Guest Post: Focus on the Family: “True strength . . . submits”

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.]

Tuesday and Wednesday (March 5 and March 6), Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly and John Fuller hosted Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian on their daily radio show. DeMoss and Kassian are currently promoting their new eight-week Bible study: True Woman 101: Divine Design. The jacket material describes the book’s goal as teaching women to “discover, embrace, and delight in God’s divine design and mission for their lives.”

The book’s contents reveals that it’s your typical, run-of-the-mill complementarian rhetoric about gender roles, but they do target feminism, and they decided to share some of those arguments on the radio program. Most of the hour’s conversation is dedicated to making repetitive statements about being willing to follow God’s word. (I swear, I think I could have made a drinking game out of it. Take a shot every time one of them says the word complement! Take a shot every time one of them talks about “reflecting God’s nature”!)

One of them opened up the discussion with a brief summary of Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. I believe it was Kassian summarizing Friedan’s work, and she said that the book’s basic argument is this:

Kassian: Women are unhappy because there is something wrong with the role they were trying to fill [previously defined in the conversation as a “June Cleaver” type]. If we [Friedan and others] get women out into the workforce, then women will achieve happiness.

Jim Daly: But, sociology shows that the more empowered women have gotten, the more unhappy they’ve gotten.

DeMoss: Self-actualization was a woman turning her attention from her husband to herself.

First of all, I’m wondering if either DeMoss or Kassian has read the Feminine Mystique. Fuller “thanks” Kassian for “doing all this research,” but she seems to have completely missed the point. While Friedan certainly did advocate education and employment opportunities for women, that was certainly not the central focus of the book. No—Friedan and other early feminist writers like her fought against the ingrained perception that women were not capable of receiving an education and working in a professional career. Not that culture said they shouldn’t, but that they couldn’t. Saying that Friedan’s book does nothing more than “tell women to go get a job so they can be happy” is reductionist at best, deceptive at worst.

Also, Daly bursts in with his comment about “sociology.” What, exactly, is he trying to say by including a throw-away reference to ‘sociology’? Validate his ridiculous statement? And DeMoss completely ignores the real idea behind self-actualization: that it is expressing and activating your potential– your capabilities. It’s realizing that you can do something worthwhile and meaningful. Both DeMoss and Kassian continue to re-define various terms in feminism as being “selfish” throughout the program. At one point, they argued that the desire for self-actualization is the same lie that Satan told to Eve in the garden—a woman who is self-actualized, they say, is trying to become like God. No chasing your dreams or coming into your full potential for you, ladies. You go back into your kitchen and make a sandwich.

Kassian continues:

Our culture is saturated by gender fluidity—“I am the one who gets to decided what I do, who I am.” . . . But we need to make sure that we . . .are in line with who the Bible says that I am . . . blurring the gender distinctions was part of the Fall, and that was part of what Christ came to restore—a true gender identity.

Hold on. Two things here: first, Kassian is arguing that our identity is integrally linked to our gender, which may or may not be true, depending on the individual. Identity constructs are complicated, and not automatically linked to gender for everyone. More and more studies are revealing that gender identity is almost purely social construct. Second, she says that “blurring gender distinctions was part of the Fall.” Y’know, I’m sitting here, reading Genesis chapter three, and I don’t get that. Can someone please explain to me how gender had anything to do with original sin? Oh, wait, right—we’re rewinding to the medieval ages where women were responsible for all that was vile and corrupt, women are the weaker vessel and was first deceived, and a woman’s vagina was a cavernous gate to the pits of hell. Got it.

Jim Daly and John Fuller, as the interviewers and hosts, of course direct the course of the conversation. But every single one of their questions is loaded and leading, like this one:

Why is the divorce rate so high in the church? What is going on between the genders that is so destructive?

Why is the assumption here that the divorce rate is due to some sort of gender war? Well, DeMoss tells us, by explaining how girls from a very early age are being indoctrinated by feminism that has “infiltrated” and “slid into” the church:

DeMoss: Girls are phoning, and texting, and being aggressive, and just going after the guys . . . Girls are taught ‘you are strong, you are independent, you can go after what you want.’ In practice, that doesn’t work so well. Women are starting to be controlling, taking the lead, and it creates a dysfunction. It exacerbates our sin nature, and it makes it difficult to make a relationship work.

Kassian: [Feminism] makes men look stupid, like idiots who can’t find their way out of a paper bag. It matters that men and women are different.

Oh, boy. The back of their book describes a feminist woman as “strident,” and you can see that attitude coming out here. But the implication DeMoss makes here—that being strong and independentexacerbates our sin nature—is destructive. I’m not exactly sure if DeMoss realizes the full extent and ramifications of an argument like the one she’s making here. Being strong and independent equals sin? I’m aware that complementarians have frequently argued that not falling in line with traditional, patriarchal, Victorian gender roles is “unwise,” or even “damaging to marriages,” etc, but being a strong, independent woman is sinful?

John Fuller seems to be aware of the far-reaching nature of DeMoss’ statement, so he asks:

What’s wrong with being strong, independent, charting my own course? Don’t I have rights? Speak to these women who are wondering, asking what God’s true purpose is for their life.

Don’t I have rights indeed, John. Apparently not.

Kassian: True strength is strength that submits. We have God’s word. We are telling an important, profound story, pointing to Christ and the church, to truths that exist within God. God created men and women to express this relationship.

I’m straight up confused, and have always been baffled, at what appears to be an innate connection between biology and “gender roles” for complementarians. I’ve heard the arguments that take our biological distinctiveness and whip it up into some grand scheme for complementarianism, but I’m still lost when people go there. Also, look and see what else Kassian is threatening here: women, if you don’t submit, you’re subverting the important, profound story about Christ. If you don’t accept our definition of traditional gender roles, you’re destroying the salvation message. Not only will you be blurring gender roles, feminists, you’ll be confusing the gospel.

But let us look at yet another loaded question from Jim Daly:

What about the hookup culture? When women give their physical intimacy away, they are really giving men the ability to control them, to have power over them. Is there something tied into the feminist movement where women lose power sexually?

Did he actually just go there? These questions are representational of an extremely conservative view of sex, one where the only correct view is the conservative view, and anyone who defines sex differently is perverted. Daly manages to do a couple rather impressive things in these questions. He blames rape culture and hookup culture on feminism. He implies that feminists actually want to see women lose power. But oh wait– it gets better.

DeMoss: Feminists say that “power” is the ability to self-define . . . “I get to exercise my power,” and women began saying that this meant that “my sex is power.” New Wave feminism is really just raunch culture . . . Feminists [from the 60s] would have screamed against [“immodest dress”]; they would have said that “if you dress in a provocative way, men have control over you,” but modern feminists don’t agree with that anymore.

John: That’s just so dumbfounding.

Holy red herring, Batman! It took me a while to collect my thoughts and come back from the brink of speechlessness, after that hum-dinger. First, I recommend to DeMoss and Kassian that they read Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, which is an excellent dissection of what raunch culture actually represents and what it is motivated by—and it’s certainly not feminism. It’s just patriarchy, sexism, and the male gaze wearing another mask. DeMoss, by pointing out that modern women have somehow lost the “decency and modesty” that even their feminist forbears possessed, is arguing that modern feminism is synonymous with “raunch culture.” There’s a link here, in the conversation, between raunch culture and women surrendering their sexual power to men. To DeMoss and Kassian, Daly and Fuller, it seems like they’re saying that it’s not patriarchy and the universal enforcing of complementarian gender roles that perpetuates rape culture—no, it’s feminism.

I have no words.

But, oh look, it gets even worse:

Kassian: Even though [many women] don’t identify as feminist, there is still so much pain [from feminism] . . . they’re crying themselves to sleep at night. They’re depressed, suicidal. There’s a soul sickness, a sadness, and a desperation . . . But there is wholeness, healing, joy, and fullness available if we take our lives back to the plumb line [of Scripture] . . . to fulfill the whole purpose for why we were put here on this earth. Women who are doing that with their lives, they’re not oppressed—they are blessed.

And there you have it. Become a feminist and you’ll want to kill yourself. Become a complementarian and adhere to gender essentialism and you’ll be happy.

This isn’t logic. This isn’t even really an argument. It’s a threat.

—————

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.

  • RMM

    Wow, what bums. Sociology actually teaches that neither being a SAH or a working woman is preferable… its main lesson is that it is the idea that the woman will be more likely to be happy if she chooses which one she wants and isn’t forced one way or the other.

    Way to debo my subject… and then mess it up. Jerks.

  • BringTheNoise

    [Feminism] makes men look stupid…

    Lady, it ain’t feminism that says that I’m like a petulant toddler who has to have my every whim catered to, lest I throw a tantrum. It ain’t feminism that tells women that I can’t see an exposed ankle without turning into a raging rape-beast. It ain’t feminism that says that having to work with women will reduce me to a shell of a person, incapable of doing even simple tasks.

    Feminism makes me look stupid? Give me a break!

    • ako

      Yeah, I haven’t seen anything as insulting to men as Created To Be His Helpmeet, which is as unfeminist as it gets. I was offended on behalf of my father, my brothers, and every husband and father I know who isn’t selfish enough to abandon his family and leave his children in poverty rather than face the slightest criticism or inconvenience.

      I believe all men are capable of not raping anyone, and most men choose not to be rapists.

      I believe that men are capable of managing their tempers without violent outbursts against their partner, and most men choose this.

      I believe that men are capable of behaving respectfully in the face of actual hardship, let alone minor inconveniences, and don’t need to be constantly catered to in order to get decent behavior.

      I believe that fathers and husbands aren’t inherently incompetent at changing diapers, mopping floors, telling stories, cuddling their children, cooking meals, or any other normal household tasks, and there’s no reason why the average man can’t learn the skills involved.

      I believe nearly all men have the sort of love for their family that means they don’t abandon them all the moment things become the slightest bit difficult, and men have enough inherent capacity for love and empathy that they can be expected to treat people decently.

      I believe the vast majority of men are fully capable of being kind, tender, compassionate, gentle, and mature, and shouldn’t be treated as too weak, too selfish, to cruel, to incompetent, or too egotistical to show any of these positive traits.

      Gosh, what rabid hatred for men feminism has taught me!

      • Hilary

        LIKE!!! You guys rock!!! And you are right. Men are fully capable of being decent, civilized human beings, side by side with women who are decent, civilized full human beings. It cheapens both of us to say otherwise

    • http://www.momma-onamission.blogspot.com Anna C

      Word.

  • Nea

    Feminists [from the 60s] would have screamed against [“immodest dress”]

    How did he get through an entire decade without hearing about or seeing miniskirts?

    • Rae

      That reminds me of a thing I overheard at an outdoor event in Los Angeles where a woman had taken off her shirt and was only wearing her bra: A 20-something guy said to a maybe 80-year-old man “That woman doesn’t have a shirt on, she’s only wearing her bra in public! What is this, Woodstock?” The older man looked at the woman in question, looked at the younger guy, laughed, and said “Son, if this was Woodstock, she wouldn’t be wearing the bra, either!”

  • jose

    I don’t think this talk about strong, independent women is helpful. This is not a fight for the rights of the strong and independent, it’s a fight between classes, not individuals. Weak and dependent women deserve rights too.

    This reminds me a lot of anti-union talk by right wingers: How a determined entrepeneur dared to work hard and make himself and now he’s a millionaire, as opposed to those filthy unemployed peasants who are just too lazy to be anything else.

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com forgedimagination

      I hadn’t made that connection, but you’re absolutely right. That’s just another assumption going on here– feminism represents “strident” women, and complementarianism represents “godly submissive/meek” women. It’s just another dichotomy to perpetuate a gross misunderstanding of feminism.

    • ako

      Yeah, the “strong, independent woman” thing has been twisted in ugly ways. It’s one thing to teach women that it’s acceptable, and even admirable, to show strength and independence, but it’s been warped into “Well, if you’re so strong and independent, you don’t need anything, and if you need things, that shows you fail at being strong and independent, so are therefore unworthy!”

      Strength and independence aren’t simple binaries – humans simply aren’t either always perfectly strong and perfectly independent, or totally weak and dependent. And failing to achieve a certain standard of strong enough and independent enough doesn’t make a person unworthy of rights.

  • Christine

    Last I heard the divorce rate among Evangelicals was 1 in 3. Clearly that complementarianism is working to help keep families together. (Or maybe they’ll blame all those egalitarians, who they’re willing to consider Evangelicals for the sake of this one statistic.) And yes, I know that correlation != causation, but if there was something about “feminism” that was leading to higher divorce rates, you’d expect an anti-feminist enclave to have lower divorce rates, not higher ones.

    • Rosie

      No, don’t you see: feminism is causing the high divorce rate among evangelical couples. Because it’s showing women that they have a choice.

      • Christine

        Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds rather too much like actual logic to be something that would belong on that show.

  • Stony

    “I am the one who gets to decided what I do, who I am.”

    I’m good with this. Stop here. Oh wait, you don’t.

    . . . But we need to make sure that we . . .are in line with who the Bible says that I am . . . blurring the gender distinctions was part of the Fall, and that was part of what Christ came to restore—a true gender identity.

    In the years and years and years I spent as a studying and practicing Christian, I never heard this. Talk about pulling your argument totally out of your ass. Someone please find a NT quote that says Christ came to restore gender identity.

    This whole thing jacked up my blood pressure, so I’m going back to the first line: I get to decide what I do, who I am. Full stop.

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

      I know what you mean. I had to stop and rewind the program because I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I’d never even heard this argument before, and I grew up in some pretty intense complementarianism. Although, I suppose it’s not that much different than Mark Driscoll’s argument that if men follow his presentation of a “he-man Jesus” that it’ll bring back gender existentialism, which our culture “so desperately needs.” /eyeroll

  • http://www.momma-onamission.blogspot.com Anna C

    Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for that breakdown. Talk about some shocking statements! And a complete and utter misrepresentation of what feminism is about. My jaw was literally hanging open.

    And as far as that last quote- that’s what really baffles me, and angers me. I tried to live the complementarian lifestyle. I believed in it wholeheartedly and really, honestly TRIED as hard as I could to do it right. And I was miserable. Totally miserable. Comp literally ruined my family of origin and nearly ruined my own marriage as well. After finding freedom, and eventually egalitarianism, to say I’m so much happier is only scratching the surface. I feel like a completely new person who’s come alive for the first time(and my marriage is better than ever). I didn’t go from being a Christian to being a God-hating liberal feminist- I’m still a Christian and love God more than ever.

    So what of that? Either my entire life is a lie and I’m a complete lunatic, or there’s something else going on here and DeMoss and Kassian’s way is not the Only Right and Biblical Way for Every True Woman. I know the truth, of course, but it’s just maddening to me that they refuse to listen to experiences like mine.

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

      They touch on “Christian feminists” in the next program… nothing good, sadly. DeMoss seemed shocked they even exist.

      • Judy L.

        Of course they’re shocked, and appalled: As far as they’re concerned, the only True Christians are the ones doing their Christianity in the Focus-on-the-Patriarchy approved way.

    • http://LyricalPolyphony.blogspot.com mary

      My story too, Anna!!! Comp teachings almost ruined my marriage. And guess what- my husband now identifies as a feminist, and we go to a church with a woman as one of the pastors- and our faith, family, and marriage have never been stronger. My husband has expressed many times the awful weight that was lifted from his shoulders when he ditched the gender roles, no longer had to be perfect and in control, and could operate according to his abilities and inclination. It is a wonderful, freeing thing. I wish it for everyone. And this is not to say that you can’t choose more traditional gender roles and be happy- but it should be ” hey, I like this dynamic for now” not ” I’m sinning if I don’t squeeze myself into this tiny box.”

      • Kagi Soracia

        I will certainly pray that my parents someday have that happy of an ending….the gender roles have nearly destroyed their marriage, too, and all us kids have suffered even into adulthood for it, because my father turned to spiritually and emotionally abusive behaviours to stay in control of his family, especially his wife, and keep up appearances. He says he knows he was wrong, but he hasn’t admitted that it was abusive, and I have yet to see any lasting changes; he still does the same old things when he gets upset, and he’s still holding onto the underlying toxic beliefs like complementarianism and complete submission of women and children.

        We are not supposed to have our own identities or worry about finding them, we’re meant to take his word for what they are, and for everything else, too. Let him define us and guide us and control us, even as adults until we get married and he can hand us over to a man who will, presumably (in his mind at least), do the same things. :/ Personally I’m not attracted to men so I won’t have to worry about that, but of course being attracted to women isn’t allowed either so there’s a whole other set of issues.

        I’ve given up on coming to any sort of real understanding with my parents. We have called a ‘cease-fire’ in recent years, so at least I don’t get yelled at and lectured at and talked down to so much. :”) Still a bit of a nightmare, every time I have to see or speak to my dad; I get stomach butterflies in the not-good way. My mother, while she doesn’t understand, is at least willing to listen in a mostly-tolerant way. My dad, well, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. He disagrees with basically everything I think and want to talk about, disapproves, denies and generally refuses to consider anything outside his own little black and white world.

    • Charis

      “I believed in it wholeheartedly and really, honestly TRIED as hard as I could to do it right. And I was miserable. Totally miserable. ” -Anna

      +1

  • Kit

    “When women give their physical intimacy away, they are really giving men the ability to control them, to have power over them.”

    What gets me about this particular line is that whoever-said-it completely skated over a necessary premise to make this line true. A woman who has sex with someone else doesn’t give them “power” unless they or the other person or the community at large believes she is somehow “damaged goods” by having sex. Having sex with someone doesn’t INHERENTLY give a man the power to control you, as this person seems to want you to believe.

    I’ve had more sexual partners than I have fingers and while yes, I’ve had bad sex and sex-that-on-retrospect-was-a-bad-idea, but I’ve never regretted it. Learning experiences, right? The reality is that since I don’t believe I’m worth any less because of my sexual past, since my community doesn’t believe that I’m worth less because of my sexual history, someone I have sex with doesn’t gain any power over me.

    • Rosie

      THIS. Exactly.

    • ScottInOH

      I literally couldn’t comprehend that sentence when I read it. How does “giving your physical intimacy away” (already a screwed-up concept) lead to “giving men the ability to control [you]“?

      Your interpretation makes as much sense as any, Kit. Another one that occurred to me later is this: Once a woman makes out with a man, she no longer has the right to say no to him (or maybe to any man) in the future. Hey, she’s into “the hookup culture,” so she’s made it clear she’s into “giving it away,” and she has to recognize that men (or a particular man) own her body.

      • The_L

        I’m still not sure how intimacy is something to be “given away.” That’s like saying that I “gave away” a movie to my boyfriend. I didn’t; we both watched that movie. Together. As a shared activity.

        I have honestly never understood that phrase at all. It’s not like a man’s penis just sort of happens to accidentally fall into a woman. People have sex. It is an action. You can’t give an action away because it is not a physical object.

      • phantomreader42

        How does “giving your physical intimacy away” (already a screwed-up concept) lead to “giving men the ability to control [you]“?

        Sympathetic magic via precious bodily fluids? It makes as much sense as the rest of the lunacy they promote…

  • The_L

    I can’t believe I ever thought FotF was a benign organization. This is just plain vicious.

  • Niemand

    Two points, not entirely related to each other:

    High divorce rates are not an inherently bad thing. High divorce rates come with decreased domestic violence rates and decreased partner murder rates. I’m even dubious of the “staying together is better for the kids” claim as the evidence is shaky and, well, my personal anecdotal experience doesn’t confirm it (yeah, yeah, horrible argument, but it influences one.)

    It’s not feminism that creates women who hate men. No one hates men more than the traditional values “lady”. She may overtly defer to men, but sabotage is always in the back of her mind. Because she can never openly acknowledge her anger and even less can she ask for men to change their behavior to make her happier, she is never able to get rid of the hatred or to stop undermining the goals of her male partner or relatives. Debi’s disdain for Michael comes through in CTBHM and, I expect, in their everyday life as well.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      I’ve heard it said (possibly here) that ‘saying for the children’ is a good reason to stay in an okay relationship, but a bad reason to stay in a bad one. (I do know a woman who told me she stayed for her children, and regretted not leaving earlier). I do agree that a high divorce rate isn’t inherently bad–as one comedian said, no good marriage ever ended in divorce. I also wonder how many evangelical marriages would end that way if they believed it to be an option, since their teaching on relationship dynamics is completely dysfunctional.

      • Niemand

        IIRC, the divorce rate among people who identify as fundamentalist Christian is higher than the mean, at least within the US. Possibly because fundamentalists tend to marry young and probably often marry because they want to have sex, not because they want to spend their life with the person they’re marrying. (It’s also often the only way for a young woman to escape her parents’ control.) Apparently lecturing people on the evils of divorce works as well as lecturing them on the evils of premarital sex.

      • Judy L.

        Indeed, the belief that you have to be married to have sex and can’t have sex with anyone but your spouse does increase divorce rates. Couples who marry young are more likely to separate. And because most people don’t like the idea of committing to a life of celibacy, couples, especially those with children, who are committed to the ideal of sexual monogamy feel like they’ve got no other choice than divorce if they find that they’ve lost sexual interest in one another or find they have mis-matched sexual needs*, which is a shame, because many couples whose marriages work except for the sexual intimacy could happily stay together in a companionate marriage and raise their children together so long as they could get their sexual needs met elsewhere.

        *And with the ideal of no sex before marriage, there’s no way to determine sexual compatibility prior to committing to not having sex with anyone but your spouse for the rest of your lives.

      • Crickets

        Judy L, wow. I’m over the age of 40, never married. I wanted to be married (and have sex), never met the right guy. (Was engaged once, though). I am still a virgin – sex outside of marriage is wrong.

        It’s more a matter of self discipline than anything. Most every one in these conversations, Christian or no, seem to feel that just because a person has sexual urges or experiences sexual desire means one cannot control them – which is false.

        Comments such as these, “And with the ideal of no sex before marriage, there’s no way to determine sexual compatibility prior to committing to not having sex with anyone but your spouse for the rest of your lives.”

        And this: ” as they could get their sexual needs met elsewhere.”

        Is just a bunch of hooey. The suggestion for open marriage is just gross. There’s not much point in remaining married to someone if you’re going to sleep around on that person.

        I am not a gender complementarian and disagree with most of their views, but they are right about some aspects of secular feminism – secular feminists have indeed brainwashed females into thinking sexual empowerment means being sexually promiscuous, giving away sex with no strings attached.

        I’ve had plenty of female friends who are not happy about this turn of evens, some of them bought into it and lived it out. Many complain they can’t find marriage- minded guys. I see many articles and interviews with women now of all ages who feel the same way.

        Not all females are happy and thrilled about the variety of feminism that tells them to sleep around how often they want, with whomever. Let’s not pretend there are not problems inherent with the schools of feminism that encouraged women to sleep around, consider dirty movies morally acceptable, etc.

      • ako

        secular feminists have indeed brainwashed females into thinking sexual empowerment means being sexually promiscuous, giving away sex with no strings attached.

        No secular feminism means making your own choice about whether to attach strings to sex, and if so, what kind of strings. It’s not feminist to have a bunch of sex that doesn’t make you happy because you feel that’s what other people want, or that taking control of your sexuality necessarily requires having sex. It’s feminist to recognize that women aren’t totally homogenous in how they approach sex, and just because some women find multiple partners unappealing, or prefer monogamy, doesn’t mean that it is the nature of all women everywhere to find that the best way to live.

        That does mean some women will make choices that are wrong for them and then regret it, but life means making choices, some of which will be wrong and subsequently regretted. And considering that women aren’t homogenous, there are really only two ways for society to approach women’s sexuality – either grant freedom and accept that some women (and some men) will make mistakes, or try to force everyone into a single mold and leave some people trapped in a system that doesn’t work for them.

      • Anat

        Crickets, why is sex outside marriage wrong? You are stating it so certainly, but why?

        I’m not saying people must have pre-extra-inter-post marital sex, if they choose not to, but I don’t see evidence that the only or even best way for every person alive is to have sex only with one’s spouse and only while married to them.

        Yes, it requires discipline to not have sex when opportunities for it arise, but people often choose to have sex not because they lack discipline but because they don’t see a point to disciplining themselves under their particular circumstances. And people do discipline themselves about sex – you don’t see that many people having sex in the street. But they disagree that there is anything wrong with having mutually consensual sex with someone they like while taking reasonable precautions against pregnancy and infection.

        Is just a bunch of hooey. The suggestion for open marriage is just gross. There’s not much point in remaining married to someone if you’re going to sleep around on that person.

        Huh? For some people marriage is about things other than regulating with whom people have sex. Also, an open marriage isn’t about ‘sleeping around on that person’, partners in an open marriage have their own boundaries which they agree on, and the parameters vary.

        Feminism did not tell me to sleep around. But it made me realize I had many options I could choose from and I needed to find out what I wanted so I could make the best choices for myself.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred H

    If you don’t accept our definition of traditional gender roles, you’re destroying the salvation message. Not only will you be blurring gender roles, feminists, you’ll be confusing the gospel.

    Wow, they think feminism is that powerful?

  • Niemand

    Become a feminist and you’ll want to kill yourself. Become a complementarian and adhere to gender essentialism and you’ll be happy.

    Sadly and ironically, there is an article in the NYT today about the high rate of suicide among women in Afghanistan, a gender essentialist and strong roles country if ever there was one. I guess sticking to your “natural” role in life doesn’t save you after all.

  • Bob Jase

    If I may take this to the ridiculous – does she mean that if the Allies had truly been strong during WW II they’d have submitted to the Nazis?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

      No, because the Allies weren’t women. It’s only strength for women to submit.

    • phantomreader42

      Don’t you know by now that when christianists speak, it’s like how they treat the bible? Every single word they say is the absolute, perfect, unquestionable holy word of almighty god, UNTIL the very instant it becomes the slightest bit inconvenient, at which point all reference to it is completely erased, to return only when it becomes convenient again. In short, nothing they say has any persistence or meaning unless they want it to. They live in constant, permanent denial of EVERYTHING.

  • ScottInOH

    Girls are phoning, and texting, and being aggressive, and just going after the guys

    Oh, brother. Women/girls asking men/boys out on dates has been the alleged end of civilization for longer than I’ve been alive. And it’s always abetted by some nasty technological innovation: cell phones, texting, emails, landlines, automobiles, … I wonder what the bane of humanity was back in Jesus’s day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

      Carrier pigeon…

    • The_L

      Once when I was in high school, I forgot to write down what a homework assignment was. I tried calling all my female classmates, but none of them were home (this was before it was common for teens to have cell phones). My mother looked to make sure Dad wasn’t paying attention to anything we were saying, then suggested I call a male classmate, and warned me not to let Dad know I’d done that.

      My father would have flipped out if he’d known I’d called a boy for any reason, even though it was both totally innocent and non-dating-related.

  • http://republic-of-gilead.blogspot.com Ahab

    “Girls are taught ‘you are strong, you are independent, you can go after what you want.’ In practice, that doesn’t work so well. Women are starting to be controlling, taking the lead, and it creates a dysfunction.”

    This annoys me to no end. Fundamentalists assume that if men aren’t dominating women, the opposite will occur. Did it ever occur to them that feminism encourages equality between the sexes? Can they even wrap their heads around that subject?

    Another thing that annoys me is that anti-feminist fundamentalists always reference old feminist works from the 1960s, such as The Feminine Mystique. If they’d bothered to do any research on feminism, they’d know that a lot has happened in the past 50 years in terms of feminist theory and organizing. Step outside your bubble, guys!

    • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

      Exactly– I didn’t become a feminist by reading books from the 60s and 70s, or even by paying attention to research from that time period. The books I’ve read that have had the most affect on me have been written in the last 10 years– “Vagina” by Naomi Wolf being in the top 5.

      • Staceyjw

        Actually, I did first identify with feminism because of “Feminist Mystique”, it is a powerful book regardless of what wave of feminism you were born in. It was eye opening, and made me eternally grateful for all the work feminists before me did, as I had no idea what it was like even 50years ago.

        People like Driscoll are so hellbent on their own misinterpretation of feminism, they are blind to what it actually promotes, and how different waves dealt with the times they were living in. Work wasn’t seen as the only solution, but as a valid choice in a world where it was strongly discouraged (among white, middle class women anyway).

        If you haven’t read it, you should. I think its as relevant and useful today as it was back when it was written.

  • Jessica

    “Well, DeMoss tells us, by explaining how girls from a very early age are being indoctrinated by feminism that has “infiltrated” and “slid into” the church:DeMoss: Girls are phoning, and texting, and being aggressive, and just going after the guys . . . Girls are taught ‘you are strong, you are independent, you can go after what you want.’ In practice, that doesn’t work so well. Women are starting to be controlling, taking the lead, and it creates a dysfunction. It exacerbates our sin nature, and it makes it difficult to make a relationship work.
    Kassian: [Feminism] makes men look stupid, like idiots who can’t find their way out of a paper bag. It matters that men and women are different.”
    As southern baptist woman, who makes so much money from writing/speaking on marriage, is Kassian not aware that baptists have the second highest divorce rate in America? While atheists, agnostics, catholics , and Lutherans all have the lowest divorce rates here? I mean the largest group to support gay marriage are catholics, so their kinda of a liberal bunch here, as are the other three. Well, it depends on what type of Lutheran, some liberal, some not so much. Seriously, how can she not know this? I think Nancy DeMoss is also a baptist of some sort. So, are conservative baptist women hiding copies of The Feminine Mystique and secretly holding man-bashing sessions complete with the ceremonial bra burning, goddess worship, let’s all become lesbians in the name of feminism because that’s totally a choose, or whatever else the hell DeMoss and Kassian think go on in feminist groups. P.s. Just wanted to be clear I don’t believe it’s a choice.

    • The_L

      Er, just to be clear, it’s the Catholic laity that is pro-gay-marriage. The official position of the Catholic clergy is about the same as the official position of the SBC.

      • Jessica

        Oh, yeah that’s what I meant, but looking over what I wrote I didn’t make that clear. Thank you. Interesting thing though, both groups came close to being much more progressive on gay marriage. For a while the SBC was controlled by liberals, who were later kicked out. They started a new and eventually pro-gay denomination. And the guy, who was almost pope instead of Benedict came out for gay civil unions and flirted with accepting gay marriage. So in an alternate universe the largest protestant denomination in America is pro-gay and the largest Christian denomination in the world is on their way to joining them. I want to live in that universe so badly.

  • Mafrin

    I second the idea of a drinking game. It’s probably the only thing that would make these twatwaffles bearable to listen to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

      We’d all be dead within 30 minutes.

  • Alice

    “Blurring the gender distinctions was part of the Fall.”

    Of course it was! How DARE Eve decide to eat the fruit without asking Adam for permission! The nerve! And she was a real stumbling block, standing there all seductively, holding the fruit out to him as though she was begging him to take it. Shameless hussy, how could he possibly have resisted that?! Everyone knows men have virtually no self-control, which is why God designed them to be leaders instead of followers. Someone has to get all the work done after all. This text clearly illustrates the havoc wives wreak when they forsake their true Head for their own worldly, fleshly head.

    I could not resist. :)

  • http://shinybutter.com Coco

    I had no idea that Jesus came to restore true gender identity… Total eye-opener for me. I guess he was a visionary aiming to squash the early feminist movement?

  • MiMi

    Just discovered this blog and have been reading with great interest and fascination (and much head-nodding familiarity).

    This jumped out at me:
    Kassian: Even though [many women] don’t identify as feminist, there is still so much pain [from feminism] . . . they’re crying themselves to sleep at night. They’re depressed, suicidal. There’s a soul sickness, a sadness, and a desperation . . .

    She is describing how women, men, AND children feel when they are in oppressive, controlling, and abusive relationships and/or families. It has nothing to do with feminism or empowerment, unless one is talking about the polar opposites of those concepts.

    I know – I was in an emotionally and mentally stifling marriage for 30 years and was often overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. But today, I am celebrating my divorce and feeling the happiest, and healthiest, that I’ve been in 3 decades! I look forward to meeting and mastering the challenges (and there will be many) of my new life without the disapproval and repressive influence that overshadowed it for so long.

  • Sue Blue

    No…true strength quietly kicks your ass, hands it to you, and moves on while you’re still looking over your shoulder and wondering what the hell happened back there.

  • Elena

    I was miserable as a comp and a feminist– some people are just meant to be depressed.

  • http://www.eaandfaith.blogspot.com Hannah Thomas

    I think it is so bizarre that they have put up this entire ‘theory’ on some 50 year old book, and still haven’t realize that feminism has had different ‘waves’ since then. I mean didn’t Mary just complain that the comp stuff has moved on since Dorthy Patterson’s book 20 year old book with her ‘theory’ at the time.

    Secondly, according to the bible we are not to judge the world. That is God’s job, and not ours. I would be surprised that all these radicals they claim are ruining everything for them are in the church…yet they are refuse to move on. They seem totally okay with doing God’s job for them, and refuse to ‘submit’. Hmm.

    Do they realize they come across with some of the characteristics they claim is ‘sinful’ for women all to well?

    It’s sad they have decided their path in life is going to be mouthpieces for the men they are speaking for, and you seriously have to wonder when they will come up with new material to complain about. It’s sad that the world has moved on, and things are bit more complicated then their 1960′s worldview.

    It’s sad that the pulpit is used to spread hate.

    • MiMi

      It’s sad that the pulpit is used to spread hate.

      Sad indeed – but hardly new. Many Christian religions, from the very beginning, have made it a mission to rail against whatever the current perceived threats happen to be, and to preach not only separatism, but hatred and damnation for any-and-everything not sanctioned by the church leaders. Anything that lessens, or questions, the absolute power of religious extremists is pronounced ‘sinful’ and ‘evil’.

      And I’ve noticed that happiness, joy, or contentment that originates outside the tight circle of control and influence of these patriarchal religious movements is considered without value or authenticity. Apparently, if you aren’t miserable in your faith, you are lost and doomed – in this life and the next.

      The doctrine of submission is pure lunacy.

  • Kagi Soracia

    It is a threat, one I’ve heard many times, in various forms, not just about feminism and gender roles but also about being LGBT, about how I dress and what I read and watch and listen to… if you don’t adhere to these deeply conservative views and come into line and see that those things you enjoy are not okay, then you will be miserable and unhappy and bitter for the rest of your life, but if you follow all the rules, you’ll be happy. And that’s just plain false, because legalism may be many things, but one thing that it never, ever is, is happy.


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