American Backlash

A Texas Christian believes in equality, but feels the pendulum has swung too far

A revitalized women’s movement won huge gains in employment, education, and legal rights for American women over the past two decades. But the dislocation of traditional families and communities, combined with stagnating wages, has fueled a religious and conservative reaction.

Pattie Skeen, 36, considers her family’s salvation to be one of the most important concerns of her life. Born 14 miles from the Texas town in which she now lives with Ricky, her husband of 17 years, their 12-year-old daughter, and their 9-year-old son, Skeen teaches kindergarten part time at a Christian school. Ricky works for the telephone company as a cable splicer.

PATTIE SKEEN: I was committed to finishing school because of my mother, who didn’t start college until I was in fourth grade. I saw what she went through–she never went to bed before two in the morning, but she kept the family going.

My parents were a wonderful example for marriage, too. Like them, Ricky and I have a happy marriage, with a lot of love and respect. It’s never a question that we will stay together; our commitment to our Lord keeps our commitment to each other. Our children are God’s children–we just get loaned them for a little while. We pray every day that the Lord gives us the wisdom to raise our children.

Men and women are equal in importance–we have wonderful brains that work just as well as men’s. I don’t like it when women are abused or distorted as in pornography. For a long time women were expected to stay in the home; I feel that, as a girl, I didn’t have the opportunities the boys did. Perhaps I just didn’t take advantage of them. But in trying to make up for the past, the pendulum has gone too far in the other direction. Women need to be the caretakers, and they are not always the nurturing people they need to be.

Go to Bhutan . . .