Recently I was re-reading John Piper’s explanation for what types of careers and jobs are appropriate for women. He goes into a long and complicated description of how to determine what types of leadership and influence a woman can have over a man without doing damage to their masculinity and femininity. It occurred to me that his criteria and subsequent explanation sound a lot like the Pritchard poetry scale from Dead Poet’s Society. So with profound apologies to Robin Williams, Dead Poet’s Society, and the authors of the screenplay, I present to you the Piper Scale of Female Leadership:
“Understanding Female Leadership,” by Dr. J. Stephen Piper, Th.D.
To fully understand female leadership, we must first be conversant with the nature and application of leadership between men and women, then ask two questions: 1) how personal is this female influence over a man and 2) how direct is that influence. Question 1 rates the nature of the relationship between the man and women. Question 2 rates the degree of influence. And once these questions have been answered, determining the inappropriateness of a woman’s influence over a man is a relatively simple matter.
If the directness of the influence is plotted on the horizontal and the personal nature of the relationship is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the influence yields the measure of its inappropriateness.
A wife advising her husband might score high on the vertical (personal) but low on the directness (non-directive). A job as a city planner might score low on the vertical (non-personal) but high on the directness (directive). A job as a drill sergeant, on the other hand, would score high both horizontally (personal) and vertically (directive), yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the female leadership to be truly inappropriate.
As you proceed through other examples of female leadership in life, practice this rating method. As your ability to evaluate female leadership in this manner improves, so will your avoidance of inappropriate female leadership over men.
And how do I feel about the Piper Scale for Female Leadership? To paraphrase Robin Williams’ character, Mr. Keating:
Rip it out! Rip! Be gone, J. Stephen Piper, Th.D. Rip. Shred. Tear. Rip it out!
If by chance, you aren’t familiar with the original scene from Dead Poet’s Society, you can watch it here.
Rachel Miller is News Editor for the Aquila Report. She is also a homeschooling mother of 3 boys and a member of a PCA church. This article first appeared on her blog, A Daughter of the Reformation, and is used with permission.