Friday, January 16, 2009

Palin's campaign exposes fissure in conservative notions of marital roles

In a perceptive and refreshingly nuanced view of conservative feminism, sociologist Abby Scher highlights the distinction between "biblical womanhood" and "traditional" womanhood -- Sarah Palin's M.O. an example of the latter (ea).

Palin’s campaign reveals a surprising transition in what conservative Christians (including both evangelicals and Roman Catholics) mean by traditional woman: not a stay-at-home mom but someone who believes in a heterosexual nuclear family and conservative “family values.”

By contrast, “biblical womanhood” is the phrase used by neo-Calvinists and others to describe submissive stay-at-home moms who are expected to ask their husbands how they should vote.

During the election, champions of biblical womanhood such as Doug Phillips of the home-schooling ministry Vision Forum opposed Palin’s candidacy on the grounds that God did not mean for women to lord over men or depart from being “keepers of the home.” Phillips called Palin’s selection “the single most dangerous event in the conscience of the Christian community in the last 10 years".

Relevant links:

Doug Phillips' Vision Forum
Doug Phillips' Blog
Susan B. Anthony List
Independent Women's Forum
Feminists for Life