Wednesday, December 5, 2007

One Man Rebelution

In his last Every Man's Battle entry the Cynic Sage reminded me of the existence of the Rebelution and it's absolutely amazing* Modesty Survey. For this crime I will be sure to punish him. I already wrote about the Modesty Survey here and my opinion hasn't changed much, so if you care for a larger opinion on the topic, read that. What I want to focus on, instead, is the reason Cynic Sage pointed to it. See, Fred Stoecker, writer of Every Man's Battle and progenitor of the 11 million follow-up books that have come since (proof that it's far more profitable to beat the same dead horse than to try to come up with a new idea) supports the Rebelution and its bastard offspring. His glowing testimonial is right here if you want to read it. Now, it starts out well enough, with a kind of a moderate and understanding view of the theoretical difficulties faced by young girls who don't want to entice lust in the boys around them. In fact, in saying, "We expect the women to protect us from our own visual nature by dressing modestly, while doing little to rise above that nature ourselves, allowing them to be penalized twice over for our nature," he almost looks like hes about to decry the nature of the Modesty Survey. Then he kind of completely and totally falls off the track, slides down the embankement and bursts in to flames on the borders of Crazyland. "We must take care of our own responsibilities first by disciplining our eyes and our minds to line up with scripture if we expect our women to line up in modesty. We are men. We must lead in all this." (emphasis mine) "Our women?" Really? When do I get mine? Was there a sort of general handout of women and I just happened to be hanging out at the coffee shop acting snarky at the time? Or is there, like, a woman pound somewhere where I can go and pick one up who was found abandoned on the side of the expressway? Or are those the ones who come with all the discipline problems? As much as I'd love to try and be charitable in my interpretation of this, I simply can't. Especially in light of this quote: "We can honestly help train our sisters in Christ about where those boundaries lie[...]" The words "help train" are a bit, shall we say, condescending? And in light of the part where we find out that they're "our women," well... It would be one thing, I suppose, if this were simply the opinion of a single, misguided fool. The fact that it's the opinion of a single, misguided fool who just so happens to be a bestselling author is a problem. Especially since he's one of those specific brands of bestselling author who has no qualifications in "his" field but is treated as an expert due to the fact that, um, he wrote a bestselling book. I'm not going to go in to details. Cynic Sage has spent a lot more time on this than I have, so go read his stuff if you care. Making things worse is the fact that he's using his influence to attempt to further influence (really, indoctrinate) high schoolers. This is a very, very bad thing. I would like to hope that we're at the point as a society where we're trying to teach the coming generations that women are NOT second-class citizens and NOT chattel. Sadly, in the world of Evangelical Christendom, that seems to be far from the case. Take Willow Creek's 2008 Leadership Summit. For those who don't know, Willow Creek Community Church is the Ur-megachurch. It has a massive main campus and several satellite churches in the Chicagoland area. I dated a girl many years ago who dragged me to their Thursday night services on a regular basis, so I'm fairly familiar with them. The thing that I just learned recently, however, is that there's way more to Willow Creek than their Chicago operations. Apparently they run an association of churches that counts 12,000+ congregations in 45 countries in its rolls. Really. It's on their website. Anyway, the Willow Creek Association's annual Leadership Summit goes from August 7-9 in 2008. On August 6th there is a separate Women's Leadership Forum. The name of the Women's Leadership Forum is, I kid you not, "Help! I'm a Leader Trapped in a Woman's Body." So what have we learned today, kids? Women are property to be trained by men to conform to their arbitrary definitions of what is appropriate and women who are leaders should feel ashamed, or, at least, uncomfortable in their roles. The scary thing is that if you go back to the Fred Stoecker link, you'll find a bunch of girls replying in the comments thread and thanking him and the Rebelution folks for so magnanimously telling them how they should behave. In ten, twenty, or thirty years the leaders among those same teenage girls will undoubtedly be perfectly suited to think they're trapped in their own skin. It's sad, really. *"Amazing" isn't necessarily a good thing...


The Cynic Sage said...

Great post.

Why the heck aren't more people visiting your blog and leaving comments? You got a good blog here man.

lsn said...

What The Cynic Sage said.

And still rolling my eyes at the title/subject matter of the Women's "Leadership" (can you really call it leadership if all you're really saying is submit?) Forum.

Times like these I feel the need to go back to "People in Glass Houses" by Tania Lewin. Because she's often hilariously and bitchily sarcastic about things like that.