Infantilization Of Women In The Church
infantilization: verb (used with object), infantilized, infantilizing.
1. to keep in or reduce to an infantile state.
2. to treat or regard as infantile or immature. (1)
"Benevolent" Patriarchy (sometimes known as Complementarianism) is often presented as a type of gentle protection and relief of pressure for women. It asserts that men are doing a sacrificial service for women by leading them and making final decisions for them.
On the contrary, I believe "benevolent" patriarchy is a form of infantilization. It reduces women to an infant or childlike state by suggesting they are in need of the more mature, "adult" authority of a man in their life. Where benevolent patriarchy is practiced, women are not encouraged or trusted to become fully mature, independent adults. They are not allowed to be fully in charge of their own destinies or given equally weighted input in marriage relationships.
I have seen women stunted or delayed in their maturation by forced naivety, lack of practical education, and limited opportunities. The infantilization of women becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because women are believed to lack personal maturity and deciding power, they are denied opportunities to mature into these functions, thus creating a confirmation bias scenario.
Girls, just as much as boys, should be afforded the opportunity to develop to their full potential as they grow into adulthood, with personal deciding power and equal relationship input. Anything less is unethical and irresponsible.
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