During an interview with the Christian Post, former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron got real sexist, real fast.
Cameron said in the interview:
‘Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband. When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.’
Cameron also said that husbands are meant “to love their wives and not to tell their wives that they need to submit to them.”
So, basically, wives are supposed to submit to their husbands — which is what following their lead would entail — but husbands are not supposed to tell their wives that they need to submit to them. Apparently, that’s Kirk Cameron’s job.
Cameron is currently on a crusade to save marriages across the United States, holding “Love Worth Fighting For” events in various churches.
Kirk is not the only Cameron who believes that wives in a marriage should be submissive. His sister, Candace Cameron Bure, said in 2014 in her book “Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose” that she takes the submissive role in her marriage. Amidst pushback over her use of the term, Bure clarified later what she meant:
‘I used the word ‘submissive’ [to describe my role in the marriage] because it’s from the Bible but people who don’t understand that see that as offensive. My husband is not a dictator. We work together but I don’t want to dig my heels in and I have no aspirations to be the ruler of my family. We are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead.’
There is no “correct” way to be a spouse, and if a woman — or anyone else — chooses to take a submissive role in their marriage, there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. However, the key word here is “chooses,” and things move into a bit more of a gray area when men are telling women that they should always be submissive. These types of comments stick with people, and, regardless of what Cameron’s or anyone else’s intent is in saying them, some husbands take things too far and relationships can easily become controlling and abusive when wives are told that they must submit.
Additionally, despite Cameron’s lectures being open to “everyone, no matter their faith, relationship status or sexual orientation,” by only speaking in terms of husband and wife, Cameron is being incredibly heteronormative and ignoring the fact that there are many different types of marriages besides the traditional pairing of man and woman.
While his comments about submission are certainly problematic, to say the least, Cameron did also make some reasonable points during his interview. He also talked about the importance of accepting responsibility and not placing unnecessary blame on one’s spouse.
‘What most people do is they try to blame their spouse and say, ‘Hey, I would be a great husband if it weren’t for my wife.’ ‘We would have a great marriage if it wasn’t for my husband.’ This talks to the importance of getting your own part right. There is only one person on the whole planet who you can change and it’s not your spouse.’