Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Women's work or men's work

I had been thinking about what women did in the Bible, and now I can't figure out whether weaving and embroidery were women's work or men's work. Two relevant passages are Exodus 35 and 36, and 2 Chronicles 2. I am getting a little worried that the hours I spent embroidering in the past, was practicing men's work. On the other hand, women spun and dyed, especially purple, producing important trade goods that were often lumped in scripture with gold and silver.

There was likely no time in a biblical woman's life that she did not produce income earning goods, even if only in barter. The urge to work is God-given and not a product of femininst ideology. I am not sure about embroidery, however.

4 comments:

Jay said...

It is interesting how culture has designated certain works traditionally done by women or men. I don't believe we can make any objective judgment on the correctness of the gender designation of these tasks. I believe it is true in most parts of the world, but from my experience in Laos and Thailand, technology can change gender designated tasks. Shelling and milling of grain was a task traditionally designated for women. However, when the rice mill was invented, the task of husking and milling became the task of men. This is quite ironic since, hand milling is an exhausting physical work while using the mechanized mill is mostly a matter of pushing buttons and moving lever.

Pam said...

Cynical chuckle, about the task-doer reversal when the rice mill came on the scene.

Kristen said...

I think the traditional women's tasks have not been based so much on their difficulty as on their perceived lack of dangerousness, compared to traditional men's tasks. Originally there was some logic to this, because women were less expendable to the survival of the species.

Anonymous said...

Who woulda thought women could build and fly huge transport airplanes except that a war demanded it.