Slaying Old Dragons

Slaying Old Dragons

This is Part 2 of a 4 part series on “You’re a Woman, Making History” with Shaleen Kendrick.

In this second part of the 4-part series, we’ll explore:

  • Slaying old dragons and the metaphor of Medusa’s Head
  • Disrupting power structures
  • Embodied patriarchy

Here’s a clip from Part 1 in this powerful interview with Shaleen…

Watch full interview here*

*Exclusive access in our Warrior Women membership community. Join for FREE for 30-days.

First, we gotta talk about Old Dragons.

Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath.

We are slaying old dragons here—NOT PEOPLE. The dragons I refer to is men like Wayne Grudem (the theological architect behind John Piper), not necessarily my dad, perhaps your dad, brother, uncle or boss.

I love humans. I love my men with all my heart.

The problem of patriarchy is how it creates a toxic structure of relationships.

Patriarchy is an old dragon.

Think of Medusa’s Head. The examples of patriarchy are merely examples of how male superiority manifests itself. The root of the monster is found in the structure of relationships itself.

The problem is people we love – hold the dragon (structure) in place, often unconsciously and unknowingly AND/OR they have been convinced it’s Godly or natural. That is tricky.

As a culture coach, one of the women I get to accompany on her spiritual quest brought her childhood Bible to our session. She opened it up and began to weep. On the inside cover, her mama had written a diagram to teach her daughter God’s “natural order” she had written:


God is typically and historically dominated by male interpretations of who God is and how God acts. Then, said interpretations are labeled “inerrant” so you are heretical should you argue against male domination or male-dominated understandings of God.


In a church context, often I use the examples of women not being allowed to preach from pulpits, sit on an elder board, or hold the offices of senior pastor.

Back to Medusa’s Head, those are snakeheads that bit me specifically, that is not actually the problem. These are merely examples of how patriarchy and male superiority manifests itself. Remember, the root of the monster is found in the structure of relationships itself. 

Patriarchy sees its interpretation of god as superior. Then, locates maleness as superior to femaleness, and adulthood as superior then childishness. Then labels the hierarchy as God’s will, biblical, or the natural order, depending on your faith tradition.

The snakeheads manifest themselves in a billion different ways:

  • from not allowing women on elder boards or senior leadership positions.
  • to white women still making $0.70 on the $1.00 at work with even greater disparity for women of color! IT’S WRONG.
  • to husbands and dads seeing themselves as “helping” their wives when they pick up kids, take kids to school /doctor, or vacuum the house.
  • to biblical submissiveness being defined as a man taking a woman’s opinion than making the final decision.

  • to bosses complaining about women not meeting the company’s bottom line (ie money) when they take maternity leave. 
  • to man-splaining and man-spreading, which is maleness taking up and dominating space.
  • to the air or energy of superiority of a man who shows up in a boardroom or conference call with you.

Patriarchy manifests everywhere! Its the fluoride in the water we all drink. It is embodied in the structure of relationships and systems!

Embodied patriarchy is when I walk into a room wearing heels, standing tall and proud at 6’2, and men, especially shorter, men, feel compelled to comment on my height with something lame like “how’s the air up there?”

That is a maleness feeling threatened about my feminine stature not only taking up a ton of space but also towering over them. It’s an embodied response.

Most men don’t even know why they are commenting or where it is coming from. They’re not trying to be mean; it’s mostly an unconscious response.

Asking me “how’s the air up there?” or “if I’m getting lonely at the top” are not benign comments.

It’s a response to my body upsetting a patriarchal structure.

It is my teenage son puffing up his chest and getting nose to nose with me in anger when I say no to something he wants…he is using his energy and physicality as an attempt to dominate me and get what he wants.

I didn’t teach him that! That is an Old Dragon, an ancient mindset firing up in him.

That is embodied patriarchy.

It’s me getting mad at my husband, Sam, for needing to rebook a haircut after he accidentally missed the appointment. I had the embodied mindset that it is my job to book the kid’s haircuts. Sam never actually asked me to do it. I assumed he expected it of me as the mom – then I was bitter at him.

Having a prophetic imagination requires us to slay old dragons, and become aware of our embodied patriarchy in order to create a new way forward.

Read the whole series here:


additional sources linked throughout the article

1 Emotional and Invisible Labor