Updated models of womanhood

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and gracious comments on my models of manhood and womenhood. As a result I’ve made some further changes. I accept that the previous model for womanhood wrongly implied that women could not lead outside marriage or the church or in the absence of male leadership. I was trying to make the leadership axis match that on the diagram for men, but the end result was misleading so I’ve given up on that. I’ve therefore relabelled the leadership axis ‘welcoming male leadership – resisting male leadership’. This still leaves the issue of leadership outside of marriage and the church ambiguous, but I’ve clarified that a little in the PDF worksheet version.

So here’s the revised models of womanhood diagram (and here it is as a PDF worksheet on womanhood).

I think I will also revert to the previous version of the male diagram on which the leadership axis is labelled ‘passivity – proactivity’ as I think that focuses the issues helpfully for men.

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4 thoughts on “Updated models of womanhood

  1. Tim, I do wonder whether the horizontal access isn’t best reflected in terms of the selfish and serving type labels -I wonder whether that might open the conversation much more about why male headship in church and family.At the moment the model still feels like it tests orthodoxy on a specific issue rather thanproviding a help to open up a conversation leading to teaching.

    It might be helpful to think about self-serving autonomy versus interdependent/complimentary helper -the bonus is that we might find language which gets closer to the grain of Scripture.

    I would then include within the positive side of things something that captures the proactive submission to husbands and elders .(nb men too should proactively submit to elders), the sense of entrusting into protection…but at the same time there is Biblical initiative taking that acts to help.

    I’m interested in how we understand “male leadership” -is this generic women submit to men ….or is it much more specific in terms of husbands and elders. How do men and women relate to each other outside of those contexts. What do you make of the argument that wives are specifically to submit to their husbands so that they are not placed in general subjection to men?

  2. I don’t know Tim. The Bible talks about husband – headship, but translating it into male – leadership carries in all kinds of cultural bagage and seems to me a wrong generalisation. To me the question remains open why you choose for accepting or resisting male-leadership to be an axis, especially because it is unclear where you want to apply it – within marriage or within church or within society.

    I am also a bit worried to say the least by the way folk like Driscoll are dealing with these questions. The Keller approach seems to me much more constructive, sensitive and warranted.

  3. Hi Tim

    A couple of thoughts on structure rather than content:
    1. Could you flip the horizontal axis in the womanhood diagram so that the “godly woman” ends up in the top right rather than the top left which is more intuitive and brings it into line with the manhood diagram; and
    2. I was chatting with a friend about your diagram and she suggested that there might be an inherent danger/potential for confusion in placing the axes bisecting the diagram rather than on its edges – especially for those with an “egalitarian” disposition.

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