The History Of Feminism And The Church -- By: Mary Kassian

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 04:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: The History Of Feminism And The Church
Author: Mary Kassian

The History Of Feminism And The Church

Mary Kassian

Part II: An Excerpt And Summary From The Feminist Gospel, By Mary Kassian

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt and summary of Mary Kassian’s book, The Feminist Gospel: The Movement to Unite Feminism with the Church (Wheaton: Crossway, 1992).

Biology Is Destiny

According to feminists, patriarchy was the problem, so in the late 60s, they placed patriarchy under close scrutiny. They concluded that biology is destiny and the woman’s biological capacity to bear children was a mixed blessing carrying with it a necessary dependence on men to serve as providers and protectors. Hating this dependency, feminists redefined the physical strength and genitalia of men as weapons which, as they saw it, down through the ages men had used to intimidate women for the purpose of keeping them subservient. Recognizing the interrelatedness of biological destiny, power, and leadership in the relationship of the sexes, feminists theorized that the best way to destroy patriarchy was to overcome—or at least minimize—sexual distinctions.

Changing Society

At this time many feminist organizations were founded to change society’s structures so that sexual distinctions might be minimized or overcome. Progress toward this goal was, at first, quite limited: feminists protested the Miss America pageant; they threw their dishcloths, girdles, false eyelashes, bras, and copies of Playboy, Vogue, and the Ladies Home Journal into a “Freedom Trash Can;” and they organized consciousness-raising small groups. Each of these forays was an attempt by feminists to convince the uninitiated that men in general—and particularly husbands—were women’s oppressors.

In the early 70s, women began the monumental effort to develop a feminist view of the world. Men had secured power for themselves by claiming the authority to decree meanings. To challenge this, feminists developed a woman-centered analysis of all of culture. Every niche of human experience had to be challenged and redefined.

Language: Feminist linguists maintained that a bias favoring males was embedded in both syntax and semantics. The sexes were socialized to use “boy language” and “girl language.” Women were tentative and unassertive in speech, avoided swearing, and were identified by their relationship to a man. All this had to change. Through this women-centered analysis of language, women were encouraged to claim power for themselves by claiming the right to name.

Psychology: Men had determined what was and what was not mentally healthy. Psychologists like Phyllis Chesler maintained that what was often diagnosed as mental illness in women was simply a healthy ...

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