Recently Rachel Held Evans posted this simple sentence on her Facebook page:
Evangelicalism: Where Jen Hatmaker gets ridiculed and condemned and Donald Drumpf embraced.
And it got me thinking.
I read Matthew Vines’ Book God And The Gay Christian a few years ago. It’s chock-full of thought provoking stuff, and I highly suggest you read it. In it, Matthew poses a theory that I found fascinating, and that has stuck with me ever since:
Homophobia is rooted in misogyny.
In a nutshell, he says that the ancients had no problem with homosexual acts, as long as you were on top. I am admittedly completely paraphrasing and watering down — thus my exhortation to go read the work yourself, where Vines explains it much better than me.
The take-away that matters, however, is that sex for big ballsy ancient men was all about conquest. If you were the conqueror, all things are cool — you’re on top, dude. But to be the conquered? Oh man — you’re taking the role of the woman in sex. The receiver of the goods. The conquered. And this, my big, brawny friend, is bad. Oh so very bad.
Because, you know, that’s like a woman. It’s girly.
Like how in sports, it’s an insult to say You run like a girl or my all-time favorite You fight like a girl (please — come spend some time on the mats with me. Let’s test that one out, shall we?). Interesting that these same people will interchange You run like a girl, with the oh-so-pleasant F*# word, and I don’t mean fuck. If I did, I’d just say it. I mean the other word people use to disparage gay males.
See my point? That interchang-y-ness of it all?
Fast-forward to today, where we have the intersection of all us “nasty women” — you know, degraded because we dare to confront, to question, to put a sexual predator in one’s place, or perhaps outshine one in a debate of intellect — and the reduction must go to the most base and ridiculous. She is “nasty”, and therefore ineffective, inappropriate, abrasive, shrieking, aggressive, unattractive, etc and so-fucking-on.
And here come some Jesus Freaks who have been so radically shaken by the inconvenient love of Jesus that we say, “Hold on just a hot holy second here — maybe this love includes everyone. Maybe we are shaken to the core at how big and wide and generous and, well, loving the love of Jesus actually is, that we go, “Shit! I’ve been screwing this up the whole time!”
Because for all that time we were busy thinking gay people were sinning, and that we should be keeping them out of leadership positions in church or withholding funds from World Vision or boycotting bakers who make wedding cakes for same-sex couples — maybe we were sinning by creating a barrier for those beautiful children of God that they felt they could not cross. That they swore they would not cross. We became that barrier to Jesus, the wall that kept these children from our Jesus, and maybe, when we realized it, we wept. And we repented. And we started to love. We started to love a crazy Jesus love that dripped with the remnants of our own ineptitude and the beautiful, gorgeous fullness of God’s perfection in Jesus.
Male and female, we started to love.
And yet, here we are. Choosing to love and vilified for it. They attempt to silence us by pulling our books from the virtual shelves.
Okay I confess — I don’t yet have a book on shelves, virtual or otherwise. My agent and I are working on it, okay? But I hold solidarity with the likes of Jen Hatmaker who has lost because she chose to love.
So back to Rachel’s comment: she’s right.
I have been weighed down over the past few days, especially in light of HuffPo’s very fair article on the possibility that Drumpf raped a 13 year old, over how this country, and especially the Evangelical community, disregards and completely undervalues women. The fact that so many (male) Evangelical leaders have embraced Donald Drumpf, even after he has been captured on video numerous times discussing how he sexually abuses women and openly sexually humiliates them is absolutely disgusting to me. And I officially request an explanation from Evangelicals who support Drumpf even in light of these types of accusations and behavior.
And it all goes even deeper.
Lately I’ve been enmeshed in conversation with men about the term “mansplaining” — men who care about women, who are for the empowerment of women, and who would hate to be called sexist — are very offended by this term. When I insist it’s a thing, they get defensive, they say women made it up, or that it’s a divisive term.
I say this is male fragility, and they need to get over themselves. I say they need not be coddled, after all, as they are brawny, conquering men, and need no handholding. So I can call them out and say yes, Mansplaining is a thing, it happens to women, and it happens often, and you telling me it doesn’t is like me telling a black man that “Driving While Black” is just something you made up….
And see here — this is my point. Even the good men — the greatest ones in my life, who I love very much and who do things on a regular basis to prove their support of me in the world as a full and equal person — they still don’t get it entirely.
Because they think I “made up” mansplaining to be “divisive”, rather than to create a word to describe what happens to me on a daily basis. They get defensive and blind to their privilege. They roll their eyes and purse their lips in disbelief, poo-pooing what I’m saying, and all the while I’m trying to tell these men who I love and who love me, “No really, this happens, this is real, it’s a thing.”
Which is kind of ironically funny in a not really funny kind of way, because it’s pretty much the definition of mansplaining.*
And these men are so far away from the Donald Drumpfs of the world, and still, they don’t get that every day, a woman must fight harder and longer and prove herself over and over just to be heard, much less understood and valued. So it matters when Evangelicals bash a woman and remove her words from their shelves. It matters when Christian men disregard a blatant misogynist (not to mention racist, xenophobe, etc)’s disgusting treatment of women and say it’s because they vote “policy not character” or “protecting the unborn is paramount”.
Because the unborn you protect will eventually be born, and if they’re girl babies, they better watch out for Donald Drumpf.
*I get that awakening to your own privilege, be it white, male, hetero, cis, or other can be a painful experience. I get why you might be feeling defensive right now. That rushing sound in your head? You may think it’s righteous indignation, but really it’s the sound of your privilege being cracked wide open, and once that sucker’s unveiled, baby, there’s no going back. You can’t unlearn what you’ve learned. The question is, what will you do about it?