Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Complementarianism

A few days ago I read something somewhere on the web that mentioned “complementarianism”. It was the first time I’d seen it called an -ism, and that seemed strange to me.

Someone else pointed me to this web site 24 Useful Words From Laádan, a Language Invented to Express a Woman’s Point of View | Mental Floss:

In 1981, author Suzette Haden Elgin was working on a speech when she began to wonder why feminist science fiction always portrayed either matriarchy, where women were superior to men, or androgyny, where women were equal to men. What about another alternative, where women were simply different from men? Perhaps it was difficult to imagine such a possibility, she thought, because we lacked the language to express it.

And that view, that women are simply different from men, seems to me best described asd the “complementarian” view, that male and female are not identical, not interchangeable, but that each is incomplete without the other. I wouldn’t regard it as an ideology (which is why I find the -“ism” puzzling) but just as a way of seeing things.

And the words on the linked web site seem to me that they could be quite useful, like the Zulu words for different colours of cows.

But it seems to me that “complementarianism” is regarded by many as a thoroughly bad thing.

Matriarchy, androgyny or patriarchy are where it’s at, folks.

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2 thoughts on “Complementarianism

  1. As I understand it, the word is used by some, particularly Evangelical Christians, to connote a view of the relations between men and women that does more than simply acknowledge their complementarity, but translates that into certain specific expectations and roles so that, for example, men are expected to lead and women to follow etc. It seems (at least in those circles) to be contrasted to what is termed egalitarianism which, while not necessarily denying that men and women are different and complement each other, is hesitant about assigning them specific expectations and roles.

  2. So it’s yet another term that has been hijackedf, like “communitarianism”.

    I wonder when they started doing that?

    As far as I am concerned, the complementarian view is egalitarian.

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