Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

(Note: The contents of this post is not something I teach, but which I put up for discussion so I can learn. This is a tentative idea.)

I recently read a book review with this sentence:

The strongest voices speaking into women’s lives in the twenty-first century are Islam and Feminism–systems that reside at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Feminism is, as I understand it, not at the end of any spectrum. It is, per dictionary definition, about giving women the same rights, opportunities, etc. as men.

So on a spectrum, it will be:

Feminism moderate

Could it be that feminism is, per definition, a moderate view?

Comments on: "Is feminism a moderate view?" (24)

  1. I would say Egaltarianism is the moderate view.
    Comps would say Complimentarianism is moderate.
    I would hesitate to call Feminism moderate because some of the hatred towards men I see expressed in some of the branches of Feminism.
    But I agree, Feminism is not an extremist view. it is an honest and needed push back against the injustices of Patriarchy and some branches of Complimentarianism. And as with some push backs, sometimes they push back just a little too far and they go past what would be the middle or moderate.

    Egalitarianism, however, is just that. It is about equality and opposes the view that one gender should rule the other. It is in the middle, balanced, moderate, and just.

    I know, it’s just a term thing for me and not really all that important.

    Have you seen this?

    I don’t agree with her and believe that women can be pastors, elders, etc.
    But I appreciate their push back against stupid, heavy handed complementarianism and am glad there are those in the comp camp that are doing so.


  2. The dictionary gives two definitions of “Feminism” that are mutually exclusive to each other. The fist definition is “gender equality” This is the moderate view you are talking about. The second is “advocacy to increase the rights of women”. This is the antithesis of gender equality. It is arguing for giving women rights not granted to men. The dictionary does have a definition that would define feminism as moderate. The dictionary also has a definition that defines feminism as extremist. The dictionary isn’t much use in identifying what feminism really is.


    • “Advocacy to increase the rights of women” is only the antithesis of gender equality IF women already have all the same rights men do, and feminism wants to give them more. I don’t think either one is true.


      • Women have the legal right to not be parents. The choice to have sex is not the choice to be a parent for women. Women have the legal right to “Plan B” Abortions and legal parental abandonment at safe havens. What legal right does a man have that a woman does not that even comes close to that?


      • Firstly, I am pro-life. But it is impossible to have equal rights for men and women with regards to abortion: Abortion illegal = women have a responsibility to carry a baby, at a cost to her body, which men do not have. Women can abort = women have a right to kill their own children which men do not have. Fathers and mothers can choose abortion = men have a right over female bodies which women do not have over male bodies.
        Abortion is, per definition, not an equal rights issue. I, a woman, could as well ask for the equal right to shave a beard. The right or wrong of abortion should be fought on other grounds than equal rights for the sexes, as male and female bodies are not equal in that regard.

        Still, I disagree that only women have the legal right to not be a parent. Men can use condoms and spermicide, which together are very effective. They can get a vasectomy. They can also choose post-menopausal or infertile partners, or partners they can trust to use birth control. They can even watch every morning to see if those partners use birth control. They can choose to withdraw before they ejaculate. And I’ve heard of this thing called abstinence – it works very well.
        The first one does not mean they can never be a parent again, as they can freeze sperm too, and vasectomies can be reversed.
        I cannot see how legal abandonment at a safe haven is only a female right. Is it only a woman who may legally abandon an unwanted child at a safe haven? Or can a father also do it, if the mother abandoned the child before he did?
        I am pretty sure if there is ever a test case in which parent A leaves the child at a haven, and parent B is a reasonably decent person who wants custody, parent B will be able to get the child back and maintenance from the other parent, regardless of which gender parent is A and which is B. Either could legally abandon a baby for adoption only if the other already abandoned the child first. Either can be held accountable financially – without wanting the child – if the other wants the child. (Now that paragraph is Gender Neutral language!)


      • The question was what legal right do men have that women do not that comes close to the rights that women currently have in choosing to be a parent. You didn’t give one. Every option you gave is equally available to men and women. What legal right do men have that women do not that even comes close to the power and affect of abortion?


      • Equal abortion rights is impossible. It seems like you are whining because, by the very nature of your body, sperm is deposited elsewhere and you don’t have complete control over it any more. Well, we all have to deal with the advantages and disadvantages of our bodies.

        I see no point in discussing your question, as a) reproduction issues cannot be made gender equal and b) I oppose abortion, so I do not want to give anyone any “right” to kill equal to it, and c) this is not the topic of the thread.

        I ask you to please drop this line of argument now, because commenters are asked to stay on topic. The topic here is the moderate-ness, or not, of feminism, not whether men have another right to make up for the automatic non-equalness of anything concerning reproduction. Abortion is neither feminism nor moderate-ness.


  3. ”’I would hesitate to call Feminism moderate because some of the hatred towards men I see expressed in some of the branches of Feminism.”’

    You know I would have agreed with you some years back. There will always be haters in the world, and you can find them in any circle. I think people have been taught to use the haters, and it skews their vision IMO.

    To me its like using Westboro Baptist church (haters) as the measuring tool to say that Christianity can’t be moderate. If people don’t want to use Westboro – goodness knows we could come up with loads of other examples that like group.

    Feminism to me isn’t asking society to taken away femininity. It’s perfectly okay to do the gentleman things, and be your masculine self as well. If you really don’t think you can do that because of all the haters of feminism say you can’t? Take a good look at the reasons why. ie: You boss is a woman, and you can’t be ‘masculine’ with someone over you. As if something so small could do that. It’s like saying all the men in England are emasculated, because they have a Queen. Sorry, but if a man feels something like that takes away his manhood – that has nothing to do with the ‘her’s’ in this world.

    If we use the logic we have been presented with most of the time? A man boss would make me feel less feminine. A male President would make me feel neutered. We are suppose to be opposites in some fashion the way they describe the genders right? Yet, they would laugh at those examples, and we are swallow their’s.

    If you notice most of the time when you have people complaining about the ‘haters’ of feminism? Its normally the ‘haters’ in the opposite direction. Both groups are consumed with hate. Why are they used as the measuring stick?

    I don’t think using a graph with Islam in the way they treat their women (per the news stories), and on the other end Feminism is a good gauge at all. That points to extremes once again. The haters on both ends. True feminism isn’t based in hate. They just want it to be.


  4. Hhhm, Genderneutrallanguage. I don’t think “advocacy to increase the rights of women” is necessarily, as you claim, the antithesis of gender equality.
    Imagine a soccer field built at a 30 degree angle, so the goalpost 1 is lower than goalpost 2 and gravity works in favor of team A, kicking to goalpost 1. If you literally level the playing field it will be “advocacy to increase team B’s rights”. But this levelling is not the antithesis of equality, but a method to obtain it.
    In fact, at least some dictionaries define feminism this way:

    1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
    2. an organized movement for the attainment of such (social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men) rights for women.

    If the second definition is coaxed in terms of attaining equal rights, any woman who wants special privileges for one gender is not, in that case, advocating for feminism.

    (Still, I wish the word for it was not “feminism” as that word sounds like those accused of it put women ahead of men, instead of wanting the same rights for both.)


  5. Genderneutrallanguage, I read some of your blog and think we largely agree.
    I don’t use the word “feminist” for myself or my group. But our opposition do. And when they use the word, their listeners/ readers think we are pro-abortion, anti-family, man-hating promoters of loose moral values, who want special privileges for women to replace special privileges for men.
    Still, by the dictionary definition of feminism, we cannot answer we are not feminists. We can only say they misunderstand feminism. Feminism in itself is not about being pro-abortion, anti-family, man-hating promoters of loose moral values, or wanting special privileges for women. I, for one, am pro-life (and know a proven connection between valueing males more and abortion); want family life to be happy and well-loved for all family members (and have showed how male “lead” and female following cause a lot of serious problems in families), care about both genders equally, certainly do not have loose moral values, and never argued for special privileges for either gender.


  6. I would say that feminism, referring of course to equal-rights feminism, is “moderate” in that it is between the extremes (as you have said). But in actual politics and culture, we don’t practically see that much of the women-over-men sexism, it’s generally men-over-women vs equal-rights. So, I could see why someone might think that feminism is the opposite end of the spectrum, even if it is actually between the extremes.


  7. ”’Women have the legal right to not be parents. The choice to have sex is not the choice to be a parent for women. Women have the legal right to “Plan B” Abortions and legal parental abandonment at safe havens. What legal right does a man have that a woman does not that even comes close to that?”’

    I don’t think I’m clear as what is being said here. I’ll admit it could be lack of coffee, and some stress lately!

    When you have sex – you take risks. You don’t have sex – you aren’t taking them. I think its up to the person to make that decision for their life. If a man doesn’t like the risk, or possible consequences – he has the right to not sleep with someone.

    Are men being forced into having to deal with abortions, or legal parental abandonment at safe havens? Not unless he was forced to have sex. Life is full of risks at times that we can do, or not do. People have the choice to go ahead, or not go there at all.

    Its the same principal with alot of other things in life. If the possible consequences are to much to bear on a personal level – we have choices as whether to go there or not.

    I guess what I’m saying is people do have some control over the outcome, and its starts with action or non action.


    • The question is one of rights not just options. What legal right do men have that women do not that is of comparable affect and scope to abortion and other methods of choosing to not be a parent? Phrased differently what legal rights do men have that women do not that are so powerful as to necessitate women only advocacy?


      • You asked: “Phrased differently what legal rights do men have that women do not that are so powerful as to necessitate women only advocacy?”
        That question is only (almost, as – strictly speaking – feminists are not into women only advocacy, for example changes in rape law affect male rape victims too) relevant in places where feminism is still about legal rights. As my work is about wrong messages coming from the church to women, and feminists in lands with – as far as possible – similar legal rights for the genders talk about wrong messages from society to women, the question of legal rights is not relevant to what we do. We are not advocating for legal rights make things more equal.


      • I thought I was staying mostly on topic. This question is the one that makes or breaks feminism as moderate. If there is just cause for continued women’s advocacy in the western world, feminism is moderate. If women are not an oppressed minority then continued advocacy is about female supremacy, and very much not moderate.


      • Why would people ‘advocate’ on that aspect only? It seems to me there are many issues to advocate on, and if someone doesn’t like the answer to one? What…their done? That makes no sense to me. It certainly doesn’t equal female supremacy. I think you and I both realize that is some twisted logic there. Are you playing devil’s advocate? I mean people advocate on many issues, and its never one dimensional. If it was one dimensional – the logic of everyone keeps their pants zipped would be the answer. Why? It would be the only fair answer to both sides. Humans tend to be multi-dimensional, and no doubt that is why it doesn’t’ work that way.


      • Women Only advocacy is not one dimensional. It is basically all of feminism from the “Dove true beauty” campaign to the Wage Gap to Schrodinger’s Rapist. Broad and multidimensional realms of advocacy. There are occasionally spill over benefits to other groups, like the sexual assault of gay men can now be properly recorded as rape. Women only advocacy isn’t one dimensional, it is advocacy that shares one dimension.
        I was told to drop this line in this thread to prevent a derail. That is perfectly fair, but I thought your questions deserved answers.


      • It seems you compare things that are vastly dissimilar.
        1) You said: What legal rights do men have that women do not that are so powerful as to necessitate women only advocacy?
        You also said that the Dove beauty campaign is an example of woman only advocacy.
        Combined, it would seem you think there is no reason to tell women not to compare themselves to photoshopped models, if women have the same legal rights as men. That will be silly.
        There are a multitude of messages that more women than men (and a multitude of others that more men than women) could still need in a society with the same legal rights given by government, but where individuals still give different messages to boys and girls.
        For example, I believe the “boys don’t cry” type of messages contribute to males being more likely to do violent crime and committing suicide more often. I would be strongly in favour of a campaign teaching boys they can admit the whole range of their emotions – it is not unmanly. Such a campaign will be “male only advocacy” where men and women have the same legal rights, but there will be a justifiable reason for it, and it will, IMO, be entirely moderate.

        2) You talk about things-called-feminism-that-does-not-fit-the-dictionary-definition-of-feminism not being moderate, while the topic was if feminism-by-the-dictionary-definition is moderate. That matters to me, as people call my group feminists because of the dictionary definition, and this poisons the well about us in the mind of their hearers who associate us with things-called-feminism-that-does-not-fit-the-dictionary-definition-of-feminism.


      • 1)Dove is female centered, I don’t have a problem with that. What “male positive” campaign is there of similar size scope and funding? You think “boy’s shouldn’t cry” is a bad message. I agree. Where are the thousands of blog posts on that, like the Dove ad’s got? Equal pay for equal work, ok, how about Equal time for equal crime? Where is that at?

        What part of feminism has taken away rights powers or privilege from women, or given them to men(with out helping women more). Where is the not women only advocacy.
        2)Did you look at the title of my blog “The poisoned well”. Feminism has already poisoned the well. I’m not making it worse by telling people it will kill you.


    • Delete the word “legal” from your question and the word “minority” from the April 27 9:26 am comment, and I agree with you if “women’s advocacy” is defined narrowly.

      If men and women have the same rights, and women’s advocacy is specifically about increasing women’s rights (as opposed to, say, changing a law to make things easier for rape victims, or other things that are not about equal gender rights but about basic humane treatment towards certain groups that have a lot of females in them but also males), that would not be moderate. But it will not fall within the dictionary definition either, so it is not, per this definition, feminism.

      And what I do to get called a feminist is speaking up for an oppressed group. (See the June 29, 2012 comment on to see a few examples of the oppression that drives this blog.) But females are not a minority in churches, I speak for an oppressed majority.


  8. Genderneutrallanguage, you seem to be dropping assertions as we disagree with you and making new ones all the time. Can you state the central point of what you argue for, and then stick to your assertions about that one point or concede them?
    As for your last two assertions, after all your others were dropped:
    1) Your questions are the equivalent of asking why a doctor who have flown mercy missions to South America to do operations have never started schools in Africa, and to imply racism is the reason why he does not. What people do is not bad because they cannot focus on every good cause. Asking if feminists ever taken away powers from women is like asking if someone who raise money for orphanages have ever taken the money of the orphanage and spent it on something else.
    Even though I argue you question does not establish any relevant point, I have to answer that people who call themselves feminists indeed sometimes fought to take away privileges from women, or given rights to men. The group “feminists for life” , for example, want to take away abortion privileges. I myself have argued against abortion. And “feminists” like our group fight for men’s right to live for God without the marriage-straining, church-limiting, pushing-men-into-impossible-tasks-like-spiritual-leader-while-spiritual-leader-is-never-defined role of “Biblical” manhood, as God did not give that role.
    2)Since the topic of this thread is feminism-by-the-dictionary-definition, explain, if you can, how equal opportunity/rights for both genders, and advocacy for equal opportunity/ rights for both genders, a) poison the well, and b) kill you. If you stayed on topic, you made the assertion that it does – explain how.


    • Also, you ask about any male positive campaigns of similar scope and funding. I know of a “male positive” campaign of much larger scope and funding:
      In many churches all over the world, men are told that they – but not women – represent Jesus and women should submit to them. That they are the only ones with the gifts to stand in the pulpit, to be deacons, to be elders. That women exist to help them and not vice versa. That they are the ones with authority. In some cases, that wives should submit to them even when they abuse and daughters should submit even to molestation, or that women should never act as functional equals to men.
      If you know how much money churches get, you would know there is a lot of money behind that message.


  9. I think feminism could reside at a specturm end if that spectrum were:
    inequality between men and women—– equality between men and women (feminism)
    That is, of course, going with the definition of feminism as simply the belief that women should be treated equally to men.


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