This letter is in response to this article. The article links to a followup (which I don't address in this post). All definitions are taken from dictionary.com.
Trigger warning for victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or rape.
Dear Mr. Wilson,
I bet you’re probably feeling very persecuted right now.
I bet you’re thinking that you’re being persecuted for spreading the Gospel, and that your reward will be great in Heaven.
I don’t claim to know what your reward in Heaven will be. I don’t even claim to know if Heaven exists. I do know one thing: you are not, in fact being persecuted.
People are just calling you on your crap. That’s not persecution.
[ Note: Jared apologized for his article. This happened after I made this post (I'm not saying it was BECAUSE of this post, I'm just saying the apology post did not exist when I made the statements above). You can read the apology here. I've left this post unmodified. I stand by my criticism of the original quote he used. -HH]
Now, to be fair, I don’t think that you woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I think I’ll write an article encouraging violence against women today, because violence against women is just the bees knees.” I truly believe when you say that you abhor violence against women. I’m sure you had the best intentions when you wrote this article.
I don’t think that you hate women either. I know that you have a wife and two (?) daughters, and I’m sure you love them very much. I bet you’d take a bullet for them in a heartbeat.
I still think it was an awful article, however.
Now, to be fair, most of the article was not your words: it was a quote from a book by Douglas Wilson. But since you included it in your article and called it “especially relevant”, I’m going to assume that you are in 100% agreement with everything he said.
Let’s go through the quote:
“Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.”
Are you honestly saying that egalitarianism causes more violence? Do you honestly believe that things were better before egalitarianism? That there was less rape? Less abuse of women? You make mention of “true” authority and submission, implying that there is a “false” authority and submission. Please show me an example of “true” authority.
Allow me to introduce you to the No True Scotsman fallacy (or in this case, the No True Authority fallacy). You can’t point to every abuse of male authority and and say “Well , that’s not REAL authority.”
“When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. “
I assure you, that if sex is not an egalitarian pleasuring party, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. (Or, to be fair, one or both parties has a physical or mental issue that’s causing sex not to be enjoyable). However, if you have never made an honest effort to have an egalitarian pleasuring party, I really can’t recommend it enough. IT’S TOTALLY AWESOME.
“A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. “
You’ve gotten quite a bit of flack for your choice of words. I’m sure you feel that egalitarians just can’t handle the truth bombs you’re laying down. That’s probably because you’re conservative, and conservatives, in my experience, have difficulty understanding the inherent power of words. (I know that I had trouble with it when I was a conservative).
Conservatives tend to think that their words should be taken without any context. Perhaps they even refuse to acknowledge that the context exists. Let’s go through your words one by one.
I’m tempted to let you have this one. After all, penetration is a common way to describe intercourse. And you could make the argument that it’s accurate. And one of it’s definitions is “to enter the interior of”, which, I have to say, is pretty damn innocuous, not to mention accurate.
However, it can also mean “to pierce”, which makes me wince. “Pierce” implies damage of some kind. True, the hymen is sometimes pierced, but that doesn’t always happen. True, sometimes sex can hurt, but like I said, this generally indicates something is wrong. It shouldn’t be the normal state of things.
[Edit: After posting this, I was informed by one of my readers that "pierce" is an inaccurate term for what happens to the hymen during sex. It's more of a stretching and, sometimes, breaking. Nothing passes through it. --HH]
If you had stopped there, I might have let it slide. But then...
As they say in soccer (sorry, football): RED CARD.
Conquer means “to acquire by force of arms”, which, I’m sorry, implies rape. Again, I’m sure Doug didn’t mean to make that unfortunate implication, let alone say that rape is OK, but yet, the implication is still there. It is a word that should never be used when describing sex. NEVER. It’s gross.
Now, conquer can also mean “to gain, win, or obtain by effort” which is slightly less horrifying, but it still implies that a woman is an object to be “won”. And given your next choice of word, I don’t think that definition applies:
Sex is not just a biological game of Settlers Of Catan, Mr. Wilson. This word, combined with “conquer”, makes both word choices roughly one point four bajillion times worse. Show me one group throughout history that was conquered and colonized and thought it was a great experience.
Ok, by itself, I think this is actually not offensive, but combine it with “conquer” and “colonize” and now I’m thinking of the action of planting a flag, indicating ownership and victory. Gross.
Ok, not bad, but it does imply a certain level of passivity and begrudging acceptance on the women’s part. And I’m still thinking about “planting the flag” and “being colonized”, so this word, unfortunately, is ruined by the previous word.
What. The. Crap. Surrender means “to yield (something) to the possession or power of another”. Do I need to connect the dots for you? Men shouldn’t possess women. I can’t believe it’s 2012 and I needed to say that. Curse you for making me waste valuable time typing those words.
It can also mean “to give (oneself) up”. Again, less offensive. But it still implies passivity. And, when taken in the context of “colonize” and “conquer”, I can’t really say that the second definition applies.
Again, by itself it’s not a horrible choice. But what is the women “accepting” in this case? Conquest? Colonization? Not cool. It implies giving up, or reluctance.
“... we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual ‘bondage and submission games,’ along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the ‘soon to be made willing’ heroine. “
First of all, ‘bondage and submission games’ are not a problem if the involved parties consent to them and enjoy them. Second, I’m puzzled by the statement “Men dream of being rapists”. I really hope this isn’t to be taken as “ALL men dream of being rapists”, but there’s no qualifier, so I’m confused.
I’m a man. I don’t dream of being a rapist. Have you ever done so?
I’m not going to speak for women. I know that the novels you describe are popular, but again, I don’t think all women enjoy them, or feel the need to be ravished (at least not in the violent way you describe).
True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.
I’m assuming the rest of Doug’s book describes how to honor authority “according to the word of God.” Do we need to nominate a King of America? Because I don’t think Presidents are approved of in the Bible. Do I need to have a harem like Solomon? I don’t think my wife would approve, and honestly, it seems like way too much work. Also, I’m pretty sure I would be violating my town's fire code and my condo association’s bylaws by having that many women in my condo. Which brings up the question: is my condo association a legitimate biblical authority?
In fact, every example of authority in the Old Testament that I can think of is pretty toxic. Are these the “biblical authorities” you are referring to? Or maybe you’re thinking of New Testament authorities. I admit, Jesus was a pretty good example of what I look for in an authority. Trouble is, I can’t picture him high fiving you over this letter.
Or maybe you subscribe to the “prize fighter” Jesus that your friend Mark Driscoll is always yammering on about.
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent (not that you really had a choice).
I guess that means you surrendered to, accepted, and received my criticism?
Heretic Husband (or, “HH” if you’re into the whole brevity thing)