Links round-up: Church x gender

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I read this post over at Her.meneutics yesterday, entitled "Hookup culture is good for women, and other feminist myths". I have mixed feelings about Her.meneutics in general; I've read some great stuff on the blog and a lot of stuff that has't been so great. It's inevitable that many of the posts are filtered through the lens of evangelical culture in the US, and therefore sometimes really miss the mark on their interpretations of issues. Yesterday's post is a prime example, but also highlights the common misunderstanding that the goal of the feminist movement is for women to "become just like men", with all the problematic behaviours that this might entail.

Dianna Anderson tackles this in her latest blog, "Feminism is Not the Enemy".

"The sexual revolution of the 20th century, then, was not about “making women act like men.” Rather, it was about removing the double standard that surrounds sexual activity – the double standard we find replicated again and again in rules about sexual activity on private Christian campuses and on Sunday mornings from the pulpit."

Sarah Moon has written interesting post about what rape means to complementarians. In recent months she's been hard at work calling out a few prominent names on their attitudes, and the way their view of sex and purity sets up a negative and disbelieving attitude towards any woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted yet does not fit the "perfect victim" stereotype. She also addresses the fact that it's an opinion accepted by many that sexual violence occurs because women step outside their "God-given roles" and behaviours, meaning men are drawn to rape as a way of asserting the masculine authority they deserve. It sounds ridiculous, but it's a view I've seen argued on conservative blogs in the past.

Some complementarian evangelicals go beyond this to actually blame feminism for the very existence of rape. Douglas Wilson, for instance, believes that when feminists deny men the opportunity to practice “godly” authority over women, men react by taking back the authority that they deserve using violence.

“When we quarrel with the way the world is,” Wilson says, “we find that the world has ways of getting back at us.”

Adrian Warnock has published a post detailing what he sees as the "Complementarian-Egalitarian Spectrum". I was pleased to see that he'd made some changes to his initial post after an email from Rachel Held Evans, as I was slightly exasperated to see the "Strong Egalitarian" section make reference to adherents ignoring or devaluing scripture. It's good that there is now acknowledgement that there can be distortions on both sides. On the negative side, I don't recognise Adrian's description of an "Extreme Feminist" viewpoint. The idea that there's this goal of being "better" than men and a wish to emasculate them is a straw feminist stereotype. Surely for him, the more "extreme" end of the spectrum would mainly be comprised of separatists?

Running through all discussions, as usual, is the question of whether by "equal" we mean "the same", and how problematic this is for people who can't look past biology as a determining factor in, well, just about everything. I think it may have become my least favourite track for these debates to take as it always ends up with someone having to spell out to someone else that having different genitalia is not a barrier to equality because equality doesn't mean "physically identical", "having the same hobbies and interests", or "being able to create babies and breastfeed". Honestly, you'd think it wasn't straightforward.


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