Saying the F-word in church

I want to highlight an exciting event this week in part of the evangelical Christian blogosphere: the Feminisms Fest series hosted by Danielle at From Two to One, Preston Yancey, and J.R. Goudeau.

What makes this extraordinary is partly the substance of this conversation, but more than that it’s the location of this conversation.

This is taking place within the evangelical Christian world — a part of the church where feminism is often presumed to be a threat, an enemy, or at best a dangerously “controversial” idea. In much of the evangelical subculture, it’s not considered necessary to argue that feminism is bad, or to defend the assumption that feminism is bad, that’s just a given. In that subculture, describing an idea, or a policy, or a person as “feminist” is a form of condemnation.

And yet it’s there — within that subculture — that this Feminisms Fest conversation is taking place. That’s a beautiful thing. So is the bottom-up, not-waiting-for-permission aspect of this conversation. It only takes a spark to get a bonfire going.

This is kind of a big deal.

Here are a handful of links to some of the Feminisms Fest posts that have come through my RSS reader in the past few days. These link to dozens of others by a host of other wonderfully dangerous women writing from within and around the evangelical blogosphere. Give ‘em a read.

This is good news. This is a kind of Jubilee.

• From Two to One: My Feminist Coming of Age Story

• From Two to One: Why Wouldn’t Feminism Matter?

• From Two to One: Mainstream Feminists Need Religious Feminists

• Love Is What You Do: Feminisms and Me

• Love Is What You Do: An Empowered Woman Is a Sight to Behold

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Ten years of feminism

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Feminism: what’s at stake?

• Christ and Pop Culture: The F-Word: Why Feminism Is Not the Enemy

• Unchained Faith: What Feminism Means to Me

• Unchained Faith: A gift for my children

• Unchained Faith: The Road Behind and the Road Ahead

• See Preston Blog: When the poet prophet @sarahbessey made me a feminist

• Sarah Over the Moon: I need feminism because there is no love without justice

 

  • MaryKaye

    Folks, you’re allowing feeding the troll to choke off actual discussion; please don’t.

    Why do you think the blog-fest Fred links to is happening *now*?  Is it a reaction to recent politics?  To the “there really aren’t many Christian women bloggers” controversy?  Just a change in the Evangelical weather?

  • AnonymousSam

    Are you kidding? We can go wildly off-topic from a misplaced comment on Equestrian politics. A troll is nothing but entertainment and an opportunity for some navel gazing. ^^

    I’m thinking it’s just an isolated example, but it’d be nice to see them get with the times and stop insisting that feminism must be some kind of bogeyman on a level with Sathaneism. It’s sad to see so much objection to people wanting to be treated as equals.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Old≠true.

  • P J Evans

     Maybe he hasn’t. Not that italics are all that rare. (I met ſ in first-year German. where all the German parts were in fraktur.)

  • Baby_Raptor

    No. I was all prepared for some story time.

    Not that I’m any less pleased with the actual content….This is a Very Good Thing. But story time around here is also always a good thing. 

  • Cortney Stone

    Adding another link here, this time about feminism at a Southern Baptist university (in the interest of full disclosure, I wrote this blog entry): http://saveobu.blogspot.com/2013/02/thy-daughters-true-feminism-at-obu-part.html

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    If someone so vociferously hates vaginas, one has to assume…(He don’t like the hole, so it must be the pole).

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Accusing EtR of not having had consensual sex is markedly NOT implying he’s a virgin. The implication is more that of rapist, which still isn’t true.
    I would consider hiring prostitutes neither rape nor consensual. 

  • reynard61

    “Doubling down on the vag worship, I see. Good for you.”

    And thou art not of Woman born?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    “Until you’ve seen a vagina” is very definitely implying he has not had sex, consensual or otherwise, with a woman.

    It’s the classic “grow up, virgin” slur.

  • reynard61

    “We can go wildly off-topic from a misplaced comment on Equestrian politics.”

    So, does anyone else think that Princess Twilight should get to create her own Principality? (For the record, I do. If Princess Cadence can take over the Crystal Empire pretty much by fait accompli, then Princess Twily darn well deserves some lands of her own.)

  • flat

    I think twilight will start out from golden oaks library and then will work her way up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    I’m still holding out for her taking the Great and Powerful Trixie as a student, and eventually raising her to alicorn status, after which they will declare Ponyville a sovreign principality.
    I can dream, at least. Or write the damn fanfic myself…

    What’s that? On topic comments? Well, ok, I must admit, I was surprised to see a full 100%-clear paragraph by Victor earlier? Oh, you meant relevant to Fred’s post. Well, nice to see feminism being acknowledged somewhere I didn’t expect, but widespread feminism still has a way to go, I fear. In other news, water is wet and Generallismo Fransisco Franco is still dead.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    No offence but I don’t know what the hell victor is talking about.

    Ah, but that is the beauty of his art!  The confusion is intentional, something to stoke the flames of the mind in a vain attempt to find meaning, and be enlightened by the doing.  

    Think of it like a Zen Koan, something to meditate on that has no definite solution or meaning, but imparts a lesson by the consideration all the same.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So, does anyone else think that Princess Twilight should get to create her own Principality? (For the record, I do. If Princess Cadence can take over the Crystal Empire pretty much by fait accompli, then Princess Twily darn well deserves some lands of her own.)

    On this subject I have some confusion.  Since when did Twilight Sparkle become an Equestrian princess?  True, her brother married into royalty, but I do not know if that grants her a royal title under Equestrian law.  

    I think that it is somewhat moot anyway, as Princess* Celestia is effectively immortal, as is Princess Luna.  Should either one be killed, the other would probably be next in line to assume total power.  It would require some kind of coup and execution before the next in line to rule is even considered.  

    * Incidentally for those unfamiliar, Lauren Faust initially wanted Celestia to have a grander title more in line with her actual position, like “Queen” or “Empress”.  However, the Hasbro executives vetoed that idea, saying that generations of Disney and other media have left little girls with the impression that “princesses” are good and “queens” and “empresses” are bad, so they needed to make her a princess if they wanted the toys to sell (which is the whole point of their funding a show in the first place.)

  • reynard61

    “I can dream, at least. Or write the damn fanfic myself…”

    I look forward to reading it!

  • reynard61

    “On this subject I have some confusion. Since when did Twilight Sparkle become an Equestrian princess?”

    In the last episode of Season 3, Gjvyvtug vf ghearq vagb na Nyvpbea naq vf pbasreerq gur Gvgyr.

    Perhaps Princess Celestia could; with Luna’s approval of course; give Twilight Ponyville, the Everfree Forest, the old Castle and some of the surrounding land? (Negotiating the necessary treaties regarding economic aid and commerce should be…interesting. There’s probably some great fanfic material in there if anyone wants it. I’m too busy, myself.)

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Twilight Sparkle has a brother?

    …I am so behind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Look long, I fear. I’m not a good writer, and I lose motivation fast :/. I think we’re better off finding someone with actual skill to write it.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    If someone so vociferously hates vaginas…

    Unless you’re going by another post in another thread, eric the red didn’t say he hated vaginas.  He said he hated vagina worship.  You can want to stick your penis into a vagina without wanting to worship it.  Furthermore, he implied that he sees feminism as nothing more than the worship of vaginas, which to me suggests that he probably reduces women to nothing more than their genitals.  Heterosexual men can take such a misogynistic view of women as easily as gay men, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been doing so for centuries.

    Also, I really dislike the framing of male homosexuality as rooted in the hatred of female genitalia (or women, in general).  Also, there seems to be a bit of “let’s call the troll gay in order to chase him off  because it’ll bother him” behind the whole thing, which also bothers me.

  • Wednesday

    I’m not sure how I feel about Twilight taking over a region to rule — founding a new Princessipality in otherwise-empty land and inviting ponies to move there would be fine, but it’s a little weird to me for her to just take over a group of ponies who don’t currently have a ruler. (Granted, princess in Equestria seems to be a little like a D&D class, so maybe it comes with a +5 to all charisma checks with your potential subjects?)

    I’d be happy with her founding a university/university town, though. Not that Celestia hasn’t founded schools herself, but Twilight is such a learning geek that I think she’d make a good Patron Princess of Learning Stuff.

    Side note: I am sad that Earth Ponies don’t get anything special, and Dr. Whooves is an Earth Pony, so in my headcannon Time Lord is a secret analog  to the alicorn royalty, but open only to Earth Ponies. The alicorn royals deal with overt threats and governance, and Time Lords deal with more covert things — encroaching parallel universes, alien invasions, etc.   Pinkie Pie is on the list of candidates for promotion, and the parasprite invasion was allowed to happen by the local Time Lord as a test to see how she’d handle it.
    end{fanfic}

  • Carstonio

    Was the insult about accusing the troll of being gay? I read it as the troll being such a repulsive being that no woman would ever sleep with him. I would have chosen a wording that meant that no one of any sexual identity would sleep with him.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    I read it as the troll being sucha  repulsive being that no woman would ever sleep with him

    Is it even necessary to say that?  I mean, whatever happened to, “What you said is garbage and adds nothing of value in terms of discourse”?  Why resort to personal insults at all?

    Granted, the insult you’re suggesting don’t have the added problems of suggesting that “being gay” is an insult or that “woman-hating” automatically implies homosexuality in men, but still.

  • Carstonio

    I mean, whatever happened to, “What you said is garbage and adds nothing of value in terms of discourse”?  Why resort to personal insults at all?

    While that’s obviously the best course, it doesn’t feel strong enough for me. I suppose I think of a troll as pushing people around, where the self-defense response would be defeating and humiliating the troll.

  • MaryKaye

    There’s a classic _Far Side_ cartoon where the dog owner is saying “You peed on the sofa, Ginger!  Bad dog, Ginger!  Bad dog!” and the dog is hearing “blah blah Ginger! blah blah Ginger!  blah blah” and doesn’t mind in the least.

    It’s very likely that responses to trolls have much the same effect.  If someone is hyper-aggressively rude they have heard a *lot* of comebacks in their life.  They probably don’t care.  The idea that a sufficiently humiliating comeback will make them stop is a pipe dream:  it just goes into the “Hey, someone responded!  I win!” bin.

    (There is also a cat version of that cartoon, where the owner says the same thing to Fluffy, and Fluffy hears….nothing.  Having four cats myself, I can relate.)

  • Cathy W

    I’ve started just flagging his comments as inappropriate (since he’s not attempting to do more than make drive-by personal attacks) and getting on with my life. Thing is, I don’t know if it’s doing any good…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Two of my favorite Far Sides. Me, I’m allowed to live in my house as long as I play doorman for my maste–cats. There’s five of them. I have very busy days.

  • Lliira

     Your not responding to him is doing good.

    Two pages of most everyone lavishing attention on a misogynist troll. No discussion of the topic at hand. Because “look at the ludicrously misogynist things the misogynist troll is saying” is, at best, not conducive to discussion. At worst, it’s just throwing those things in everyone’s faces over and over and over again.

    No one is going to come to Fred’s blog and think that our not dogpiling a misogynist troll who rarely comments means we agree with him. Many people will roll their eyes and walk away, knowing this is a place that feeds trolls. A few people will realize that this blog feeds trolls, and that Fred hardly ever bans anyone, and so this is an absolutely glorious place to troll.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Ah, fair enough.  I have only watched up through the end of Seasons 2.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Twilight Sparkle has a brother?

    …I am so behind.

    The rest of the mane cast did not know either.  Her older brother lives in Canterlot, and was the only friend she had prior to meeting the rest of the mane cast.  He is captain of the Royal Guard, who protect Canterlot, Celestia, and her relatives.  His name is, appropriately, “Shining Armor”.  Twilight was frustrated to learn that her only information that he was getting married came when she got a mailed invitation, but the lack of information was due to a communication and travel embargo imposed on Canterlot as a security measure due to a threat until the nature of the threat could be ascertained.

  • Victor

    (((No one is going to come to Fred’s blog and think that our not dogpiling a misogynist troll who rarely comments means we agree with him. )))

    To be honest, “I” love comming here but that little retardo “ONE” cell soul of Victor thinks that he’s better than we 92% godly cells who have tough skin and keep his so called 7%”Jesus Cells”in honest check until we can take full control of His Milky WAY once and for ALL TIMES if YA get my drift and buy, I mean by the way, Victor also says high, I mean by the way Victor says “I” to you too LLiira! :)  

    Not funny anymore sinner vic! Let’s move on Christians cause after all “IT” is LENT NOW! :(
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/the-catholic-owners-manual

    OH Lighten UP Victor cause we won’t shut Down until you shut UP NOW!

    Go Figure folks

    Peace

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Aw Victor, no one is telling you to shut up.  We love you too!  :)

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Reporting is utterly useless, unfortunately. Winston Blake proved that.

    @ac97e522d58be162ad1e03f69676dae6:disqus : That’s a great visual aid; I’ll need to steal that in the future. They’re after attention and they probably prefer negative to positive attention anyways.

    @fd03798c4a89342e888e5ab07b211dc4:disqus : Seconding everything you said, three times over. I really wish people here would stop being so eager to feed our trolls; you’d think some of them had never been on the internet before.

    That being the case, and in the interest of making this a better place to post, I think we need to just get Fred’s attention and let him know that his police of never banning people isn’t going to work on Patheos.

  • cyllan

    Fred does not never ban people. He has banned three that I am aware of.  I do wish he would swing a mallet a little more frequently, but his policies (and it is entirely possible that there is behind the scenes activities that we never see) seem to generally provide him with the commentators that he wants. So, as much as I would love to see him delete the really obvious trolls and jerks, I can not say that he should change because I do not know what he wants for his blog.

    I keep waiting for it to descend into mass chaos, and yet…it hasn’t yet.

  • AnonymousSam

    Somehow, I don’t think Fred had a grand purpose in allowing Winston Blake to spam pornographic youtube links for several weeks, even if his occasional deigning to call us all “religious phucks and phaggots” was supposed to be an opportunity to reach out and embrace him as a brother in Christ. :p

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We get some occasional chaos, but it seems to blow over eventually, like a storm.  

    I suspect Fred only intervenes if he suspects that the issue will not end without his intercession.  He does seem to sooth particularly flamey threads by addressing concerns in follow up posts though.  

  • http://www.fromtwotoone.com/ Danielle | from two to one

    Well, this comment section sure is interesting, but I just stopped by to say thank you, Fred, for linking to #FemFest this week and some of our posts.

  • Victor

    (((Aw Victor, no one is telling you to shut up. We love you too! :)FearlessSon, I just came back from church and believe “IT” or not “I” brought sinner vic with me to a mock crucifiction of GOD’s ONLY BEGOTTEN SON and long story short, sinner vic told me that if we’re not careful, our soul, that little retardo “ONE” of mine might need to repeat “IT” in Reality if me, myself and i don’t smarten UP NOW!I hear YA sinner vic! Some things are BEST not repeated here if YA know what “I” mean Victor NOW?We love you too! SCARRY NOW!WHO SAID THAT? :)Peace

  • JustoneK

    If there is something to actually deter them, I’d love to hear it.  As it is, taunting the fear demon is something I generally find vaguely amusing and slightly less than nothing – and as I understand it, letting trollish comments pass as if normal also sends the message that they’re worth tolerating.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I agree.  I tend to think that feeding the trolls involves giving in to the anger they are trying to provoke.  But to pick apart their arguments, and give the absurd parts of it the mocking such absurdity deserves, is I feel an entertaining way to fill up comments on a thread.  

  • vsm

    That only applies if there’s lots of troll replies. In the sea of progressiveness that is The Slacktivist’s comments threads, no one would think our friend’s views are considered acceptable. Lliira is absolutely right here.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I really wish people here would stop being so eager to feed our trolls

    FWIW, I agree with the “starve the trolls” strategy, but after being
    told repeatedly and heatedly by a few of the more active posters at the time that not paying  attention to trolls here was seen as a way of endorsing their wrongness and Very Very Bad, I ultimately accepted that feeding the trolls was a Slacktivist-comment-thread policy and switched to different strategies.

    These days, I take as the sign that I’m engaging with them usefully that they don’t reply to my responses.

    That said, I’m willing to switch back, if the prevailing winds have changed, which it sounds like perhaps they have.

    I wish there were some way to poll the community on questions like this, but given that it only takes one or two active troll-feeders to make troll-feeding the local policy no matter how many troll-starvers there are, I guess I’ll just ask whether anyone currently believes that paying attention to trolls here (e.g., by yelling at them, engaging with their arguments, etc.) is something we actively ought to be doing?

    If nobody says “yes, I do, and I’ll keep doing it!” I will switch back to troll-starving and see what happens.

  • Cathy W

    The thing is, not all trolls are created equal.

    I figured “Eric the Red” is a drive-by – from what I’ve seen he rarely, if ever, posts more than once on any given thread. He comes in, takes a dump on the living room rug, and then runs off to watch the chaos. He’s not derailing the thread – he’s making us derail it for him, and probably takes us calling him names as a sign that he’s “doing it right”. In the meantime, Obvious Troll Is Obvious; I don’t think anyone will mistake him for a valued community member.

    I don’t think there’s a damn thing we can do to make him stop, unless someone with the keys to the ban-hammer becomes bothered enough to use it – so we need to make him lose interest.  

    (If I can make a suggestion – wasn’t there a time-honored tradition in some corners of the Internet involving sharing a recipe if you just couldn’t let Obvious Troll pass un-commented, feeding the community rather than feeding the troll?)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Obvious Troll Is Obvious; I don’t think anyone will mistake him for a valued community member.

    Well, yes, agreed.
    Are there trolls around you think might reasonably be mistaken for valued community members?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The thing is that the whole “don’t feed the trolls” thing is pretty much exactly the same as “Just ignore the bully and he’ll get bored and go away.”  It’s (1) Only sometimes true and (2) never advice given out of a sincere desire to stop the bully from hurting people, only out of a sincere desire to stop your* problem with the bully from becoming my** problem with “The interaction between you and the bully being a disruption”

    Sometimes the bully gets bored. Sometimes he escalates to hitting you with a two-by-four.

    (* “you” being the person being told not to feed the troll/bully)
    (** “me” being the person saying “just ignore him”)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I will leave aside your assertions about my motives, which are largely irrelevant here, and I will take this as an instance of “yes, I do, and I’ll keep doing it!”, which is of course your right. Thanks.

  • AnonymousSam

    Sometimes it’s useful to respond, sometimes it’s useful to ignore, and sometimes it’s completely irrelevant. I’m not really convinced that this thread would have reached three pages of discussion had everyone decided not to respond to one thing in particular.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I guess I’ll just ask whether anyone currently believes that paying attention to trolls here (e.g., by yelling at them, engaging with their arguments, etc.) is something we actively ought to be doing?

    Yes.

    Largely because, when men say out loud that women ought to shut up (and so forth), I feel like crawling away, hiding in a box, and hugging my knees. Despite knowing how wrong they theoretically are, the only way I feel that they actually are wrong is when I see other people actively tell them how wrong they are.

    People engaging with trolls here makes me feel safer.

  • Lori

    Why do you think the blog-fest Fred
    links to is happening *now*?  Is it a reaction to recent politics? 
    To the “there really aren’t many Christian women bloggers”
    controversy?  Just a change in the Evangelical weather? 

    My guess is that it’s largely a reaction to recent politics, even if some of that reaction is subconscious. It’s really hard to look at the last few years of Right wing policy and fail to grasp on some level that Christian men really don’t have women’s best interests at heart. Once you notice that you tend to also notice that nothing good comes from women keeping silent.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Cool. Thanks for replying.
    Incidentally, I’m sorry this is true, but given that it’s true, I endorse you getting what you need in order to feel safer.


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