Interview with Jocelyn About her Book "Woman this is WAR!"

What is Woman this is War! about? It is about change. In many churches and homes, women are treated as second class citizens. This is not only unchristian and unbiblical, but it is unhealthy. It is emotionally and spiritually detrimental to all involved, and sometimes physically dangerous to women and girls.
   Can you elaborate on that statement? Yes. How can it be healthy and beneficial when Christian leaders call men who love their families but have no desire to rule over their wives, "wimps," and when prejudice against women is encouraged as Christians are taught that the underlying motive in the heart of every woman is to dominate men? This is taught by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood [CBMW] and is posted on their website. 
   Additionally, studies show that aggression and violence against girls and young women is increasing among young boys and college age young men. This has been connected with strongly held gender role beliefs. Tragically, mainstream Christianity is the primary propagator of this harmful paradigm. Complementarian teachings, pit husbands and wives against each other and often interfere in what might otherwise be happy marriages. Female submission teaching creates problems that complementarian leaders promise to solve. Thus, a thriving industry has been created for complementarian authors, speakers, and conference organizers that generates millions of dollars for those claiming to solve the very issues that their doctrine creates. 
   You sound like a feminist; isn't feminism opposed to Christianity and Biblical teaching? The definition of feminism has evolved over the years but at its most basic is simply "advocating for social and political equality for women." There is nothing inherently evil about that. 
   Language plays a dominant part in defining cultural attitudes. The earliest definitions of the word "feminist" were drafted by men in the 1930's. These men were hostile to the idea of equality between women and men. Webster's Dictionary first defined feminism as "propaganda," "the 'cult' of advocating for social and political equality for women." 
From 1938: The word "Feminist" was not yet in dictionary

   It is the original smear on the idea of equality, embodied in the first definitions of the word "feminism" and then later the word "feminist," that lies at the root of the negativism and stigma still attached to the word today.  
   The current practice within mainstream Christianity, is to label all manner of evil as "The Feminist” agenda. 
   Additionally, there is no evidence that Biblical feminism is a spin-off of secular feminism. It cannot be connected with secular feminism in any way. I document this thoroughly in my book, and anti-feminist author, Mary Kassian, admits as much in her book. 
   It is sad that Christian historians and authors have ignored, and even grossly misrepresented, significant Christian initiatives in the many movements for the autonomy of women. 
   Christian women and men have been instigators in the various historical movements for women's rights from the very beginning. For instance, four of the five women who organized the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention in 1848, were Quakers. Christian involvement in women's rights spans oceans and continents and can be traced to the 17th century. The very first feminist is said to be a Christian. I write about her in my book. 
   Christian women and men have a rich heritage in advocating for equality of the sexes; and it is a heritage we should be proud of. 
   What about women in the Church? The teaching that men should lead and women should follow cannot be found in scripture. In fact, there are scriptural examples of both women and men and of men following women. The complementarian prohibition against women teaching or leading in either the Old Testament or the New has no scripture to stand on. In Woman this is WAR!, I cover this in detail. It is a complete theological treatise on the subject of complementarianism and equality. 
   This is a contentious subject. Shouldn’t women just drop it and yield to male leadership for the sake of peace and order? No. Only true equality—in both essence and function—promotes true peace. In God’s order, liberty and autonomy are not gender-based and is commanded for all of his human creation. Insisting on gender-based hierarchy is unbiblical and sinful. No Christian should yield to sin. If refusing to submit to sin disturbs the peace, the fault lies with those exhibiting the sinful behavior—not by those refusing to submit to it. 
   Regarding women, your title accuses the church of aligning itself with caste and slavery. How can this be justified? It is justified, because it is true. Mainstream Christianity has historically taught [and currently teaches] that women are born into subordination for the simple fact that they are female. Complementarianism teaches that there is nothing a woman can do to rise above the fact of her birth. This is caste. Many of the arguments used to keep women in subjection are identical to the arguments used by slaveholders in attempts to prove that God divinely mandated slavery. I once spoke with a young complementarian who still believes that God mandated chattel slavery! In the book, I draw many parallels between the attitudes of 19th century slaveholders and those of 21st century traditional role religionists and complementarians. 
   It sounds like you cover a great deal of historical background in your book: Yes, Woman this is WAR! is a treasure trove of historical information relevant to the contemporary issue of complementarianism and should be of interest to anyone researching not only the Christian aspects of historical women's rights movements but also Black History. Some prominent figures in the movement for women's rights were former slaves. Also, many African Americans who played prominent parts in facilitating freedoms we enjoy today were devout Christians. I write about these in Woman this is WAR! 
 How would this book benefit non-Christians? The historical aspects, of course. But also, the issues exposed in Woman this is WAR! do not affect just Christians. Religious misogyny (not just Christian) held by judges, politicians, employers, teachers, and others demands to be expressed, and it does so in court case rulings, legislative voting, when hiring and doling out job raises and promotions, and with treatment of students. Although this book does not deal with these particular areas [or other religions besides Christianity] in detail, it is a fact that regardless of religion, the sacred beliefs of people in authority or positions of influence, can pose a danger to human rights [most especially the human rights of women] due to strongly held convictions about gender roles. We see this in all three of the main world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In order to understand how this can be true, this is the book to read and recommend.

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