Some of the most self-willed, abrasive, and confrontational women I have ever known have ironically been the most adamantly opposed to women having leadership roles in the church. These self-willed women are actually guilty of what they claim to fear most---women usurping authority. They are quick to wag their fingers in the preacher's face, demand his resignation, send him nasty letters, speak to him in angry tones, or run informal gossip campaigns against the leadership.
While being the first to argue that women should be silent in the church, not possess authority over a man, and direct doctrinal queries to their husbands at home, these self-willed women do not practice what they "preach." Their understanding of authority is limited to designated public roles. While not holding such roles, the self-willed women are nevertheless usurping authority in a manner unbecoming of either men or women. They're resorting to unchristian tactics in order to get their way or express their dissatisfaction. While the irony is lost on them, these self-willed women are actually guilty of the infractions that led Paul to rebuke women who had become domineering busy-bodies (1 Timothy 2:11-12; 5:11-14; 1 Cor. 14:34-35).
When the self-willed woman takes issue with a doctrinal statement, she doesn't typically limit her grievance to conversation with her husband at home. The husbands of such women are not usually spiritual leaders. So the wife takes on the role of ensuring that the family is in church and that the doctrines and programs meet with her approval. She has the power to sabotage anything if she gripes often enough. The poor husband usually doesn't know the Bible well enough to articulate the plan of salvation. The last book he read was likely in high school. His wife may send him to church business meetings where he is largely silent except for relaying his wife's concerns and reporting back to her. Yet the couple described would be the first to insist on exclusively male spiritual leadership and a restrictive role for women in the church. The irony would be amusing if not so sad.
Just to clarify, I am not anti-woman. I am, in fact, of the opinion that their roles have been too restricted in the church and that the proof-texts used to justify this have been grossly misinterpreted, ignoring issues of grammar, historical context, and even other Scriptures.
I would not consider it usurping authority if a woman were appointed deacon, song-leader, Bible class teacher, or if she verbalized a public prayer. I simply find it ironic that the women most adamantly opposed to such practices are the very ones who, by their accusations and demands, are truly usurping authority.
I wonder if any of this sounds familiar to any of you.