Jared Wilson recently quoted some statements by Doug Wilson which ignited a firestorm. I think the statements are tactless. The wording is ill-chosen. A formal retraction would be in order.
Predictably, the incendiary statements gave egalitarians an opening to attack complementarians. Again, this is a case of self-inflicted wounds. Doug and Jared Wilson brought in on themselves. An unforced error. They have only themselves to blame.
That said, while a negative reaction is warranted this has also led to an overreaction. To take a few examples:
And, best of all, we can support alternative visions—visions of equality, mutuality, and healing. We can support and build up women like Hillary McFarland of Quivering Daughters, who has devoted her talents and passions to helping women heal from emotional and spiritual abuse within authoritarian families.
i) Let’s not forget that sons as well as daughters can be harmed by “authoritarian” families. Consider Nate Phelps, the estranged son of Fred Phelps.
ii) Likewise, mothers as well as fathers can be emotionally abusive. Take William J. Murray’s classic exposé of family life under the boot of Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Cf. My Life Without God.
iii) Sure, there are horror stories about kids who grow up in “authoritarian” families. But there are horror stories about kids who grow up in irreligious families.
As I was venting about all of this last night, Dan reminded me of something important, something to which we need to return:
“Remember,” he said, “rape isn’t really about sex. Rape is about power. This all goes back to what you’ve been saying from the beginning, Rachel. This is about power, not sex. So focus your post on that.”
He’s right. For all of our debating about gender roles and church leadership, motherhood and singleness, sex and housework, women working in the home and women working outside of the home, this conversation isn’t actually about any of those things. It’s not about sex. It’s not about church leadership. It’s not about roles. It’s not about the Bible.
i) Is rape about power instead of sex? That’s a popular cliché, but is it true? Or is it just a politically correct false dichotomy?
ii) At the risk of stating the obvious, there’s a double standard here, but it’s not the double standard that critics are talking about. Sex as an expression of power is hardly confined to men. That’s very much a two-way street. Some beautiful women use their looks to wield power over men. That’s very conscious and calculated.
So it won’t do to automatically cast women in the role of victim and men as the oppressor. There are manipulative women who use their good looks (if they have good looks) to get their way. Sex as power is a very old formula which men and women both exploit to their advantage.
iii) Let’s not forget that women can be sexually abusive too. For instance:
Ironically, feminist Rachel Evans is stereotyping men.