Gordon Brown blogged at the Huffington Post today, “Girl Rising: Adult Complacency Is Over“. He speaks about the attempted murder of Malala in Pakistan by the Taliban, and he speaks about the recent gang rape and murder of the medical student in India. He suggests that these atrocities should not be just further examples of terrible violence but that they should mark the end of tolerating such violence.
The forces against girls and women are structural, often subtle and often culturally and religiously ingrained. You will hear endless rationalisation for how girls and women are treated – until your gut turns and you realise that the human condition historically has objectified or ‘othered’ girls and women.
Our sexism is not planned, it just is, at least until we can name it and vow to move on from it. It’s like superstition – avoiding walking under ladders, or saying “touch wood”. We have inherited a lot of nonsense! Overcoming sexism is not an intellectual decision however. We were surprised some years ago, when travelling interstate, when an attractive woman walked towards a semi-trailer from a petrol station and entered the cabin from the driver’s side. She was the driver but our upbringing and conditioning had told us that she would be the passenger. There are countless examples where we detect our sexism. (Does sexism become misogyny when we start to justify our negative attitudes towards women?)
The Church, in all of its self-congratulatory pats on the back about grace, Scripture alone, etc, needs a moment of confession and seeking of repentance. We need to start listening to women and hearing their stories of abuse experienced. As history is often told by the winners of conflict and oppressors, the quiet voices take some time to be heard.
It is time that male complacency towards women’s position in the Church was let go. As Christians, who are highly adept at acknowledging our sin through the liturgy and general faith, it should not be a major step to acknowledge that we have dishonoured our women. It is time that we lifted up women in the LCA, and in doing so, were able to benefit from their pastoral skills honed in relationships and raising families. Anything else is immaturity and vindictive.
- Combating hidden sexism with Objectify A Man Day (destructoid.com)
- The Ancient Conspiracy of Sexism (gentlewisdom.org)
- Gordon Brown: Girl Rising: Adult Complacency Is Over (huffingtonpost.com)