I have posted links to a couple articles the last few days about misogyny in our culture. It is obvious to me that terrible attitudes and behaviours toward women are part of the church as much as they are part of the culture at large. It seems that rather than take seriously the good news of the destruction of the dividing line between men and women through Jesus Christ, we have tried to redeem misogyny. We can do better. Here is a list of a few suggestions:
- Change any rules that prevent women from becoming pastors, priests, bishops and popes. And then get rid of any rules that allow just one gender to decide who gets to do what.
- Hold fewer conferences and events just for men or just for women and replace them with conferences and events for humans, especially events where everyone participates fully (think food, serving others, enjoying nature).
- Dump the cartoon masculinity that so many evangelical churches are using to try to attract men. It looks and sounds like a bible-versified version of the rapey lads mags. There is a wide spectrum of ways to be. Top Gear for Jesus isn’t the only one.
- Stop glorifying violence. Just because portions of the Old Testament do, that’s no reason for us to.
- Focus our teaching more on the way the good news of Jesus challenges us to live towards others and less on getting our definitions right.
- Lose our obsession with keeping our teenagers individually pure and teach them about the inestimable worth of each person and how to truly love and respect people, i.e. replace a focus on self and sex with a focus on others and love.
- Radically disempower the institutional church. A church that has no control over its adherents must lead by love rather than coercion It must rely on the Holy Spirit to change people. A church that has no traditional earthly authority (or, more likely, earthly power dressed up as spiritual authority) has no vested interest in keeping certain groups pushed down.
- Celebrate the new humanity through Jesus Christ. Marital status should not have an effect one’s status within the church.
- Recognise that men and women are different, but different doesn’t mean that because women have the babies that men are entitled to be in charge of everything.
I’m sure there is more. What other positive things would you add?
31 March 2012
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Earlier this week I linked to information about a study showing that lad’s magazines and rapists talk about women in the same way. Here is a related article: 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women. It is not scholarly; it is full of bluster and hyperbole; it is on a website that consists on long lists that never needed to be made.
it is screaming at us to pay attention to the water we fish are swimming in because it is full of sewage. Continuing unaware of the water is a bad idea, especially if we are trying to raise kids. Pointing out that the writer overstates his case and that it’s not all sewage – there’s actually a lot of good water out there! – is not useful.
Here are David Wong’s five points:
- We Were Told That Society Owed Us a Hot Girl
- We’re Trained from Birth to See You as Decoration
- We Think You’re Conspiring With Our Boners to Ruin Us
- We Feel Like Manhood Was Stolen from Us at Some Point
- We Feel Powerless
31 March 2012
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Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found that when presented with descriptions of women taken from lads’ mags [FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo], and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.
The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.
Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the comments made by rapists more than the quotes made in lads’ mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads’ mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists. (“Read the full press release from University of Surrey”: 69535_are_sex_offenders_and_lads_mags_using_the_same_language)
Sadly, the results of this study are not too surprising to me. They fit pretty closely with the way I see teenage boys and young men talking and behaving at the community centre where I volunteer and at the college where I study.
If you are a parent or work with children or young people, I would love to have your thoughts. Do you see what this study has highlighted as a real problem? Is it widespread or relatively limited? Are you doing anything with your children to combat predatory and misogynistic attitudes in our culture? Do you have any examples of people who are teaching boys a better way?
And I said something about a wider cultural point.
And she said yeah, but he doesn’t understand girls.
And I said something not very convincing.
Today, I thought, Actually Jesus probably would be where Aric Clark said AND where Rob Bell said AND a bunch of other places that we haven’t thought of. Or he might not have even gone to the dance because who seriously wants to go to a middle school dance? Also he would have had to turn the water into punch.
Which brings me to this: Jesus shows up in unexpected places. e.g. this very Jesusy way of seeing people…
Sometimes while I ride the subway I try to look at each person and imagine what they look like to someone who is totally in love with them. I think everyone has had someone look at them that way, whether it was a lover, or a parent, or a friend, whether they know it or not. It’s a wonderful thing, to look at someone to whom I would never be attracted and think about what looking at them feels like to someone who is devouring every part of their image, who has invisible strings that are connected to this person tied to every part of their body. I think this fun pastime is a way of cultivating compassion. It feels good to think about people that way, and to use that part of my mind that I think is traditionally reserved for a tiny portion of people I’ll meet in my life to appreciate the general public. I wish I thought about people like this more often. I think it’s the opposite of what our culture teaches us to do. We prefer to pick people apart to find their flaws. Cultivating these feelings of love or appreciation for random people, and even for people I don’t like, makes me a more forgiving and appreciative person toward myself and people I love. Also, it’s just a really excellent pastime.
…came from here.