People fear men more than they fear God. Most do. That’s why God gave us a justice system, an earthly court system besides God’s own heavenly court system.
I guess I can admit that women don’t need male authorities protecting them–as long as they’re not being attacked. As long as their defensive plans work. So in the World to Come, we’ll be fine and not need that, yes. That’s not this world.
Meanwhile, I want the patriarchy protecting me. I don’t want to have to dial 9-1-1. I don’t want my dad or brother to have to step in for me. But remove the hierarchy of justice from a place and watch what happens to women when men have no fear of what other men will do to them.
Why do men listen to women at all?
This should bring up the question: Why do the men who do listen to women do that? Because if they’re over about ten years old, ain’t no man compelled to listen to any woman about anything.
But some do. A man might listen to a woman because he doesn’t want the hassle of criminal charges. But not every female request has to do with criminal behavior.
In those lesser cases, it has got to be a voluntary thing. Internal. Self-control. Restraint. Hebrew: Gevurah, which also means power, the second day of creation’s theme, and a primarily (not exclusively) feminine aspect of God’s male/female nature…..Article on Move From This Mountain
That was the point at which she lost me… ‘…feminine aspect of God’s male/female nature…’ I disagree with quite a bit she wrote afterward based on her understanding of the Holy Spirit, but I’ll not dive into that stew of error.
What fascinated me in the early parts of the post, quoted above, was how she portrayed men as respecting or, in cases, fearing other men because of the strength, power, and will each can wield. Even more interesting was her observation that somewhere around ten years of age, a boy becomes aware that it is the voice of the man that holds authority.
How much higher is the crime rate and high school drop out rate among young men who have no father or father figure and are reared solely by a woman?
Her further points regarding women who eschew patriarchy, but seek authority when they are attacked reminded me of the #BLM and #Antifa ‘protesters’ who call for police protection as soon as they are faced with counter violence. They don’t want any authority figure until they need an authority figure.
The bottom line is that in multiple places in Scripture we are told that God’s character and attributes are clearly visible in creation and we violate what can easily be seen to our own peril, both now and in the hereafter. Just as Romans 1 tells us the wrongness of homosexuality is clearly visible in creation, so too is the absurdity of inverted authority structures.
Without question, God will restore His authority structure in kol Israel and ultimately the whole earth, but it appears we must rear the whirlwind first. Cue Isaiah 3 and 4!
Men, if you are unwilling to stand up and assert yourselves as the God ordained leaders of home, community, and nation, prepare to suffer the consequences!!
If you want to clearly understand what God’s proper authority model is for His people and the world at large, read Authority, Headship, and Family Structure.