Cascade Church Portland

Power Dynamics:: Power in Gender

September 18, 2018

I have a verbal tic that I'm trying to break. 

When I walk in a room and see a big group of people hanging out I'll reflexively say, "Hey guys!"

Now, I know from having asked people to help me be more aware of when I say it, that this is often brushed off as no big deal. Men and women alike will say "Hey, guys!" in groups of people, group emails and at the start of their Instagram stories.
"I'm not talking about gender, it's just a helpful way to greet a large group.", they'll say. 

I can understand that. If you're in that camp I would encourage you to walk into a room of people and say, "Hey, Gals!"

People would likely be confused, and saddest of all, some would interpret it as a slight or a dig at the men in the room. 

When we normalize one gender over another we're describing where power is held. If it's no big deal to be referred to with masculine pronouns, but confusing or insulting to be referred to by feminine pronouns, you might be living in a patriarchy (I am preparing for my second career as the woke Jeff Foxworthy)

A patriarchy is simply a system where men hold a majority of the power. This would be shown, for instance, in a country where the highest level of leadership (the president) has only ever been held by males. 

This power dynamic can be invisible to men and women because it's always been true in their lifetime and likely many lifetimes before their own. We all feel the impact of gravity every single day, but we may not have the language to describe it and certainly not the awareness of it at all times. Patriarchy is like a gravity that impacts one gender more than another. You may not be able to see it, but it's there and it's impacting our interactions on a moment by moment basis. 

Jesus brought us a vision of humanity that holds differences among genders as equally necessary parts of the whole. We collectively need women to hold power as much as we need men to hold power.
Jesus featured the role of women in the resurrection story (Mary with her perfume, and the Mary's discovering the empty tomb) as much as any of the male disciples. This is the kind of reality that God is inviting us into and Christians get to be at the forefront of this story, instead of lagging far behind. 

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