Tuesday 14 May 2013

Why Feminism Won't Prevent Violence Against Women (and what will) - Part 1

I recently watched this TED Talk which was apparently going to make all men feminists.  As a former feminist, I was intrigued - what argument could be so compelling?

As it turned out, the video was about violence towards woman.  Jackson Katz, the man giving the talk, started an organization which works with male groups in the military, athletics, and other areas to try and change the culture of violence towards women.   The way he is attempting to do this is through "leadership training" to encourage men to speak up when wrong comments are made about or towards women, hoping to change the overarching attitude of our culture.

This is all very good.  And he never claims to be trying to turn men towards feminism - so it is funny that this comment was what made the video go viral. 

Wrong Foundations

To begin, although many of his applications are good, he is working on some wrong premises:
  1. He doesn't recognize sin as the problem.  He essentially asks "Why have men always been violent?", and never provides an answer.  He says perpetrators are "normal guys", not "sick and twisted". The Bible, on the other hand, teaches us that we are all twisted by sin: "None is righteous, no, not one...Their feet are swift to shed blood, in their paths are ruin and misery." (Romans, 3:10-16) Ever since the fall, sin has been causing men to act violently (eg. Cain and Abel), and the only REAL solution is Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-24).
  2. This leads to his second major error, which is that he seems to think he has found the solution to the problem. Yes, we SHOULD work towards encouraging mercy and peace and justice - but the only way we can find real healing is through Jesus Christ, and it is only by the Holy Spirit working in us that we can begin to look more like God (Isaiah 53:4-5, 2 Cor 3:18)
However, he got one thing very right: men have a responsibility to stand up for women.  They should be leaders in stopping the culture of disrespect towards women.  This isn't what feminism calls for, this is what biblical manhood calls for.

Come back on Thursday  to read why feminism isn't the answer, and how the Bible lays out a framework which is, in Part 2.

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  1. You're right. Feminism is not the answer. In fact, it is part of the problem.

    In Canada feminists support abortion even though female gendercide is part of abortion--and killing unborn girls preferentially must be the worst of all violence against women.

    I posted about this last week.

    1. Great point, Annie. I look forward to reading your post!

  2. I have been doing a lot of thinking, researching and writing about gender issues, especially in relation to conservative Christianity. Feminism may not be the answer, but neither is anti-feminism. I have been so grieved by reports of horrendous abuse against women and children and subsequent cover-ups among the leadership of our former (and very well-known) church organization, which prides itself in promoting Biblical gender roles, home schooling, etc.

    What will NOT prevent violence is telling women they have no voice, that they must just be sweet and quiet and submit and try harder to please the men in their lives.

    Here are a few of the articles I have written...

    Abuse Thrives in a Culture of Shame and Silence

    Women's Voices Rising

    We Can't Ignore Domestic Violence

    Child Discipline or Child Abuse?

    My History in the Conservative Quiverfull Home School Movement

    1. Hi Virgina,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and those links. I agree with you that wherever women are being abused it is cause for concern, and it grieves me greatly to hear about it happening within "Christian" homes . For example, your church experience sounds very sad, and in light of all of Scripture I do not see how anyone can justify abuse, ESPECIALLY of a husband for a wife. I hope you'll read part two on Thursday where I'll explain why I don't think feminism is the answer, and why a biblical approach is actually the way we can work to preventing violence against women.

      I really appreciate your heart for this issue!


  3. I should have mentioned in my previous comment that I am a home schooling mother of 10 and a grandmother of 2, and I know a lot of women who have been affected by domestic violence.

  4. Yes, Stephanie, these attempts to speak up for verbal abuse of women only deals with the symptom of the problem, not the cause/root. In addition, no matter how much we talk about what is right, it is like a tiny drop of reason in an ocean of obscenity, pornography, sex trafficking,and glorified immorality that our media promotes. We should do what we can to reform these things, but real changes will come only when hearts are changed. Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Gail, you always give such wise and encouraging comments. Thank you.

  5. So true, many times the real issue is completely ignored. And that is sin. We can try all we want to change things, but if we ignore the cause, then what's the use?

    I'm stopping by from Raising Homemakers