Gaslighting is a term derived from the 1944 film Gaslight. Here’s an excerpt from the plot:
Paula loses a brooch that Gregory had given her, despite its having been stored safely in her handbag. A picture disappears from the walls of the house, and Gregory says that Paula took it, but Paula has no recollection of having done so. Paula also hears footsteps coming from above her, in the sealed attic, and sees the gaslights dim and brighten for no apparent reason. Gregory suggests that these are all figments of Paula’s imagination.Gregory does everything in his power to isolate his wife from other people. He allows her neither to go out nor to have visitors, implying he is doing so for her own good, because her nerves have been acting up, causing her to become a kleptomaniac and to imagine things that are not real. On the one occasion when he does take her out to a musical gathering at a friend’s house, he shows Paula his watch chain, from which his watch has mysteriously disappeared. When he finds it in her handbag, she becomes hysterical, and Gregory takes her home. She sees why she should not go out in public.
In short, gaslighting is a strategy abusive persons use to manipulate their victims’ circumstances and convince them that they (the victims) are going crazy and can’t trust their own instincts.
And gaslighting is exactly what Doug Wilson continues to do as more and more people object to his coercive, abusive, patriarchal model of Christian sexuality.
First he posts a cryptic message consisting of a blockquote from C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength:
“I see,” said the Director. “It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience – humility – is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality just where it ought not to be.”
Wilson makes no comment – how about a little context here, eh? – so it’s unclear whether he’s trying to enlist the name of C.S. Lewis to make his misogynistic beliefs about sex more palatable or authoritative, or whether he is attempting sarcasm or irony.
A commenter who’s apparently on Wilson’s side can’t even make sense of it:
I’m a little confused by this response. I agree that egalitarianism is wrong. But:
First, the denial of egalitarianism does not imply that we should use the language you use.
Second, in your previous post, you said that conquest is something that both do to the other. That is, an egalitarian could agree with it. But that itself is odd, since your original quote was trying to show the difference between man and woman, and you can’t do that by appealing to a commonality.
The whole thing seems hopelessly confused.
Then there’s “Reading tjhe[sic] Word“, a post in which Wilson argues this:
This is why Christian worldview thinking is not an optional add-on extra. We must know and understand the gospel of John, of course, and the book of Romans, certainly. But we must also know what to do with rap music, sitcoms, neckties, tattoos, secular universities, sports cars, and eye liner. If we are steeped in Scripture, but cannot read the world, we are helpless. If we are steeped in the world, but do not know what the Bible says, then we are just worldlings, plain and simple.
The problem that many Christian young people is that they are familiar with the things the world is dishing up, but they are like a foreign student memorizing phrases, without any understanding of what they mean. Familiarity is not literacy. And one of the prime indicators of whether you are literate or not—if you are a true child of God—is whether or not you hate it. The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil. If you don’t hate a good deal of what is going on, then it is clear you can’t read.
Actually, I believe the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Find another scripture to justify your hate.
Also, “worldlings”? Really? I wonder if this means Doug Wilson is actually Marvin the Martian:
Now let’s look at Wilson’s post called “My Very Own Trigger Alert“.
Wilson posts a screenshot of the first page of chapter one in the book Jared Wilson quoted, which I’ve transcribed here:
A Blunt Instrument
This book was written for men and their sons. I suggest that wives read this only when their husbands give it to them, and not the other way around. The introduction mentioned the issue of “straight talk” – and this means, in part, a rejection of euphemism. Some of what is said here may be offensive to Christian women, but the point is certainly not to give offense. The point is to provide biblically specific and pointed help to Christian males.
If you truly don’t mean to give offense, quit being a cog in the wheel of human rights abuse.
I encourage so-called complementarian women to read Wilson’s book cover to cover (though, for heaven’s sake, don’t buy a copy), along with every other piece of advice that’s slipped to “Christian males” on the side where we aren’t supposed to be looking.
Look, I’ve even got a Scripture reference for you:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. -John 3:19
Burying your real beliefs in euphemisms is keeping them in darkness. Keeping women unaware of what you teach their husbands and sons is perpetuating darkness.
Try it with the lights on.
Now, Doug does at last attempt an explanation of his random quotation choices:
I posted Capon to illustrate the fact that any number of things can be quoted in such a way as to look bad, and I used a quote from a man with a lot of street cred in the Chnristian hipster crowd. What to do? What to do? Pretend that Wilson said it, and your indignation against this sort of troglodyte fundamentalism can continue on unimpeded.
The thing is, nobody is pretending he said those things. They’re despicable no matter in whose mouth (or pen) they originate. Hipster Christians can be misogynist, too. You don’t need to be a fundamentalist, or even a Christian, to have the same horrible ideas as Doug Wilson.
Wilson attempts to have the last word in the saga here:
Here are the highlights (lowlights?), so you don’t have to read it:
We are told to weep with those who weep. We are told nothing in regard to the feminist bedwetters.
He then compares feminists to the hired mourners at the funeral of the girl in Mark 5.
Got that? They wept and wailed greatly, and then somebody hit the switch, and they were suddenly laughing at the Messiah, laughing Him to scorn. There is a kind of compassion that reaches out to the hurting and there is a kind of compassion that is about as as deep as a puddle on a flat sidewalk. There is the compassion that weeps with those who weep, and there is the compassion that laughs to scorn the one who came to perform a great act of real compassion.
This second kind of compassion makes a great deal of noise, sure enough, because these guys do know how to weep and wail greatly on behalf of their approved and designated victims. …
They are just a collective Delilah getting what they want from Samson. You see, Samson was being so hurtful. Because they have dismissed the authority of Scripture, when they tell us not to be hurtful, they are trying to make their claims of hurt (which they insist be taken a face value) to be the final court of appeal. They are skilled in this tactic, of course.
TL;DR: You weren’t really hurt by patriarchy, you’re just playing the victim card to get what you want. (Which is what? Human decency?) Also, Doug Wilson decides we are not the approved and designated victims he is instructed to weep with, because we choose and designate victims.
Actually, we argue on our own behalf. We were the victims of patriarchy. We are the survivors. And we are here to call a spade a spade, and a misogynist a misogynist. What you are doing is called silencing, a traditional political tactic used to invalidate the voices of those without power and influence. But we will not be silenced. We’ve heard enough of your voice to know that any comparison you make with Jesus deserves to be laughed to scorn, because Jesus healed women and you bind them with chains. Your chuckling is not so much like Santa Claus, but like the last, doomed laugh of a cartoon villain. You, sir, are a man without grace. Patriarchy is falling. Your reign is ending. We see your plan, and it’s already failing.
And when you fall, we won’t be laughing, because people of honor have more important things to do than gloat and flaunt superiority over the feelings of others. Instead, we’ll be binding up the wounds you’ve inflicted and working to build a kinder, fairer world. A world in which no human being is called an abomination or doomed to slavery from birth by the shape of her body.
We’re done playing your Hunger Games. We are the mockingjay.