Guest Post: Focus on the Family: Feminism is “the way of death”

A Guest Post by Samantha

[In this two-part series, Samantha offers her thoughts on a Focus on the Family radio interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian, authors of True Woman 101: Divine Design.]

Yesterday I went over the first half of Jim Daly and John Fuller’s interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian over at Focus on the Family’s daily radio program. DeMoss and Kassian are promoting their new book, True Woman 101: Divine Design, an eight-week course in “biblical womanhood.”

The title of the program was “Feminism and the Gender Blur,” but the material they covered barely seemed to scratch the surface of gender identity—instead, they discuss how women are straying outside their view of what God’s plan is for women, and they focus most of their attention on the evils of feminism. Their basic argument throughout the first half of the broadcast was to show that feminism is behind raunch culture, rape culture, and suicidal depression in women.

Jim Daly and John Fuller direct the conversation with loaded, inflammatory questions, and they open Part Two of their broadcast with another one:

Daly: How has feminism spilled into church culture . . . and what is biblical about gender roles? DeMoss: There is something unique and beautiful between the differences in women and men, and God intended that to reflect his nature.

Fuller: My wife really struggled initially . . .as a mind that had interest in other things [outside of having children]. She was a professor, and hearing her talk about her work went over my head.

Kassian: Feminism says that “Women can have it all, all at one time.” What human being doesn’t want that, in our selfish nature? But it just doesn’t work.

I wish I could write out the entire transcript so that you could read the breadth of what they claim throughout this broadcast. Over and over again each of them claims that gender essentialism (which they finally define in a bit) is a reflection of God. A full articulation of this idea is in their book, but what they seem to think is that men and women represent two “sides” of God—a chick and a dude version of God, if you will, like a Christian imagining of yin and yang, almost. And yes—there are difficulties and obstacles to being both a professional and a mother. Kassian and DeMoss are painting an extremely inaccurate rendering of modern feminism here. Feminists do not ignore these problems—but their solutions (like requiring maternity and paternity leave, moving our economy toward more flexible work schedules) are different than what Kassian and DeMoss present as the only biblical option.

A large part of this opening discussion is Daly and Fuller talking about their wives and how they were initially torn about giving up their professional careers, but eventually realized it was the only biblical thing to do. Kassian, especially, reinforces this idea—using words like “selfish” and “self-focused” to describe a woman who tries to raise a family and have a career:

Fuller: Why do women in particular struggle with “switching” from being a professional to being a mother? Why does depression creep in?

DeMoss: Our feminist culture does not value children, and I’m talking about Christian feminists here . . . taking care of children isn’t really that important . . . but God has placed a nurturing heart in a woman. The mindset of women today is that of an ostrich that tramples their children . . . They don’t ask how to glorify God.

Kassian: Women come to me, saying “I want to have a ministry, I want to help others,” and I just look at them, and I wonder—don’t you have children? Don’t you realize how important that is? How much more wise would it be to invest in your children’s lives than try to fix a Humpty Dumpty situation when they’re teenagers?

*Facepalm*

First, Fuller assumes that if you try to be a working mother, you’re going to become depressed (which has already been established as “soul sickness”). This threat is all over this broadcast. Don’t do what they tell you, and you’re going to face consequences for going against God’s plan for your life.

And then DeMoss targets Christian feminists—which seem to be a surprising reality to her –and accuses them of “trampling children.” She is referencing Job 39:17-17 and Lamentations 4:3 here. She is saying that feminism “hardens” us “against our young ones, as though they are not ours. . . because God has deprived us of our wisdom.” She quotes the Lamentations passage directly, saying “the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.” First off, that is some horrendously bad hermeneutics happening there, and she is ripping that passage away from any context that makes sense. Second—this is an insulting depiction of feminism. Feminism is cruel to children?

Kassian completes this threat when she starts talking about Humpty Dumpty—women, stay at home, pour out your life into your children, or you’re going to be dealing with smashed, trampled, broken teenagers. Not only that, but she offers yet another baffling reason for why women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the church, or direct a ministry. If you try to have a ministry, your children will not receive everything they need from you. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, and if you even try to do anything else, they will suffer for it. Kassian and DeMoss are using any tool at their disposal—guilt, shame, threats.

The only time they discuss “gender blurring”  appears here:

Kassian: There’s so much gender confusion today, girls and boys don’t even know what gender they are . . . the homosexuality movement is the fruit of these lines being blurred, of losing these distinctions.

Just… ugh. Talk about reductionism. And a complete lack of understanding of pretty much anyone in the LGBTQ community. At least Kassian seems to be aware of more than just gay and lesbians here, as this statement seems to acknowledge transgender people and the acceptance of gender fluidity in LGBTQ communities. But then she blames it on moms and dads not enforcing gender essentialism from the get-go, as if homosexuality is something that could be prevented and fixed.

Daly: When you’re speaking to women who want to live a life that’s fruitful in her marriage, what do you tell her?

DeMoss: I take her back to Genesis and start unpacking God’s amazing plan for gender . . . The root word for woman is tied up in softness, pliability, receivability—but the root word for man is strength, provision and protection.

Here, DeMoss is using the same vocabulary and rhetoric that Doug Wilson used when he said that “a woman receives, surrenders, accepts.” Many writers, thinkers, and leaders were horrified by the language in Wilson’s argument, but this language appears everywhere when complementarians insist that gender essentialism is the only biblical view of gender identity.

Kassian: Don’t make decisions based on practicality. You may have a job where you earn more money than your husband, and it may be practical for you to go out and earn the money and for him to stay home. But there’s something in terms of identity that you’re going against when you do that. God created men to draw their identity from work . . . God created woman to draw identity from relationships and networking . . . Women have a unique and specific responsibility for the home in a way that men do not have.

I’m not sure, but it seems to be that Kassian has just point-blank said that to follow God’s role for women, you have to leave common sense at the door. She also makes her opinion of “stay at home dads” pretty clear here—they’ve been told by feminism that it’s ok for them to surrender their identity that they can supposedly only find in work. Aren’t we supposed to find our identity in Christ? I swear I’ve heard something along those lines . . .

Fuller: There’s that age-old issue of relinquishing control . . . We’re clutching, not willing to trust God to take care of us. . . . In this area of gender confusion, it’s so obvious, that if we let go of our selfishness . . . it would be such a freeing thing.

Daly: Again, sociology shows that women are not happier, by and large.

There Daly goes again, with his sociology talk about feminism making women miserable. And Fuller, here, is telling us that feminism is selfish, and that it creates traps and boundaries for women. Feminists are not “free.” But oh, wait—DeMoss responds, and it gets so . . . ugly, at this point.

DeMoss: We need to be sensitive to the occasions where women have a background of abuse—but we can’t say that the solution for abuse is for women to “cling to their rights.” Christ laid down his rights . . . We are the most like Christ when we are serving, and when we’re not “the end thereof is the way of death.” Feminism is the “forbidden fruit,” and the world’s ways are attractive, but when we bit into it we get a mouthful of worms . . . When you lay down your “rights,” then you find God leads you to pleasant paths . . . We live in a broken world, no one has a perfect marriage . . . we have to wait for eternity to find happiness.

I’m trying to remind myself that these women are working from a perspective where women can only be fulfilled and happy if they follow what they say is God’s plan, but I’m having a really hard time not becoming furious. Women who are abused shouldn’t “cling to their rights”? Women who are abused should “just continue serving”? Feminism, which advocates for the rights of abused women, is “the way of death”? And, as a matter of fact, you should just give up on being happy right now and thinking you deserve a marriage where your husband doesn’t abuse you, because the only place you’ll be happy is in heaven after you die.

By all that is just and good in this world . . . this is why feminists look at this type of complementarianism and wonder how in the world a sane person can think this. This type of rhetoric is dangerous and vile. It’s also pervasive and woven into nearly every single discussion on “biblical womanhood.” According to these women, being a woman God’s way means surrendering your right not to be abused. I want to stop right here and weep for every woman who has ever been told this hideous lie and believed it, but there’s more.

Fuller: The feminist culture stokes these flames, telling women that “she can be more than this, she can do more than this.” She’s pummeled by all these myths that tell her she lacks power [when she follows God’s plan] . . . Somehow, as a woman, you have to get a hold of yourself and say “I don’t believe that” . . . How do you not believe these lies?

Kassian’s response is that we cannot “take wholesale the lies of feminism” and still “expect to think in ways that are godly.” She describes Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly, from Proverbs, and puts feminists squarely into the camp of Lady Folly, who again, “are the ways of death.” The next few minutes of conversation are a plea from DeMoss and Kassian for men to “step up.” They say, “men, we need you to be our heroes.” They tell men that this must be a very difficult thing to do, because there’s so many feminists out there, and warn women that if they take up the “mantle of leadership,” they are not being the woman God wants.

Daly: Find God’s way—don’t find your own way, like feminism’s solution. The feminists didn’t stop to think.

DeMoss: They didn’t think this, but there way is the way of bitterness, anger, conflict, rancor. You’ll never cross the finish line this way. God’s way is humility servanthood . . . as we follow God’s way, there’s joy, goodness, and beauty.

Those were the last words of the broadcast, and DeMoss and Kassian wrapped up the argument against feminism by resort to the good ol’ standby: feminists are a bunch of bitter, angry, man-hating hags. They’re arrogant and selfish, and incapable of finding “joy and beauty.”

I was glad when it was finally over—I don’t think I could have handled much more of their disparaging depictions of feminism or their subtle blame-shifting. There’s so much here that tells me that they are aware of what feminists have been showing for the past few months especially. They know that we are out here, showing how patriarchy is a culture of domination and oppression; that the complementarian culture depends on threats, especially the threat of rape. But instead of opening their eyes and realizing the damage their teachings can cause, they are stuffing their fingers in their ears. They are digging their trenches even deeper. They accuse feminism and the advocacy for women’s rights of perpetuating rape and raunch cultures. They point the finger at feminism and say that it is “the way of death,” and they threaten any woman that might follow us with destroyed marriages, destroyed children, and despair.

—————

Samantha grew up in an independent fundamental Baptist cult-church in the deep South that taught Quiverfull and patriocentricity, was homeschooled, went to Pensacola Christian for college, and eventually realized that it was all completely nuts. She blogs about her slow, sometimes painful journey out of a fundamentalist indoctrination at Defeating the Dragons

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Nea

    What gets me is that if you’re outside the bubble, you can see how blatantly contradictory their advice is. They admit THEMSELVES that:
    – “depression creeps in” when women are forced to give up their careers to be babymakers.
    – women are asking them to be able to preach and teach within the church
    – they are not being practical.

    That last one is the hugest for me. “Don’t make decisions based on practicality.” (Just like previous advice to disregard areas of competence.) They say feminists “didn’t stop to think” and yet something so absolutely ridiculous comes out of their mouths? Talent, competence, practicality, reality – none of those are as important as the shape of one’s genitalia? None of them also come from God?

    I suppose the only way to get women to accept that sumitting to abuse is Godly is to get them to shut their brains down entirely before they stop and think.

    • ako

      Yeah, the whole “depression creeps in” is part of the huge, contradictory tangle they’ve created, where following the rules of their odd, gender-role-worshipping branch of Christianity means joy, but you get depressed when you switch to the lifestyle they want, and that’s okay because you should wait for eternity to find happiness, but proof of feminism’s failure is that it doesn’t make women happier?

      Happiness counts when it supports their side and doesn’t count when it doesn’t, and I suspect the same things are true for practicality, competence, and logic.

      • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

        There’s also the common evangelical teaching that “joy” and “happiness” are completely different things. “Happiness,” to them, is situation and circumstance-oriented, and if we’re not “happy” with our circumstances, it’s doesn’t really matter in the long run. “Happiness” is linked to “fleshly pleasure,” and their dualistic perspective (physical reality is bad, spiritual reality is good) makes “being happy” a non-objective. No one should care about whether they’re happy or not.

      • Nea

        We presumably only “think” we’re happy when we have autonomy, security, and safety on our own.

      • Ken L.

        It’s tough to find the right balance here because there is some real value in this and it’s by no means exclusively an evangelical belief. If anything it’s much stronger in most eastern philosophies. Theyusually call it “enlightenment” or “inner peace”. I haven’t exactly studied those in depth but my impression is that it’s more about not letting yourself get bent out of shape over external things which you have no control over. There is definitely value in that.

        Evangelicals mess the whole concept up because they apply it to things that one can or should have control over and even to the point of tolerating evil/injustice in the form of abuse, which I don’t believe any Eastern (or Western) philosophy would do. They also mess up in thinking it’s a switch that get’s magically flipped when you are “saved” and if you don’t magically get Joy 24/7 than you weren’t really saved, instead of seeing it as a long and neverending journey which has value in it’s own right.

    • Merbie

      I read yesterday about a study that showed stay-at-home mothers are significantly more likely to struggle with depression (25%) as opposed to working moms (17%) or working women without children (17%). How do they know this is because we don’t value our children? I get tired of people taking facts and twisting them however they can to fit their predetermined ideas.

  • http://brokendaughters.wordpress.com Lisa

    The only thing that comes to my mind right now is…
    Don’t these two witches have children or grandchildren to take care of, instead of spewing their idiot comments around on a radio broadcast? The world would be a better place if they listened to their own advice.

    • swimr1

      This. Aren’t these two women “working in ministry?” I suppose they are specially called by god.
      While an evangelical, I grew to hate what I now call the “Creepy, Christian, Proverbs 31 Woman.” You know her. She speaks in a whisper-like, baby-doll voice and constantly spews all the bumper sticker theology that groups like Focus and Crusade love to promote. Do these women not see how fake they are? Or how creepy?

      • Nea

        There’s always an exception for the woman who wants to help oppress the rest of the women. Look at how Beverly LaHey and Phyllis Schlafly got free passes for outright leaving their families behind while they worked hard to be sure no other woman could leave their families.

        You might say it’s the only way one of those women is morally allowed to have a career.

      • Stony

        It’s bad enough that they’ve co-opted Proverbs 31. That chick is bad-ass. She considers a field and buys it, then has it planted (meaning she has people who work for her) all while her husband sits scratching his ass at the city gates. She runs the household and businesses and servants and buys and sells. This was no wallflower, yet they use it as a club of Christian modesty. What’s more interesting is that the whole of the Proverb is a MOTHER detailing the optimal qualities of her future daughter-in-law…..no one expects to live up to that.

      • Christine

        Stony has so much truth to what she says that I need to repeat it. Proverbs 31 says that an awesome woman goes and does things by herself, and for herself.

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

      I’m assuming their husbands gave them permission.

    • Karen

      It’s worse than you think. DeMoss has never been married and is the trust-fund baby of Arthur DeMoss, the man who invented TV advertised insurance. She is the worst kind of hypocrite. Kassian is married and has grown kids, but according to her own website she is a professor of women’s studies at Southern Baptist Seminary and has had a distinguished career as a speaker and writer. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

      I note, by the way, that isn’t easy to dig up these facts. Leaders in their movement don’t have objective Wiki entries like other celebrities containing their biographies. Everything has to be gleaned from their own, highly edited, sources.

      • Bethany

        I’m so glad somebody pointed this out, because I was about to. “Women shouldn’t be leaders”? “A woman’s place is at home, nurturing her husband/family”? And yet these women are writing books, going on tour, doing radio broadcasts? Working OUTSIDE THEIR HOMES?!? Don’t they know their husbands/children need dinner, or there are dishes to be washed, or laundry to be sorted? Why are they out working on writing and teaching careers? And if she’s single, then why isn’t DeMoss trying to find a husband, or at least working in the church nursery until she gets one? I’m a Christian, and I’m egalitarian. The hypocrisy here just KILLS me.

    • William

      I was thinking the same thing! While they are telling women to stay home and be submissive little wifeys they are out soliciting for filthy lucre. Wake up people!

    • Nanci

      Hear, hear!

  • The_L

    My mother worked for most of my life. As a schoolteacher, she had office hours, papers to grade, and didn’t have a huge amount of time to play with us. I vividly remember balancing the checkbook for her and doing other such tasks so that we could have some time together after dinner. I also remember her taking a couple weeks during summer vacation to get things ready for the next school year. All of this didn’t make her a bad mother or a bad person.

    There were a couple of years during which she chose to stay home instead. Since we could afford to do so, this also didn’t make her a bad mother or a bad person.

    I hate this idea that complementarians have that there can only be One Right Way For All Women, and that we can’t have some women working while some women choose to be SAHMs. There are drawbacks and benefits to both, and there is no one lifestyle that fits ALL women.

    Also, the root word for the word “woman” is the Anglo-Saxon word “wyf-man,” which means “person who weaves.” (The Anglo-Saxon word for men, as opposed to people in general, was “wyr;” “man” was a unisex term at the time.) So DeMoss fails etymology just as badly as she fails hermeneutics, sociology, compassion, and basic concepts of fair play.

    • http://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

      It gets even better when you consider that the passage she is quoting was originally written in Hebrew. In Hebrew, “man” and “woman” have the exact same root–”eesh”.

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        That’s the first thing I thought of, too — it actually took me a minute to figure out that they probably meant the root of the English word, because I was so busy going “But wait …”

  • Stony

    I hesitate to type this, as I’m southern and white and have no right to do so, but isn’t this essentially what was fed to the slaves? “You were designed to work for us. God has ordained that the white man is superior. Don’t question abuses, because God meant it to be this way. Work hard and serve, and your reward is in heaven.”

    I fail to see how the above is any different, or any more palatable, and it hurts me on a very deep level.

    • Paul

      I think you hit the nail on the head there. They want women to be servants without any freedoms; smells a lot like slavery to me… But, you know, it’s not, obviously. If it was anything like slavery than maybe we should be considering keeping men and women in segregated queues or seating as well. Patriarchy certainly wouldn’t want that, which we know because it’s not like that is happening in any major western cities. London certainly wouldn’t do such a thing, right? So obviously this is completely different than what happened with race, and obviously couldn’t be slavery.

      Its different cus it’s just teh womens, no?

    • Desiree

      Yea that sounds about right. I’m a black atheist woman and I could never understand how my community can still cling to the bible despite the fact it was used to keep us enslaved. My body was not my body during slave times. It was used to produce more slaves and my individual identity was moot. The system is similiar to what groups like FOF wants for all women in this country.

  • Niemand

    If Moss and Kassen believe their own tripe, shouldn’t they be at home taking care of their kids or maybe their grandkids or at least trying to have kids (I don’t know how old they are or what their reproductive status is) instead of wasting their time writing books and giving lectures? If women need to devote themselves to their children 24/7 aren’t they worried that their kids will be neglected while they’re giving interviews?

  • ako

    The root word for woman is tied up in softness, pliability, receivability

    See, I don’t want to be soft, pliable, and receptive. I don’t want to devote my life to nurturing (I’m willing to do a certain degree, but I don’t want it to be the center of what I do). I don’t actually want to have or raise kids at all. And I really don’t want to spend my day taking care of the house (I hate cleaning).

    If I was really meant to be like this, wouldn’t I want those things? Wouldn’t that be what makes me happy?

    we have to wait for eternity to find happiness.

    Ah, so it’s not about happiness. Happiness doesn’t have any bearing on whether we should live a certain way!

    But wait…

    They didn’t think this, but there way is the way of bitterness, anger, conflict, rancor. You’ll never cross the finish line this way. God’s way is humility servanthood . . . as we follow God’s way, there’s joy, goodness, and beauty.

    So feminism is bad because it makes you unhappy, and the secret to happiness is sexism and patriarchy (aka complimentarianism), but unhappiness doesn’t prove anything, and following divinely ordained patriarchy means happiness, but if it doesn’t, you should just tough it out and expect to be happy when you’re dead?

    How do people function with this much cognitive dissonance?

    • Niemand

      If I was really meant to be like this, wouldn’t I want those things? Wouldn’t that be what makes me happy?

      This is where the double bind comes in. First they’ll claim that you only think you don’t want these things because you’ve been brainwashed by evil feminist propaganda to think you want a career and a life of your own. In other words, you just need to meet the right man and you’ll settle down and be happy making and raising babies.

      If that doesn’t work, then obviously you’re an evil, unnatural woman who deserves to be unhappy and they’ll save their sympathy for your poor unfortunate husband.

      Either way, they win.

    • Rosie

      [snark] And Kassian makes motherhood look so appealing, I don’t understand how anyone might choose not to. [/end snark]

      A house cat strains my nurturing abilities. So much for genitalia magically conferring competence.

      • Nea

        A house cat strains my nurturing abilities

        Seriously. I refuse to be in charge of any life form I cannot legally lock in the bathroom for and hour or two.

      • Rosa

        I know this is the new, kinder, gentler Focus on the Family but when I was a kid in the ’80s they printed a lot of material suggesting you go ahead and beat the crap out of your kids (or dogs, Luv U Dr. Dobson!) so I don’t think the locking in the bathroom was outside their realm of “good parenting” ideas.

    • Nox

      The core mistake here is conflating/confusing “what roles women have traditionally been in” with “an immutable law of nature”. Even these two probably wouldn’t say it this way, but the thought process is basically ‘this is how women were treated in the 1800s, so this is how god intended women to be (and thus the only way women can be)’.

      They overlook that being a submissive baby factory might not make you happy because they’re not basing their calculations off you or any real woman. The equation as they see it is ‘the bible says this + the bible is right = this is how it’s supposed to be’ (so really the core mistake is accepting the authority of such a regressive book in the first place, but that’s several steps back). Traditional opinion in these circles would say if it doesn’t make you happy you should do it anyway because it’s just what you are supposed to do.

    • revsharkie

      I don’t necessarily mind being nurturing, but I am doing it as part of my profession (I’m a pastor, which the FotF folks, I’m sure, would reject). I’ve had the opportunity to provide a different kind of nurturing to adults, as well as many more kids (as a youth leader and camp counselor) than I would have if I were a stay-at-home parent. When one of my youth group kids came out to me, I had the opportunity to reassure him of God’s love. Would he have heard that message if I had been locked away at home?

  • Niemand

    Fuller: My wife really struggled initially . . .as a mind that had interest in other things [outside of having children]. She was a professor, and hearing her talk about her work went over my head.

    I got this very vivid image while reading this statement of Fuller holding his wife’s head under water and pompously saying that she struggled a bit “initially” but gradually stopped struggling.

    • ako

      See, I was thinking creepy lobotomy territory, making it so she only used to have a mind interested in things outside of having children.

    • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

      My reaction was: “….and it made me feel STUPID that I didn’t understand what she was talking about, and I can’t stand that, so I showed uppity bitch her place!”

      • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

        Have to admit, that was my reaction, too. He just sounded so…. smug.

      • Judy L.

        That’s the flavour I got from his saying that too. A sour, unpleasant flavour.

      • Nea

        You are so, so not alone there. I wonder how long he complained about making him feel bad to shut her down entirely. And he’s so proud of it!

      • Niemand

        Yep.

      • Pam

        Yup. Can’t have a woman smarter than a man, so gotta stifle out her inquiring mind.

    • Karen

      Southern white descendant of slave-owners here. Yep, this is exactly the same pile of crap fed to all oppressed groups, and mocked quite effectively in Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.” Strange that a cartoon does a better job of exposing this lie than most journalism today does.

      • Karen

        Oh, crap. This was supposed to reply to a comment upthread.

  • Niemand

    Being a mother is a 24/7 job, and if you even try to do anything else, they will suffer for it.

    I would argue that, on the contrary, your children will suffer if you DON’T do anything else.

    Children need supervision. They need interaction with their parents. Ideally, both parents and other adults in their lives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, close family friends, etc, but at least one parent. However, they also need time to themselves. They need time to be alone, to work things out for themselves, to discover their own competence. And they need time with friends, to learn socialization and how to work with peers-without their parents hovering over them every minute. Hover over your children too much and either they’ll be convinced that they’re completely incompetent and never achieve independence or they’ll go as far away as they can manage to escape the relentless interference. Neither is optimal.

    Also, children need role models. If daughters never see their mother do anything but take care of them, they’ll conclude that that’s all mothers do. And that’s all they’ll ever do. They’ll be robbed of any ambition that they might have had and the world will be robbed of their talents. Think how much worse a place the world would be if Marie Curie had done nothing but take care of her children. Also note that her children ended up being a nobel prize winner and a successful author-not exactly horrible fates. I don’t see what would have been better if she’d stayed at home and hovered over them.

  • http://amethystmarie.com/ Amethyst

    “Kassian: There’s so much gender confusion today, girls and boys don’t even know what gender they are . . . the homosexuality movement is the fruit of these lines being blurred, of losing these distinctions.”

    I’m queer and cisgender, and I very much identify as a woman. A femme woman. I don’t know the gender of my future spouse, but I’m very certain of mine. And there are plenty of straight, gay, and bi transwomen and intersex women who feel as certainly and distinctly female as I do. The confusion lies with gender essentialists who can’t get past the idea that there are only two personalities in the world, male and female, and that these two monolithic personalities are assigned according to what genitalia you’re born with.

    • http://amethystmarie.com/ Amethyst

      PS, Dafuq is the homosexuality movement?

      • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

        I have no idea. I don’t think she does, either– it just seems like the highly reductionist perspective– most people like Kassian, DeMoss, Daly, and Fuller all seem to have a very narrow view of LGBTQ. They only really see the first two letters, and happily ignore the rest. I’m pretty sure most conservative evangelicals have no idea what terms like “femme” and “cisgender” even mean. They completely dismiss bisexuality as non-existent.

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        I was wondering that, too. I can only speculate that in the (weird and wackily self-contradictory) worldview of these people, LGBTQ people — like women who mistakenly think they want something out of life other than staying home with their kids — exist only because some Movement told them they should. Ergo, if the Feminist Movement and the Homosexuality Movement would just go away, we would all go back to being nice tidy happy Biblical Mentm and Biblical Womentm.

        … or something.

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        ::sigh:: my HTML code didn’t work.

        *Biblical Men(tm) and Biblical Women(tm)

      • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

        Obviously the evil homosexual activists who are trying to destroy society and marriage by convincing everyone that LGBT people are actual people who deserve rights and equality.

      • Anat

        Something that should be set to choreography?

      • Brightie

        Reply to both Amethyst and perfectnumber628–
        “The homosexuality movement” may or may not refer to individual homosexuals, or to “homosexual activists… convincing everyone that LGBT people are actual people.” Thing is, for many conservative Christians, homosexuals etc. do not exist. Not that people who act gay or feel gay don’t exist, but that if someone is convinced that God’s design does not include attraction to the same gender as yourself, or identifying yourself with a gender which does not match your body, and God is the creator and had the power to make things in the form that he planned them, then LGBT people cannot be acting on something which is natural or inherent to them. It has to be an environmental factor in the sinful world, or the devil’s temptations, or some kind of ideological brainwashing. Thus, individual LGBT people can be seen as “actual people”—but as people who have been somehow ensnared, deceived, or damaged and who are seeking “rights” which will only reinforce their own imprisonment in the false order. “The homosexual movement” would be a combination of people who are seen as deeply deceived, and whoever the mysterious higher-up puppetmasters are who reinforce the deception and recruit new victims in order to thwart God’s plan for relationships. It’s not that “gays are evil.” It’s more like, “God’s assumed plan for the world requires us to assume that gays are in the Matrix.”

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Cisgender means what, because I cannot find this word in the dictionary?

      • Mogg

        Cisgender means a person whose self-perception of their gender matches their biological sex – in other words, a person who sees themself as female and has physical female anatomy or a person who sees themself as male and has physical male anatomy. This is in contrast to transgender, where the person’s self-perception of gender doesn’t match their physical sex.

        A quick google search will reveal many things, including the Wikipedia page for cisgender.

  • AnonaMiss

    They didn’t think this, but there way is the way of bitterness, anger, conflict, rancor.

    See, the fact that you’re getting so angry about the way I’m slandering you is proof that I’m right!

    Please excuse me while I find a wall to punch.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    My husband is incredibly nurturing. When we first had our baby, they handed him to me and I was like “uuuh… what am I supposed to do with it?” But my husband’s instincts just kicked in and he was a pro right from the start at reading our son’s signals. Even breastfeeding, I struggled quite a bit at first and my husband helped me learn how to latch properly. He’s also great at cleaning, loves cooking, and truly seems to be at his happiest when spending time with our son.

    For reasons of practicality, I ended up staying home. But my totally straight, totally masculine husband would have been the one to do it in a heartbeat.

  • Chris Hallquist

    This headline makes feminism sound like a badass secret martial arts technique.

    • Niemand

      That it is, Chris, that it is.

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

      <..>

      … maybe it is.

    • Desiree

      Who snitched?

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    “Don’t make decisions based on practicality.” Okay, then, I think that tells us all we need to know about whether their argument makes any sense.

    Also, somewhere in there is the idea that if something feels good, it must be sin. Feminism tells women they have more freedom and rights, and women like hearing that. OH NO THAT MEANS IT MUST BE EVIL! We’re supposed to just serve and be quiet and suffer, and somehow that’s BETTER because it’s HARD.

  • Kittehonmylap

    I was a SAH spouse for a year. It nearly killed me & my husband was honestly praying I’d leave him. (Long story. We’re better now.) Guess what? You could not pay, bribe, or force me to repeat said experiment. And the idea that that hell is what I’m made for, that because of my genitalia the brain God gave me is therefore useless except when shopping the sales for that week, is evil. They can take their gender essentialism & stick it where the sun don’t shine. You wanna be a SAHW/M? Awesome. Your choice is not my mandate.

  • saraquill

    Having every woman in this society to be a housewife is so impractical. It ignores single adult females, widows, women with incapacitated husbands, and married women who are separated from their husbands. It also calls for married men to have wages that can support at least one dependent. To be a housewife is a luxury, and if the woman tried to find work after an extended absence, it will look bad on her resume.

    • ako

      The plan for single adult females seems to be staying at home with Daddy and Mommy indefinitely until the Right Man comes along and you can get married. No employment, very limited studying, and lots and lots of housework. Yes, even if that means you end up forty years old with no professional experience or post-high school education or life experiences beyond cleaning the bathroom for your parents year after year.

      For widows, it’s marrying again ASAP, unless they have an adult son or son-in-law who’s willing to look after them.

      I don’t know what the plan is for women with incapacitated husbands, but I’ve heard of at least one Quiverfull family where the wife had to basically run the home business while pretending she wasn’t, in order to serve the husband’s ego.

      I don’t think they’d ever consider it okay for a married woman to separate from their husband.

      So they have plans for women in pretty much any situation. They’re just terrible plans.

    • Niemand

      To be a housewife is a luxury, and if the woman tried to find work after an extended absence, it will look bad on her resume.

      Being a housewife is a high risk profession. Their skills don’t transfer easily to other professions and a job history which includes 15 years as a housewife impresses few employers. They have little recourse if something happens to the “breadwinner”, be that incapacitation, death, or divorce/abandonment. They have no automatic benefits, no recourse to arbitration (apart from marriage counseling) if their “boss” is unfair or discriminatory, no unemployment if their position goes belly up…and, in fact, don’t get paid at all except in kind. Why, in short, is this a thing that should be encouraged?

      • Niemand

        Sorry, another thought occurred to me: I think of women (or men) being stay at home moms/dads or even housewives/husbands in the absence of children in much the way I think of adoption: If you want to do it (stay at home, complete a pregnancy and give up a baby that you can’t raise for adoption) fine, that’s your choice, I in no way want to take that choice from you-if and only if you know what you’re getting into. Relinquishing custody of a child does psychological and sometimes physical harm to women. Being a housewife is high risk as has been pointed out by several people here. This shouldn’t be the default and no one should go into it thinking that it’s perfectly safe, easy, or the only “right” thing to do. Both decisions should be undertaken only after careful consideration of the risks.

    • http://brokendaughters.wordpress.com Lisa

      oh, but don’t you know the quiverfulls have the perfect (biblical) solution for that? See, if those ebil selfish women would finally stop taking the jobs away from the real men, all men would have high paying jobs! So, it wouldn’t be a luxury anymore and everything would be fine and we would live in happy wonderland!
      What, those lower paid jobs you say? Who’s doing those? Well, I suppose… uhmmm- atheists… and those guys who say they’re christians but aren’t really because God gives them crappy jobs.. and maybe ilegal immigrants?

      I’m not kidding you, this is what supposedly would solve all financial problems for christians as I was taught.

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      Indeed. The experiment was tried in the Victorian era, and then only with Middle Class and up women (lower class women have always worked – always). The issue of “redundant women” (women who were aging out of marriageable age without prospects) quickly became considered a national crisis.

      The idea that women should simply stay at home and take care of kids has never worked for any society ever.

      • Nea

        It works if the woman involved has plenty of wealth and no ambitions. Otherwise…

        “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?”

        Sojourner Truth
        source: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sojtruth-woman.asp

  • Noelle

    Put my family down for happy working mom, happy SAHD, and 2 happy kids. We are atheists though, so we don’t count.

    I have a long list of reasons I don’t like FotF. Just added this one.

  • Rilian

    Being a mother is a 24/7 job, but being a father is not, for some reason.
    ???

    • Lauren

      And it’s only a 24/7 job for women who are wealthy enough not to need government assistance. If you DO need help from the government, and you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, then you’re a lazy welfare queen who’s failing her children by being a horrible role model and teaching them a poor work ethic.

      • Verity3

        Please tell me this is sarcasm. :blush: Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

  • Sue Blue

    Okay – so why did God give women intelligence and personalities at all? Why not just make them with just neurological capacity for basic instincts to give birth and care for their young like a dog or a cat? Oh, I guess they have to cook and clean, too…but really, why did God waste any IQ over 70 on women if he didn’t want them to think? Another glitch, sort of like poorly-designed backs, the appendix, and nipples on men?

    Poor babies, they just can’t handle the terrifying thought of having to deal with women as real human beings instead of sex objects.

  • Douglas

    Wow, just wow. It’s mindboggling that they could on and on like that and not see how mean, and un-Christian, they were being. I just about jumped when they said: “God created men to draw their identity from work . . . God created woman to draw identity from relationships and networking . . .” And you hit right on it. God created men and women to draw their identity from HIM. The tragic irony is that in their efforts to be “biblical” when it comes to gender they actually aren’t being.

  • http://www.crystallutton.com Crystal Lutton

    I may have missed something, but wasn’t it 2 women who wrote the book in question? Did they need an exorcism when they were done with that “work project”?

  • J L

    funny how they say “give up your rights” when FotF seems to be among those screaming for Christians’ rights and fearful that Christians are losing their rights in the US…
    also if God wanted everyone to fit neatly into one of two separate rigid roles, why did God make intersex people?

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      What are intersexual people?

      • Mogg

        Intersex people are people who are not genetically *and* physically male or female in some way or other. It includes people with ambiguous genitalia, people whose genetic sex doesn’t match their physical sex, and people with sex chromosomes other than XX female and XY male.

  • Juniper

    Kassian: “Women have a unique and specific responsibility for the home in a way that men do not have.”
    A few months earlier whle complaining about being slighted by Rachel Held Evans:
    ‘Homemaking as woman’s highest calling is our critical centerpiece? Hmmm. Maybe I didn’t get the memo. I found myself curious about which “proponent of the modern biblical womanhood movement” used “strong, unequivocal language” about homemaking being woman’s highest calling. And which complementarian in her right mind would even remotely assert that “the only sphere in which a woman can truly bring glory to God is in the home.”’ http://www.girlsgonewise.com/review-of-a-year-of-biblical-womanhood/

    I think Ms. Kassian suffers from cognitive dissonance.

  • http://greenchestnuts.blogspot.com Aydan

    I got angry about this, and then I just started to laugh, because it was too ridiculous. (I know, of course, that for some women this can’t be a laughing matter at all. That was just my reaction.)
    Then I got to the part about abuse and stopped laughing.
    What comforts me is that, for all these speakers hate seeing women work outside the home and do something besides raise children… they can’t do a darn thing about my intention to do just that. Today I will go continue my heretical, child-hating, selfish way of life by going to the office and working on my research instead of, I don’t know… desperately searching for a husband? and I will do the same thing tomorrow, and the day after that, because no matter how they rail, the truth is we (most of us) live in a society that, at least theoretically, gives us these choices.
    (And, again, I know there are a lot of women whose churches and families take this stuff seriously and they can’t just thumb their noses at it like I can. I’m not trying to imply otherwise. This is just how I, personally, am reacting.)

  • Red

    I started to type out a comment and then realized that words fail to explain this crazy town.

  • Charis

    “God created men to draw their identity from work . . . God created woman to draw identity from relationships and networking” -Kassian

    Seems to me the focus on gender distinctions entered into the picture post-Fall.

    Genesis 1:26-28 “they… male and female… have dominion”

    Gen 3-
    women-increased conception, toil in childbirth, desire for husband
    men- toil with sweat and thorns

    Feminism–> back to Genesis 1 :)

  • Charis

    “Feminism is the “forbidden fruit,” and the world’s ways are attractive, but when we bit into it we get a mouthful of worms . . . -DeMoss”

    She got this backwards. (She’s single BTW)

    “Husband rule” is the shiny red apple filled with deadly poison.

    I speak from several living [dying] from ingesting deadly marriage doctrine.

  • Charis

    several *decades*

  • http://www.ronnadetrick.com Ronna Detrick

    Grrrrrrr. This makes me so angry I don’t even know where or how to start articulating a response.

  • http://www.fether.net Paula

    Great article, many great comments, though I couldn’t take time to read them all.

    I’m a Christian woman, grew up in “church”, did some homeschooling, etc. But after studying the Bible myself for many years, it became clear that not only were these gender roles unbiblical, so also were clergy/laity distinctions. The root problem is hierarchy and control, and I’ve written a book about it: http://books.fether.net/index.php?theBook=1 . I saw also a comment about how what I call PMS (patriarchy/male supremacism) is the same as slavery, and I blogged on that topic here: http://www.fether.net/2009/11/02/sound-familiar/ .

    But I have to say that misogyny is gaining ground outside of Christianity as well. Even the most irreverent and vulgar message boards have thread after thread about women needing to know their place, describing women in every possible derogatory term, and asserting that if women are equal then men become less manly (?!). The churches of all places should have been the shining beacons of equality, but they are not, and it’s getting worse.

  • Lisa

    I love it that a husbands solution to not understanding his wife’s intellect was to knock her up and chain her to the kitchen. And she’s compliant. And claims its biblical. What the hell people??!!! Do they ever stop the endless nonsensical blather and think what the hell am O condoning here? Does this come from a Christ who elevated women, befriended women and allowed them to sit at his feet equal to a man at the time. When will these women see that they are Martha not Mary and come to their Lord to sit equally as a disciple?

    And seriously, when will their husbands come under conviction for the destruction they uphold.

    The abuse stuff makes me ill. Just ill. Furious, sad and ill.

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  • Law

    The biblical theme for a woman is to be able to cater for her children and work, if she has to, as much as a man is to be able to cater for his children and work, if he has to.
    Both female and male brains are to be used. Both male and female abilities to love their children are to be used. They are at their best when they accept the basic truths and work jointly towards it.

    Surely an abused wife (or husband) is suffering from INJUSTICE, right. Why call it another name?
    Why should someone’s heart be partial to a woman suffering than a man suffering?
    Do we actively advocate for our hearts to be partial to a white person suffering than a black person suffering or vice versa? Notice I used the word PARTIAL.
    If we don’t, then why do we have a bunch of people advocating exactly that, instead of putting their passion behind ANY FORM OF INJUSTICE? Which would probably make for a more unified approach…

    Feminism is saying essentialliy “I only have time for injustice against women”. Well, some are trying to fight injusticce against whoever and the feminist movement is draining potential passion from that battle. Yep! Both male and female brains and passion and love are to be used and all that.

    The fact that some people are reluctant to give up the label is what unnerves some people about feminism. You can be against racism but you don’t see people running to coin a label that identifies them as AGAINST RACISM, do you? “Oh hi, I’m a Allcolorist”. “What is that?”. “Ah, I’m against the abuse of All Races”. “Oh, hi, I’m an Africanist” “What is that?”. “Ah! I’m against the abuse of Africans”. I could go on…

    To be pedantic about a label and openly brag about partility to a certain type of injustice cheapens your course to those who abhor any kind of injustice. It limits the potential of the “warrior within” or whatever you call the passion or drive behind these individuals when they are focused solely on a certain type of injustice.

    So to any feminist, I invite you to broaden your viewpoint and direcrt your passion to injustice in general, woman, man, boy, girl! Let your heart not be partial in your fight against injustice, if that truly is what you’re doing. You may just find that the label is completely irrelevant.

    ps. I do not mean to sound condescending, it just baffles me why anyone would brag about being partial to only a certain demographic’s pain?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

      There is a history of exceptional violence and inequality against women, as there was a history of exceptional violence and inequality against African-Americans. The Civil Rights movement wasn’t against all inequality- it was against racial inequality, and it did great good. Would you argue that calling oneself a civil rights activist demeaned all other forms of oppression in the world? Does the fact that a lot of the civil rights organizations were horribly sexist demean their accomplishments? Or is it just women fighting for equality that you say isn’t as important as “all oppression everywhere”?

  • Tara

    Well, *some* people have their facts all twisted up *cough*FocusontheFamily*cough*.

    Stay-at-home moms are more likely to be depressed than working moms, not the other way around.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/154685/Stay-Home-Moms-Report-Depression-Sadness-Anger.aspx

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2012/june/why-stay-at-home-moms-are-more-depressed-than-working-moms.html


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