In my crash course on Gender roles over the last 6 months, I have learned about the men who sit on thrones and tell me not to have authority over men even in my workplace. I could almost buy into this except for the fact I have spent the last 11 years of my life in school to be a doctor. I have male medical students and interns under me all the time and while I never out right asked them, but as far as I know it does emasculate them. Actually I don’t think they have noticed much, does it really matter the gender of who teaches you about pediatric dosing, Asthma or how to get a history from a 3 year old? The male and the female medical students rank me highly each month I teach them in my evaluations. But while we are on the subject of stereotypes my monthly blueberry buckle coffee cake on SWITCH day is a HUGE hit amongst those I am in authority over. As for my patients, I don’t know, I can tell you the teenage girls are sure grateful for my gender and some of the Moms but frankly the teenage boys like my male colleagues. We need both. There are days in my inner city clinic where I go into one room to tell a young woman she is pregnant while my male mentor goes into the other room to have a come to Jesus meeting with a teenage boy with syphilis. But then again, talking to the men on thrones about STIs and teenage pregnancy is at times laughable.
Men on Thrones, I’m sorry but I respectively disagree that Paul much less Jesus wanted Lydia to give up her business or Deborah to not be a judge. Let’s open the Bible instead of LIFE magazine from the 1950s. And let’s realize that as long as you let me braid my hair, wear jewelry and not cover my head in church, we are all looking for the spirit of what Graceo-Roman social norms really mean today. Everyone cherry picks. Let’s be fair.
So what does this mean for upcoming life partnership (which btw we just finished one of the men on thrones’ ironically excellent book on marriage!)?
Yesterday, I had a kidney stone. Worse pain of my young life. Worse than my chronic arthritis pain, worse than a hip fracture. Worse than my many, many other fractures. I could not sit still. And I could not keep anything down. It was truly terrible. I was cared for with beautiful community, my Adult ED friend drove me, another Adult ED friend was my doctor, got me the best nurse, walked me to a saved room for me in the back of the busy inner city ED (yes I work 80 hours a week but BOY do I get great health care without a wait when I’m sick!), my friends covered for me and naturally my boyfriend (not a doctor) came from class.
In all my patient stories, this has never happened to me before. My friends, my mother, my father, sisters yes but never my significant other has sat by my bedside. The girl in me was like this is a miserable way to greet one’s boyfriend vomiting with tears streaming down my face from pain and exhaustion. But there he was, he held me while I threw up, walked me to the bathroom, told me funny stories, held my hand, made calls for me, drove me home, medicated me and fed me and while all of this was not a medical necessity, it greatly increased my morale and made me feel cared for in a very different way than I had been before. I did feel loved and protected.
The men on thrones say women want love and protection. My BF and I joke about this in reference to another man who is friends with the men on thrones who wrote a book that has men doing a lot camping, hunting and eating raw fish or something. (The female version has a lot of castles, ball gowns and being rescued!) As I finally nodded off yesterday after 2 L of IVF and nearly passing the dumb stone, he said “Don’t worry I will protect you from the the bears” …wink… And despite of all my progressive theological and medical scruples, I did feel strangely at ease and not simply amused by his comment.
I think human beings want love and protection but then again my only personal worldview of humanity is from being a woman so maybe its different for guys. In the end, I reflect back to the infamous Ephesians 5 and say maybe the Men of Thrones and I can agree on something for a change, real sacrificial love of one’s spouse, where we die to one as Christ, care for each others’ bodies as our own and submit to one’s authority as we each do to Christ is beautiful, hard but worth it…. which means its not all castles and fighting bears. So, I agree Men on Thrones, I agree.