“Our brothers and sisters in the activist community have been telling us the same thing for years about our niceness. Our commitment to being nice, to just getting along, is literally costing lives. They were right then. And they’re right now.”
– Erin Wathen
Women are inching their way toward equality, but haven’t yet arrived. There’s much room left for progress.
“We use slang terms for female genitalia when we want to imply weakness…. Use that word as a symbol of aggression toward women, and it is ‘just locker room talk.’ Use it in reference to a man to imply that he’s weak, and it’s suddenly the worst insult imaginable, as though weakness is so inherent to femaleness that all you need to do is conjure up the image of our body parts and you can effectively make another man worthless. If you use that word as an insult to men, what does that say about how you value women?”
Erin Wathen in Resist and Persist points out that specifically the voice of the church should get louder in calling for more equality.
This book is a moving collection of many different ways that faith can advance the fight for equality for the good of all. Not just for women. Men also benefit when women are empowered. “Good news for women is good news for everyone.”
As Wathen clarifies, women’s issues aren’t only about women; they are humanitarian issues.
“These are matters the church is called to address directly: — poverty — racism — access to health care — family leave and healthy family life — human trafficking — sexual assault and domestic violence, just to name a few.
But all of these issues have one thing in common: none of them should be partisan or controversial. They are not women’s issues; they are humanitarian issues. They are systemic and societal issues that affect all of us—men and women alike.”
Wathen calls for churches to to break free of only “pink ghetto” ministries for women. She suggests that people with privilege learn to amplify the voices of those with less privilege. She says we shouldn’t only make room for others at our table, but we should also show up at theirs.
“But sometimes I wince at the implication that ‘we’ are the ones with the power to invite—with the ownership of the table that entitles us to extend an invitation. I wonder if, rather than finding ways of making room at our table, we would do better to support and lift up what women in other circles are already doing. Then it’s no longer about inviting them to our show, but showing up for theirs.”
This book goes deep in exposing our wounds. It will make you uncomfortable in places.
But it doesn’t leave us there. Wathen shows us how we can use our words as healing properties to move the conversations forward in healthy directions.
“Calling in is more nuanced than calling out. It is constructive. It offers the offending person a way forward without having to put them on the defensive. It puts the onus on them to dig a little deeper, to think more critically about the statement they just made. ‘Hey, Jesus, even dogs get the bread crumbs.'”
This is everyone’s fight. “Women, get other women’s backs. Men, step in more often.”
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to raise their awareness of the systemic issues of inequality in our culture, and who wants to find hope for its improvement, both within our faith communities and outside of them.
“This is about the systemic silencing of literally half of the world—and half of the body of Christ—and it is far past time we ended it, together.”
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My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy
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