“I Still Need 3 Credit Hours of Slipper-Fetching…”

Via Matthew Yglesias and Jessica Valenti, I have learned that the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is offering an academic program in homemaking.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation’s largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.

Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and “clothing construction,” three hours of general homemaking, three hours on “the value of a child,” and three hours on the “biblical model for the home and family.”

I definitely share in Matt and Jessica’s distaste for this particular course–one would think that in an age in which we are battling with Islamic Fundamentalism, we wouldn’t seek to emulate them in their treatment of women.

What’s also personally fascinating for me is that there are women who would voluntarily take this course. Don’t get me wrong–I think that stay-at-home moms (and dads) have it rough, and I know that I personally would have loved some courses when I was younger in things like cooking, sewing, and budget management. Those are all valuable skills. But given that the degree is open only to women and given that the Seminary is openly stating that its goal is to pursue “traditional gender norms”, I find it odd that there would be a desire to pursue this. I’m pretty sure that even some of the most conservative women I’ve met in my life would balk at this sort of thing.

FILED UNDER: Education, Religion
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    I would want a bit more information.

    I think it is weird to offer a degree in what appears to be home economics to women only, and I can’t imagine spending all that money on a degree in being a housewife.

    Although Dr. Patterson’s wife teaches theology, and is a pretty learned woman in her own right. In some ways she is more knowledgable than her husband. She is, however, very traditional. She is also an excellent teacher.

    This statement to me is weird:

    Key said neither seminary will allow women to be pastors, but notes that Southern hasn’t “articulated homemaking like Patterson.”

    When my husband was a student at Southeastern (while Patterson was president there) women could sign up for and earn degrees in any program. There isn’t a “pastor” program in the SBC, although some programs provide training that is intended to prepare students for the pastorate.

    SBC churches are the ones that ordain pastors, it is the individual church that calls and ordains people, and in general the SBC doesn’t approve of or encourage the ordination of women. But oridination as a pastor is done at the local church level, the seminaries do not ordain pastors.

    Also, my husband had several female instructors while at SEBTS, although I none of them were theology professors. At that time Patterson’s wife had just started a women’s studies program, although it wasn’t focused on homemaking.

  2. David Harris says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is, so long as this isn’t required coursework. There were plenty of majors that didn’t interest me when I was in college. There were plenty that made me laugh, as well. I wasn’t really all that concerned that they existed; I just didn’t take them.

  3. Triumph says:

    This is my kind of feminism!

    Most broads you meet these days can’t cook worth a damn!

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    Outside of the final 3 hours described, this sounds like a combination of a minor in home economics with a MRS. degree.

    It is likely to be much more practical in the real world than a number of ethnic or gender studies offered around the country. Admittedly it isn’t likely to prepare you to provide for a single-mom home, but then what degree does.

  5. whatever says:

    So any any voluntary, privately funded activity that women can take of their free will should automatically be compared to Islamic Fundamentalism?

    Yeah, and this is just like Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive or work, huh?

    Or is it that anything that smacks of religion gets compared this way, Alex?

  6. bains says:

    But given that the degree is open only to women and given that the Seminary is openly stating that its goal is to pursue “traditional gender norms”, I find it odd that there would be a desire to pursue this.

    Seeing that the hundreds of thousands of core ‘womyn studies’ degree courses are offered soley to organize outrage at any perceived misogamy irrespective of merit, I agree Alex. How dare one Christian Seminary dedicated to a set of traditional Christian values offer one program to students who just might be, you know, interested that program’s course material – it is so off the secular narrative it has to be mocked.

  7. M1EK says:

    The last few comments remind me of this image:

    http://www.io.com/~mdahmus/oppressed.gif

  8. Alex Knapp says:

    Bains:

    How dare one Christian Seminary dedicated to a set of traditional Christian values offer one program to students who just might be, you know, interested that program’s course material – it is so off the secular narrative it has to be mocked.

    The values represented as “traditional” here weren’t really a part of Christianity until the era of the late Roman Empire/early Middle Ages. The Christianity founded by Jesus preached a radical gender equality where, unlike this particular Seminary, women were considered to be the equal of men and WERE encouraged to remain unmarried and head churches. This is about keeping women in their place–NOT preserving the Christian faith.

    whatever:

    So any any voluntary, privately funded activity that women can take of their free will should automatically be compared to Islamic Fundamentalism?

    Yeah, and this is just like Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive or work, huh?

    The difference here is merely in degree. The folks at this seminary intend to use the power of religion to convince people that women should only be allowed to do certain things, and men others. Convince enough people that this is okay and yes, eventually you DO get to the Saudi Arabian point.

  9. bains says:

    You’ll note I said “a set of traditional values”, not the set… There has always been tension between the “turn the other cheek” crowd and the “eye for an eye” group. My sister, a UCC minister belongs to the former, and here seminary education I’m sure would upset those whom you mock in your post (one of her colleagues was a man who at times, pined for a sex change so that he could become a lesbian – and he was ordained). My point being that there are far more seminary and quasi-seminary programs that fall in with her religious proclivities. Not that I’m accusing you, but the left is far more intolerant of ‘unorthodox’ thought than the right is of race, gender, sex, etc., and it is seen quite clearly in the likes of Jessica Valenti.