When I went to the grocery store a month ago, the wind was blowing fierce enough to knock you over. As I walked through the parking lot, I caught a glimpse of an older couple struggling to the front doors, hand in hand. Did they hold hands out of affection or to steady themselves against the wind? Was there a difference in their case? It wasn’t obvious who was supporting who nor do I think it matters.
Feminism has taken a variety of forms in the past. Some have have done great things for women, others, I think, have done more harm than good. When I think about feminism of the “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” kind, I wonder what drives the need for independence. There is a sense in which “I don’t need a man” is “I don’t need anyone.” When feminism takes this form, I think it is harmful. We live each to each other. I think there are fundamental differences between the way men and women perceive the world. Perhaps it is nurture, perhaps nature. Yet those differences are our strength. One might as well argue which is more important, cement or water. Either on their own is useless to make a building. There is strength in diversity.
Some day I will make peace with Milton’s Paradise Lost. Even if I don’t always agree with the way Milton imagines things, I find his version of Genesis 3 to be interesting. The event which allowed the temptation to take place was Eve’s insistence on working in the garden alone. She knew that Satan might be lurking in the garden. If she ran into him she hoped to defeat him alone. Adam’s fault was not insisting that they stay together. One could fault Eve for not submitting to her husband. However, I think the much more grievous fault is that they both gave into isolation. We don’t know what would have happened if the serpent had approached Adam working alone, rather than Eve. The point is that they should have been together. Man was not created to be alone. Humans were not created to be alone.