Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood

(Note: This article will use slight generalizations like “women are used to…” and “women constantly get messages that…” These points are slight generalizations and there are exception to almost every rule. (Is there an exception to the rule that there are exceptions to every rule?) You are free to disagree if you feel that what I say is not generally true.)

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There is an assumption about women that is commonly made where 50 Shades of Grey is discussed on the Internet: People, both believers and unbelievers, claim that this book is evidence that women actually want subordination. Gender hierarchy Christians™ then add that the activities in these books pervert “natural”, “God-ordained” female subordination. But, so their narrative goes, the popularity of the books proves that women are created with a desire for subordination. The most infamous example is probably this quote from Doug Wilson, that first appeared in an article commenting on 50SoG:

“Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us…we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies… True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.”

But that conclusion does not fit the facts. Read the rest of this entry »

Biblical™ Womanhood theology, if consistently applied, is worse news for widowed women, divorced women, not-married(-yet) women, and girls of all ages, than it is for married women.

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does not officially say women should live with male relatives, not go to college, not work outside the home, and not be independent. But they are – I will motivate my accusation just now – on a road towards the views, by Biblical™ Patriarchy supporters, that I will quote here*:

And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?” – Brian Abshire, quoted from now-deleted material at the Vision Forum ministries website.

Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner believe parents should not raise daughters who are going to compete with men in the marketplace,” but should train their daughters to be “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.” They speak out against female independence.* Read the rest of this entry »

A complementarian asked me recently:

Just out of curiosity, do you think there is any significance in the fact that God is called a Father, or that Jesus was a man, or that his disciples were men? Or are these just incidental, the reflections of an outdated patriarchical (sic) culture? It’s a little off-topic from our present convo but it might be relevant or at least worth considering. I’ve known people who have a really hard time using the word “Father” to describe God or thinking of God as having any sort of gender. I think those people have sadly been influenced by radical feminist ideology…

 

The implication, of course, is that by not agreeing with him on a certain topic related to gender issues (we were talking about gender accuracy/ neutrality in Bible translations), I do not understand the significance of God’s alleged maleness.

Perhaps the best way to answer is with a counter-question: Read the rest of this entry »

Today, please do a little thought exercise with me. For the sake of argument, we will concede the complementarian view that head means leader in Eph 5:23.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

With head meaning leader, the husband will be the leader in the way Jesus is the leader. How is Jesus the leader of the church? Read the rest of this entry »

Abraham and Sarah

Sarah and Abraham

(Guest post by LaCigol. Guest posts are not necessarily the opinion of the blog owner)

God changed the name of Abraham’s wife from Sarai (contentious) to Sarah (female ruler). You may have a pink-ruffled-dress Disneyfied idea of what “princess” means, but it is the female of the word used for leaders and influencial people. From that, we can see that God, right from the time of the covenant with Abraham, did not want men to see women as “contentious” when the two disagreed – He wanted believing men to affirm the leadership of their wives.

Meanwhile, he changed the name of the father of believers from “Abram”(exalted father) to “Abraham” (father of many), to indicate that Christian manhood is about nurturing and raising a family, not about standing “exalted” as fathers. From Gen 21:12 we can also see that it was His pattern for believing husbands to be obedient. Read the rest of this entry »

A recent article named “The 39 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2014includes points that seemingly see feminism in coming out as gay, and in a writer saying “go away” when someone say that gay sex scenes and getting away with murder in said writer’s story add nothing to the plot. (I don’t see posting “go away” on Twitter as iconically remarkable.) It also seems that they find expressing pro-choice sentiments,and victories for transgender issues, as “iconic feminist moments.”

The worst is perhaps their inclusion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the list, for claiming that the ideal gender ratio for Supreme Court justices would be all female. Feminism is not about removing men and giving half the population no say whatsoever in important spheres that equally affect them. Feminism is the exact opposite of giving half the population no say whatsoever in important spheres that equally affect them. Some enemies of feminism also characterize feminism as being about sexual licence, abortion and man-hating.

Do you need to approve of gay acts to be a feminist?

11160012985_66083d9347_mWell, the dictionary definition of feminism is to believe in and be an activist for equal rights, oportunities, etc. for men and women.

It is possible to argue that, since you believe men should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with women, you also believe women should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with women. And since you believe women should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with men, you also believe men should have the right to consent to sex/ marriage with men. That reasoning is certainly compatible with feminism.

But it is also possible to argue that, since you believe both men and women should have the right to consent to heterosexual sex/ marriage, it does not follow that either women or men should have the right to consent to homosexual sex/ marriage. That reasoning is equally compatible with feminism.

That said, I believe a certain degree of understanding of the plight of gay/ lesbian/ transgender people is a natural outflowing of feminist sentiments. Many in the church unjustly dicriminate against those who are unlike them.

For example: Joe is a churchgoer. That is all you know of him. At work he works with Ben, who cohabits with his girlfriend. What percentage, knowing nothing else about Joe, is the chance that he will tell Ben to repent of Ben’s sexual sin? Peter is also a churchgoer. That is all you know of him. At work he works with Carl, who cohabits with his boyfriend. What percentage, knowing nothing else about Pete, is the chance that he will tell Carl to repent of Carl’s sexual sin?

If it was only a sin issue, church people would treat a gay cohabiting couple the same as a straight one. But the latter is more likely to be preached to, because many in the church does not see gays in the same light they see other people. A feminist like me, who still believe God’s original intention for marriage was one man and one woman, knows society and the church discriminate against gays largely because gays are seen as not living up to the gender role constructs of society.

Do you need any particular opinion of transgender people to be a feminist?

A feminist could believe, as someone recently told me, that “male/female,” is essentially meaningless, and they are willing to call “anybody who chooses to identify that way, for any reason” male or female. (This belief don’t seem, IMO, respectful towards anyone, trans- or cisgender. The holder of this idea seemingly only pretend that gender identity has meaning.)
A feminist could also believe “male” and “female” are words with meanings (either only the biological meaning, or it could be a way more liberal meaning range), in which case only some people can be regarded as male or female.
Some feminists say (when not talking of transgender issues) that someone’s “sex” means his/her biological (wo)manhood, while “gender” refers to sociocultural roles. People who feel female (or male) at heart, regardless of genitalia, may be holding on to a social idea of femininity (or masculinity), a social idea which they as feminists disagree with. Calling a transwoman (transman) a “woman” (man), while disagreeing with gender stereotyping of characteristics, seem to be cognitive dissonance to my perhaps-limited understanding.

Do feminists have to be pro-choice?

In the most direct sense, abortion fits uncomfortably into feminist issues. Feminism is firstly about equal rights, and biological men and women cannot have equal rights with regards to abortion. If both the man and woman have equal right to decide over the life of the unborn, it gives men a claim over a female body that women do not have over a male body. If only a woman can choose it, the mother has a right over the unborn that the father does not have. If abortion is illegal, the woman has a responsibility the man does not have.

Many feminists argue that pro-choice gives women more options to act as equals in a male world. But there is also pro-life feminism, like the organization Feminists for Life. Every Christian egalitarian I have ever heard mentioning an opinion on abortion is pro-life.

(Pro-life, in my opinion, is not always synonymous with anti-abortion. In the case where a pregnancy could kill both the mother and the unborn, while the unborn stand no chance to survive anyway, defending the mother’s life at the cost of the unborn is certainly pro-life.) And patriarchy is a major reason for abortion: Abortion is most common in the very patriarchal India and China, where people prefer boys and kill girls because of gender roles.

Do feminists approve of pornography, prostitution and other sexually promiscious activities?

So called “sex-positive feminists” do. But other feminists, some of them anti-porn feminists believe the opposite:

…There have been two strains of feminist thought on the subject. One tendency has criticized the restrictions on women’s sexual behavior and denounced the high costs imposed on women for being sexually active. This tradition of feminist sexual thought has called for a sexual liberation that would work for women as well as for men. The second tendency has considered sexual liberalization to be inherently a mere extension of male privilege. This tradition resonates with conservative, anti-sexual discourse.

– Gail Rubin, from the Wikipedia article on sex positive feminism. Here, my personal view agree with that of fellow Christian egalitarian Kathryn Elliott Stegall, who writes:

Without morality there is no equality

and

The day feminism embraced sexual immorality it betrayed its own cause.

In short, feminists agree on a goal: Equality. Equal respect, equal opportunities, equal safety and dignity to both men and women. We disagree on what is needed to get there.

It was highly frustrating. I wished I could help, but she could not hear me. A woman by the Internet nickname of Bigwow commented on a religious blog where female submission was preached by a male blogger. She said she struggles to believe in the God of the Bible, as God’s gender role instructions seem very unjust.

I wanted to help her get a more positive image of God. So I posted a message that said not all Christians agree on what submission mean, and it is totally possible to be a Christian while believing otherwise. I wanted her to rather focus on Christian communities without that particular view on submission. Female submission, I thought, was really not a central issue. Bringing BigWow closer to trusting God was more important. Read the rest of this entry »

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