The Gospel Coalition

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Friedan, a freelance writer for women's magazines and a suburban housewife, wrote for a generation of post-World War II women she claimed had bought into the image of the "feminine mystique" and, as a result, suffered from the "problem that has no name." This mystique, reinforced by magazines, advertisements, and popular culture, was "the suburban housewife—the dream image of the young American woman . . . healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home." Friedan argued that this image promised true feminine fulfillment.

Although the context of a white, suburban, middle-class housewife is somewhat distant from mine—I'm a millennial (born between the 1980s and 2004), second-generation Korean American female born in Flushing, New York—I can see why Friedan's work produced such gut-wrenching, polarizing responses. I suppose it also helps that I recently read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and could hardly put it down since I felt she was speaking into my situation as a struggling working woman today. Her personal anecdotes of injustices at work for women only brought back my own memories of the prejudice I've experienced being a woman in ministry. After reading Sandberg's book I finally "got" what made The Feminine Mystique the seminal work in igniting the modern feminist movement in America.

Identity Crisis



It was 1957 when Friedan sent a survey to 200 of her former Smith College classmates prior to their 15th-anniversary reunion. She realized there was a discrepancy between the reality of their lives and the feminine mystique image to which they tried to conform. This discrepancy boiled down to one question for the American, middle-class, suburban housewife: Is this all?

Although Friedan titled the issue American women were experiencing "the problem that had no name," she did, in fact, name it (though it's quite easy to overlook since you have to comb through personal anecdotes, interviews, and analyses of media, social scientists, and education). "The problem that has no name" is actually the problem of identity. "It is my thesis," Friedan wrote, "that the core of the problem for women today is not sexual but a problem of identity—a stunting or evasion of growth that is perpetuated by the feminine mystique."

From Friedan's perspective, accepting the feminine mystique as one's identity and subsequently trying to live out of that identity caused a disparity between reality and conformity. Thus, her book ultimately functioned as a call to the American suburban housewife to radically shift her identity from housewife and mother to something more meaningful and purposeful. Her chapter titled "The Forfeited Self" provides "the cure" to this identity crisis: the existential worldview. To go from being dehumanized back to being human, Friedan argued that a woman must fulfill herself and become what she can be; in other words, a woman has to "transcend the present and act in light of the possible" in order to come to a point of self-actualization. Friedan argued the routineness and "dailyness" of being a housewife, living through husbands and children and only wanting to be loved and secure and accepted by others, was the roadblock to women becoming all they could be.

What exactly would it look like for women to self-actualize and be fully human? If not motherhood and marriage, where should they find their identity? Friedan writes, "Women, as well as men, can only find their identity in work that uses their full capacities" and contributes to society. Thus, she concludes, housework is not a career.

Image and Relationship


I think Friedan rightly assessed that women in her day had bought into an identity that couldn't fulfill them. It's not surprising that finding worth, value, and identity in a husband and children leave women empty and unfulfilled. Although that's part of what we were created for, we were first created in God's image, to have a relationship with him before venturing into relationships with anyone else.

The existential worldview isn't the answer to feeling fully human. Being created in the image of God is what makes one fully human. Nevertheless, in our state of fallenness apart from Christ, there is a dehumanizing tendency within each of us. I think of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4), who in his arrogance saw his kingdom built by his own power and for his own glory and refused to give credit to the Most High God. He was then driven from among men to eat grass like an ox and wander—his body wet with dew, his hair as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. This is clear imagery of dehumanization. Not until Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself and acknowledged the kingship of God was he restored to his humanity.

Understanding we are created in the image of God and renewed in our humanity through Christ's life, death, and resurrection has profound implications for our identity. We no longer have to look at our "roles" in life—what we do and how we perform—as the defining markers of our identity. We no longer need status, money, positions of power, or esteem from others to determine our worth and value. If we seek our identity in what we do, we'll always want more.

Ultimate Verdict


It's unfortunate many believed Friedan's solution. Shifting from the role of mother and housewife to another identity not found in Christ will inevitably put us in another courtroom where we will wait for a verdict that "we've made it" or "we're good enough." As Tim Keller writes in The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, "What Paul is looking for, what Madonna is looking for, what we are all looking for, is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable." In Christ, we receive the ultimate verdict and are taken out of the courtroom, never again needing to hear from others or ourselves that "we've made it."

Fifty years later, women have attained positions in their career that would have been unimaginable in Friedan's day. I imagine Sandberg's book wouldn't exist were it not for the groundwork laid by Friedan and others after her. I imagine I wouldn't have received my Master of Divinity at a conservative evangelical seminary, nor other countless opportunities I take for granted, had it not been for the questions Friedan's book raised. Yet the identity crisis persists in women today as it did back then: different circumstances, same problem. As I finished Sandberg's book, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit and a good mentor to take the anger I was feeling, which quickly could have turned to bitterness, and to repent before the Lord for holding onto memories that would be fuel for resentment and bitterness toward men.

Men are not the answer, but they're not the problem, either. My own brokenness, which keeps me from finding the fullness of my identity in who I am in Christ, is the real problem. In Christ, any role can be carried out with joy and neither anxiety on the one hand nor resentment on the other.


Comments:

Jesse Gistand

September 30, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Great article

I appreciate the authors reflection and solution to the dilemma of my sisters everywhere because this is truly the challenge in world filled with false answers.

Women need to be encouraged everywhere that to aim first at a real and profound satisfaction with the true and living God through Jesus Christ and that out of that identity affirmation process (indiciative) will be a true God glorifiying and soul satisfying carreer consistent with their gospel mission(imperative).

So that be it house wife and mother and or teacher, business woman, etc, the faulty bifercation and conflicts that arise out of a lack of divine premise, no longer sets them up for the temptation to complain and be trapped by wrong voice.

Substance and purpose is the abundant life.

Blessings

JohnM

September 30, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Martin,

The tone of your reply is gracious and that counts for much. You're right though,we will likely disagree for the most part about the effect of feminism. Probably even some of what you take for granted are the positive accomplishments I might not see in quite the same light. I do think The Church does right by pointing out the negative effects of feminism. Feminist vitriol accounts more for the defensive response to feminism than does anything else.

Lori

September 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM

There is obviously something extremely privileged about Friedan's suggestion, because women have been working since there have been women, and most already knew that it wasn't where you find your fulfillment. Poor and working-class women have never had the luxury of working for their own fulfillment. And, increasingly, middle class women are learning that lesson, that there are very few people who are able to make a living working jobs that love so much that they find fulfillment there.

But, there are also few women who do find housework particularly fulfilling. Too often I think we can see evangelical Christian culture falling into that myth, and imagining that if women don't see the daily tasks of homemaking and housecleaning and childrearing fulfilling, their attitude is the problem.

I appreciate your grappling with the complexities of this. It's not that Friedan was wrong. The kind of life that the ideal 50s white housewife was supposed to be living WAS unfulfilling. But she wasn't right, either, because very, very few people are going to have careers they find ultimately fulfilling.

It's so easy to assume things will be better if we just change our circumstances. I'm lucky to be at home with my kids during the day, and then a part-time university instructor a few nights a week. It means I know first-hand that neither being a wife and mother nor being a professional is actually going to bring me fulfillment. ;) Increasingly I realize that it's not the tasks we perform that giving meaning to our life, but the foundation from which we perform them. I can keep a perfectly clean home and write an amazing lesson plan and it can feel like nothing if I am just checking things off my list. But if I do the tasks I'm called to do right now from the foundation of God's love for me, my love for God, and my love for others, then it can be fulfilling, even if it's not perfect.

Martin

September 30, 2013 at 09:29 PM

JohnM,

I apologize if I misread your post. Thanks for the clarification.

We may disagree, however, as to the effect of feminism in society depending on how one defines feminism. I look at feminism as a movement to establish gender equality in social, corporate, economic, contractual law and political spheres. Certainly we would not want to diminish the attained role of women in these environments. In large part, that has been come about because the feminist movement put a spotlight on it.

There have also been what many consider negative effects of feminism. However, I don't think the Church does any good to anybody by demonizing feminism. I can point out bad effects/faulty applications of the biblical manhood movement, if we want to play that game.

The point is ... the Church needed to and still needs to speak up for women's rights and equality. I lived through the early years of the feminist movement. I did not hear the Body of Christ taking the lead role in lifting up opportunities for women. The Church was mired in being defensive and against the very word 'feminism' and 'ERA'.

Ann

September 30, 2013 at 09:14 PM

I don't think that blaming women for men's sins is much of a solution. It's like the garden of Eden, when Adam said, "It's this women you gave me!" Or Eve said, "The serpent tricked me!" Everyone is accountable for their own deeds. Many men like to say that feminists blame men for everything, but are perfectly content to blame feminists (or women) for everything. Nothing is resolved.

Andrew

September 30, 2013 at 08:55 PM

@ Tricia

Please avoid using manipulative statements like "wow, I just have to respond to..." as if the statement in question was so far out on a limb that it deserves an urgent take-down. Johnny's comment is a reasonable one, just a little unclear.

Feminism has indeed influenced the power differential between men and women, certainly to the point where the pathways to a fulfilling sex life - in marriage - have been distorted. Feminism is responsible for a lot of dissatisfaction in women, whether of home-making, child-rearing, or working in unfulfilling jobs, and has filled so many with false expectations of what they deserve. There's a powerful sense even amongst Christian women that they’re entitled to something better, even though the Bible is clear that the only entitlement in this perishing world is death.

Feminism has been instrumental in bringing about more choices for women but this is not the same as helping them make the right one. More choices has just made it easy to choose the wrong one, particularly when it comes to men. Many women no longer consider the faithful, humble, self-abasing man who seeks only to live a quiet life exciting enough. Too many want the athletic, charismatic, ambitious, intelligent, leadership-oriented, financially secure man who is 'man enough’ to marry them, after they've spent decade or so on serial monogamy and getting pointless degrees. It seems that every second single Christian woman these days is looking for a man to fulfil her own ambitions and desires on her own timeline, to whom she feels she can submit, rather than the faithful man God places before her, often in her youth, irrespective of his worldly attributes. With this false sense of entitlement and expectation comes a much steeper performance gradient for men who seek to marry. It should come as no surprise that men give up on women and turn to pornography.

Feminism has powerfully affected boys also, who are the most at risk of pornography addiction. If they hear almost daily that boys are weak, boys are stupid, boys are failing in education, all boys are potential rapists etc, and that men are at fault for all of this and must pay for these imagined faults by a feminist-dominated legal industry - divorces, family court bias towards women, biased child custody arrangements, sanctioned child support fraud, legalised paternity fraud, wage garnishing, hateful ‘deadbeat dad’ language, etc. etc. etc., it is no surprise that boys have a distorted view of marriage and women. This is a tinderbox for homosexuality and pornography.

Rather than being out on a limb, Johnny’s comment invites us to look beyond the privileged feminism of Betty Friedan's caste and to get real about it's tragic consequences in the lives of men. The feminism Betty Friedan wrote about is a long-gone pipe dream. Today’s feminism is a powerfully manipulative, overtly disobedient, politically corrupt and insidious ideology, camouflaged by political correctness and government endorsement. A very strong argument can be made that the easy availability of pornography is a consequence of the difficulty for men to fulfil the ever increasing demands of feminist-influenced society. It is just the tip of the iceberg. I think Johnny's point is not just a valid one, but one that bears further discussion both here on the TGC blog and in churches everywhere.

Johnny

September 30, 2013 at 08:52 AM

Sad, toxic and ultimately unbeneficial, Friedan's work has caused ultimately more harm to generations than good. I'm convinced that one of the single largest causes of the dramatic growth of porn is related directly to women who have grown into domineering, bully roles thanks to toxic teachings like this.

Sandra Glahn

September 30, 2013 at 08:36 PM

This is one of the more accurate/fair assessments I’ve seen about Friedan’s work from within the complementarian camp. Thank you. And thank you for not saying Friedan started feminism. Thanks, too, for not giving the impression that “feminism” is “man-hating.” Rather, it’s pushing back against injustices directed toward women, including human trafficking, sexual abuse, and child pornography, and unfair wages, for starters. Literacy for women (and children) was at one time in this country included on that list, but thanks to the Sunday school movement, it is no longer.

I should like to add that Friedan was more than a freelance magazine writer and suburban housewife. A woman with Ivy-League credentials, Friedan founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), authored six books, was an adjunct professor, and was a lifelong advocate for women’s rights.

To the person who said Friedan was writing from a privileged position: Through her work as a journalist, she covered stories about injustices committed against women of all classes. And what she challenged was the view that every woman should aspire to such a life as the ideal…that is, she pushed back against the idea that all women should dream of marrying a breadwinner, staying home with children, and choosing slipcovers.

The unfulfilled woman Friedan described was not the woman of Proverbs 31. The biblical woman is described as being out in the community, buying and selling, stretching her hand to the poor, and speaking the law of loyal love. That is one fulfilled woman. She has her family’s wellbeing on her mind, but—and this is important—she also has the wider community’s needs in view. She exercises her spiritual gifts in the community and probably takes her kids with her as she does so, rather than playing Candy Land on the floor. That is not the sort of domestic life to which Friedan objected.

Friedan wrote at a time when Freudian ideas—which nearly everyone accepted as faultless—said that a woman who wanted to do anything other than domestic tasks (e.g., wanted to buy/sell fields, make and sell belts) was underdeveloped sexually (i.e., had penis envy). In her chapter, “The Solipsism of Sigmund Freud,” she bemoans the fact that anyone who’s not a trained Freudian therapist is considered too uneducated to challenge such ideas. But how could they get such training in a world that held up the ideal of the feminine mystique?

Friedan also wrote at a time when women who wanted to be doctors were told to go find husbands. Women who wanted to go to seminary were told to go marry men headed for the mission field or pastorate. Women whose kids were at school during the day were told to find fulfillment in dusting and vacuuming—that wanting anything else suggested they were neurotic.

And sadly, the very access to education that allows me to write this response did not happen because the conservative church championed the cause for me to choose it.

The church’s response, when we actually do read her and try to interact with her fairly, is usually to zero in on the word “identity” and parrot in response, “We find our identity in Christ.” Now, clearly Friedan was lost and needed the Lord. But in a sense, she was not talking about that sort of identity. She was talking about meaningful work. Imagine if we told unemployed people, “Find your identity only in Christ” but did nothing to address such needs on a tangible level. Many conservatives argued that a woman who considered dusting boring had wrong values. And we distorted Friedan’s words by pitting working women against those who chose to stay at home.

But we WERE made for more than choosing slip-covers. We were made to be co-regents of the earth in partnership with men. Where we failed, then, as far as Friedan was concerned, was that we answered her legit concerns with accusations rather than casting a vision of who God made women to be along with a biblical theology of work and kingdom building.

JohnM

September 30, 2013 at 08:23 PM

Martin,

"That's what your comments sound like - blame women."

That's what my comments sound like only if all women are feminists - which all women are not.

On the other hand, if I'm wrong, and women are all feminists, then yes, I do blame women generally for a large part of contemporary societal problems. But happily, I'm not, they're not, and I don't.

Martin

September 30, 2013 at 07:12 PM

To Johnny and JohnM ... read Gen. 3:12 ... "The man replied, 'It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.'"

That's what your comments sound like - blame women. I think men have at least as much responsibility in the flourishing of porn.

Regarding Frieden's writing ... "It is my thesis," Friedan wrote, "that the core of the problem for women today is not sexual but a problem of identity—a stunting or evasion of growth that is perpetuated by the feminine mystique." ... which in large part was created by male-centric policies - both secular and religious. Just look at cultures all over the world and recognize the injustices and atrocities women endure. I don't think it they had a hand in designing them. (the "male mystique" is a bigger problem in the world)

I don't agree that "housework is not a career" ... my wife had the tougher job as a homemaker for the better part of 18 years. However; look at the growth, stature and work ethic displayed by Deborah and the woman of Proverbs 31.

Let's allow our brothers and sisters, as individuals, flourish in life and in their relationships with God and His Body. We ourselves are not exempt from propagating role falsehoods.

JohnM

September 30, 2013 at 06:34 PM

Tricia,

I don't know if it is what Johnny meant or not, but feminism, having spared no effort to denigrate and undermine paternal authority, certainly has something to do with "no parental control", which is something you believe might be a contributing factor in the growth of porn.

Aaron

September 30, 2013 at 06:18 PM

How have domineering and bullying women been directly related to the cause of the dramatic growth of porn?

Jessica H

September 30, 2013 at 05:19 PM

Hey Jesse,

Great distinction with indicative/imperative. Thanks for sharing.

Jessica H

September 30, 2013 at 05:18 PM

Hey Lori,

Thanks for sharing. It's encouraging to hear how you are finding the meaning in life based on the foundation of God's love and flowing from him.

BV

September 30, 2013 at 03:16 PM

"Men are not the answer, but they're not the problem, either."

Great line, and it's refreshing as an early-30s single guy to hear a female say this. Has society always been fair to females and promoted their equality in places like the workplace? No. I think many females in my demographic tend to take the attitude that they are superior to men. Am I perfect? No. But neither are females. It's important to recognize that the gospel challenges all of us, not just some of us.

Tricia

September 30, 2013 at 02:38 PM

Wow, I just have to respond to Johnny's comment. I'm the furthest thing from a feminist, but seriously, the problem of porn can be directly attributed to feminism? That statement seems quite out of place, when our young girls are exposing their bodies like never before, smartphones and iPods have made porn available to everyone on the planet in a few clicks, and parents aren't paying attention or discipline their kids. You really think our sexualized culture has accepted porn because men were tired of their domineering bosses? How about the growth of porn is directly related to its availability, lack of accountability, no parental control, and lack of transparency and holiness in the church?

Giles Beynon

September 30, 2013 at 02:18 PM

Good topic.

God is the the prize would my remedy. As women feel that the house wifer role is worthless so do a lot of men of that of bread winner. Only joy in god can fulfill. Myself personally i would be happy for for a future wife to work. Maybe part time if I could earn enough money. Both men and women have roles but I would like to feel that my wife could achieve outside of the home but still be a mother. I argue bibically that men should lead at home and the church. This though makes us like christ a servants to our wives because we are called to the best for them and the children. I feel a lot of problems in society with men and women is pervesion of what is it to be one of them. A christian view would have us completment each other and I know some people against this but I think it makes sense. Even the curse that God gives Adam and Eve highlights our roles. Women and children ,even though i believe that women can do well for themselves and men working for a living. These roles can meet with what I want for any future wife of mine but we are defined. Maybe the work mentioned is expression of what Eve was cursed with that she 'will desire her husband'. Women wanting one over men and I have met plenty of them.

God bless all my brothers and sisters.

Giles

Andrew

October 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

To Martin,

Thanks for caring enough to comment on my remarks. To respond to your points in turn:

- Tricia used the same sort of language that's commonly used around the blogosphere to elicit an emotional reaction in others. It wasn't necessary to obtain consensus before taking a decision to pull her up on it.

- There was no apportioning of blame for a man's lust on women in my comment. In any case, attributing the viewing of pornography to simply lust and weakness in men is to ignore all but the very tip of the iceberg.

- "Serial monogamy" is a term that describes the process of dating multiple partners before marriage, which can apply to both men and women. It was applied to women in my comment - this is 'attribution' not 'bias'.

- It's true that 60% of college degrees are obtained by women and that the market value of a degree is significantly lower than ever before, and also that more and more women are finding it difficult to get jobs in the field of their college study. I can't see the bias in simply joining these easily verifiable facts together.

- Stating that more choices for women makes it more difficult to make the right one doesn't mean the same doesn't apply to men (e.g. stating that x = 1, doesn't mean that y ? 1).

- If, as you say, men have historically been the more corrupt and manipulative (which I don't necessarily agree with), that doesn't mean men have ever considered it a "right", or that it's any less destructive when women do it. Needless to say, two wrongs don't make a right.

- I agree that "true biblical manhood" seeks to avoid pointing the finger at others, but it also seeks to avoid shielding women from deserved consequences and necessary rebuke. Not that this is relevant, as I was offering an opinion on the effects of feminism not pointing the finger at women.

- The tone of the responses in this thread seems OK. People are engaging in a much-needed discussion on the destructiveness of feminism according to the dictates of their conscience. A one-sided discussion is unlikely to bear much fruit.

- Can I encourage you to give the women reading this blog the freedom of their own minds and the credit of their own intelligence. I have little doubt others will express their views as constructively and persuasively as Sandra did above.

Anne Vyn

October 2, 2013 at 07:24 AM

Sandra, thanks so much for recommending Carolyn Custis James!! I had not heard of her before but I just checked out her website and I cannot wait to explore her writings. For those who are interested, here is her website: http://www.whitbyforum.com/

MzEllen

October 2, 2013 at 05:52 PM

> I am writing this because I don't want the female readers
> of this blog to think that most men (biblical men, in
> particular) blame them for our own weakness.

I'm a "female reader" and i have great respect for Bible-minded men who point the finger where it *belongs*, whether it's at themselves! women! both! or at radical feminism,

Please don't write as if attacking "feminism" (as it exists today) attacks all women. This woman believes that radical feminism has done much harm in pulling women away from Biblical ideals.

Jason M.

October 2, 2013 at 01:11 AM

Thank you Jessica for this refreshing post. I think your insights are equally valuable to men who struggle with issues of identity and attempt to seek fulfillment in life by attaining some sort of societal ideal of "manliness." As you point out, I think it's very important that we not replace one misinformed view for another, but rather examine the state of our own hearts in light of what the gospel teaches us about our identity and worth.

Martin

October 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM

To Andrew and Phil,

Wow! Wow!

Please don't accuse Tricia of being manipulative. You were the manipulative one pinning that adjective on her - as if we agree with you (well, at least Phil does!)

And, of course, women should be accountable for their failings (I never said only women can correct women). However, I can't think of one time when lust crouched at my door that I blamed a woman for my weakness and sin. God rejected Adam's excuse (and, therefore, Gen.3:12 is an valid example of blaming another).

I think you showed your bias towards stereotypical gender roles by utilizing terms such as "serial monogamy' and "pointless degrees" when you describe "many women" (perhaps you should clarify your position by stating some positive results of the movement for greater gender equality in society). When you state, "more choices has just made it easy to choose the wrong one", than let's take away choices for males - but, we can't do that because males have always been the inheritors of more choices and we can't break with tradition. I guess the only ones deserving of the right to be "powerfully manipulative, overtly disobedient, politically corrupt, etc" are males. Haven't males demonstrated those characteristics with greatly skill over centuries of human existence.

True biblical manhood does not point the finger at another. It accepts responsibility and blame for its own actions (without saying "but"). I am not asserting that you don't take responsibility, but the tone of the responses to this blog is on a downward slant.

I am writing this because I don't want the female readers of this blog to think that most men (biblical men, in particular) blame them for our own weakness.

Phil

October 1, 2013 at 07:54 PM

Martin: OK, so because Gen 3:12 exists, any time men ever hold women accountable for anything, then suddenly they're acting like Adam!?!? What a convenient Get-Out-of-Responsibility card! So, by your (mis-)application of that verse, only women can hold women accountable? or would that also be a sin of women acting like Adam?

Phil

October 1, 2013 at 07:49 PM

Wow, I just had to respond, Andrew! (And I just had to just that phrase.) That's a very well written response and very powerfully states much of what I would like to have said in response. One thing I'd like to add is the issue of reproduction. When gender selection was made available through invitro fertilization, feminists were screeching about the coming holocaust against women. But that didn't turn out. Instead, 80% of gender selections are for girls. When asked why they chose to have a girl instead of a boy, by far the number one answer was some variation of "Because we what our child to have the best future." Even today's young parents know that the deck is stacked against the boys for all the reasons you've mentioned, and even more in K-12. Gender-selecting parents know that women go on to get over 60% of the college degrees, as all education stats for boys sinks like the Titanic as leftists snicker and giggle. These parents know that their daughters will grow up to enjoy legal protection unheard of among males.

As a man with over 10 years ministering in the Christian singles community, your comments are spot on, even perhaps understated! At least where I live, many if not most of the Christian women are looking for a good girlfriend that will eventually make a good sperm-contributing co-wife to help them achieve their life plans. The latest stats show that about 65%-70% of divorces are files by women, with that figure rising to a whopping 90% among couples were both are college educated. What Andrew said (above) about the courts is totally true.

All this to say, discrimination not only goes both ways, but has utterly reversed in many venues.

PS: A friend of mine went to B&N for a book called "Save the Males" by Kathleen Parker. When she approached the young female clerk to ask if it was in stock, the clerk shrieked in laughter and chortled "Why would you WANT to?!?!?" She thought it was funny; my friend was appalled, but no surprised.

Sandra Glahn

October 1, 2013 at 07:42 AM

I highly recommend WHEN LIFE AND BELIEFS COLLIDE, by Carolyn Custis James. And anything else she wrote, to. Rather than getting embroiled in the complementarian/egalitarian debate, she focuses on the ideal of men and women partnering to do ministry, as we see in Rom. 16.

JohnM

October 1, 2013 at 06:13 PM

Ryan,

I think you are correct about there being more than one kind of feminism, and about second-wave feminism being an anti-pornography voce, but also correct about it being arguable if they were the most powerful and influential such voice. I do consider it plausible though that the overall program of second-wave feminism tended to undermine it's anti-pornography efforts in the long run.

Stan

October 1, 2013 at 05:18 PM

Thanks, I just checked it out at Amazon, looks good...

Stan

October 1, 2013 at 03:56 AM

Thank you Andrew for stretching us and challenging us to think deeper on these matters. Your article is another helpful addition to this fine article by Jess.
Stan.
www.searchandtrace.net

Stan

October 1, 2013 at 03:45 AM

Good contribution Lori, thank you.

Stan

October 1, 2013 at 03:41 AM

Thank you Sandra for your valuable contribution to this fine article and incredibly important matter. Other than the good work done by the folk at CBMW, what other works would you recommend, especially for pastors to read?
Stan.
http://www.searchandtrace.net

Ryan

October 1, 2013 at 03:09 PM

Conversely, second-wave feminism was arguably the single most powerful and influential anti-pornography voice. Certainly they were the ones willing to take a stand against it during a time when the church was, by and large, too embarrassed to discuss it. Third-wave feminism has reversed this by seeing pornography as not oppressive but rather as empowering.

The point is that, just like any other movement or belief system, it's simply not possible to paint "feminism" with one brush. There is no "feminism says" or "feminism believes" because there is no over-arching feminism that defines all feminists.

Oliver

October 1, 2013 at 01:54 AM

I'm not sure whether Johnny is trying to make a point along the lines of, "The increase in domineering women makes women less 'accessible' to men, who then turn to porn," or whether it's more of a, "Domineering women => More porn," sort of argument. Of course, it could be something different, but I think you might be on to a loser here, though, Johnny. There's no shame in retracting it if you spoke rashly; we're all brothers and sisters in Christ here.
Nonetheless, I just wanted to say that it's so nice to see comments on the subject of feminism (or any even slightly related field) where people keep a level head. It seems that, in many places, even suggesting that men and women should be treated equally is enough to be called a neanderthal. Seeing Ann disagreeing in a constructive and informative way makes such a nice change from the normal 'discussions' (which I avoid whenever I come across them).
It's nice to see.

Justin L.

October 1, 2013 at 01:40 AM

BOOM! yes.