Posted by: thebylog | March 11, 2005

Are Mennonites sexist?




  1. You can’t give a simple answer to a question so broadly stated, but I’ve certainly seen it.

  2. Once upon a time at a Mennonite school I came in on a high school senior and two teachers all trying to solve a trig problem. To my great delight, I was able to solve it. But I had the distinct sense that I and my brilliant solution were not welcome. Was I too female, too forward, too gloating? I still don’t know.
    (But that’s the only example of Mennonite sexism I can think of off-hand and it was a long time ago.)

  3. Yes and no. I’ve seen some that are, I’ve seen some that aren’t. I don’t think it’s a part of the Mennonite “name”. It’s far broader than Mennonite, but it DOES exist in Mennonites!

    That is indeed one of my biggest issue in life. I cannot abide a sexist pig! Such an individual pushes me clear over the edge!

    I think it makes a huge difference on parents! It always bothers me to see a man and his wife living out the king and the lowly subject. That is so far cry from what marriage should be! I have seen such marriages and I have seen what it does to the kids. The girls are “taught” to never even THINK and they boys are “taught” that woman are a mere rug for them to wipe their feet on. There is a severe lack of respect for woman that flows from that mindset.

    While I am all for leadership and submission, I have seen it twisted, at times, into something so ugly that it makes you want nothing to do with it. A distorted view of what those two things are is often a key in “developing” a sexist.

    While not all Mennonites are sexist, I think it is far too common. The example that Dorcas gave I have seen happen in various form. There are men, I have always said, that are intimidated by a woman that knows her own mind and that knows how to think. ESPECIALLY if she happens to be superior to him in her abilities! I say they are intimidated, thus they react because they are not settled in themselves, they are not confident enough in who they are to handle it. They just react and somehow let the woman know that she is “out of her place”. I’m thinking, “oh pardon me while we all go out and stuff cotton in our heads just so you can feel intelligent……”.

    I think I react worse to those people because of how I was raised. My parents were always a team. They worked together in every aspect of life. My Daddy has NEVER been intimidated by a competent woman. I think it’s because he is secure in who he is! Really, it makes a difference. So, when you have a wonderful man in your life that lets you be who you are and appreciates you for it, and then you are “out” and you meet up with one that lets you know that he thinks you are out of place for not bowing to him, my body language tends to get the best of me. I do not bow and he could not force me to do so.

    So, I could ramble on for a very long period of time, but alas, I shall now shut off the flow.


  4. I’ve seen it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can stick a label on the group. What bothers me most in the Mennonite sexism is that they (we?) think it’s Biblical. Some people can’t separate sexism from the God-given order–probably because the difference lies in the heart.


  5. And you sum up in a few short words what took me ten minutes to say and I still didn’t say it “right”……..what a gift.


  6. It’s a human problem not a Mennonite problem, and it goes both ways. The Bible says it best in Phil 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humilty consider others better than yourselves.” If we would all seek to follow Christ example of servanthood we really wouldn’t have a problem in this area.
    I am privileged to have a Dad who encouraged me to use my brain and follow God’s will for my life whatever that may be. I was also encouraged to be a lady.
    I also just wanted to say that in the world today I feel like in general the women are more sexist then the men. Look at the media. Today’s videos too often picture the man as the big loveable dummy and the women as having it all together and having to straighten out the men. Woman are no longer encouraged in the wonderful giftings that God has given them to serve their husbands and their children. I think we need to guard the precious treasure of femininity. Their are far too many children left alone trying to find their way while their mothers “follow their dreams” Personally, I am thankful to be apart of a “Mennonite” legacy that seeks to guard it. They haven’t been perfect in doing this, but then again none of us are. How many of us are able to say at all times we look at others (everyone), your neighbor across the street that drinks himself to sleep every night, your friend who can’t seem to think past the next cute guy she sees, the dude who thinks he knows everything, etc. can we actually say that we look at others as better then ourselves?
    When we are able to do this, only then can we stamp out the problem of sexism in our hearts, in our churches, and in our society.

  7. So glad you said that, anon. I do agree about God’s purpose being lovely. We all fight being put into boxes, and that’s maybe why we hate about sexism. But why is it so important to “be ourselves”?

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