Submission or Subjection?

In Nigeria, a stereotypical male might be threatened by a woman who doesn’t need his money. This begs the question – “If money is the main thing being brought to the table of a relationship, what does that say about the value of the man’s intrinsic self”? On the flip side, the same could be said of a woman who only brings sex to the table.

The parties in typical Nigerian relationships must relish control. No wonder. We live in a society where the tribal, spiritual or political overlord is lord and master. Patriarchy is the normal order and so, women use what they have to stay relevant. And so, patriarchy is confused about what to do with women who don’t fit traditional roles. The popular response is to subdue them.

In societies like Nigeria, rape becomes one of the tools of subjection. Or battery. When a man cannot control a woman with money, he seeks other levers of control. Physical strength is one that comes naturally. Should a wife verbally insult her husband, if he is not naturally equipped to match her word for word, he resorts to his forté – brute strength – and gives her a dirty slap. Then, he cuts off access to her financial income to bring her down a notch. She must not go to work. If she works, he must have full control of her account. It’s not about gender dynamics, tradition or culture. Just control.

It’s even worse for the religious, because they are self-deluded. They know they can disobey God and lightning won’t strike them down. They know they can choose to not serve him and God would never retaliate by restricting their choices or movement. They know Jesus could have chosen to disobey God but yet, willingly submitted to his father’s will. They know the relationship the Father and Son share is an equal one and Jesus thought it not robbery. They understand that it is the principle of headship that guides the intimate relationship between the Father and Son and they recognise that in their relationship, authority is about order, not subjugation. Yet, they somehow assume that God, the most gracious of personalities, would endorse a man’s subjection of women.

I also wonder about Bible scholars who deny the depth of the role of “help-meet”. In the original language, the word conveys incredible strength. Its root meaning refers to a mirror image of something. You should study it here.

It is quite instructive that in Apostle Paul’s teachings on authority and submission, he first lays a premise of  mutual submission, before specifying roles for women, men, children and parents (Ephesians 5).

I hope that one day, men and women in Nigeria will learn that authority structures are created to preserve order, not to subdue humans whom God has blessed with free will.

Authority structures are created to preserve order, not to subdue humans whom God has blessed with free will. Click To Tweet


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