I found this interesting article today after following a link on Neil Gaiman’s website which in turn linked to this. It’s an article on how in certain churches, the Victorian male/female stereotypes are being portrayed as Biblical and it’s interesting for anyone who has thoughts on gender, religion and whatever.
The church I used to go to had some evangelical (cough, spit etc) leanings, although thankfully most of the time these were moderate and more rational than the type of things you get in US evangelical churches. However, not long before I left, there was a spate of people getting into this whole thing, drawing on the ‘Wild at Heart’ book and its ilk. I probably blogged about that at the time, in fact. There may have been some good stuff in that book and its ilk, but it left me and several other people very uncomfortable, particularly the way some people embraced it with real ease.
Admittedly I didn’t find Wild at Heart (or the women’s equivalent, ‘Captivating’) *quite* as offensive as I expected, but they still weren’t exactly great, and there was quite a pervasive undercurrent of misogyny in a lot of the Christian culture that surrounded these things. Fortunately it’s more prevalent in the US than over here, but it’s still something of a concern that the more charismatic and ‘progressive’ areas of the church are embracing all this sexist crap like it’s a good thing… and as I said, there may be some good things in it, but on the whole I can see it being used to pigeonhole, repress and alienate people further, and I hope churches are proceeding wigth caution in this whole field. Thank goodness for people like this article’s author who recognise the perilous nature of confusing religion with socially inscribed gender roles.