I’ve received some comments about my last post on JOY in which people described a very similar “illness” of being very afraid of making decisions and the (imagined) reactions you might end up getting. And Holly, another commenter, pointed out the following:
“There is something I have never understood about “JOY”. If person A puts person B ahead of themselves, then person B is putting themself ahead of person A. Therefor, “JOY” hinges on at least one person being selfish. For example, Jack needs a ride to the airport but Jill needs to study. If both follow JOY, Jack would never dream of asking Jill for a ride but on the other hand, Jill would feel compelled to drive Jack. Ergo, one or the other would have to routinely impose on the other. Is that how it works in actual practice?”
This pretty much hits the nail on the head. Of course it doesn’t work like that in real life! But why?
I came up with the fact that there isn’t actually just one JOY practice – there’s two. The one females practice, and the one males practice. Let me go into detail.
We know that women are raised to believe that they are subject to the men in their lives. Now a good subject obviously does what you demand of it. And this is where JOY comes in: As a girl, you are to serve your parents. They come first. You are serving them like Gods. Whatever they demand of you, you do it. There is no talking back because that’s selfish (and harshly punished). Your parents, or better, your father, may put you into somewhat of a position of power over your siblings, arguing that this would in fact teach responsibility and the ability to make decisions. That’s plain wrong, You still carry out the orders your father gave you and you do not get to make any decisions at all.
Later on, once married, your husband is your head, which, again, gives you a “God” to serve. And again, since you are always serving others, there is no decision-making for you to do. The only the decisions you really might get to make are decisions that affect ‘only you’. Mind you, what ‘only you’ means depends on your husbands opinion. While in some marriages the color of your eyeshadow might be your business, in others it is not. I have seen marriages in which the woman didn’t get a say in what she would wear, cook or clean. There are husbands who actually make plans for it, husbands who will have you return clothes he doesn’t absolutely love and so on.
The entire problem with JOY is that it doesn’t work once two people (of equal level) want different things. And that’s exactly where biblical proof for structures of authority comes in. And it’s also were things get really screwed up!
And the matter is worsened by a ‘relatively’ new but very very big controversy in the movement. “Let men be men”. I’m saying relatively new because this problem with manliness wasn’t so prominent, say, 10 years ago. If you haven’t heard it yet, imagine this as the counter-theory to “metrosexuality”. A man who puts on face cream isn’t manly. Men become more feminine, at least that’s what the fundamentalists say. And why is that? Exactly, because women don’t let men be ‘real’ men. This automatically put EVERY man, yes, every man, in a position of power.
The let men be men hype is very popular especially among very young fundamentalist girls, see the Duggars who don’t claim to practice it but if you watch the show, you see clear signs of it, see the Ludys who openly proclaim it, see various blogs and authors of fundamentalist QF literature.
You end up with a very dangerous mixture of both philosophies, putting women in a place of mere voicelessness, a place were saying, doing, even thinking anything that might make a man look less is immediately followed by the JOY mantra, put the others first, let the man be the man!
A man is to lead his family well. Now what leading means might be a stretch again. In general it means decision-making. Men make decisions because it’s their responsibility. They are raised to make them. They don’t end up in this JOY trap where they end up crying because they asked to order Pizza instead of Chinese. They are not afraid of wearing green instead of blue. For men, JOY means to tell others what to do and ultimately to express their needs and wants in order to be a good leader, to enable their servants to be able to serve them best. Don’t want to be a stumbling block, after all, and let the man be the man!
And yes, it means that some men actually thing they are sacrificing themselves for their wives because they take the time off their free time to make the cleaning and cooking plans, to look through their clothes and tell them what they like and what they don’t.
In a world where the man is the leader and the woman is a mere servant, JOY really only affects one gender and that is female. Men don’t need to worry about JOY because as long as their “leading” by telling others what to do and how to please them, they’re already practicing it. For a woman however, JOY is a daily struggle of crying because it seems you’re just not able to shut up those tiny voices inside telling you what YOU want, asking you why, yet again, you have to give up even the desert in order to be someone else’s doormat.
Sounds too crazy? Best indicator that you’re reading something about P/QF.
Last question: What does happen if two people of the same level of authority get into this conflict? Typically age would be the factor to decide what to do, hence the older person would be served first. However, if we take the given scenario Holly came up with: If Jack and Jill were married, Jill would delay her studies. If Jack was her brother the same would be true. If they were not married, Jill would keep studying because she’s actually ‘serving’ her future husband by studying – plus, Jack and Jill wouldn’t be allowed to be alone in the car anyway.