Equality Forces Rape Culture?

The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc..

First click on the link, get a sense of the response in the comment section, and then perhaps read my thoughts on the matter. That way we'll be on a somewhat similar page, whatever our opinions, as we continue on.

Jared Wilson cites Douglas Wilson's works about male-headship in the home, especially in regards to the marriage bed. "In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts." (D.Wilson). Jared then builds his argument to suggest that egalitarians, who have worked hard to encourage mutual servanthood, compassion and love between partners in marriage, have actually caused rape culture. Since men now cannot be the head of the sexual household, we now have more fantasies for rape, S&M, and other violent domineering forms of sex. The post further implies that society is to blame for women getting raped. The author uses the book 50 Shades of Grey to underscore his point.

Rachel Held Evans, in her post The Gospel Coalition, sex, and subordination, is stunned that The Gospel Coalition would even think to post something like this — even complimentarians (those who do believe in male headship, but functionally live in equality) are shocked that such material has been presented here. Other more conservative groups have already made it clear that they believe that men are in charge, bar none. No surprises there.

Held-Evans points out that sexual domination is not about sex, but rather about power. I want to underscore her point here. In rape culture, it is not about the sensory act of sexual intercourse that feeds sexual violence. It is the lust for power and domination. This is not, nor has it ever been, God's original plan for men and women.

For example, it is a common practice for recruiters and pimps in the slave trade to immediately rape their victims.


In many cultures, virginity is one of the highest signs of virture and innocence. Once that is removed, the ugly threats of "Now you can never go home again because your family will turn you out" becomes all too real. The victim is broken easily as she knows that her family will disown her for no longer being a virgin, but her future is with a pimp. Even in "Bible-believing churches", the presence of an intact hymen in a young woman shouts out "Purity!", and when abuse takes place the victim is not only ashamed of what has happened to her, but is ashamed to share because of the backlash her supposed supportive community will retaliate with. Before slinging arrows back on that one, please know that I understand that there are many victims of trafficking and abuse who have been lovingly supported by churches around the world. My point here is only to highligh that many churches still have a long distance to go in terms of understanding a holy, sacred response to sexual issues.

Let's take another example of power in rape culture: virginity auctions. When a virgin is recruited, her price suddenly skyrockets. Men will pay top dollar to penetrate a virgin. It's lucrative, evil and reflects nothing of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Am I being clear about this? The Gospel Coalition posted Wilson's vague post which appeared to meander towards something like a neo-1950s household, and his condescending responses in the comment section to very real concerns show that perhaps the author did not think through the impact of his words, despite his intent.

Men and women in a equal relationship before God, in the home, in church and the world does not create rape culture. No matter how much Scripture one tries to twist out of the Bible to support the case, it does not work.

Gospel Coalition, I respectfully ask that you remove this post immediately, considering the applications and impact it is having upon women, sexual abuse/rape survivors, human trafficking survivors and perpetrators, and… men. Men are far better than the example given here, and there are those males who treat women far better than the poor theology given here.


Add Yours
  1. Wright

    Here is, to my mind, the saddest thing about the whole affair: are the words and opinions used and expressed by Doug Wilson repellent and perhaps even abhorrent? Yes, they most certainly are. Is the outrage expressed by Evans and co. merited? Yes. However, even given these two facts, I can’t help but feel that the entire affair has not achieved a single good thing. Has Wilson been called out? Sure, but it’s not like his opinions on the subject were ever a secret. Has the blogosphere responded well? Yes. And no. What I see has happened here is that Wilson has been given more airtime and exposure, his critics have criticized him, and the Body of Christ is more divided than ever it was. I could weep.
    Ah well. Maranatha, King Jesus.


  2. Erin Thomas

    I agree… divisions are painful and costly. Theologically I agree perhaps the airtime was unwarranted, but in terms of girls and women living lives as DV victims or HT slaves, advocacy for their freedom in Christ could just justified in repeating. It is difficult to welcome such sisters into a ‘free’ kingdom but then face the comments that were made. Would I press the matter now?
    No. Reconciliation was agreed upon between the two writers. To pursue it would be to create my own chip. My hope is that the act of reconciliation between parties speaks louder than the issue itself.


  3. Wright

    Hope. In these situations, it feels like hope is all one has. And I’ll admit that hope doesn’t sit well with my cut-and-dried framework. But hope is all we are left with after all the logic, illogic and arguments have run their course. It’s good for us, I think.


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