Feminism and a common vocabulary
I have been looking forward to working on the biblical studies carnival this month. I enjoy reading the different posts in the biblical studies blogosphere, many of which I do not comment on. Just because I usually post of issues relating to women does not mean that I am not interested in reading widely on other topics. Perhaps I don’t feel that I have much to contribute in some areas so I just read. That’s how I see it.
As anyone who has read my blog consistently for a long time knows, I am steadfastly against so-called “complementarianism” as it is taught by leading conservative evangelicals. In a truly godly marriage there is no need of it. And it reeks of male resentment, fear and desire for control. On the other hand, I’m no fan of feminism. Of course, much depends on what “feminism” means, but far too often these days it means implicit, if not explicit, belief in female superiority and requirement for men to become like women in order to be acceptable. It too often means the total obliteration of masculinity (I’m not talking about “machismo,” but non-threatening male ways of relating).
Complementarians, by definition, believe that men and women are in a hierarchical relationship of leader and follower, or leader and supporter. Feminism, by definition, is about the equality of women. There is no place that I can find a definition of feminism as “female superiority.” If we are to take everything that is “implied” in a belief, we would never come to any agreement. We have common understandings so we can participate in community.
It will continue to be very difficult for women to participate in the biblical studies community if they cannot allow themselves to be labeled as “feminists” without having to explain that they are not advocating the “total obliteration of masculinity.” I am not sure how to move forward in a positive way in this community unless women are allowed to not believe in their own subordination without this kind of discussion.
I really don’t know how to go forward on this.
Update: Dianna Anderson has responded to Roger Olson here.