by Bill Nugent
In the late 1980s about 11% of American women kept their maiden names after marriage. Ten years later only about 2% kept their maiden names after marriage. The other 98% followed the traditional custom of adopting their husband’s surname upon marriage. The feminist imperative of women retaining their maiden names has lost ground. What is the reason for this trend?
Gloria Steinem (1934 – ) of 1970s women’s lib fame is reputed to have said “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Her bicycle must be built for two because she recently got married! When Gloria Steinem gets married I think we need to seriously consider adding the word “post-feminism” to our vocabulary.
The purpose of this article is not to bash feminism. Feminism is not all bad. Although feminism has brought some absurd ideas into American society it has also done some good for both sexes.
The reason feminism seems to be on the decline is because human beings realize that men and women are different. Men and women have different emotional and physical makeup and different capabilities. It may not be politically correct to point this out but everyone knows it. The differences between men and women suit them for different roles in life.
The Bible is often criticized for being patriarchal. The Bible’s passages that affirm patriarchy are only mildly patriarchal when understood in context. The Bible is very affirming of women and also protective of them.
Let me also point out that every institution ever formed by man is patriarchal. No human government or culture on earth — be it east or west, past or present — treats men and women alike. All human institutions have double standards. The U.S. government has multitudes of double standards. For instance, mothers rather than fathers are typically given custody of the children in divorce cases. The U.S. Army allows no women in infantry or armor.
Civilizations in Asia and Africa are much more patriarchal than those of the Judeo-Christian influenced west. Even radical secular societies like communist China are patriarchal. The old Soviet Union spouted feminist ideology in its early days but remained thoroughly patriarchal.
Famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978), no friend of biblical morality, wrote that there has never been a true matriarchal society. On at least one occasion she confronted sociology textbook writers by explaining that there are matrilineal societies (inheritance passes from mother to daughter) but no matriarchal societies. In all societies most decisions in both public and private life are made by males.
I didn’t invent this. I didn’t make this up. Differences between the sexes just happens to be reality. Thomas Sowell wrote a book called Is Reality Optional? In it he explains — contrary to postmodernism — that reality is NOT optional! God’s holy book, the Bible, deals with reality, not fantasy and gives us true wisdom for daily living.