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MALE FEMINISM Essay, Research Paper

I chose to do my research report on Male Responses to Feminism. In which I read this book called ?Who Needs Feminism?? by Richard Holloway. Richard Holloway, distinguished churchmen, and male theologians in this book discusses the key aspects of feminism and how it affects the way they live, understand the world and the Christian faith today.

I think feminism is based on the principle that women have innate worth, inalienable rights, and valuable ideas and talents to contribute to society. It is true to me that feminism goes beyond mere equality and insists not only that women be given equal rights with men, but also that they be respected for themselves as well. In addition, feminism has always been about more than just women?s rights. From what I have learned thru all my years of school is that some of the same individuals who were key figures in the early women?s rights movement were also influential abolitionists, fighters for workers and

children?s rights, and reformers at all levels of government and church. For example in one of my history classes I remember learning about a women named Betty Friedan who was a women?s activist and fought for the rights of women in the women?s rights movement. In the women?s rights movement I think it has always been the idea that each individual has innate rights; that each individual is a valuable, contributing member of society. In this book the distinguished churchmen, and male theologians say that, ?Feminism presents a profound internal challenge to the tents of Christianity (Pg 8).? This brings up certain questions to me. In fact what positive contribution does feminism have to offer? Is feminism helpful only to women? Or is it true that men need feminism too? That is how Richard Holloway and his colleagues respond to feminism in this book.

To some people, men as well as women, feminism is a subversive threat to both church and society. That to me does not seem like feminism is positive because as a colleague of the author L. William Countryman states that, ?Feminism enables the church to survive or retain authority in its environing society (Pg 11).? I think if feminists

are hurting the church in any way that it cannot be contributing anything positive at all. I may not be a church going person but I have always thought that if someone did something to hurt the church it was a crime. For example, if I owned a store and one woman thought she was not being treated right and got a feminist group together and protested, but all the other women employees thought they were being treated right. That would hurt my business, and I see this as a simile to feminist hurting any progress to the church.

Over the years a big question has come about; why can women not be ordained? Instead of looking at negative things a woman cannot do for the church, lets look at the positive. As L. William Countryman says, ?Women have been full active members in the community from the start, serving as patrons, prophets, deacons, and apostles (Pg 22).? Richard Holloway then responds to this by saying, ?Very much the way a man is incapable of bearing children, women are incapable by nature of receiving ordination (Pg 7).? I see this as a good point because we all cannot do the same things in the world. We have to be different in some ways. Like Richard Holloway said men cannot have

`babies by nature and women cannot be ordained by nature. Then that is the way it has to be until someone changes that.

A male theologian named Stephen C. Barton sees Christian feminist writing, ?Having the tendency to claim either too much or too little from history is a problem (Pg 34).? He thinks that this is not positive because it does not help the church by responding, ?The effect of this is to cut women and men off from the past, from the Church, and from the biblical tradition of liberation and also, it denies the experience of many women themselves (Pg 34).? He responds to the feminist writing by sayings that are trying to get rid of history. That is most likely impossible because that is like getting rid of the bible and all of history of the world.

In chapter four of this book Iain Torrance a minister of the Church of Scotland and a lecturer in Theology at the University of Birmingham defends that the church is not totally sexist by saying, ?Much of the Christian culture has been and is deeply sexist. There is no doubt about that but it is something men must learn and repent of. But I want to maintain that Christianity need not be so; at its


heart Christianity is gospel-good news-for both woman and man (Pg75).? He is responding to a book called ?Theology and Feminism? wrote by Daphne Hampson a feminists. He has set to defend Christianity from a feminist?s point of view. First, Daphne Hampson says, ?The problem of Christology for feminists is that ?Jesus was a male human being and that thus . . .as the Second Person of the Trinity, it would seem that ?God? becomes in some way ?male?. This then gives the male human being a privilege. How may women see in the Godhead an image of themselves (Pg 77)?? Then Iain Torrance responds to her argument by saying, ?As far as she is concerned, Christianity is simply not true. Christ is one person from a union of divine and human natures, and a quandary how to express this (Pg77).?

If a person were to analyze this analytically, there would be no proof that god was male or female. This is because you need some physical proof not just texts and pictures. You would need substantial evidence. For example, if I had some sacred texts and pictures and theologians that said airplanes are real. But no one had ever seen an airplane before or if no one ever knew if an airplane was really real that is like saying the same thing about God.


You have books and ancient things that say this but no one has really seen God or that Airplane. Do not get me wrong I believe in God but some times I just think of things like that.

Is it true that men need feminism too, just like women? I do not think so because I do not have a feminine side to myself. But I do think that women should have some rights. I say some rights because if women get to many advantages they will get out of hand by trying to boss men around. My fellow males from the book also think they do not need feminism. Christopher Rowland a Professor of Theology at the University of Edinburgh says, ?As men we have power which we can choose to ignore or to exercise in ways which are responsive to the convictions of millions of women (Pg 74).? As a man I think we do have more of a choice than women to become feminist. For example, men have more rights than women I think because of strength. Just because men do have more rights gives us more of a choice not to be feminist. But women on the other hand rights are limited so they want to fight to get more rights by being feminist.


Also, Philip Sheldrake a lecturer in Pastoral Theology and Co-Director of the Institute of Spirituality at Heythrop College sees a male turning to feminism as, ?A male fear of loss of identity (Pg 96).? I think he is right because if a guy were turn into a total feminist, I would think he was gay. This is because I could not see a guy burning bras and marching for women?s rights with a whole lot of women around him. He would be losing some self-respect from me just because he is not going with his natural manhood.

Michael Jacobs an Anglican priest who teaches counseling and psychotherapy at the University of Leicester suggest that men do not need feminism. He talks about, ?The moral attitudes of men and women and how it affects the way they think and act (Pg 152).? He is responding to feminist therapists and feminist psychologists that propose, ?The basic feminine sense of self is connected to the world, and the basic masculine sense of self is separate (Pg 153).? The feminist sociologists and therapists sound to me like they think women to be the world and men to be in outer space somewhere by themselves. Michael Jacobs uses the theology of Freud that states, ?They show less sense of


justice than men . . .they are less ready to submit to the great exigencies of life . . .they are more influenced in their judgments by feelings of affection or hostility? to show that women are incomplete in their moral development (Pg 152). I believe he says this because sometime women rely on their feelings and heart more than anything else because women?s ethical norms are different from men. I feel this way because if more women were top executives and CEO?s in the world it would be a different place. This is because their decisions would be different from men just because our moral attitudes.

James P. Mackey a Professor of Theology at the University of Edinburgh sees feminism in the Catholic Church as a waste of time by saying, ?The Church will be no better than it is, and it will provide no more effective leaven than it now does in society at large, until the present forms of clerical/hierarchy domination are radically changed (Pg 112).? I would agree with Mr. Mackey because if women were given more power in the Catholic Church, there would be no real drastic changes. The only way he sees that the clerical/hierarchy domination of the Catholic Church will radically be changed is when, ?A


Church in which women are as at home and as effective at all levels as men now are will need a theology which secures the place of the feminine in the divine (Pg 112).? James P. Mackey uses Mary, the mother of Jesus as an example of a female in the divine, because Marian theology is traditionally used in the Catholic Church. But he sees Mary as perhaps the wrong choice by saying, ?Perhaps Mary, the very human mother of Jesus is the wrong foundation on which to try to build the image of the divine as feminine. There is reason to suspect that whenever Mary did take on divine attributes it was because she has entered into human cultures, she has met their deities, has influenced them and been influenced by them (Pg 113).? I see his view of Mary as wrong because I think she is all divine and is a good example of a female in the divine.

In Conclusion, in dealing with moral dilemmas, women will go against the idea of equal rights, unlike men where we tend to strive in it. There is equality in the difference, yet the perception of that difference holds the male perspective as superior. From the book I have read and presented exemplifies this. This is demonstrated by the


structure of our present system. Why have we adopted a male-perspective rather than a female-perspective?

The question above touches on oppression based on gender roles. A man response to feminism is usually sometimes right and wrong because everyone has there own opinion. Society has identified women?s roles to be in the home and among environments where their nurturing nature is needed. Men have been placed in roles where they are isolated and competitive. Based on our patriarchal social structure, the later characteristics have been the ones that note advancement into positions of authority and power. Granted, men and women have different strengths, but equal capabilities. Both have their limitations on either aspect, but in areas where women?s strengths should put them at the advantage, this simply does not happen. This is because strengths include their innate problem-solving ability, cooperation, ends-based system of finding the most plausible and correct position, would make them better suited than men in certain areas of power. However, due to prescribed gender roles, our biases that women are not equal to men and must maintain in their place. Society has


forced women to remain in these roles, which do not exemplify their talents as men are allowed to do. So women respond by using feminism as a way to get what they want.

The solution rests in an understanding of the concept that ?different? does not mean inferior. Men and women have different needs and strengths, different limitations and capabilities. Absent of this mentality, everyone should be treated on their own individual merits and chose positions in which they can strive based on their strengths. At points women have the advantage and vice versa. Rather, society must break the mould by which certain opportunities have been closed to women based on gender roles. This is why today men respond to feminism in a negative way.

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