(Note: I wrote the majority of this in the Amsterdam International Airport waiting for a flight on three hours of sleep, so my apologies for typos/incoherence.) So, apparently, I’m a slut. I’m a single, suburban, Planned Parenthood using, serial-dating white girl who voted for Obama. According to BSkillet of the “Christian Men’s Defense League,” I am a slut.
There have been a lot of jokes made about this now-pulled (though still available via Google Cache) post, and it is, indeed, an exercise in absurdity. While a friend got all ragey over it, I had issues stifling laughter as I read the post in the middle of a meeting (sorry, guys!). Illogical to the point of absurdity, BSkillet is hardly worth responding to.
Hardly, but not entirely useless. BSkillet expresses some extreme views, to be sure and commits numerous logical fallacies – straw man, generalization, ad homeniem, red herrings…pick your poison. It’s very easy to respond to such absurdity with equal absurdity (and some Hipster Sexism to boot, which is so fun*).
But BSkillet’s absurd misogyny serves to mask some views he actually shares with many evangelical Christians in America. Defense of sexually active women and “sluts” was actually a large factor in the election. To some extent, BSkillet is, well, right. I mean that, of course, in the most qualified sense of the term – his point, that women – particularly women of color – have made a large impact in the electoral process and changed the face of this election is undeniable.
How he arrives at his point, however, is reprehensible, misogynistic, and racist. That goes without saying.
But, as a woman with a lifetime of experience in the evangelical American church, his views on women did not surprise me. His thoughts, indeed, resemble in a more bald-faced fashion, teachings I absorbed as a member of the church. Whether it is black or white women, sexual purity is the end-all-be-all, and women as a whole are not highly regarded even if they do remain pure (BSkillet proclaims as much when he opens by saying “this is why women shouldn’t be in government” before he ever reaches the “slut vote” point).
BSkillet’s extreme point is in fact symptomatic of a larger culture that thinks women’s sexual choices and agencies are/should be up for a popular vote. It is unsurprising, then, that a culture in which the purity of women is everything would give rise to a man and a movement (The Christian Men’s Defense Network) in which women are discounted and even reviled for failing to live up to a man’s definition of pure.
Keep in mind that BSkillet is not just one extreme outlier, but is actually part of a larger movement in society. His writing is shocking only in the baldness of the misogyny, not in its views. The larger evangelical culture as a whole does, in fact, believe that a woman’s sexual activities are reason enough to discount her opinion in the public sphere.
The larger evangelical culture does, in fact, think that my dating life is reason enough to discount my work and my opinions in entire. I cannot tell you how much criticism has been levied at me simply for the fact that I am unmarried and childfree. Simply existing as a woman in the world of the church makes our opinions dependent upon the choices we make with our bodies, rather than independent of them. My decision not to change my name if/when I get married is, because I exist as a woman in the church, a political and declarative one.
It is not hard to leap from the evangelical church’s teachings to “the slut vote” and “what are those slutty women thinking.” In fact, I would say they make quite the bridge.