Misogyny isn’t new; consent shouldn’t be confusing

Helen Lewis at the New Statesmen shows us “What online harassment looks like.” It’s an awful, potentially triggering, collection of “Obscene images, hate sites, and a game where people are invited to beat you up.”

This is disturbing and disturbed. It’s hateful, hate-filled stuff posted by boys who simply hate women. These boys hate women viscerally and violently.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course.

Amanda MacInnis of Cheese-Wearing Theology is taking us on a tour of similar harassment during the Protestant Reformation. Here’s the second post in her series: “Invectives: Examples of Reactions to Women in Leadership in the Reformation.”

I’d never heard of John Knox’s treatise, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” but geez, that man had issues.

I can begin to understand the sort of cautiously conservative church person who sees some of those “keep silent” clobber verses and takes them as supporting limits on women’s participation in the church. I think those folks are utterly wrong, but I can appreciate that they’re at least basing their wrongness on something other than straight-up misogyny and a seething hatred of women.

But the kind of invective MacInnis collects here can’t be explained as a mere attempt to elevate the clobber verses into an eternal rule. You only write like that when you despise women.

For this collection of invective, as with Lewis’ more recent collection of online examples, it doesn’t seem we’re really seeing a “reaction” to women or to anything any given woman has ever said or done. For these men, hatred of women seems to be the starting point, not the conclusion, response or reaction they want to pretend it is.

* * * * * * * * *

American Family Association culture-warrior Bryan Fischer doesn’t understand consent.

Or, perhaps, Bryan Fischer doesn’t think that consent does, or should, have anything to do with sex:

Once you allow sex between two people of the same sex, there is no place to stop. You can’t stop just with homosexuality. You can’t stop with polygamy. You can’t even stop with pedophilia. You wind up going all the way to sex with animals.

In other words, if you ask Bryan Fischer why raping a small child is wrong, he would say it is wrong because it is an instance of sex outside of the context of marriage between one man and one woman. Not because it is coercive. Not because it is rape. But because, for Fischer, straight-married sex is always Good, and any other kind of sex, not being straight-married sex, is always Bad.

This is not “traditional religious ethics.” It isn’t ethics at all. It’s a single check-box formula for determining whether or not any sexual act is Fischer-Approved.

Yes, this makes Fischer a foolish moral imbecile. But it also makes him dangerous. He is arguing, vehemently, that consent is of no moral consequence. Bryan Fischer may not understand what rape is, but he’s working hard to defend it anyway.

Related: “How Censorship of the World ‘Vagina’ by the Michigan House of Representatives Is Related to Child Sexual Abuse

 

  • swbarnes2

    In other news… I believe that the God I have encountered is a loving god – and I am interested in following him.

     
    The Newmans believed that not giving their daughter medical treatment for her diabetes was the right thing to do.  Their daughter died, but if their reason and traditions and scripture and experiences told them that that’s what God wanted, you can’t say that you know they are wrong, can you?  (I’m sure if asked they’d say they believed in a loving God too, that God loved Kara so much, he wanted her to be with him right away, which is why her immune system destroyed her pancreatic beta cells.)
     
    Lots of people believe lots of things.  Doesn’t it matter at all if there’s any evidence to believe those things are true?
     
    But okay, so the tsunami in Japan.  Is that one of those experiences that leads you to believe that the Job story is more or less true?  That God kills innocent people just because?  You believe that John 3:16 is accurate because look how much the scripture praises Abraham for trying to kill a child, so God killing his son must also be good?
     
    Malaria kills a million people a year.  That’s your reason that a loving God exists?  

    Since, either way, I’m going to be following a loving god – real or imaginary – as best I can, why do I really need to spend my time looking for more reasons to justify my beliefs?

     
    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you.  You don’t have to worry about stuff like that.  How fortunate for you.  See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.  We do this, not by preening about how comfortable we are with our traditional ideas, or by cherry-picking bits from old texts that agree with what we like (while scrupulously avoiding parts of the same text that disagree with us).  No, we check our beliefs against reality, and we are as objective as we can possibly be.  And if we find that our beliefs can’t be substantaited, we don’t sigh and keep believing imaginary things anyway.
     
     

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    What the hell is your problem?

    Why are you berating me? Why are you beating me over the head with Bible verses? Why are you asking me to justify my beliefs based on someone else’s beliefs causing problems? Why are you claiming that I am not open to making mistakes?

    IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT I BELIEVE. SHUT THE HELL UP, AND STOP MAKING WILD ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT ANY BASIS.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    (Not sure why Disqus belatedly deleted my comment. Let me redo that.)

    What the hell is your problem, swbarnes2?

    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you.

    Of course not. Which is why I never realised I’d been wrong about homosexuality.

    See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.

    Nope, never started looking into political issues, either.

    We do this, not by preening about how comfortable we are with our traditional ideas, or by cherry-picking bits from old texts that agree with what we like (while scrupulously avoiding parts of the same text that disagree with us).

    Yep. That’s why I never left my church, never changed my voting stance, never became an inclusivist, never started reading left-wing blogs…

    Once again: WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?

    I am not required to justify my beliefs to you, I’m certainly not required to justify someone else’s beliefs to you, I don’t need to provide you with an explanation for tsunamis and malaria – and I am absolutely not going to do any of the above for someone who cannot treat me with common courtesy but would rather sarcastically berate me for daring to think they might be wrong about what I am allowed to think.

    GROW THE HELL UP, AND LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    …and now both comments are back. Well, that’s just dandy.

    *sighs*

  • Tricksterson

    Don’t you mean if?

  • Tricksterson

    So you’re more like the anti-Corinthian.  Good, I feel a lot more comfortable knowing you then.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Hey, swbarnes2?

    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you. You don’t have to worry about stuff like that. How fortunate for you. See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.

    You were an arsehole to Deird. Being an arsehole to Deird is not going to achieve anything worthwhile. Thinking otherwise is a mistake. Are you honest enough to care about that?

  • swbarnes2

    Of course not. Which is why I never realised I’d been wrong about homosexuality.

     
    And did you accomplish this by declaring that there was no point in spending a lick of time trying to see if your beliefs were justified, and then followed up by never spending a second for the rest of your life testing if your beliefs were justified, and then one day out of nowhere, you just changed your mind for no good reason?  I bet not.
     
    I bet you eventually did try to justify your old beliefs, and you found that they failed your testing, and had you tested them sooner, you would not have been in the wrong for so long.  People who make mistakes have to test things.
     
    If someone said “I choose to believe in a God who lays down strict rules for us to follow, rules about things like homosexuality.  Why do I need to spend my time justifying my beliefs?”  would you have any criticism to make about that stance? 

    Let me try this a different way, though I figure you won’t answer.
     
    What is the practical difference between being a loving person, and following an imaginary loving God?  It’s quite hard for a person who follows the God responsible for Leviticus, the Fall, the global flood, and all those wars, and plagues, and other killings to be fair to gay people (or women, or anyone really), don’t you think that a person who simply classed themselves as “loving” and didn’t care what Leviticus said at all would have had an easier time treating gay people fairly?   
     
    But whatever. 

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I have no intention of justifying my beliefs or my actions to someone who is behaving so nastily to me.

  • Sodajerk

    Reminds me of the DirecTV ads.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObFc64OnEk

  • DarthMek

    I wonder if John Knox is where Terry Pratchett got the title for his novel “Monstrous Regiment”? It deals with gender themes, so I suspect probably.

  • DarthMek

    Except that two adults of the same sex can both consent. Children can’t, and neither can animals.
    Your argument only works if your idea of sex and marriage is pretty rapey to begin with.

  • Daniel
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I… agree with you?

    I was expressing my reaction to the kind of absurd slippery-slopery so often preferred by HALP HALP THE SKY IS FALLING IN OH NOES types who like using cheap rhetorical tricks like that to shore up opposition to same-sex marriage.


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