This mindset makes for the most difficult of conversations and gatherings. One has to always keep both eyes and both ears out for the slip, a tell. Of course, if the religious feminist commits the tell, her fellow travellers will let it pass because they know she is one of them. Never mind the occasions when they pay lip service to marriage and sex as they normally play out, the "well, if it works for them it's OK, but only if they both agree"offhand comment. They may say that, but they will always be on the watch for a teaching moment. Ever vigilant lest the women gather around the kitchen table picking at leftovers while the men drink beer and smoke on the back deck, they never ever let their guard down.
And who wants to live like that? Who wants to be constantly on the alert? Ever ready to do battle in the service of the great Cause? For constant vigilance is the price of battling against nature. It is affected, fastidious and entirely too precious. If you doubt me, here are the words of one leading religious feminist in a discussion of hospitality:
We both make a point of offering to help with preparation or cleaning up and usually it is [husband] who initiates this to encourage the guys to participate. Many like to wait until after everyone has gone so they just get to sit and enjoy the company and we respect that too.
Whenever we are in a situation where the men and women seem to drift into gender groups, we go together to a group and join in to try and break the pattern. As has already been said, each situation can be unique and we need to be sensitive to times when someone of the same gender really wants to share something with another woman or man.
We have also seen situations where [husband] has got up to do the dishes (which he enjoys BTW) and the man of the house has flatly refused to join in. It seems that some couples are so entrenched in their roles that neither wants to cause disruption by changing things.