However much I try to step back out of my own modern preconceptions and look at this issue from a religious/historical point of view, I can't help but come up the same obstacle from every angle: this argument is completely irrational.

Say we accept the proposed definition of "submit" as a kind of respect for authority. Surely one must agree that authority doesn't grow on trees? Parents have authority over their children by virtue of their superior experience and the financial and physical responsibility they bear for their offspring. Teachers have authority over pupils by virtue of their superior knowledge (one cannot be a teacher unless one has something to teach, after all). And authority and the power to wield it in the workplace is very much a result of skills, experience and understanding.

What, then, is the proposed basis for the authority of males over females? If it is nothing but the written commandment, then the aforementioned definition of "submit" loses its meaning - after all, if one submits for no rational reason one is in a state of psychological and intellectual servitude, whomsoever might be the signatory on the family chequebook.

Of the unelaborated arguments in favour of the natural superiority of the male sex I know but little, and much of what I have in the past been confronted with has no existense outside of the religious context - the story of Adam's rib and so forth. Biologically, anthropologically, psychologically, I have never encountered a serious theory that promotes the opinion that men are somehow better equipped to shoulder the burdens of responsibility for the decisions and dilemmas of family life than women are.

As for the closing question of the above writeup, with all of its snide irony, the answer is of course that one cannot expect to be treated with more of the respect one deserves. Quite apart from that, I would and do embrace the full responsibility for my personal and family life, if for no other reason than the sense of control, direction and fulfillment that it leaves me with.

I cannot imagine a fate worse than that of my grandmother, dependant as she is on her children and grandchildren for the simplest task of drawing her pension or writing a letter, because she was convenienty sheltered from those responsibilities until the death of my grandfather. Hers is a dark, alien, frightening world run by people and ideas she does not understand. Not for any imagined relief would I bring any simulacrum of that on myself.

From this standpoint, the above argument bears no relevance to my life outside the ethnological and theological field of intellectual exploration, and so I see no point in trying to force the text outside the boundaries of literalism and into a contrived relevance to a life two thousand years removed.