The Pastoral is Political: On “Bossy Girls” and the Church

In a post on RevGalBlogPals, the Rev. Terri C. Pilarski shares some thoughts on leadership in a progressive Episcopal parish and “bossy girls in the church”:

Christian denominations are essentially “masculine” in their “sexual orientation.” The world has been organized around the premise that men hold the standard for what is “normal” in psychological development, in medicine and physical health, and in corporate and parochial leadership. Traditional religion holds a negative view toward human sexuality, women’s in particular. Society sexualizes women in commercials, advertisement, television, literature, and movies. Girls are valued because they are pretty. Women and girls receive affirmation for appearances, it’s a social norm to say “You like nice.” Appearances rarely define who men are. Sexuality and gender are used interchangeably, although they mean different things. Gender is understood as the sex we are, but sometimes that is not clear. One can be look one gender but identify as another or both. Sexuality is our quality of being sexual, and that too can take many forms. Regardless, in a patriarchal world, female is always “other,” the antithesis of “normal” male. (For more on this, refer to research by Carol Gilligan and her book, “In A Different Voice”)…

Women are physical beings. Because of our reproductive cycles and birth process we learn how to breathe through pain. Thus women bring a unique strength to the transformation God is calling us to lead. The “curse of Eve” is our strength, a gift from God. May our laboring through the birth pangs of new life bring forth a new paradigm, wherein being a “bossy” girl is valued as good leadership.

For Pilarski’s full reflection, please visit RevGalBlogPals here.

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