“I would never go on the air and dare my management to suspend me [like Bill Simmons did], but then again I don’t have my own website.” —Rich Eisen on Ray Rice and how Simmons’ speaking out against enabling of domestic violence can jeopardize your job
Last night David texted me all the things this article said to say to make your Christian marriage more awesome. The results are as follows:
i was asked by a man how to express his opinions without being a privileged asshole so here’s what i told him
Q: So, I identify myself as a feminist (or “man who supports feminism” depending on who I’m talking to), and I’m a christian. I’m worried that I might be silencing people inadvertently, but I don’t think I am. Can you provide some examples of what you’re talking about?
As a privileged straight white male, things like this are frustrating to me. Because I’m really opinionated, and I think I’m pretty decent at articulating those opinions.
I’m trying to figure out the line between expressing my opinions about things without being a privileged asshole. Quotes like this make it feel like my opinion is not welcome or less valuable. And maybe that’s the case, but I think that’s kind of shitty, if it is. I realize there are things I need to just shut up about (abortion, for example, since I have no idea what it’s like to be a pregnant woman, and never will), but I reject the idea that every gender related issue or socio economic related issue falls into that category. I’d like to be an active part of the solution to these problems, not just sitting back and shutting up all the time. Where’s the line?
A: I’m really glad you’re curious. I can tell you that it’s very likely you’re silencing women without being aware of it, and that’s because we live in a patriarchy. Men speaking over women and women allowing themselves to be spoken over is ingrained in our patriarchal culture, and it’s difficult to notice when we’re doing it. We usually don’t notice it until it’s pointed out to us (and even then many argue against it). I didn’t notice it for years and years. When I got married I said I’d obey my husband. (Turns out I was lying, and it turns out he’s very okay with that.) I didn’t see anything wrong with the complementarian model of marriage and it certainly didn’t register when men talked over me. I even went to a Presbyterian (PCA) church for 12 years, until 3 years ago when I was in a room full of male church elders who blinked uncomprehendlingly at what I was saying, then when my husband said the very same thing I said, they agreed with him. (They then told me that my intuition was wrong, which is the main reason I knew I had to leave their church, but the sexism became glaringly obvious during this.) You asked for examples of what I’m talking about, and that is just one. I can’t begin to name all the ways I am talked over daily by men in the workplace and on the street, let alone in Christian circles. Men habitually take the floor and women habitually hang back. Women are often complicit in this. It’s what we were all taught. Make a point of noticing who is speaking when and with what kind of tone and assertion. This will tell you tons. But this may be the most telling example I can give you: whenever I want to be taken seriously online in a theological or philosophical forum, I use a male pseudonym. Even in progressive circles. I’ve done experiments in which I use my real name and then make another comment under a male name saying the same thing with slightly different wording, and every time the male comment is given much more weight and is engaged with even when it disagrees with others in the forum. My girl name doesn’t command that. I’m now at a church that is markedly more progressive than the PCA and it is aware it has its blind spots in the areas of gender roles and that sort of thing. What makes it safe for me to be there is that they are open to hearing about how they could be marginalizing people and playing into unchallenged, ingrained sexism they grew up with. That to say, thank you for your curiosity around this. Men with this kind of curiosity and openness to being shown their unrealized sexism are what will make the difference in this particular battle for civil rights. When the people in power realize the way they marginalize others, movement can finally happen. So again, thank you so much for asking and listening.
I’m going to say something that has the potential to put you on the defensive, but that is not my intent. It’s just a truth and if we’re going to make progress I need for men to make room for what I’m about to say and I promise something beautiful will come of it. You guys ready? Okay. It is frustrating for me, a woman, to hear you, a man, say that when you are asked to make room for the female voice that you feel as if your opinion is not welcome or valuable. The fact is that men’s voices are given priority in our culture and we make room for their perspective all the time, as we were taught. I need you to understand how frustrating it is for me, a woman who is talked over daily by men to the point of using male pseudonyms to be taken seriously, to hear that a man feels his opinion isn’t valuable. Please hear my frustration and see it from my perspective and don’t shut down. Just hold my perspective and make space for it. It might be the first time you’ve ever been asked to do this, to hold someone’s frustration without being personally threatened by them, and it might feel strange, and that’s okay. Trust me that this is the first step towards internal change and progression of civil rights.
I would say there are two major steps to confronting the sexism I encounter so much of in progressive Christian circles. The first is that men need to make space for the ways in which they haven’t even considered they may have marginalized women. We, men and women raised in a patriarchy, weren’t exactly taught that possibility or that we should make a category for it, so it’s something we need to become aware of. The second thing is to be willing to be wrong. Be willing to be told you’ve marginalized someone. It really, really sucks to hear that you’ve done that, and the typical response is to become angry and defensive, because that’s a protective posture to keep you from feeling sadness and hurt and disappointment in yourself. Feel those vulnerable emotions and show them to the people that you’ve marginalized. Trust that it won’t break or diminish you but will make you and your brothers and sisters stronger because this vulnerability and willingness to see what you’ve done and to want to change is the very definition of building bridges. It’s counterintuitive, but it is what makes peace and wholeness and it is the posture that will change the world.
[The entire original thread is here.]
The patriarchy is so deeply ingrained that we protest the fact that the daddy-daughter date phenomenon has a subtext of sexualization of and ownership of our daughters. But a “daddy-son date” phenomenon does not exist in American evangelical culture in nearly the way daddy-daughter dates do. If you search “daddy-son date” on Twitter, the term shows up at an average rate of 13 days between tweets using this phrase. If you search “daddy-daughter date” on Twitter, the term shows up multiple times per hour, every hour.
The term “date” is a distinctly sexual one. Because it’s used at times (rather occasionally, but still sometimes used) to mean an engagement or hanging out, people protest that the word “date” doesn’t sexualize our daughters. But if you look at all the evidence, “daddy-daughter date” is used thousands of times more frequently than “daddy-son” date.” Why do you think this is?
I take specific issue with the term “date” because it has distinctly sexual connotations which are rooted in longstanding themes in which daughters were property of their fathers until they were handed off by their dads to become property of their husbands.
I take absolutely no issue with fathers spending time with their daughters. I have a daughter and hanging out with her is super fun and her dad and I would be failing both our children if we didn’t seek out hanging out with them. That is a very separate thing from “dating your daughter.” The patriarchy would have us say it’s not actually different, and it would perpetuate the notion of ownership of daughters by their fathers.
A father taking his daughter out on a “date” to “show her how to be treated” is not going to speak more loudly to her about how she should be treated than the way you treat her and other people in her presence during the time you’re not on a “date.” That is what speaks the loudest.
Originally posted on the Stuff Christian Culture Likes fb page
I run a forum for spiritual abuse survivors, and yesterday I posted a link to a site listing 100 of the most trafficked Christian blogs. I pointed out that only 14 of these blogs are run by women, but the tragedy of this was lost on most. A man even told me that it was a “small victory” that a woman had the #1 spot, and women told me they agreed. It amazes me that women have been so conditioned to receive scraps that many rejoice when we merely get a scrap and aren’t made to lick it off the floor. I ended up posting this in the thread and am also putting it here because we all need to wake up to the inequality with which we are so familiar we don’t even recognize it.
"The fact that people are saying that a woman having the #1 spot is a victory when women account for 14% of the most heavily trafficked Christian blogs makes me weep. The patriarchy will continue to prevail as long as this is the attitude people maintain. Whenever I bring up the subject of gender inequality I consistently get many men as well as women defending the low regard for women’s voices in the church, am called bitter, and told to be nicer so that men will want to join the conversation. But I’m not doing anyone a favor by watering down the tragic state of gender issues in the church just so men can feel better about themselves upon entering a conversation about which they should be beyond outraged. If each and every one of us is not beyond pissed that these attitudes have been fed to us by the church (to say nothing of society) then my making the message more palatable is not going to honor anyone and will especially not honor the cause of equality. Jesus’ treatment of women shocked even his disciples, and it’s no accident that none of his female disciples made it into the canon (they’re in the apocrypha, which evangelicals tend to be oblivious to).
Adam, the reason a woman holding the #1 slot is not meaningful to the discussion is because the overall percentage of women’s voices being significant to the conversation is 14%. The fact that Obama is president doesn’t mean that African-Americans are not severely marginalized in this country. For you to approach this subject with explanation instead of a listening posture invokes a lot of feelings in me that would likely cause you to walk away from this conversation should I express them. I say likely because that is the statistical fact. I hope you’re different from the rest and I invite you to stay and learn and be outraged that people are treated this way in your community.
Matt, I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. I’m fucking pissed at the state of affairs in the church and I’m not loving anyone well by sparing them the truth of how absolutely tragic it is that I have to use a male pseudonym when commenting on theological blogs in order to be taken seriously, or that I was in a room of women deacons this weekend who said that whenever they present their ideas to the male session the men smile and nod and vote them into action and then never do anything about them, that when I have met with a church board (of 7 men) my words invoked no reaction until my husband stated the exact same words and they engaged him very earnestly, that evangelical doctors of theology, board members and published authors are more than 80% male, and that a great many people in the church seem proud of the fact that 10% of those in leadership church roles are women. This is seen by many as a giant stride from where women were a generation ago, but it still means it’s 9 times harder to get into a powerful role as a woman.
If this isn’t a civil rights issue, I don’t fucking know what is.”
The original conversation thread is here. I’d love others to join.
"Yet there is one character in history who is reassuring me these days: Moses. I hadn’t realized until last week that in his youth he killed a man, an Egyptian, and buried him under some sand. The next day he saw two men fighting. When he tried to stop them, they said to Moses, ‘What? And if we don’t — are you going to kill us too?’ He became afraid. He thought ‘Everyone knows what I have done.’
Then he fled town.
And he is the king of the Jews—my king. If that is what my king is like, what can I expect for myself? If the king of my people had to be told by God to take off his shoes for he was standing on holy ground when God addressed him for the first time, I should not worry that I—who have never been addressed by God—am all the time standing on holy ground with my running shoes on. I used to worry that I wasn’t enough like Jesus, but yesterday I remembered who was my king: a man who, when God told him to lead the people out of Egypt, said, ‘But I’m not a good talker! Couldn’t you ask my brother instead?’ So it should not be so hard to come at this life with a little bit of honesty. I don’t need to be great like the leader of the Christian people. I can be a bumbling murderous coward like the king of the Jews.”
—Sheila Heti, “How Should A Person Be?”