Gender is a social construct, defined as a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created and developed by society. An example of this is the idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Sex, on the other hand, is biological. When God created humankind, he created male and female. He created two different sexes, not two different genders.
Gender roles, in general, were created to limit women. Pregnancy is not what it used to be. In Biblical times, pregnant women generally couldn’t work because most jobs required hard labor. There was also no such thing as birth control. That, coupled with the idea at the time that having many kids was a sign of high status and/or God’s favor, meant that the average woman spent the majority of her life either pregnant or nursing. Because of this, men most often did the physical labor necessary to provide food and shelter, which led to them developing larger and stronger bodies, which they were able to use as leverage for dominance.
God created sex, a world broken by sin led to the creation of gender roles, and gender roles led to sexism in a male dominated society.
Now, in the present day we are still facing problems that take root in the gender roles established so long ago. Most American Christian denominations still oppose women preaching, leading, and teaching in the home and church. Women are being either forced into one-sided submission, or socialized to believe that it is part of their wifely duty, putting their husband as the head of the household.
In Ephesians 5 we see Paul calling on men to recognize and sacrifice their own privilege so that women can rise to their rightful place. Paul is calling on men to rise above the patterns of society.
Paul recognized that gender roles and male dominance was cultural and not biblical, and yet, over two thousand years later the church is still enforcing these societal norms instead of encouraging biblical freedom.
By subscribing to gender roles, one is submitting their mind to the teachings of the world rather than to freedom of Christ. Patriarchy, sexism, gender roles, etc. are all secular matters. Freedom to break out of these social constraints is found in Jesus.
Jesus Christ didn’t die to break the chains of sin just for you to be bound again. It’s time to break free and be all that God calls us to be.
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