I’m a Woman, Not a Sin

Christianity has had a bit of a sexism problem since it began; with all of the apologetics surrounding the issue, I believe that the problem starts with the opening narrative of man being created in God’s image and the woman a lesser copy, made in the image of man. Even in the most favorable of contexts, the Bible cannot be seen as a guide for any individual who values egalitarianism — it’s rife with issues of financial, gender, and racial inequality. While many churches reject the most extreme strictures of gender stereotyping, embodied perhaps, in the infamous Quiverfull movement, the ideology of men and women having certain “callings” or “spiritual gifts” fall across gender lines. Men’s spiritual gifts, as taught by the church I grew up in, consisted of things like “leadership” and “organization,” while women were typically granted with “listening” and “nurturing.”

(Here’s a link to a frackin’ huge manual on how to discern your spiritual gift and how to put it to use.  Bear in mind, though, that this is the Evangelical Lutheran denomination and they are known to be a bit more progressive about women’s roles in the church. In the church I grew up in, women were restricted to leading the praise and worship (though never alone), teaching children’s Sunday school and children’s church, and sharing an occasional testimony or musical piece.)

Issues of sexism, much like anti-intellectualism, homophobia, and racism, tend to be pervasive, systemic. You can hack off an offending bit, but it’s an exercise in futility, knowing that the rest of it is rotted through as well. The trick, then, is to convince people that it’s not actually rotten, or maybe that rot is good for you, or maybe that it’s been this way for years, so why bother?

One of the most convincing lines, though, is the one that tells us “it’s fixed!” or “problem solved!” It’s a pretty common line that gets trotted out by theist and atheist, skeptic and non-skeptic alike; when atheists tell us that feminism is irrelevant, or when non-minorities tell us that racism is a thing of the past, it makes it that much harder for the feminist and the anti-racist to be heard. No one likes a whiner — especially someone whining about a problem that people don’t believe exists.

And there’s the rub: sexism and racism and all of the other –isms are still very much alive and well in this country. It took us forty-four presidents before a black man won the office (and there were virtually no viable female candidates this time around). Up until recently, anti-choice activists played a key role in the leadership of the Komen Foundation.  A 16-year-old female is subject to objectification within the atheist community.

But, unlike our theist counterparts, we have no need for the reliance on dogma and rhetoric; if we want to, we can employ a healthy dose of skepticism to the problems we see around us, hopefully generating human-oriented solutions to human-created problems. It’s daunting, no doubt about that, but the tools of critical thinking and skeptical inquiry are our best bet at confronting inequality. Our community needs sober eyes and empathetic hearts.

Unfortunately, theism — Christianity in particular — is forced to recycle the same old dogmas into the mill, hoping and (literally) praying for something revelatory to be excreted. At the end of the day, you’re ultimately confined to the boundaries of the holy book you insist on following; if unhappiness results, it’s because you failed to follow the formula, not because the formula is crap to begin with.

YouTube Preview Image

Take this song, for instance. Lecrae is a Christian rapper, and while I haven’t been immersed in Christian music for several years, it seems that he embodies their favorite “ghetto redemption” narrative. These lyrics were posted on Facebook by a theist friend, explaining that the song is an interpretation of Proverbs 5:1-14, a passage written as a warning against the evils of adultery. As I read through the lyrics, my heart just sank… as with much of Christian culture, it reeks of sexism, impossible expectations, and endless guilt. Check them out:

“Walking to my grave letting evilness enslave me

Evil looks so lovely covered in her lace of lies

And the silky smooth seduction just manipulates my mind

Her fabrical fabrication is fueling my fascination

While I’m intoxicated she starts her assassination

I’m losing all my honor and my years to the merciless

Giving all my life away but I’m just so immersed in this (killa)”

And this one:

“Her feet go down to DEATH, so don’t let her consume you

Even though her heart is black, her exterior’s beautiful

She’ll take your life away, strip away your joy

Pretends that she gon build you up but she’s just gon destroy you”

In Christian culture, femininity is a dangerous downward spiral into immorality. The difference between “wholesome” and “seductress” is an exceptionally thin line that varies wildly from group to group; sometimes it’s hemlines, sometimes it’s haircuts. Despite the fact that a woman can unknowingly step into the “seductress” category, Lecrae’s seductress is purposeful in her intent, complete with the idea that she is “manipulating” him and “assassinating” him, like the “merciless,” cruel, sexy bitch that she is. Consequently, you get the idea that any woman who is behaving in a way that you interpret as “seductive” is doing so with knowledge and intent.

I can’t think of a more permanent set of shackles than that given to Christian youth by being told that their bodies are the source of their immorality, that bodies are something to be thoroughly covered up, forgotten, out of sight, out of mind. If you fail to do so completely, if you leave a bit too much skin uncovered, or wear a shirt that’s a little too tight, the assumption is that you are inviting depravity and sin into your life and you know it. I have to wonder how many of my adolescent and teen years I wasted, intentionally distancing myself from my male peers who could have been my friends in the name of purity/fear (I can never remember which…) or patting myself on the back and reassuring myself of the supposed superiority my purity gave me (“It’s so sad and empty to live a life trying to impress all the boys when you could have a greater purpose in life, like me”). There is never enough that a girl can do to secure her purity — it’s in what she wears (every piece), how she walks, how she stands, how she does her hair and makeup, how much eye contact she makes… in a self-selecting survey about modesty, men from a variety of ages answered questions about what constitutes modesty. Check out the results of the agree/disagree statement “the way a girl walks can be a stumbling block”:

75% of responders agree that girls walking can be difficult to deal with.

And some of the written commentary:

"This type of immodesty can only be deliberate."

And I can’t even speak to what the boys go through. The other side of the coin that women’s bodies are responsible for these sexual indiscretions (which could be as small as thinking about another person in a sexual manner) is that men are made to believe that women are sins to commit, rather than individuals with agency. Remember a couple weeks back, when Andrew bravely shared his story about his grisly excommunication from Mars Hill? Remember how his fiancé and fellow fornicator was faced with the same excruciating treatment and ostracism?

No? Neither do I!

It, too, falls into the same gendered crap where women are seen as “weaker vessels” that succumb to their own wicked desires while men are the strong leaders responsible for their redemption. Andrew, you see, was not a strong or leader-y enough of a man (according to Mars Hill standards) to resist the temptations of the flesh; it was his fault and his problem that he had had a “physical” relationship with his fiancé and it was his fault for succumbing to the temptations of the flesh, not that he had broken the trust he had established with his fiancé.

The Christian model of gender roles leaves one side voiceless and the other overburdened with unearned responsibility. Neither position is enviable.

The takeaway here is that we can do gender so much better. As non-theists and as skeptics, we need to understand the pervasiveness of the inequity that surrounds us (in whatever form it takes) and to be honest about our own personal investment in these stereotypes. The atheist and skeptical community may not have the toxic written dogma of religious institutions, but I think we should hold off on the cake and the streamers until we understand how closely we are knit to our long-held beliefs.

About amanda

Amanda is a pie-baking, music-listening, lindy-hopping, yoga-doing, power-tool-wielding feminist, atheist, and wife. She divides her time equally between cooking delicious things, trying to make nice with the house cat, and ranting about religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

    Agree with everything except how the lyrics you chose were specific to sexism. Let me explain. He was using the pronoun she in order to place a human quality on the “sin” of adultery. He didn’t make the “sin” male because he isn’t attracted to men, so why would he be attracted to a “sin” that is male? The “sin” itself has no actual qualities, and I doubt that this “rapper’s” intentions was to make women out to be the cause of the sin. To a straight male, there is nothing more attractive then a woman. To make “sin” look attractive he put a feminine quality on the “sin.”  You’re reaching here Amanda. As a writer you should understand simple poetic devices.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Amanda. Let the man explain to you how feminising sin as a seductive assassin is not degrading to females at all. Because you must never have heard of poetry or metaphor before–you being a brainless airhead and all.

      • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

        Oh okay, so how would YOU make sin sexually attractive to a male? People like you give feminism a bad name. It’s okay to call a flower she, it’s okay to call, a country she, it’s okay to call a car she, but the second you try and be creative in come the bra burners.

        • Mrs. B.

          No, people like Ibis3 give feminism a voice, period. You can plug your ears and sing lalalalalalalalalalal all you want, but just because you don’t see sexism in a certain thing doesn’t mean women who have been exposed to it all their lives don’t see sexism in that same thing.

          Sin equated to femaleness is sexist. It started with the Bible and has continued ever since. Sin equated to male is sexist. What would you think of a song sung by a girl blaming all of her woes on “him” or “he”? My best guess is you’d think she was a whining feminist man hater. Well, that works both ways.

          Since evil is usually represented by Satan, you would think Lecrae would have gone with imagery to that effect rather than the tired old cliche of woman as temptress, seductress and source of evil.

          • Michael

            Wait.

            So sin equated to femaleness is sexist, but sin equated to maleness is not?

            • Bryan

              “So sin equated to femaleness is sexist, but sin equated to maleness is not?”

              No. Read again. Mrs B said: “Sin equated to femaleness is sexism…Sin equated to male is sexist.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

            I too am a feminist. I fight for the right of every person to be considered equal, and I will continue to until I die. That being said, I will jump on the chance like yesterdays trampoline to protect either sex when I think they are being unjustly attacked over something that is being misinterpreted. The sexism pendulum swings both ways.

            Oh and on your example of a woman blaming a man for all of her problems in music making me feel bad, no it doesn’t (there are countless examples of men and women blaming men and women for all of their troubles) and it shouldn’t. Sometimes peoples lives simply turn out that way and not allowing someone to express that because it might hurt someones feelings is wrong.

            • Anonymous

              Wierd, I’m a 50 yr old male RN. I work in a woman’s profession, surrounded by women and have yet to experience the “pendulum” swing my way. In fact I’ve never seen it swing any man’s way. Perhaps it has, but it was so minute as to be imperceptible.
              I can’t imagine how sensitive a man must be to slight as to actually claim that sexism against men is an issue.

              • BobtheRobot

                “To put it simply: men are neither supposed nor allowed to be dependent. They are expected to take care of others and themselves. And when they cannot or will not do it, then the assumption at the heart of the culture is that they are somehow less than men and therefore unworthy of help. An irony asserts itself: by being in need of help, men forfeit the right to it.”— Peter Marin, Jill Gets Welfare–Jack Becomes Homeless

                Jess Jones sounds like a good person and I doubt that she will be influenced by you, but I think it is a malevolent thing to do to suggest to her that compassion for men in need is a bad thing.

                • Anonymous

                  I see, so sexism against men is so vague and pointless as to be imperceptible, that’s why I’ve never noticed it. Sort of like the gender equivalent of ‘white man’s burden’.

                  I assumed that Jesse was a man, her posts reminded me of the Man’s Movement.  I don’t know if you remember. It was a 80-90′s thing where a bunch of middle class white guys sat around whining about how hard they have it and how they’re not allowed to share their feelings. Trying to portray themselves as victims of the women’s movement.

                  Jesse I sincerely apologize, but you can save yourself a lot of worry and concern the whole concept of sexism against men is just a bunch of wank. Kind of embarrassing really.

                • BobtheRobot

                  Maybe Jesse Jones is a man; I just assumed he was a woman from the name.
                  As for the rest of it, I think you’ve used a few fallacies and made a few assumptions, but I think you have not actually addressed what I said. I think insinuating that I am a racist without any evidence or proof doesn’t give support to your argument nor does the assumption that I am white. And I don’t think I ever implied that women were the perpetrators of all crimes against men or that all men in need were solely men assailed by women.
                  I think the only point that I made which you actually addressed was that men in need of help are looked down upon by society when you demonstrated the accuracy of my point.
                  “Kind of embarrassing really.”
                  How embarrassing when a man needs help. He should be ashamed for failing. Am I doing it right?
                  I think that perhaps you should rethink what you have said. Don’t you think it insinuates that women are akin to children and men are akin to gods to say that you expect women to need help but if a man fails it is because he is less than a man?
                  I think that sometimes men need help and sometimes women need help, because they are both human beings.

                • Anonymous

                  Okay, lets look at your example. Poor people are looked down
                  upon because they are poor, not because they are in need of help. A poor man is
                  less than a man because he is poor, it’s the ‘poor’ part not the ‘man’ part. In
                  other words the example is one of class discrimination not gender.  Actually he’s not ‘less than a man’ is
                  he, unless you are using ‘man’ to stand in for the genderless ‘person’.

                  Lets see if I can make this more clear. A gay man is ‘less
                  of a man’ because of homophobia; a man of colour is ‘less of a man’ because of
                  racism; a man with a disability is ‘less of a man’ because of ablism.  Not because of gender. And without
                  gender discrimination where is the sexism?

                  As far as a man being ‘less than a man’ because he is “in
                  need” is ridiculous. A homeless man isn’t looked down upon because he is in
                  need it’s because he belongs to a category of socioeconomic status that is
                  looked down upon. Otherwise why would poor women and children also suffer the
                  same discrimination.

                  Also men in need of all kinds of things aren’t considered
                  ‘less than a man’. Is a man in need of heart surgery less than a man? Bob maybe
                  considered less of a man that Bill because he doesn’t change his own oil but
                  fortunately for Bob that in no way impacts on his male privilege as he is still
                  and always will be male.

                   

                   

                  “Am I doing it right?” No, because what’s embarrassing is
                  co-opting the insult of poverty so that over-privileged men can pretend they
                  suffer gender discrimination.

                   

                  “Don’t you think it insinuates that women are akin to
                  children and men are akin to gods to say that you expect women to need help but
                  if a man fails it is because he is less than a man?” No, I never actually said
                  anything like that.

                   

                  And lastly when I compared men’s movement types complaining
                  of men suffering gender discrimination with white men complaining of the WMB, I
                  was using an analogy, not actually suggesting you or anyone here was white or
                  racist.

                  So let me sum up my argument in case you’ve missed it, which
                  is, that there is no issue of sexism against men that can in any way be
                  compared to or be seen as a corollary of sexism against women.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Travis-Dykes/19217851 Travis Dykes

                Im an R.N. student (4th level) and Ive seen it already in the nursing profession.  Not that its nearly the same caliber as what women deal with.  Most recent example was when I was in my OB clinical (required 3rd level) and one of the nurses came up to me point blank and asked “what are you doing here?!?! MEN dont work in OB nursing!!!”

                That said I think a fair amount of the perceived male bashing in nursing Ive heard from others is more a case of women bashing and getting on men for being in a “womanly profession”. 

                • http://twitter.com/tuba_man Chris

                  Agreed on your last paragraph.  

                  Most of the sex-based male bashing I experience isn’t anti-male in general.  It’s anti a specific male for being womanly.  (Nevermind that it also almost always comes from other men – In my four years in the USMC, I had the least contact with women, but also the most sexism.)”Don’t be a woman”, “don’t be a pussy”, “get a real man’s job”, “grow a pair”, etc.  They’re used to attack men by associating those individuals with women and weakness.  

                  This is off-topic from your post, but personally I see the predominant cultural definitions of “masculinity” as a huge problem.  With so much of it based around an opposition to women rather than just a definition of men in their own right, it’s hard to get many men to even accept sexism for what it is.  In a sense, it’s difficult to even start talking about things like privilege and male-as-default viewpoints without addressing “masculinity” first.

              • Niteskygazer13

                I am a female RN in my 50′s.  I know that a male RN, with in 5 years of graduation, will be making more money that a female RN  from the same graduating class.  I know that doctors, male and female, will treat him with more respect.  In my more than 20 years of nursing I have observed it often.   It is one of the reasons it is a joy to have male RNs on shift, they deflect some of the BS coming down from the docs.  The majority of the male RNs I have know and worked with, would not agree with your statements about the “pendulum”.  That I learned from discussion with them during long busy shifts.  And, finally, tell me the last time a female patient made a sexually inapporpriate comment to you. 

            • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

               I’m not saying you’re not a feminist in some fashion.

              I’m just saying you’re the only person I’ve ever seen self-describe as feminist and call someone a “bra-burner” unironically in the same conversation.

        • ESC_key

          Jesse, as a bit of a poetry and lit nerd I admit that I am used to the poetic forms assosciating certain feminine characteristics to concepts or objects of nature, going all the way back to the ancient Greeks (Dawn, with her rosy fingers in Homer’s Odyssey). That said, I think the point being made is not that the lyricist isn’t allowed to use metaphor in his rap, but that he is making evil itself out to be wholly female, and wholly conscious of both its intent and strict femininity, which the rapper may or may not have intended. Nevertheless, it does not poetically illustrate the more “feminine” aspects of evil so much as encourage the listener to make the connection that evil is a solely female thing. This is only speculation, however, and since I tend to refer to plenty of inanimate objects (such as my car) as “she”, I do also see your point. Maybe I should stop doing that, or maybe its reaching. Either way, it is important to keep discussing these topics, since every time we do we make a bit of progress towards complete equality between the sexes

          • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

            Now that was a good argument, thank you for that bit on enlightenment. As well as admitting you aren’t sure if the “artist’s” intentions were definitely meant to push a certain ideal.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

          Ugh, is there an Internet rule yet about automatically losing an argument on feminism as soon as you pull out the tired old “bra burners” card?  It’s intentionally dismissive and demeaning.  Come on.

          Are you seriously arguing that women shouldn’t say anything when they’re uncomfortable with unkind associations being made about their gender?  There’s a big difference between being compared to a ship or car versus “stripping away” someone’s joy with your “black heart.” Even if Lecrae’s being “creative,” the song is based on a specific biblical verse about a temptress/adulteress who will ruin a man with her wiles.  His interpretation of it reflects the same classic “blame the woman” canard that the passage centers on–the temptation is 100% the doing of this evil woman with her “black heart” that he can’t do anything to resist.  This is a recurring biblical theme.  The song is based on a misogynistic passage that highlights this theme, so it’s not too much of a stretch to read the lyrics as such.

          And even if you disagree with the interpretation, calling someone a “bra burner” is sexist and rude.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, but I couldn’t find anything in Jesse’s post where he accused Amanda of never hearing about poetry or metaphor, or where he called her a brainless airhead. Can you direct me to the quotes? I mean if they’re actually there. Because if they aren’t, then you’re either constructing a pretty offensive straw…person, or you’re saying those things about Amanda yourself. Either way… pretty offensive.

        The way I read it, he was making a fair comment about the lyrics – a point with multiple facets (yeah, geometers will quibble over that line) as you might see from subsequent comments on this thread. I saw it as playing “devil’s advocate” if you will, a position that doesn’t require a vested interest in the overall character of the subject. It’s one of the tools we can use to expose all sides of an issue to understand more about it. Whether feminizing as a linguistic device is degrading (in some cases) to females, as you imply,  is something definitely worth exploring. Jesse’s speculation on Lecrae’s intent will no doubt help that discussion along.

        And before you accuse me of being all patriarchal and lecture-y, I’m only mentioning this because you write like someone who’s forgotten these things.  We don’t all have to be in lock-step to be moving in the same direction. We don’t have to agree with each other 100% to achieve the same goals. You don’t have to be a woman to have a valid opinion about the paragraphs in question. Would you agree?

    • Anonymous

      That may be true to some extent, but you’ve got it backwards. He doesn’t associate sin -> women, but women -> sin

      And that’s his likely thought process here. He didn’t choose to write a song about sin and then pondered how he could best express that. He wrote a song about a woman and then linked her to sin

      • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

        You might be right, we should ask him! Someone find this guys email, STAT!

        • ESC_key

          Stev, thanks for catching my goof! :P you’re right, the lyrics do seem to point more towards your interpretation than mine. Unfortunately, I think we’ve fallen into the trap of detracting from the author of the post’s original point: that the overall message of those lyrics is peddled as “truth” by several sects of Christianity, with a lot less “poetic license” and a lot more potential for permanent damage.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Even in the most favorable of contexts, the Bible cannot be seen as a
    guide for any individual who values egalitarianism — it’s rife with
    issues of financial, gender, and racial inequality.

    Be careful, this appears to be a fallacious argument from consequences.

    • Anonymous

      How so? I don’t see an argument from consequences here.

      • Reginald Selkirk

         Let me rephrase it for you: “I want to believe in egalitarianism, and the Bible doesn’t support that, so the Bible must be wrong.”

        • Anonymous

           It doesn’t say that it’s wrong in general. Just wrong as it pertains to those desired consequences. In this case equality.

        • sara

          Nope, it just says, “If you believe in egalitarianism, the Bible doesn’t support it, so the Bible is wrong based upon that belief.” The post specifically says it can’t be a guide for “any individual who values egalitarianism.”

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Amanda. Those comments by the 17-21 year olds might as well have been mullahs debating “modesty” in Iran. Disgusting that they’re already such misogynists at such an age.

  • Anonymous

    moved comment

  • Michael

    Your complaint about the poor quality of female presidential candidates seems to show that presidential campaigns are at least showing signs of gender equality. Or did I miss a group of credible male candidates?

  • Steve Barry

    @Jesse Jones, I disagree. I think you are missing the point of feminizing the embodiment of sin. It is completely in line with Christian theology and American culture overall.

    • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

      Yes, you are completely right. But, how would you propose he put a sexually attractive swing on the idea of adultery?

      • Yukimi

        I don’t know why he would need to make it sexually attractive… and even then I think he probably wanted to imply what he did. Anyway, this is just a supposition.

        • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

          There really was no need, you’re right. But it does sort of seem appropriate when talking about sex to talk about sex.

        • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

          Oh and on another aspect of why he might want to make adultery sexually attractive, Forbidden fruit is VERY sexy to some people.

    • Anonymous

      There is one difference though historically, at least compared to some forms of American Christianity.

      For most of Christianity women were seen as being lustful, seductive and controlled by their desires and emotions. Generally, that’s still present, but some modern American theology instead tries to deny that women even have a sex drive at all. That’s new. Insofar as they play a role in sexual enticement, it’s not that they may want sex, but purely passively about how they look and unwittingly arouse men. Instead all active roles and sexual urges are almost exclusively associated with men

  • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

    one of the things i have always been fascinated by is the misogyny of the Old Testament, and the resulting patriarchal social forms that have resulted in societies ever since. don’t get me wrong, there is and was plenty of misogyny in religious traditions of the non-Abrahamic sort (i study them professionally). but it is interesting to me to see the very obvious hatred the Levites of old are representing as having, for all things having to do with female independence and pleasure. it really makes me wonder if the OT authors had some sort of personal beef with a particular woman, or priestess from another religion who was more popular with worshippers, or something like that. misogyny and homophobia have a lot in common, in the sense that one can usually say, “you know what it *really* means when a person expresses it, don’t you?”

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Any take on what effect later editing had?  Weren’t there lots of early works referencing Ashara that could have been included in the OT if the people making the canon hadn’t been misogynistic?

      • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

        imho, there’s been so much editing and re-editing it’s pretty much impossible to get to the “original” documents at this point. the best we can do is look at other, similar traditions via the archaeology and try to make useful comparisons, based on what we have left in the OT that is similar. the buybull is of course not just fiction, but a political and cultural document. figuring out what it may have originally said or how it was written ‘the first time’ is like an alien trying to figure out the scientific theory of evolution by watching fox news science coverage. 

  • Anonymous

    great piece. GOOD ON YOU MATE… i could not have said it better myself…

  • Anonymous

    Those lyrics sound almost Augustinian in their overt imagery. But St. Augustine was one of the most influential- and misogynistic influences upon Christianity.

  • Adrienne Asselmeier

    Hey! Good article. I wrote about that modesty survey garbage on the CFI blog. Ha. It was fun, but the issues are still really frustrating. >:[ 
    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/oncampus/blog/entry/dren_bible_fun/

  • http://twitter.com/SparrowTWW Tavin Robinson

    Wow, this is interesting and perhaps kismet.  Amanda, could you possibly write a short synthesis of your blog post for me? I am the co-host of The Wigglian Way pagan podcast. On Friday we are recording. My segment is on the slut/whore/what you wear makes you that/misogynistic behaviour that many people indulge in. If you are interested and you have time for it, could you send your response to sparrowinparadise@gmail.com ? You will be fully cited. Thank you in any case. If anyone who has responded in this thread…or if you have a short article on the topic…please send it to me at that address. You can find our podcast on iTunes and at http://www.thewigglianway.ca  

  • Silver Layna

    This is exactly why I worry about our youth-both girls and boys.  It is also why I would and could never be comfortable raising my children as Christian, however I would most definitely teach them about it, just as I would expose them to many other world views and belief systems.  Despite the consequences being seen and thrown in our face everyday, our culture as a whole still doesn’t seem to understand that these types of messages being sent to a child create a tremendous amount of pain and suffering well into adulthood over being ashamed and being uncomfortable not just in one’s own skin but with sex itself.  This is an issue rampant with married adult couples still traumatized over the messages they received as children about sex and their own sexuality.  This is a reality far too commonly known to sex therapists and psychologists yet many people are still shocked when they hear the facts and statistics surrounding the depth of this problem and that it does usually stem from the messages about sex received from early childhood.

  • Anonymous

    For all the history on the Catholic church’s absurdities about sex and women, I highly recommend “Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven,”
    http://www.amazon.com/Eunuchs-Kingdom-Heaven-Sexuality-Catholic/dp/0140165002

    A lot of it is jaw-droppingly crazy.

  • Guest

    That modesty survey is hilarious, but it’s also a treasure trove of data revealing what arouses Christian men. I will use it when creating my Fembot5000 to make her irresistible.

  • Carmen

    Great post, Amanda.

    I have some family members who are Hassidic Jews (Lubovitch sect).  The modesty rules are as extreme as described here, in my opinion.  Women who are married cannot show their heads (most wear wigs); all women must cover knees and elbows, with no cleavage, and no pants (always have to wear a skirt or dress); at public functions, men and women are separated by barriers so they cannot see each other at all; and women are not allowed in the main part of the temple but have to stay behind a barrier or in the upstairs gallery.   Basically the idea is that the mere presence of a woman near a man is too much temptation especially when it comes to things like praying.  Women are not really involved in the temple; they handle all things at home.  Women are expected to have a lot of children.  During her menstrual cycle, a woman is considered “unclean” and cannot even touch a man.  Married couples have twin beds for this reason.  Many Hassidic publications will not publish photos of women – remember the big flap when a Brooklyn publication erased the image of Hillary Clinton in the situation room when Osama Bin Laden was killed?

    In Israel, extremists are really taking over many areas and forcing women to literally sit in the back of the bus – even women who are not religious.  Women are fighting back, though.  I wish this would get more coverage in the news. 

    • Carmen

      By the way, here is a recent article about women being forced to the back of the bus in Israel:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204368104577136253309226604.html

      Interestingly too – Israel requires men and women to serve in the military.  In the story noted above, a female soldier was told to go to the back of the bus.  So they expect women to fight for Israel, but sit at the back of the bus.  Nice.

  • Anonymous

    I realize it’s a rhetorical flourish, but it did not take “forty-four” elections to nominate an African-American president.  We have had fifty-six such elections.  

  • feistyboots dot com

    Your comment really touched me, thank you. Having grown up in a cult where I was physically punished for many things about my body that were out of my control, I think you hit the nail on the head.

  • reality

    It’s a shame that liberal extremist organizations like yours are terrorizing the US citizens with your anti religious hate.  If you were truly “atheists” then any religious content should just be meaningless to you.  However, the urges that motivate you and others like you to put websites like this is nothing more then pure, anti-religious, hatred.  Which doesn’t make you friendly atheists as you claim but aligns you closer to Satan worshipers.

    • kamilla

      Trololololol.

    • Backwardfish178

       I am religious but I do not feel that atheists don’t get a say just for being atheist. They are part of the community too, and are affected by others and their beliefs. Religions comment on other religions often. What is the difference of an atheist commenting on another view point? I did not hear hate in this article, but a genuine concern for how a certain viewpoint affects others. If you see that as “evil”, then it all the more proves a point. Also – no matter how you are “like” you have to actually believe in Satan to worship him. If you cannot stomach a simple discussion about ethics and how it’s related to religious belief, I suggest it’s best that you simply stay from these types of blogs, since they obviously upset you so. Best of luck to you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/motzben Ben Motz

        Well said.

    • NickDB

      Just as a side point, (not that I believe in god or satan) but considering god killed more people in the bible, it’s god’s religions that cause the most damage and it’s satans actions that taught us right from wrong. I have to ask, what is so bad about worshipping satan?

      The best cardinal sin I’ve ever come across in my studies is the cardinal sin of LaVey satanism – Stupidity.

      • sowercream

        because with out satan we wouldnt have needed to know right from wrong because there would only have been right

    • The Other Weirdo

       When you say “Satan worshipers”, do you mean Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type Satan worshipers, or real-world Satan worshipers. Because, in either case, I’ve got bad news for you: neither Satan exists.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    My wife and I were wondering what the male word for “misogyny” was, so I looked it up. It’s misandry. Then I noticed that “misogyny” was coined for English way back in the 16th-century. Anyone care to guess when a word like “misandry” finally became necessary? Between 1945 and 1950! That’s what I call privilege.

  • Sue Blue

    Yes!  Great post, Amanda!  Christian misogyny was a major factor in my becoming an atheist.  I bitterly resented being constantly told that I was inherently inferior – smaller, weaker than men, a creationist afterthought forced to bleed every month because of Eve’s “sin”, every expression of anger or overt emotion labeled “hysteria”, my physical attributes only worthwhile if they were attractive to men (and constantly obsessing over clothes, makeup and weight – not to make me happy but to appeal to men and win their approval).  I was interested in math, astronomy, biology and medicine from an early age but felt compelled to downplay or hide my intellect because my friends, church members, and even my parents thought it was unbecoming for a girl to actually think.  I read the bible from cover to cover to see if the crap being fed to me by the church was backed up by scripture and was furious to find that not only did god’s word condone misogyny – it called for even worse treatment of women than my church.  This study led me to discover all the discrepancies, continuity errors, and plain physical impossibility of the bible story, eventually leading to atheism.   I know my experience sounds medieval, but I grew up in small, conservative mining towns as a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the 1960s and 70s.  Except for the lack of witch-burning pyres, Puritans would probably have felt right at home.
      I don’t have a problem with men – I’ve been happily married for 22 years – but I still get accused of being a man-hating amoral lesbian bitch by some (usually older) men when I point out sexism of some sort, especially if they know I’m an atheist.    I feel fortunate to have a husband who is confident enough in his own manhood to enjoy my independence, ability to earn my own living, converse intelligently…and rip new anal openings in those small-minded enough to think that human worth has anything to do with secondary sexual characteristics.

  • Robyman444

    “Fabrical fabrication?” WTF??? And just to be clear, one of the most stunning, outrageously, insanely beautiful women I have ever met DID possess a black heart – and she was a very devout Christian.

  • Georgina

    “man being created in God’s image and the woman a lesser copy”

    Nope, we women are the improved version:
    “Hmm, the prototype’s not bad, but what say we put all those dangly bits inside and maybe attach baby nourishment thingies to the front, for those long cold nights in winter?”
     

  • BobtheRobot

    I
    don’t understand how you can fail to see the hypocrisy when you tell a person
    that by considering the rights of men in unison with the rights of women then
    they are promoting sexism.

     

    I watched the video you linked to “TheAmazingAthiest”.
    I don’t think he is very good at communicating and I think I see flaws in his arguments,
    but I think that comes down to failures in his work and I think not to bigotry.
    I annotated his conclusion below.

     

    “Feminists are right about one thing: gender
    roles are the problem. And both sides have grievances. [But] No one should be a
    feminist. Nor should anyone start calling themselves something ridiculous like
    a ‘masculinist’. You can’t be for the rights for [just] one or the other. If
    you are truly for equality you have to be for the rights of both. You have to
    address every unfairness whether it’s an unfairness towards women or an
    unfairness towards men because there are unfairnesses towards both out there.
    And you don’t lose ground by accepting that premise.”

     

    “I’ve been called a misogynist and a sexist
    and a pig by a lot of feminists for awhile now because of some of the videos I
    have made on the topic of feminism but all I have ever believed in is equality
    between the genders and that means both ways. And if you can’t accept that then
    you are the sexist, not me.”

     

    So, in other words, I think he is advocating a
    form of humanism. I think his message was not that “feminism is irrelevant”. I
    think it was that feminism is a form of sexism and that one should be able to
    help, care about, and support women without following any doctrines of hate
    against men or any other group(s).

     

    I think you are right, I think it does make it
    harder for a feminist to be heard, but I don’t think it makes it harder to
    fight for women’s rights to hold such a view.

     

    That was only a partial response to the points
    I specifically commented on and not on any other parts of the article.

    • BobtheRobot

      Sorry about the format, I copy pasted that from a word document and it came out really odd.

      • amyc

        Feminism, I don’t think it means what you think it does.

        • BobtheRobot

          I think you are sidestepping the point. I think the
          assertion was “that people don’t believe [women’s rights issues]
          exist” and that even within skeptical or atheist
          communities people propagate the idea that women’s rights issues do not exist. I
          think to illustrate this point the writer linked to TheAmazingAthiest’s video
          in which I think he made no such claims. My point is not that such claims are
          false. My point is that I think the video linked to does not support such a
          claim and as such is a poor example.
          I think the spectrum of feminism, including
          the assertion that such thinking makes it irrelevant, is not the same thing.
          However, I think that is not to say that one should not discuss it, merely that
          it is a separate point. Much in the way that how one defines Feminism is also a
          separate point. I think if you are interested in constructive and/or thought
          provoking discussion then I would appreciate if you wrote more than a “witty
          burn” in which you attempt to falsely take a position of superiority without
          actually providing anything constructive. For example: giving the definition
          and describing where you think I erred.

          • BobtheRobot

            Damnit, wtf?! Why are my posts coming out garbled?

  • Sandy

    “Christianity has had a bit of a sexism problem since it began”

    Um… no. Christianity actually began with men and women being treated equally. Jesus did this in his ministry, and the early Christians followed his lead. It is only when the church became an entity outside of the small groups that Christians were currently gathering in did there begin to be a move toward this sort of attitude. Early Christians included female spiritual leaders who were of equal value.

    “I believe that the problem starts with the opening narrative of man
    being created in God’s image and the woman a lesser copy, made in the
    image of man.”

    This part of the story is only a few lines long, I’m wondering how you completely missed the point?

    Genesis 1:26-28King James Version (KJV)

     26And God said, Let us
    make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion
    over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the
    cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
    creepeth upon the earth.  27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  28And
    God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply,
    and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish
    of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing
    that moveth upon the earth.

    The early passages of the bible clearly stated that “man” (aka mankind, which includes women) was created in God’s image, “male and female he created them.” And even specifically states “Let us
    make man in our image, after our likeness: and let THEM have dominion
    over the fish of the sea…” (emphasis mine) which is a clear indication that man = them.  No where does it say that woman was a lesser copy as you incorrectly assert.

    “it’s rife with issues of financial, gender, and racial inequality”

    1. What the bible discusses, or reports on, and what it condones, are entirely different subjects. This is where many people get confused. For example, “Eek! The bible mentioned slavery! How can God condone slavery?!?” No where does the bible condone slavery. Acknowledging and condoning are not synonymous with one another. So is the bible filled with inequality? Of course, because the times it reported on were filled with inequality. That’s just common sense.

    2. Another error I see people make in this regard, is believing that just because men or women have particular roles that this somehow makes one better or worse than the other. Woman as homemaker, man as breadwinner. What does homemaking entail? Raising children, preparing meals, keeping the house, doing the shopping, etc. Although you certainly can not say that EVERY woman would be a pro at these things, or that every man would do a lesser job, look at the actual topics and consider which gender, on the whole, is better at those things? Are women more nurturing? Yes, and that isn’t a moral or sexist viewpoint.. it is actually back by science. Does this mean that men can not be nurturing? No, and only extremists, those trying to falsify a point, those trying to incite anger, or those who haven’t objectively thought the subject through, would ever claim this to be the meaning. Who enjoys shopping more, men or women? This is another example. Yes, some men love shopping and yes, some women hate it. But on the whole… how does this issue generally work out.

    Respecting the strengths and “weaknesses” (which isn’t a bad word, contrary to what some people would lead you to believe) of a gender doesn’t need to include inequality. In fact, respecting the person’s inherent pluses and minuses is a sign of respect overall. Although the matter has been abused by groups, people, eras, etc, that doesn’t mean that recognizing gender differences, and working within those, is a negative thing in and of itself. Shall we all become carbon copies of one another? Shall we act as if every person, every gender, every everything, has the same strengths? That doesn’t promote respect. It doesn’t promote self pride. It doesn’t promote individuality. Some stereotypes are harmful, but some stereotypes are VALID and serve a positive purpose.

    I could give countless examples of how stereotypes are helpful, stripping them can be injurious, and how acting like “equal” means “same” is extremely harmful to humanity, but it is really far to deep of a subject for a comment section. So let’s consider this simple point instead… do you have some past pain connected to Christianity that is making you want to dismantle it, and making you want to discredit it? Because in the end, do you know what you have done? Stereotyped it… which you claim to oppose, which makes you a hypocrite.

    • amyc

      I’m going to skip the biblical stuff for now.

      “2. Another error I see people make in this regard, is believing that
      just because men or women have particular roles that this somehow makes
      one better or worse than the other.”

      Men and women do not innately have particular roles, men and women are assigned particular roles by society. It’s not necessarily what is being assigned that is wrong, it’s the whole concept of assignation of gender roles.

      “Woman as homemaker, man as breadwinner. What does homemaking entail?
      Raising children, preparing meals, keeping the house, doing the
      shopping, etc. Although you certainly can not say that EVERY woman would
      be a pro at these things, or that every man would do a lesser job, look
      at the actual topics and consider which gender, on the whole, is better
      at those things?”

      I can’t help but notice that the roles assigned to women are invariably tied to taking care of other people rather than fulfillment of their own wishes and desires. Their success is determined by whether or not they have a husband and children and how clean their house is. Men are the breadwinners, they get to choose a career, which today means going to college, traveling, meeting many diverse people and being intellectually challenged–it also means that a man could do any of the millions of jobs out there and still be considered within his assigned gender role (unless he chooses one of those lesser “girl jobs” like nursing, secretary, teacher*, cook** or childcare).

      “Are women more nurturing? Yes, and that isn’t a moral or sexist
      viewpoint.. it is actually back by science.

      No. No, no, no, no and no. Women are not inherently more nurturing. I would like to see your “science” that backs up your claim. Women are perceived as more nurturing in our culture because that is the role we have told them to play since they were children. Society also tells men that it’s not their job to be nurturing. Little boys get trains and blocks and action heroes and cars and tools for toys, and little girls are given dolls, make-up and kitchen sets. It’s a positive feedback loop. We say women are more nurturing and so we force little girls to play with toys that will reinforce this. Then when those little girls grow up to be women who are nurturing we say “see, women ARE more nurturing.”

      “Respecting the strengths and “weaknesses” (which isn’t a bad word,
      contrary to what some people would lead you to believe) of a gender
      doesn’t need to include inequality.”

      Um, genders do not have strengths and weaknesses, individual people have strengths and weaknesses.
      Let’s change one word in your sentence to see if you get what I mean:

      Respecting the strengths and “weaknesses” (which isn’t a bad word,
      contrary to what some people would lead you to believe) of black people
      doesn’t need to include inequality.

      Of course you don’t seem to know the difference between an individual and the gender with which they happen to identify (or the one you perceive them as). You started by talking about strengths and weakness of an entire gender then, in your next sentence, you talk about respecting a specific person for their “inherent” plus or minuses. That is not respect. You are suggesting that we equate a specific person with whatever stereotypes fit their gender. It’s the height of arrogance and condescension to suggest that you know a specific person’s weaknesses due to what you perceive is their gender, and then say you “accept” and “respect” them.

      “Shall we all become carbon copies of one another? Shall we act as if
      every person, every gender, every everything, has the same strengths?
      That doesn’t promote respect. It doesn’t promote self pride. It doesn’t
      promote individuality.”

      Straw man. Utterly ridiculous straw man. Nobody said that every person is exactly the same as the next in regards to their personal strengths and weaknesses. What feminists say is that the apparent strengths/weaknesses assigned to different genders is just that: apparent.

      How can you say that treating people as “carbon copies of one another” is wrong when your entire paragraph is dedicated to supporting stereotypes? Isn’t stereotyping a whole group of people stripping away their individuality and self pride? Wow, hypocrisy and straw manning in one paragraph…

      “do you have some past pain connected to Christianity that is making you
      want to dismantle it, and making you want to discredit it?”

      Because apparently the only reason anyone would ever want to criticize any religion is if they had some past bad experience with it. She couldn’t possibly be opposed to it because she disagrees with it’s central tenets, dogma and claims about reality. Maybe this is projection? Did you choose your religion and reject all others because you have some past pain connected to it?

      “Because in
      the end, do you know what you have done? Stereotyped it… which you
      claim to oppose, which makes you a hypocrite.”

      Wow, she pointed out a specific song, the specific dogma she objected to, her specific experiences being raised in the belief and a specific survey of young christian men, and you say she’s somehow stereotyping? She didn’t say: all christians are sexist. She said, hey there’s some sexist stuff in the Bible and perpetuated in some christian circles (with examples) and why she thinks those ideas are harmful. Ideas, not a whole group of people. She also never said that all christians believe these things. She actually only pointed out to her own experiences and examples of Christians who have declared that they do believe these things. How is that stereotyping?

      *Women are teachers, men are professors. Of course, the stigma against male teachers is usually reserved for children younger than the age of 13. Much of this has to do with the idea that men are not as nurturing and couldn’t possibly be able to take care of the younger (i.e. gentler) children. It also stems from the idea that only men can/will sexually or physically abuse children. This is another unfortunate side affect of the false belief that men have super high and uncontrollable sex drives.

      **women are cooks, men are chefs.

  • walkamungus

    Reading the lyrics, I was thinking it sounded bluesy — right smack in the middle of the (lyrical) tradition that’s given us so much great (admittedly misogynistic) blues, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll. If he weren’t a “Christian” rapper, he’d just be one of the guys. So to speak.

  • Ndonnan

    Newsflash….Proverbs is an old testemant book ,making it Jewish not Christian,so have a sook about another religion

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Oh good to know!  So much for worrying about the Ten Commandments then!

  • Richardchilee

    You are a woman! You are not a sin! Nobody said you are a sin, neither does the bible. Stop making stupid assertions based on what a rapper puts in his music. The bible clearly stated that GOD created both Men and Women in his image even in his own likeness. Both are created and given laws to abide by just as did other things created. Women and feminity are not Evil. They are cherished in the sight of GOD. That’s why every thing has to be regarded as a woman. A country is called a woman so are other things. If you enjoy being associated with the good, why do you whine when the regard SIN as a “she”. Get your basics right and leave christainity alone. I can see that you were misguided as a child and your childish mind was full of inaccurate teachings by your church.

    • Anonymous

      LOL, did you read anything besides the title?

  • BACON HATER

    IT’S WABBIT SEASON!!!

  • kay

    I’m just saying this song is not about an actual girl, its about drugs. Lecrae says so himself.

  • sowercream

    I am a Christian I know that the whole athiest thing has this way of just hating us, but please just keep reading. I love lecrea and yes he is a man writing a song about how he is tempted by women but just because he is tempted by a women doesnt mean its sexist. The song as well as a lot of his songs are about how he is tempted by the way women look. NOT saying it is the womens fault for the way she looks but his own for his feelings. Now I am a women and I do my best to be modest because I do not want to be veiwed for how “hot” I am but on my mind. I feel like being a feminist you would like that idea of being viewed on your mind not your body. I dress modestly because I respect myself. I also respect my brothers in Christ and understand that it might be difficult for them to not think about me as being attractive and that it is naturally more difficult for a man to not feel this way and I would like to be kind and help him out. After reading a few of your articles I understand your anger twards the church, but it is wrongly put my friend. We were not raised to be modest to put ourselves down and to lessen ourselves but to pick ourselves up. God loves you I love you and I hope you understand someday that just because people in the church are completly messed up doesnt mean God is.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X