Thursday, March 08, 2007,10:21 AM
Blog Against Sexism - My Journey
Blog Against Sexism Day
So today is International Women's Day and I'm participating in the Blog Against Sexism campaign. This is similar to last year's Gridblog to Dismantle Patriarchy, except that I think I've become even more of a feminist. A year ago, I supported feminist ideas, but also was very open to tolerating opposing ideas as just being part of reality (in a - he beats his kids or he hates black people, but what can I do about it, sort of way). But over the course of this past year, the hatred, fear, and desire to control women I see all around me has become more incomprehensible to me. I really just don't get how anyone can still claim that women are inferior to men.

The more I support equality, the more disparity I see. Just yesterday, I was searching groups on Facebook. I typed in "feminist" and found more groups that opposed (or downright hated) feminists that I did groups that support equality. I've also been following Scot McKnight's series on women in ministry over at Jesus Creed and am often floored by the hatred displayed by commenters there. These men have no issue telling women that they are wrong for serving God, that they should remain in positions subjugated to men, and that we are evil and unbiblical for desiring anything else. They don't seem to realize that they are addressing real women with real lives, callings, and feelings. Do they think it doesn't affect women to hear over and over again that - "you are not as good as me, God values me more, your opinion is not as important as mine"? This goes beyond them banging one or two misinterpreted scriptures over our heads, it displays a deep seated prejudice and fear of women. And these are the people who supposedly follow Christ's command to love others. They are not even the ones (necessarily) who just see women as physical objects. The ones with bumper stickers on their cars that say "My Other Toy has Tits" or who don't know how to introduce/describe a woman without referring to her physical appearance.

I am a feminist - but contrary to popular dismissive labeling techniques I don't hate men and I don't support a "woman's right to choose". I support equality and human rights - for everyone. But one thing I have learned over this past year is to use my voice. I can't sit around and wait for things to get better or to be invited to the conversation. I've realize that I need to call out sexism where I see it. Call it by its true name, bring attention to it, strip it of its power. I need to just join the conversation if I want to be a part of it. I don't need permission or an invitation, I just do it. People may not listen, but I can't complain that nothing is being done. And this annoys people. It upsets the status quo, it forces people out of complacency, it forces people to examine their conceptions and it gets me labeled and dismissed. Julie cares about women, that's her thing, - lets just make fun of her or tell her that's it's not really a big deal or just ignore her. It's easier to laugh than to fight sexism. But this isn't something I can go back on. It's not like I can all of a sudden decide that women are inferior or something like that. There is always the danger or apathy or laziness, but as long as I keep seeing blatant examples of sexism around me, those seem far off.

So I blog today to fight sexism and I will continue to blog to fight sexism. Its about love, its about equality, its about supporting a full vision for the Kingdom of God. And no matter what I get labeled, I will not cower in fear, I will not shut up.

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posted by Julie at 10:21 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 3/09/2007 04:20:00 AM, Blogger Miz Melly

    I'm with you,Julie. Go for it! You're not alone.

  • At 3/09/2007 09:23:00 AM, Blogger Searching For a Meaning

    So that is why little Lisa from the Simpsons was raising the issue on a programme yesterday here in the UK.

    I think perhaps the programme was a repeat - but for me I am somewhat behind the times - hence just catching up.

    Also in watching the Simpsons - it is for purely Psychological Analysis - you understand!!!!

  • At 3/09/2007 02:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I'm just getting caught up with some of my blog reading. Thanks for posting this. I am a bit (ahem) older than you and I think I have believed what you say:

    "I am a feminist - but contrary to popular dismissive labeling techniques I don't hate men and I don't support a "woman's right to choose". I support equality and human rights - for everyone."

    ...for a long long time, but have been unsupported by the church in this. May I just say that I also say that I believe LIFE IS A CHOICE. In ministry we've counseled so many young women who had suffered from incest and then were forced to have an abortion. They had no choice to say NO to begin with, and no choice to say NO for the second abuse. We need to raise our children with life as a high ideal, but also make sure their lives are safe enough to have LIFE be their choice for all time. IMHO.

    I don't always have people stay with me on that, because they are blinded by the crusade of pro life--which I am, but don't take it for granted.

    We are going through a wave of ultraconservatism in our church that will ultimately mean we (spouse in ministry and I) have to find a new denomination. I dream of a place where I can allow people to read my honest blog site and be equal with pride like you are!

    Keep up the inspiration! And I'll see you over at the J.C. site, too!
    My two cents

  • At 3/09/2007 06:11:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    nothing wrong with the simpsons... we only have all of the dvd sets ...

    And I agree that life is a choice that too few women are given. The pressure is to abort these days, even women who aren't forced by family to abort often feel forced by economics, judgemental churchs, or our social system to abort. Very few women do feel like that actually have that choice. Have you checked out the work being done by Feminists for Life? They try to help women actually have options for life.

  • At 3/10/2007 12:36:00 PM, Blogger kathy escobar

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 3/10/2007 12:42:00 PM, Blogger kathye

    oops, i accidentally deleted this, was just trying to change my user name. i am fairly lame at blog posting, that is clear! here's what i wrote in the previous post...

    i am glad i stumbled upon this is always so refreshing to hear others speaking out, risking, not settling for the status quo. i am currently co-pastoring a church plant in denver and often feel fairly alone outside of our community. inside our body it is just accepted that we have a flat, diverse, equal leadership team, that i teach and lead and shepherd and just basically be me. honestly, our people don't think much of it. it is just how we do it. i am copastoring with a good friend who my husband and i have so much respect for because he has taken a big risk to actually live it out instead of just talk about it. he easily could have a cush professional pastor job in a white suburban church but he took the risk to actually live out a different model that we passionately believe in. now outside my community is a different story! i have had many people say they supported women in leadership but only to a point. in fact, everyone loved me when i was in senior leadership "under" the senior pastor and elders. now that we are co-leading, well, that's heresy. it has been painful for me, the cost of stepping out has honestly been more than i expected--before i was leading out, the phone rang for speaking at women's events, but now i think i am too scary for some. when i team taught at our old mega church on a weekend, someone wanted my teammate to stand with me on the stage (no kidding, thankfully he said no) but then afterward, despit the positive response, someone with power questioned the elders about "the church's position on women" and the elders & staff decided that we weren't quite "ready" for a woman to teach to men (this was at a hip, supposedly progressive church), when my daughter's classmate found out i taught at church she brought in bible verses about how women weren't supposed to teach to men and were supposed to be submissive and quiet (yes, never underestimate what is being taught in some sunday schools!) but i am learning that despite the cost, it is worth it. there's a cost for following Christ, for living out who he calls us to be. the only way for things to change in this world is for those in power to give a voice to those who don't have it. that's what i love about the beatitudes--jesus' way turned the world upside down. but just look at the beatitudes. how often are they practiced in a typical church? the whole system is set up for just the opposite--a business model where those in power conform to the ways of the world and not to the ways of the Kingdom. it's so interesting on this one, the world has been far more progressive (at least in the west) at least valuing what women have to offer the corporate world. when i went to seminary and met with a "career counselor" they told me "whatever you do, don't work a church, they won't know what to do with you." they were right. but i value justice. just because a system is messed up doesn't mean we have to settle for it. in the Kingdom, women are valued equally by God. Jesus certainly wouldn't say "don't pastor" because you are woman. He wanted the Kingdom to be contagious. and in the Kingdom, the poor, oppressed, marginalized, abused, crippled, lame, unlovely are loved and given esteem. the only way for things to change is for us to stop conforming, to be willing to risk our pride, our reputation, even our hearts for the sake of doing what is right. equality is right. there's no question in my mind that in the Kingdom of God, the Body of Christ, women should not be oppressed, marginalized, pigeonholed just because of their gender. i do not raise the women's rights banner day after day but i realize how taxing it can be to always be swimming upstream. that is why connecting with others who share some of the same vision and heartbeat helps me keep on keeping on and feel a little less crazy. my husband is in law school for social justice and has been an amazing cheerleader. every single movement in history started with some people who said "we are done doing this...something has to change...this isn't right...we can't just stand by and let these people be treated this way anymore." every drop in this bucket has a ripple effect that sometimes we'll never know. i do believe we can shift the tide of sexism in the church but it will take a slow and steady "we are not going to settle for this anymore" movement where people are ready to vote with their feet, stand up against the oppression, advocate for those that have no voice, and be willing to take the heat for a counter-church-culture belief. well, that's my rant for the day. i love the conversation.

  • At 3/10/2007 08:00:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Kathye - thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so hard when people support women in theory but not in practice. I see that all the time. People say one thing to look good, but never expect to actually have to live it out. And the women pay the price.

    This all has been a process of awakening for me. Small steps that have allowed me to trust God and become fully myself. It is frustrating a lot of the time, but there is a wonderful community of support out there that I just have to make the time for.

    Again, welcome here, thanks for your input, and glad to have you as part of the conversation.


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