Truth in Advertising: Unladylike

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It’s not often you can judge a book by its cover, but this is one of those times. Pam Hogeweide has written another salvo in the continuing war of feminism on orthodox Christianity, Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church. Pam was kind enough to send me a review copy and offer to meet with me when she was in Denver some months back. I wanted to like this book more than I did, simply for Pam’s unabashed devotion to her subject. She garnered some enthusiastic blurbs as well, including one from CBE President, Mimi Haddad.

Unfortunately, the book lives up to its title. In more ways than one.

I am torn, here, between a full review and the dismissal the book really deserves. I’m going to steer toward something of a middle ground.

The first thing which intrigued me about the book was finding out about the “Listening Parties” the author hosts in her home. There is a brief guide for these at the back of the book. From her description of these through the book and the guide at the back, I was surprised she did not give even a tip of the hat to the women who pioneered the technique – consciousness raising. I’ve written about the technique and its success as a recruitment tool several times. See Like Nothing so much as a Children’s Play Group especially.

Aside from resurrecting a second-wave feminism recruitment technique, importing an ill-defined notion of justice to Christianity and presenting us with the odd combination, so familiar in religious feminism, of Marxist liberation theology and Maslow’s theory of Self-actualization, the book is riddled with odd phrases and misplaced images, eg, “eyes brimming with flashes of anger” and a rather unfortunate reference to the Arab Spring. However, the single most disturbing passage is one which killed the idea of finding any redeeming features in the book.

From page 77:

It is an unfortunate reality that the words of the Bible have been oppressive towards women for centuries. The male-dominated language of the Bible and the all-male authorship of the sixty-six books that make up the canon transmits the message that women’s voices are not worthy to be heard within its pages. When God’s Spirit inspired the Bible scribes to write holy words, apparently only men were eligible. The Bible appears to be a male-centric sacred book.

Recommendation: Poison. Don’t waste your money or your time.