This article will consider strategies shared by Islamic and Christian feminists in exposing and upending biased historical and exegetical methodologies that further attitudes, laws, and social practices that marginalize and oppress women.
The Christian masculinity movement isn’t helping men or women. It’s damaging young men, and their relationships with others, and it’s distracting us from what should be our true focus—discipleship and imitating Christ.
Colossians 3:7-17 is often misinterpreted and weaponized to keep women in submission and bolster sexist teachings in the modern church. Rather than viewing this text as a reframing of unjust social structures like patriarchy and slavery—as Paul intended—many interpret it as endorsing those oppressive systems.
My elementary school music teacher once asked us to count the beats in a measure of music. She ignored not only my hand, but also the hands of several other female students around me, saying, “Boys you’re supposed to be good at math. I’ll wait for one of you to answer.”
A few weeks ago, I was in Sofia, Bulgaria, for a day. I stopped for about twelve hours between night buses to see the sights, including a beautiful, vibrant mosque near the center of town. I did some online research on dress protocol beforehand: cover your skin, wear something on your head, take your shoes off. Nothing unexpected. I had a scarf and a maxi skirt in my backpack for this purpose. I was happy to be respectful, and excited for a new experience. I arrived at the mosque, circled around to the front, and . . . walked away. I felt nervous, suddenly, and upset.
Female students at my evangelical university experienced both misogyny and racism. We were asked to conform to impossible standards. And we are not the only ones to struggle against injustice in the classroom. Women and girls all over the world face bias in school. From primary school to undergraduate to seminary, the system is not built for us.
All parents—and especially egalitarian parents—should talk to their kids about boundaries, consent, bodies, shame, double standards, peer pressure, and sexism in school. Have you had these conversations with your kids yet?
I have my own particular kind of body shame, but most women have experienced similar mortification about their physical beings—a heritage of enmity with the structure of skin and bones and viscera in which we daily move.
The #MeToo movement has revealed the wide-spread atrocities of sexual abuse within the larger culture. However, the #ChurchToo movement has exposed the church's culpability in this matter. More precisely, the theological malpractice of patriarchal authority without question has created an environment for sexual abuse to flourish behind a protective veil of personal and congregational misplaced conviction. Dr. R. Mitch Randall argues the church must accept responsibility for their part in creating the environment where sexual abuse thrived because the church's teaching of female subservience established male dominance in the culture. Therefore, if the church honestly seeks repentance of the culpability, then they must also turn to an egalitarian theological praxis.