I am an Egalitarian. I Do NOT Believe in “Christian” Gender Roles. Here’s Why.
I am an Egalitarian. I Do NOT Believe in “Christian” Gender Roles. Here’s Why.

I am an Egalitarian. I Do NOT Believe in “Christian” Gender Roles. Here’s Why.

P.S. This post is written for a Christian audience.

P.P.S. Contents presume that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Photo credit: www.scarymommy.com

Maybe I shouldn’t call myself an egalitarian. For in doing so, I self-confine to a box, and people DON’T fit in neat boxes.

But for the sake of defining my sentiments, I am an egalitarian- I believe that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

I believe that every person is fearfully and wonderfully made. We are uniquely gifted with a tailored purpose on earth.

Every individual is frightfully special. There are no two identical persons in this 7-billion-people world. God created each and every one of us with deliberate care, painstakingly knitted us in our mother’s womb to reflect His image.

He then bestowed upon us personalities, characters, interests and passions (some shaped by the environment, no doubt).

As a result, there are girls who love football, video games, cars, aircraft, cross fit, and blue colour. In equal measures, there are boys who adore sewing, arts and craft, shopping, dressing up, pink colour and can whip up a mean Beef Rendang.

We can NOT expect every little girl to enjoy Barbie dolls, nor every little boy to dig that Hot Wheels collection.

Some girls like cooking and some boys like cooking; some boys like boxing and some girls like boxing.

Some girls are blessed with leadership qualities, some boys- God gave the gift of compassion.

In other words, people do NOT fit into neat gender boxes.

In line with that, God called each of us personally- according to our gifts, talents, and more importantly, season.

There are women who are called to be policewomen, soldiers, pilots, lawyers, doctors, politicians; some men are called to be nannies, teachers, nurses, tailors, chefs, care givers or cabin crew.

Some women are called to be pastors; some men are called to be pastors.

Some women are called to be homemakers; some men are called to be homemakers.

Gender does nothing to determine where our ministry lies. God doesn’t go “oh, a penis! Let me locate my List of Boys’ Callings”. Nor does He say, “ahh, ovaries. I guess that rules out pilot, firefighter, and engineer”.

If anything, gendering and culture is the main culprit behind gender roles- NOT God.

Sure, with respect to biological stipulation, men are physically stronger, hence their large numbers in sectors that value brute force. However, we can not exclude any gender group purely because of gender stereotypes.

Here’s my favourite example. If the army require recruits to manage 50 pull ups, both male and female should meet the mark. We mustn’t reduce the requirements for females on the basis of “biology”.  As a result, 2 women might qualify for every 50 men, and that’s okay. This, is equality. (This is my idea of equality. I understand everybody has their own viewpoints)

The crux of the matter is to encourage a merit-based system, instead of forcing gender-based notions. The two genders do have differences, but there’s always definitely a spectrum, and a lot of people don’t fit gender stereotypes. But more importantly, people. Don’t. Fit. In. Boxes.

You see, it’s all about embracing God’s gifts to us, discounting gender because it is that trivia.


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Awhile ago, I read an article (click here to view) on Whale Oil titled “Why I love the Christian complementarian view of gender roles”. The writer begins by saying that men and women have “equal value and dignity”- this I agree full heartedly. Then, she suggest that men and women have different functions- okay… I can still kinda-sorta-halfheartedly follow… even if her only scriptural basis for this claim is that “Eve was Adam’s helper”.

Then she goes on to describe how men and women are fundamentally different, basically putting us into boxes. She hints that there are only two groups of people in this world- cisgender males and cisgender females. There are only two boxes. The women like to cook, bake, and have no interest in a career. Men are natural leaders, uninterested in household chores, and are committed to their careers.

According to her, you MUST fit into one of these two boxes, or else.

Next, she talks about the importance of homemaking- a sentiment I second to no ends. I strongly agree that homemaking is noble and largely beneficial to the Kingdom of God. After all, our family is our first ministry. Nucleus families are the building blocks of society.

I have great admiration and mad respect for men and women called to be homemakers, my own mother being one of the many. I previously referred to my mother in this blog as “the Proverbs 31 Women in Flesh“.


The writer continues. She insist that “women are called to be the primary keepers of their homes”. ALL women are called to be homemakers? This is when time stopped and sirens pierced the silence in my head like a James Bond flick.

Apparently, gender roles ensures “family stability” and “household resilience”. She thinks that “gender roles in marriage are like a gigantic signpost to the solution God provided for our estrangement from him and our created purpose.” (On the contrary, if I may, being sensitive to God’s voice and seeking first the kingdom of God builds the foundation of a stable family. But that’s besides the point here.)

But everybody is entitled to their personal opinions, right?

… And then she went on to call these opinions “Christian gender roles”.

One may share epiphanies, but please be cautious when passing off personal opinions as God’s word.

So, what is her basis for claiming that the Bible teaches gender roles?

The cornerstone and lone backbone of her entire argument is Titus 2:3-5.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Let’s dive in (I am, after all, a theologian’s daughter, even if it doesn’t show). I love how Marg Mowczko explains it in her blog:

Some people interpret Titus as “women should spend their entire lives doing XYZ”, when it actually means “older women should teach younger women to XYZ”. To borrow Marg’s example, “teach Connie to swim” is very different from “Connie should spend every single day in the pool, perfecting her strokes, and only swimming”.

Also, at this time in history, Greco-Roman code was the cultural norm. It was the only socially accepted arrangement. When Paul encouraged women to stay home, what he meant was “don’t draw too much attention to yourselves”. There were, after all, preaching that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, a message widely unaccepted at that time; why draw more unwanted attention?

In most modern civilisations, the Greco-Roman code is no more. Social standards have also change. It is now perfectly acceptable for a women to work and bring home the bacon. Therefore, churches and christians in our modern society who insist on fixed and hierarchical gender roles are giving the church exactly the bad name Paul was trying to avoid!

Photo credit: www.discogs.com

This brings us back to boxes and God’s gifts. Once again, sometimes God calls a woman to be a homemaker, sometime he calls her to be a pilot.  Sometimes, God calls a man to be a seamster, and sometimes…

… God calls him to be a homemaker.

Homemaking is lobster, a career is caviar. Some women are called to eat lobsters, some are called to taste caviars. Same as men. It is completely acceptable for a man to be a homemaker, if God calls him to be.

There is no such thing as Christian gender roles. There are gender roles that some christians subscribe to and practice, but they are definitely NOT christian gender roles.

Please tread carefully when interpreting God’s word, especially when it can hurt people. Women have work very hard to achieve what we have today- think twice before dismantling centuries of feminism work. There’s a branch of feminism called atheist feminism, so be cautious less we accidentally become a stumbling block (I know I have been one many a time, I will not pull a holier-than-thou on this).

To sum it up, yes to homemaking. Yes to embracing God’s gifts. Yes to responding to God’s calling. But no to gender roles. No to forcing people into boxes. And, NO to misogyny wrapped in bible verses, even if you include a ribbon of good intentions.

Photo credit: www.highsnobiety.com

Here’s an excerpt from Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist:

“We are not biblical women because we achieve status as a stay-at-home mother and home-cook every meal. We are not men of God because we alone make the “hard decisions” and exclusively provide for our families, let alone because together we live out some version of a Greco-Roman household code. We are not living biblically by stuffing our true gifts and callings and passions into worn-out cliches, turning spiritual scriptural encouragement and invitations into new rules.” ~ Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist, Pg 100

Bear with me while I quote Sarah Bessey one more time. She says, “‘if it’s not true in Darfur, it’s not true here’… if we can’t preach it in any context, for every person, it’s not really for everyone, and so then we should probably ask whether or not what we are preaching is actually the gospel.

Can we preach to a CEO’s wife in New Zealand the same message we do a sanitary worker’s wife in Malaysia?

If no, ask yourself, is this actually the gospel?


Photo credit: www.chinadaily.com


Disclaimer: I’m a sinner saved by grace. Since reading this article 63 days ago (at the point of this writing, but who’s counting), my feminist-instincts have been heightened, and I’ve harboured a lot of unchrist-like thoughts, struggling with bitterness that anyone would dare write something like this. The last thing I want to be is pretentious, so here I am transparent about that anger. My behaviour isn’t aways align with traditional Christian thinking, but I endeavour to become more and more like Jesus. However, like every human, I fail and fail. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning. As for feminism, I would like to paraphrase Sarah Bessey: I’m a Christian apologist for feminism, not an apologist for the bible. If this sentiment result in any shortcomings, may God grant me wisdom, and remove any pride that double as scales over my eyes. May I always notice the plank in my eye before the speck in another’s.

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