Do you remember middle school and how everyone was required to take home economics?Boys and girls alike crowded together in a classroom and learned about sewing on buttons, baking the perfect cookie and other trivial basics of domestic life.
At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary one can revisit home economics with a 23-hour homemaking concentration with classes such as Homemaking Practicum, The Value of a Child, Clothing Construction Lab, Biblical Model for the Home and Family and Meal Preparation Lab.
There is one problem: it is only open to women.
No men are allowed. The Web site at Southwestern states “the program endeavors to prepare women to model the characteristics of the godly woman outlined in Scripture.”
In 1 Timothy 2:11 the apostle Paul told women to learn.” But are women only capable of learning what is in the home?
Of course women are allowed to take other courses, but doesn’t it seem that if a concentration is only open to women it places a strong emphasis on what the college of that concentration believes women are capable of?
In a world where women are running for president and fighting in wars, it seems counter-productive to place restrictions based on gender because the concentration offers cooking classes.
There are more stay-at-home fathers and single dads than ever – wouldn’t they benefit from a homemaking concentration? It feels all too “Leave it to Beaver” to me.
I thought the world was more progressive than what Southwestern is representing it to be. The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson said, “wives of seminary students were asking for homemaking courses.”
In addition to Patterson’s remarks, the Dean of Women’s Programs, Terri Stovall, explained the woman-only rule stating, “the homemaking concentration within the Bachelor of Arts in humanities is only open to women because it was requested by women and is tailored to women and seeks to model biblical womanhood.”
And while the program will most certainly be beneficial to women, it seems it would be far more beneficial if it were open to both genders. Why not tailor it for both men and women?
Only giving women this “opportunity” is ignoring the fact that men probably need the same. I don’t really know of a man who would enroll as a homemaking major but I do know of some men who would be pleased to have the option to take classes where they could learn about family, clothing and cooking.
To only allow women in the concentration is keeping the door firmly shut on womanhood – placing women in the home and men at the workplace. There seems to be no room for interchange, learning and growth.
The walls built on gender roles seem to have a hard time coming down, especially when we keep re-building them.
Ericka Strickland is a junior religion major from Plano.