Friday, 29 November 2013
Focusing Our Firepower
In response to yesterday's blog post, I have been involved in a Facebook conversation with a friend discussing whether it is true that our culture views women as inferior. I wrote in my blog post that "...the church should claim the middle ground, passionately defending the beauty of binary gender as created and called 'good' by God, while at the same time standing firmly against any implied or outright attitudes that mark one gender as superior! ... And in our culture, the gender that tends to be portrayed as inferior is women." This friend argued that our culture has "spent many years trying to present women as equal to or even better than men". My response follows, as I think it merits wider discussion.
"I agree that our culture would be quite unlikely to say outright that females are inferior. However, much like racism, which presents in subtle ways now that it is no longer socially acceptable to be overt about it, I do think mainstream media and those saturated in its thinking present a degraded, sexualised, and inferior view of women. The graphic I linked yesterday had many examples of this. The vast majority of tales of heroism, friendship, and character growth are fronted by male characters, while females are most often main characters in a romance story intended only for other females. I have explored on my blog dozens of other ways in which females are subtly presented as less valuable."
"Indeed, for the vast majority of history and still in the vast majority of the developing world, women are overtly considered less valuable, intelligent, and capable then men. This is true in the Muslim nations where women are hidden beneath robes as if shameful and have little to no civil rights in comparison to men, this is true in the African nations where females are routinely circumcised so that sexual pleasure becomes strictly male territory, this is true in India where little girls are given away as sexual toys in a parody of marriage to men old enough to be their grandfathers, this is true in China where female infants are aborted or abandoned in favour of males. It is only in the West and in the last fifty or so years that it even became inappropriate (in most contexts, unless it's the internet) to say that women are only good for cooking and looking pretty."
"As I have said repeatedly on my blog, I think the complementarian church is in grave danger of totally undermining its message if it sees feminism as its only enemy, since the enemy of misogyny is far more deeply entrenched over the world and across history. It feels to me a bit like if a movement for more racial equality in the church focused mainly on ways black culture excludes whites and ignored the long and bloody history of the ways whites have mistreated blacks. One is not the answer to the other, absolutely, but we should be very cautious before we decide which side deserves most of our firepower."
As always, deeply interested to hear your thoughts, arguments, and experience, whether here or on Facebook.