Things you should be reading this week

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"We cannot afford to wait for permission to make change; women themselves must be the change."

Today I bring you links to a fabulous trio of posts from my North American sisters. Because they got there before me (I've just started a new job), because they're important and thought-provoking, and because they really spoke to me.

Dianna Anderson has written a post in response to, and to add to the thoughts of Preston Yancey, who has blogged here and here about a new page gaining thousands of 'likes' on Facebook, which is entitled "I'd rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria's Secret model". Preston has written a response to this "Live 31 movement" based on women of the Bible (which is very good and essential reading), then followed it up with a more detailed explanation of his thoughts.

Be The Change - Pretty In Pink

"But what makes the campaign connect with people is also that which gives it the most problems. Regardless of which category you fall into – let’s lift the veil and call it what it is: The Virgin or the Whore – it is still something inspired by how one is perceived by the other gender. This is something I see reflected in the Christian singles culture over and over. The focus of the campaign especially is on Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty soon fades but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

Praised by whom? Why, men, of course! And this is the fundamental problem: Regardless of whether or not you’re living as the virgin or the whore, if you’re doing it because you think it will be more attractive to the opposite sex, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons."

For me the whole thing has a lot of weird parallels with all those "Men love real women who have curves!"/"I'd rather have a real woman than a bag of bones!" statements and Facebook pages, which similarly seem to gain tens of thousands of 'likes'. Replacing one ideal with another and framing it around desirability as judged by men. But Dianna is spot on and addresses a part of the discussion that had up until now been missed.

Both Sarah Styles Bessey and Rachel Held Evans have blogged their thoughts on a "big question" that seems to have arisen this month, with discussion centering on a certain post by Tim Challies, in which he explains why he does not condone women reading aloud from the Bible in church. A lot of posts have been floating around but I chose to highlight these two because they say everything that needs to be said so well.

Emerging Mummy - In which I am done fighting for a seat at the table

"This is one more gift that the emerging church gave me more than a decade ago: when you don't find it, you simply create it. You emerge from what currently is into what will be, as pioneers, rule-breakers. Stop waiting for permission and get on with the work that God has called you to, stop waiting for permission and be brave, be courageous, be boldly full of Love and gentleness but step out into the space to create. 

So I am no longer standing beside your table, asking for a seat, working and serving and hoping to be noticed and then offered a seat or arguing for my right to a seat. I don't care to sit here any more. I have no desire to be indoors, in your neat boxes."

Rachel Held Evans - "...your daughters will prophesy"

"Meanwhile, churches are spending years debating whether a female missionary should be allowed to speak on a Sunday morning, whether students older than ten should have female Sunday school teachers, whether women should be allowed to read from Scripture in a church service, whether girls should be encouraged to attend seminary, whether women should be permitted to collect the offering or write the church newsletter or make an announcement. 

Those of us who are perhaps most equipped to speak and act prophetically in response to the violence, poverty, and inequality that plagues our sisters around the world are being silenced ourselves. 

Folks who see the leadership of women like Huldah and Junia as special exceptions for times of great need are oblivious to the world in which we live. Those who think the urgency of Pentecost has passed are deluding themsleves. They “have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear.” "


Becca said...

The "men will like you if" argument sucks, but when complete social overhaul takes generations to fix, what method is there to stop *this* generation of girls smoking, starving themselves and generally treating their bodies with disdain?

So much feminist theory relies upon "Snap!" and now everything is equal.

Hannah Mudge said...

Becca, the way I see it, we need to be educating this generation of girls to stop definfing their worth as human beings by whether men find them attractive or not. And not just this, but other pressures they face regarding self-worth. There are assaults everywhere they turn, from the media, the beauty industry, friends, the education system...the list could go on. There are a lot of great organisations out there working to combat these toxic messages, and of course they are reaching many young women, but this needs to go further.


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