“The first resistance to social change is to say it's not necessary.” - Gloria Steinem
Homemaking is considered to be a proper woman's proper role. As a universally accepted truism, the belief that a woman's place is in the home is found in nearly all religions and all cultures.
But what happens when a woman finds herself alone in the home? Homemaking is an unpaid position; how is it made possible without someone bringing home a paycheck? It isn't. Hence, welfare.
One of the slogans during the heydays of the women's rights movement in the 60s and 70s was that most women are one man away from welfare, as stated quite succinctly by Gloria Steinem. But why is it that the same people who assign the role of homemaking to all women are also the ones who dislike welfare the most? What is a woman supposed to do when a husband dies, divorces, or deserts her? Without his paycheck she has very few options, especially if she's taking care of an infant. What is a homemaker supposed to do if the husband vanishes?
Our hierarchical theologians have no answer.
They tell us that if women would only submit properly, they would not find themselves in these situations.
As if death could be avoided through proper submission.
Here our hierarchical theologians pause for a moment and tell us that perhaps death cannot be avoided, but certainly divorce can be avoided if the woman submits properly. But what they are really saying is that they have no answer to the question how a homemaker is supposed to make a living in the case of an absent husband. Alimony isn't always available, nor is it always awarded. So what is a homemaker supposed to do when the husband is absent - other than apply for welfare?
This question may surprise modern readers, but in the 70s, daycare was an absent commodity. A housewife who found herself without a husband, regardless of the reason, was forced to apply for welfare, for she had no other way to support herself. So the question is, why do those who insist all women should be homemakers also resist welfare?
The whole point behind recommending homemaking and resisting welfare is to make a large portion of the population vulnerable. If women cannot work outside of the home, or apply for welfare when the husband vanishes, they are doubly vulnerable. If they can't make a living either way, they are at a risk of having to seek a living they can secure, such as prostitution, or selling their children into a brothel or slavery. Thus the ideal of homemaking becomes the source and supply of sex slavery and slavery in general.
This is hardly what our hierarchical theologians have in mind when they recommend homemaking to all women. Yet, nevertheless, it is the reality of the situation. Women and children who have no ability to make a living are forced to seek whatever means they have to secure a living. And that is when those who seek to abuse them find them.
If we are going to be serious about holiness, we will also seek ways to minimize tragedy, and maximize ways to ensure the dignity of all humans. Homemaking may seem like a great idea when first world theologians formulate their theologies, but from the perspective of the rest of the world, it is a bad idea. And even thought most cultures and philosophies prescribe homemaking to all women, it leaves women and children vulnerable to the most horrendous abuse.
Shouldn't the church lead the way in liberating women and children from the clutches of those who would abuse them, instead of ensuring they will be abused? If we don't approve of welfare, let's not approve of a theology that requires welfare. If we don't want social change, let's make sure that our societies take care of everyone.