Bra Burning Heretics
I am fascinated by the absurd excuses people come up with to avoid fighting for gender equality.
I’ve heard some Christians say they can’t associate with the Feminist Movement because some of the women in the movement once decided to burn a couple of bras (1). That reasoning seems strange, considering how Christianity has a history of leaders burning people (including many women) at the stake for theological differences (2).
Maybe feminism is defined by more than such “extreme” tactics. Maybe Christianity is too.
Don’t throw out an idea just because you don’t agree with a specific method or person associated with it. Look deeper.
Notes and Sources:
“What would you say to someone who suggested the same thing about Complementarianism, not all Complementarians are extreme?”
The difference for me is the essence of the movement. The essence of the feminist movement is equality. We can disagree with some of the ways people have tried to secure equality, but I believe the value of equality is just and right. Equality stands in opposition to abuse (3).
With Christianity the base value is love—to love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12). Some Christians have done terrible things while naming Christ, and we should not excuse their behavior. Yet still the core value of Christianity, love, is just and opposes abuse.
Patriarchy on the other hand (even the Complementarian variety) has a core value of hierarchical control and a distinct power differentiation based on sex. Abuse is motivated out of a lust for power and control (3). I do not believe a system of sex based on power and control could be in complete opposition abuse. When Complementarians display safe and equal relationships, I would say they exist despite patriarchy, not because of it.
(1) Actually, the idea that feminists burned bras is a myth. “Bras were just one of the items protesters were encouraged to bring that day that signified how the male-dominated culture was keeping women locked into rigid ideas of beauty, but they weren’t burned. Starting a fire on the boardwalk was illegal, so protestors opted to throw Playboy magazines and other items in a Freedom Trash Can. Still, the bra-burning image remained—a symbol that was easy to belittle as women focusing on something trivial. Misinformation and myths sometimes serve as placeholders in our memory when facts are not remembered.” -TIME magazine, Jennifer Lee
(2) Unfortunately, it is not a myth that Christians burned other Christians and non-Christians at the stake. “When a suspect was convicted of unrepentant heresy, the inquisitorial tribunal was required by law to hand the person over to the secular authorities for final sentencing, at which point a magistrate would determine the penalty, which was usually burning at the stake although the penalty varied based on local law.” - Wikipedia The Inquisition