Saying the F-word in church

Saying the F-word in church February 28, 2013

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


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  • I wasn’t trying to speak to your motives specifically, but to where that piece of “conventional wisdom” originates. Not from any real basis to believe that trolls leave when ignored, but from the belief that one troll spewing shit is less disruptive than a full-on flamewar. Which is true, but ignores the bit where the person being trolled is expected to just suck it up and live with the abuse.

  • vsm

    Well, trolls certainly aren’t going to leave if they are engaged, and sometimes they spread the word. It’s not very fun when your online community gains a reputation for lax moderation and guaranteed replies. Then again, grinning and bearing isn’t that nice either. The best solution would stricter moderation, at least for the really obvious cases like Winston Blake and Eric here.

  • For my own part, I often observe that when Internet commenters say something abusive, and are engaged with, they respond by repeating the abuse.

    I understand that for many people, that’s better than if the trolls aren’t engaged with in the first place… the resulting struggle makes them feel supported and safe and defended. And I endorse them being made to feel that way, and if engaging with trolls is the best way to do that, then I endorse engaging with trolls, because making the people in our community feel supported and safe and defended is really important.

    I’m not one of those people. If MrX drops by and starts abusing queer people, and fifteen people engage with MrX in consequence, I typically feel much worse than if MrX is ignored. The fact that people are insulting my abuser doesn’t actually make me feel any better.

    Perhaps that’s wrong of me, and I ought to feel better, but in fact I don’t.

    Which is fine; it’s not about me, and there’s no reason to prioritize making me feel better over making other people feel better. Different people need different things, and I endorse making the people in our community who feel supported and safe and defended when their abusers are attacked feel supported and safe and defended by attacking their abusers, regardless of how that strategy makes me feel when my abusers are attacked.
    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” – See more at:

  • Carstonio

    My frustration is that these folks can push others around and remain beyond the reach of justice. It’s not like we can cause their keyboards to give them painful shocks, or remotely melt their motherboards into slags.

  •  @vsm:twitter : Really? Have we not seen that time and again, trolls lose interest not because we ignored them, but because we publicly humiliated them?

    Or do you mean that every troll we’ve ever seen and engaged is still here?

  • vsm

    I don’t think you can humiliate a troll, since negative responses is exactly what they’re trying to get. Eric here knows exactly what kind of a response he will get and enjoys it. Those who are sincere enough to be humiliated probably aren’t trolls, like the weirdass Lutherans a few threads back. Engaging people like that is a different matter and might even be useful.

  • Andsstudy

    Wow. Lots of very rude people comment here. Chill out folks.

    Did think though that it’s a bit cheeky of the author to write that in evangelicalism feminism is presumed to be bad and never argued against. Lots of thoughtful evangelicals, both men and women, have produced all sorts of arguments (good and bad) against it.

    Suggesting they haven’t is doing to others the very same thing you’re accusing them of doing to you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fred Clark and …crap, what’s her face, Year of Biblical Womanhood. They exist and are evangelicals arguing in favor of feminism, yes. What’s your point? If it’s that Fred Clark and YBW author are considered evangelicals by the rest of the evangelical community, present your evidence, please.