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Here we go with installment number three of my reviews for Rebekah Merkle's 'Eve in Exile'. Much of what I'm about to write is drawn from what I've learned from her book.
In case you aren't aware, the 1960s was the time period that women began to fight back against the social norms, and began choosing careers over family-life. It was in large part due to a book that was published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, outlining how housewives were not living up to their full potential, and therefore were becoming depressed. Her prescription was for women to get out into the workforce, and prove that their minds were just as capable as men's.
You know, I don't completely disagree with Friedan. Women have just as capable minds as men, and should be expected to use them. But doesn't every lie begin with a truth somewhere along the line?
Do you realize what was happening at that time period? The 1950s brought women into a new form of life. Instead of slaving away with gardens, canning, sewing, etc., there was suddenly a boom of technology that allowed for women to go to the store for all of their basic needs. They were no longer slaves to the daily grind of just keeping their families alive, but they also suddenly had lost their fulfilling work. While some of us might look back to the Leave it to Beaver time period as quaint and something to strive for, it was actually a time of unrest for women's souls. When you take away a person's contribution to society, especially when they are still very much capable, you stand the chance of taking away their feeling of usefulness and quality of life.
Merkle makes the point that women were not designed to just make sure the house is dusted and to have well-kept hair for when her husband comes home from work. From the very beginning, God has called women to be man's helper in subduing and filling the earth. You notice God didn't just call us to fill the earth, or, in other words, to have babies? God also gave women the enormous task to use our minds, and subdue the earth as well. It's a task men aren't called, or capable, to do alone.
Of course the women of the 1960s were restless, depressed, and ready to use their minds. They weren't being held to a godly standard. But The Feminine Mystique offered the wrong answer. Instead of looking to the Bible for how women would be most fulfilled, Friedan pointed women to a charge that they were never designed for, and we, and our families, have been reaping the consequences ever since. Friedan didn't call women to use the wonderful opportunity of time they'd been given to advance their families and society by using their mental capabilities and the great design God had for them; she called them to be men.
I have more to read, so I won't go into all of the solutions that Merkle offers to get women on their God-intended track, but I will point you to a previous post I wrote, when I had skipped ahead at the start of the book.
We are called to thrive as women, not just survive, and that is where the 1950s standard for women went all wrong. And to address how the 1960s wounded women, and in turn society, I'll end with this quote of Merkle's:
"I would never say that a wife's place is in the home, but I would absolutely say that a wife's priority should be her home."