A Sad Tale of Feminism Gone to Seed

You may remember Elizabeth Wurtzel as the 24 year old phenom who published the 1994 megahit bestseller Prozac Nation. Now age 44, Wurtzel has spent the better part of her adult life living the feminist dream in New York City as a successful writer and Yale-educated attorney. Yet for all the fabulous accomplishments bedazzling her “fabulous” life, she says this in a recent article for New York Magazine:

It had all gone wrong. At long last, I had found myself vulnerable to the worst of New York City, because at 44 my life was not so different from the way it was at 24. Stubbornly and proudly, emphatically and pathetically, I had refused to grow up, and so I was becoming one of those people who refuses to grow up—one of the city’s Lost Boys. I was still subletting in Greenwich Village, instead of owning in Brooklyn Heights. I had loved everything about Yale Law School—especially the part where I graduated at 40—but I spent my life savings on an abiding interest, which is a lot to invest in curiosity. By never marrying, I ended up never divorcing, but I also failed to accumulate that brocade of civility and padlock of security—kids you do or don’t want, Tiffany silver you never use—that makes life complete. Convention serves a purpose: It gives life meaning, and without it, one is in a constant existential crisis. If you don’t have the imposition of family to remind you of what is at stake, something else will. I was alone in a lonely apartment with only a stalker to show for my accomplishments and my years.

I was amazed to discover that, according to The Atlantic, women still can’t have it all. Bah! Humbug! Women who have it all should try having nothing: I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund—I don’t even have a savings account. It’s not that I have not planned for the future; I have not planned for the present. I do have a royalty account, some decent skills, and, apparently, a lot of human capital. But because of choices I have made, wisely and idiotically, because I had principles or because I was crazy, I have no assets and no family. I have had the same friends since college, although as time has gone on, the daily nature of those relationships has changed, such that it is not daily at all. But then how many lost connections make up a life? There is my best friend from law school, too busy with her toddler; the people with whom I spent New Year’s in a Negril bungalow not so long ago, all lost to me now; every man who was the love of my life, just for today; roommates, officemates, classmates: For everyone who is near, there are others who are far gone.

Wurtzel famously has a knack for finding the dark side of everything. Certainly here she has found the dark side of feminism. There is a price to pay when one trades her birthright for a mess of pottage. The trap of feminism is that so few modern people can see it for the mess of pottage that it is. Even Wurtzel misses it, though she feels deeply the pain of it.

I do not believe feminism is to blame for all women who find themselves single. Nor do I think that feminism alone accounts for all the moral pathologies on display in Wurtzel’s article. But I do believe that feminism has provided the social context for women to be congratulated by the culture for sad choices that they make. Third wave feminism in particular–and especially its tendency to ape male promiscuity–has left many women desolate and alone. As one feminist put it, these women have become the shocked victims of their own sex lives.

Essays like this one should not arouse disdain or clucking tongues. It should provoke compassion for those who are being held captive to lies. For Christians, it should remind us of what is at stake in our debates about manhood and womanhood. It should also shore up in us a resolve to hold forth the truth of what God made us to be.

He did not make us unisex. He did not make us genderless humanoids with no direction for our intimate lives. He made us male and female. And for those to whom it has been given, He made us to give ourselves away to years of finding stale Cheerios in every hidden crevice of the minivan, to seasons of graduations and of anniversaries and of empty nests, to gray years with the love of your life who is your best friend, to lifetimes of covenant love.

Feminism is the killer of that dream, even though precious few seem to notice.

145 Responses to A Sad Tale of Feminism Gone to Seed

  1. Brian Beal January 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    The sad part is that feminism was intended to promote the well-being of women…instead it did the exact opposite and fostered the irresponsibility of men. Men actually were/and are the primary beneficiaries of feminism. Sex with no responsibility and an ideology that teaches women that is good. That a man should never lay down his life for a woman and stick by her side through all seasons of life.

    This was a bill of good sold to women as “liberation” but has really been their own worst enemy as relationships are free from commitment, and they truly are taught that being alone is their salvation.

    • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Very astute remark, Brian.

      I had a missionary friend of mine–conservative, godly, and theologically brilliant and forward thinking–make the remark that after a full generaly of feminism it seems that (on the street and for the current young adults that assume it a priori) the whole thing comes down to “show us your t—s!”

      Wurtzel mentions those men who were the “love of her life, just for today.” Where are they now? To be blunt, they got what they wanted from the attractive blonde they slept with and went on their way–with her picking up the tab in the name of her own “liberty.” Sadly, and very late in the game, she realizes…

    • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      Would you agree that slavery was a corruption of Christianity?

      What you’re describing is a corruption of feminism. Keep in mind, feminism gave women the right to vote. Feminism led to laws against child labor. Feminism helps women escape from domestic violence. Feminism is working to change the current rape culture in which we live.

      Feminism taught me that my body is my own, and men don’t have a right to it without my permission. Christianity–or rather, a corruption of Christianity–taught me that my body is shameful, and when men ogle me, or harass me, it’s my fault for inciting lust in them.

      Humans are sinful and corrupt what is beautiful and good. Overall, feminism has been good for women, just as overall, Christianity has been good for humanity.

      • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

        in a way we deserve the evils of feminism-cause we christians have not exactly treated women with respect the bible calls for.

        Right to vote etc-were good important things-pioneered by christians BTW

        the new form since the 60′s is pure selfishness, anti male and anti God.
        Feminism puts women in situations of violence-fooling women to believe they are more powerful if they sleep with more men-develop relationships with heaps of men and such men who sleep with a different woman everyday are largely violent

      • erin adams January 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

        I second your comment here, Belle! There are lies that may be told & believed often in feminism. But, that doesn’t mean that feminism in the basic idea of equality is the problem. It means the lies that being unshackled by love and relationship are problems. Promoting self as the greatest is the problem.

      • Jackson Pruett January 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

        it also made woman sexist against all men and caused woman to believe they are superior to anyone against them. it may have brought great things when it first started but now has become nothing but hate. a womans body is her own indeed but that doesnt give her the right to make men believe they are below her no matter what their view on women are, good or bad. its thanks to feminism that the male race has such a terrible reputation and its thanks to the choices of men that brought feminism along in the first place and caused woman to hate so much. we all need to just come together as family, that is what we all are.

  2. Paula Cullen January 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Teresa, your comment reminds me of how paralyzed I can become by trying too hard to understand the difference between God’s part and mine in decisions and actions. I agree, this kind of paralysis can be enabled by unbalanced teaching. I try to remember the old saying: “Pray as if everything depends on God, but then get up and work as if everything depends on you.” In this case, single women who want to marry should pray and fast, asking God to provide a godly husband. Then they should do everything they can to qualify themselves as potential wives, including readying themselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It gets very practical. Get an education and workplace skills, learn homemaking skills, take care of your health, and groom yourself as best you can. In American culture today, every woman needs a good haircut, the right hairstyle for her, and a little make-up. Exercise regularly, lose excess weight, maintain an attractive figure. And of course, read your Bible and pray daily with a sincere desire for God. Serve others in the church. Cultivate inner AND outer beauty. It’s not that hard to figure out, and it’s not even that hard to do.

    • Jennifer Lerma January 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Paula – what do you say to those single women who “do everything than can to qualify themselves as potential wives” and still find themselves single after years of praying? I am 39 years old, single and still have the desire to get married and have children, yet God has not answered my prayer in the affirmative as of yet. I pray asking God to change my desires if mine and His don’t match but in the mean time, what am I to do? I have a college degree, successful career, have purchased a home and have investments. I don’t consider myself a feminist, I consider myself independent because I have no other choice. I believe I am cultivating inner and outer beauty, yet no husband has come forth. Since it is not “hard to figure out or even hard to do” , am I doing something wrong? I don’t advocate Elizabeth Wurtzel’s life and choices, I think she is clearly misguided, but I also don’t think that a good haircut and bible study will bring the godly men running to my door.

      • Teresa Rincon January 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        Thank you, Jennifer! I don’t pretend for a minute that I am some great catch, but I know so many women in church circles who are doing everything right, yet they are in their 30s and 40s and men aren’t pursuing them.

        My own pastor has 32-year-old never married daughter. She is pretty, athletic, smart, on her church worship team, etc., but a husband hasn’t come into her life. Maybe we need an evangelical version of the old Jewish matchmaker role.

      • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

        Hey, Jennifer! Great to hear from you. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I think your perspective is valuable here, and it made me think that my abbreviated commentary may have been inadequate. I added a paragraph to the original post to clarify that I didn’t have godly ladies like yourself in mind when I critiqued the feminist aversion to marriage and family life. I apologize if that wasn’t clear. I hope the paragraph I inserted above helps. Again, it’s great to hear from you! Blessings! -Denny

        • Lore Ferguson (@loreferguson) January 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

          This article is very telling not only about the feminism movement, but also the simple reality that there are many godly women who are in very much the same shoes as Elizabeth.

          And here is what I would say to that, in some respects the freedom I have been afforded by the Lord in 32 years of singleness enables me to rent, to live frugally, to give extravagantly, to study extensively, to travel voraciously. I do not have a large savings or a 401K because I’ve chosen to work for an NGO/non-profit—because I *can.* I don’t see these as negatives for me, though, as Elizabeth seems to. I have no regrets about the decisions I’ve made within the boundaries I’ve been given. I’m in no way a feminist, and often struggle with the wide and pleasant boundaries I’ve been given by the Lord to play in for these years. I don’t begrudge these years—I thank God for them. I Corinthians 7 speaks of an unmarried woman concerning herself with things of God, with undivided devotion, and I think it would behoove the Church to see the similarities that can occur in the lives of a secular feminist and a godly woman—the only difference being one lives for herself and one spends her life on others. Their financial security and equity may look very much the same though.

          I think the Church at large encourages single women to find some balance in a season of prolonged singleness. Jennifer says it well when she points out that being 39 and single doesn’t mean she’s a feminist, but it does mean she’s had to embrace independence in a way she might not have planned for. The Church ought to encourage the *tension* we feel in prolonged seasons of anything—we are all waiting for something and the longing to be married can be compared to the longing we have for heaven. Our Groom hasn’t yet come to take us away, and yet, in the meantime, we don’t encourage the Church to embrace independence or not long for the hope of Heaven. We talk about tension, the already/not yet, living with the angst because it produces in us an eternal hope.

          So we encourage the Church to be busy within her realm of influence, study to show herself approved, give extravagantly, etc. We should also do this with single women (and men =)) and encourage her when she succeeds in this undivided devotion.

          • erin adams January 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

            Excellent comment, Lore!

        • Bob Goethe January 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

          “Feminism” is a hot button issue for you, Denny. That’s OK. I have my own hot button issues. But Wurtzel’s problem is less that she is a feminist, than that she is a 44 year old without Jesus.

          Say, if you will, that feminism has won this at least…that women can experience the same mid-life crisis, the sense of lack-of-meaning, futility and dread, that 44 year old men have experienced for some time now.

          For both men and women, the solution is not to be found in a 401(k) or in Cheerios between the seats, but in Jesus.

          • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

            And women can support themselves and their children and their patents without resorting to prostitution. That is how it started. Anyone want women to have no other choice? Should women back out of employment, starve their family and hope that this will result in men responding to the challenge of masculinity at some future date?

          • Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 7:02 am #

            Yes, Bob, exactly. Well said!

          • Heather Ford January 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

            Amen! Amen! Amen, Bob. We all need Jesus. This isn’t about feminism. It’s about Jesus.

  3. Jane January 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Why is it that feminism always takes the blame for this kind of mess? You and Ms. Wurtzel seem comfortable letting feminism take the fall, but I think that you both need to look deeper. Ms. Wurtzel appears to have a multitude of issues at work here – had you read Prozac Nation, that would come as no surprise.

    There are many of us that consider ourselves feminists who are perfectly satisfied with the life that our choices have created. We have not made a mess and we have the families and careers of our dreams.

    And for the record, feminists have no trouble distinguishing male from female. We celebrate the difference – we’d just like to think that difference and equality are not mutually exclusive.

    • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      Jane, I think you have a good point. My abbreviated commentary seems to have left the impression that that I think feminism alone is to blame for the difficulties Wurtzel describes. I don’t believe that. So I inserted another paragraph into the original essay to make that clear. It’s the one that begins with, “I do not believe feminism is to blame…” Hope that helps. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

    • Elizabeth McAlpine January 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      A good comment, Jane – thank you.
      So often people who are nervous about feminism and egalitarianism (not the same things, I’m aware) seem to think that feminists and egalitarians have trouble distinguishing male and female. I so agree with what you wrote: “We celebrate the difference. We’d just like to think that difference and equality are not mutually exclusive.”

      Denny – thank you for your kind tone in responding to Jane.

      • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        Yes I am nervous about feminism
        in Sweden /Norway it has gone the point where if a man urinates standing up in a male toilet he is insulting women!!
        and if a preschooler boy plays with lego-he has committed a crime, immediately they take it away and give him a doll!
        also
        He/Him/she/her are not allowed to be used neither is boy or girl
        the ultimate goal of such foolish feminists and egalitarians is to destroy anything unique about men – then sit and wonder why men do not go to church in the same numbers as women
        wonder why boys do not do so well??-

        hint hint, you keep trying to make male characteristics as bad!-seriously, why are you so jealous of men??!!!
        feminists are just a bunch of women who are disappointing God did not make them a man for some strange reason

        • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

          Ha ha. Tomorrow is lego day at out school. It is the wrap for a term of lego creations. We have trains also. We even have a dolls house of silvan critters, and the boys and girls play with the toys of their choice.

          Akash,

          You could not be more wrong. What a tragedy! Feminists are women like myself who are committed to putting our children through college and caring for our parents. We would love to be married, but some of us aren’t. We simply don’t believe in the subordination of women. That’s it. That is all a feminist is – a woman who actively strengthens herself, in order to support herself and her family, as the Bible instructs all Christians to do. We are women who do not subordinate ourselves because others depend on us.

          • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

            difference between choice and forced which is what is done in these feminist utopias-look in a dictionary-choice is different from forces!!

            Actions speak louder than words-explain to me how a man urinating standing is subordinating a woman??????
            and I can list way more
            how is only allowing women to be doctors-or letting them enter with lower grades have anything to do with equality??
            Feminists basically play the subordinate card to oppress men as is happening in western countries

            then people wonder , why men do cause so much violence-why are they unemployed??-all of this will lead to more and more useless men (feminist dream) and eventually violence and make society more unsafe for women.

            BTW a person who does not submit is not being very christian,christian who do not submit is an oxymoron!!!!!

            BTW try reading my comments before commenting on them-and teach your school children to do the same

            • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

              I’m sorry you feel this way.

              • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

                interesting response when you cannot defend feminist lies

                • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

                  Akash,

                  These things you talk about are not in my country. I am not familiar with them. I assume that you were not addressing me when you talk about making male characteristics bad, and being jealous of men. That is not me.

                  Half of all women my age are single. The Christian women my age are not going to be able to retire at the normal retirement age because we did not have paid employment earlier.

                  Perhaps you are not aware of the many “Home Children” – orphans, really children of single parent homes, who were sent from London to Canada to work on farms, and often treated as slaves.

                  There is no golden past. There was widespread poverty and starvation. I don’t look back to any good old days. Its a great thing that women can help support the family, whether single or married. This is something to celebrate. The church should not denigrate women helping to feed

                  • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

                    I am talking about what America is going towards and what feminists desire- become a man hating country

                    If the past was golden we would not have changed!!-who over here is looking at the past?!! back your claim with evidence

        • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

          Have you been to Norway or Sweden? Spent time with anyone there and their families? I spent a week there visiting different family members, spread across about ten family “units.” I assure you, all the cute little kids were still wearing pretty gendered clothing (blue for boys, pink for girls) and the all the cute older kids were playing with gendered toys (trucks for boys, dolls for girls).

          Personally, I see nothing inherently wrong in showing kids their toy options and letting them choose. My parents did that with my brothers and me. I played with toy tools just as often as I did with dolls.

          I’m a feminist and a Christian. I love being a woman. I think you should be more careful in your words lest you malign the inherent goodness of Christ and His followers.

          • Akash Charles January 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

            ummm-pls read my comments again they are being forced?? feminists are all supposed to be about choice right???-so how do you not understand the meaning of forced!
            just because you cannot defend oppressive feminist ideals do not call it christian

            • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

              I did read your comment, but I find no evidence of children being forced to play with certain toys in Norway and in Sweden. I asked if you have actually been there. I provided my own, granted anecdotal, evidence against your false assertion since I’ve actually been to Norway and have a considerable amount of family there.

              Are you conflating a gender-neutral toy ad campaign with forcing girls to play with trains? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324205404578147373422297406.html

              Please provide a link to your commentary, or a personal observation. Otherwise, you’re lying to further your point.

              Furthermore, I did not call forcing anyone to do anything Christian. I specifically replied to this comment of yours “feminists are just a bunch of women who are disappointing God did not make them a man for some strange reason” by stating that I am evidence to the contrary.

              • Akash Charles January 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14038419

                so tell me how not allowing men to urinate standing up is helping women

                tell me that ensuring(by discrimination-inspite o flower grades) more girls to enter med and law schools is not unfair-very very christian of you
                all these show that feminists fear men who succeed and our jealous that they are not male-also that fact that u support these actions says enough
                and for more evidence google my examples pls
                I do not lie like feminists to oppress people

                • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

                  That’s an awesome article that presents a preschool that offers children all the typical toys, just mixed up instead of segregated as “boy toys” and “girl toys.” Where in the article does it state that the girls can’t play with dolls?! Because this is all I’m seeing.

                  “Most of the usual toys and games that you would find in any nursery are there – dolls, tractors, sand pits, and so on – but they are placed deliberately side-by-side to encourage a child to play with whatever he or she chooses.”

                  I’m focusing on this singular point because it rings as false to me, and you have again failed to prove its accuracy. Show me some stats to back up your other assertions (really, men can’t use the loo standing up?! where?), and we can discuss those.

                  • Akash Charles January 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

                    you do realise in that school he/she cannot be used everyone is known as “friends” read!!! and google
                    I know you like to oppress men cause your a feminist and that is your ideology and you call it christian!
                    http://www.thelocal.se/41358/20120611/

                    and read again and google more!!!!

                    the evidence is there-I do not need to keep typing again-your just ignorant-common symptom of those who oppress -think segregation etc

                    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/you-can-give-a-boy-a-doll-but-you-cant-make-him-play-with-it/265977/

                    google gender quotas -in europe women get promoted even if they are worse than their male counterparts-cause they do not want men to rise to influential positions and desire to oppress them -with all this no wonder young men emigrate the most from western countries
                    http://www.thejournal.ie/emigration-young-men-2011-census-birth-rates-492305-Jun2012/

                    one example you can google more
                    in the public sphere female senators are allowed to say men are too confontaional(google it) but how dae a man say female senators are too emotional-the double standard is hilarious

                    then women cry on how they cannot find a good enough man in church to marry etc-you deserve to not be married-you hate men or male characteristics-and no matter how much you say men and women are different you act like they are interchangeable!!
                    also your goals of removing men from the workforce(quotas-look above) and education(reserved seats for women in top schools/universities-google it pls-God has blest you with hands and a mind-use it!-I know your used to nanny state everything being done for you but you need to grow up)-will only make countries like China more powerful cause they are educating both boys and girls and not just one gender.

                    I am aware of your hatred for anything male – so no matter how much evidence I give its no point your blinded-anyways I warn you -you will be unsafe in the future-cause too many unemployed men or angry men leads to societies like Africa-which are horrid for women

  4. David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    This is one of the best narrative expositions of what I believe to be Paul’s intention in 1 Timothy 2:15. Ironically and powerfully, it comes from a secular practitioner and not an evangelical preacher.

    It isn’t the first I have heard on this score, but it is certainly one of the more potent.

  5. Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    “Feminism is the killer of that dream, even though precious few seem to notice.”

    Many men could write this exact same story. What will we blame that on?

    It is all a me-centered humanism which promotes this sorry tale. And, yes, of course, feminism without God is just another version of me-centered humanism. Let’s put the blame where it really lies – life without salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Kathryn,

      I really do believe that this is Denny’s point–it is certainly mine in my response to Brian. But your final line, if not properly defined, could duck the issue. The feminism that Wurtzel has lived is one of the more prominent Christless philosophies of living out there today. It has deceived both men and women, and left them both empty.

    • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      I agree. My point is that feminism provides the social context that supports women who pursue the worser angels of their nature. I added a paragraph above to try and make that point more clearly. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

      • Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

        How about a counter example about complementarianism gone to seed. I educated myself only to be a missionary wife. I vowed to obey. I had the number of children I was allowed, no more, no less. I attended a top notch church with all the right teaching, and ended up going to the doctor for spending too many hours on my knees in the women’s prayer group.

        And what do I have to show, and I include a few others like me in this. Divorce, debt, under-employment, stress-related diseases, cancer, hoping to retire at 75.

        The women around me, in fact, my two best friends, married to agnostics, are still happily married, work part-time, spend a lot of time home-making, and are happily planning their retirement with their dear husbands.

        If you want to take the worst of what you label as feminism, I could tell some stories about those who have taken the conventional path.

        • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

          Please let us know, Suzanne, how complementarianism gave you cancer…

          I have a great deal of respect for many of the women who have responded to this thread and their posts–even ones I disagree with. But increasingly you strike me as a person who is just angry and feels sorry for herself. Elsewhere you posted that your “heart breaks for women.” Don’t you mean yourself? You may have every reason to be heartbroken, but who doesn’t?

          My mother walked away from 28 years of marriage and seven children against the pleadings of my father, though it was she–not he–who had violated the vows of fidelity. Why? She swallowed feminist drivel and lies, buying into the “Cinderella Complex” nonsense and lusening to poisonous counsel fo people who, in the course of time, also destroyed their lives through rebellion. Somehow she was convinced that she had never really lived, never even really been married (and got an anullment, believe it or not!).

          Your description of herself fits her nearly to a T (except for the cancer–but she certainly has the stress-related illnesses to make up for it). Anyone can tell stories.

          Crux probat omnia.

          • Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

            Wow. I do feel sorry for you and I am happy to hear your story. I don’t want to give all the details of my own story, but if I take the story of 5 women together, 3 good friends, 1 sister and another woman who appealed to me, this is what we see –

            All under-employed, dealing with poverty going into old age
            All lived with violence for 10 to 20 years
            Most have serious stress related health issues, but still work full time or more

            Statistics show that men live longer married. Women don’t. Women live longer in a happy marriage, and live much shorter in a stressful marriage. Men married, happily or not, live longer than unmarried men.

            We women, from highly stressful marriages, are experiences the years of difficult stress that leads to a shortened life. I am not whining. I love my life. I work full time and more. I engage in sports. I go out a lot.

            But the truth needs to be discussed. There is an enormous cost when people live with violence. Children run away from home and sometimes never forgive their mothers for not getting a divorce earlier. That is the life I know.

            I am immensely grateful every second of my life for the fact that I do finally live alone. I thank God every day for the fact that I could leave, I do have a job, I can afford to live on my own.

            I really don’t carry the bitterness and misery that you display in your comments. I would never attack you personally. I simply have no desire to do so. I don’t know why you are on the attack. I won’t speculate, but you say it has something to do with your mother. So sorry.

            • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 1:49 am #

              Don’t yu mean the “bitterness and misery” you display in /your/ posts? Come one and be honest, Suzanne. Up til now I would have described you as a blogger who didn’t read other people’s posts before responding to them. Now I think you are one who doesn’t even read your own!

              I say all this with a smile, and no rancor, but for pity’s sake someone has to call you on this stuff. In your previous post, you essentially blamed complementarianism for your decision to stop having children, a failed marriage, debt, under-employment, cancer, and knee problems (though I don’t get how a husband who is a complementarian would insist you kneel rather than sit while praying–that’s a new one to me). Nobody forced you to write those things. Please don’t say someone else is “on the attack” when you are confronted with the vaccuousness of your own statements (I won’t call them arguments).

              Once again, while you clearly have the intelligence, writing ability, and motivation to address the issue, you choose to sidestep what is at hand. Denny said nothing about the egalitarian/complementarian debate, nor have I. What he did is post an article, wherein a /feminist herself in her own words/ calls her chosen philosophy of living a failure. Yes, larger things are in play, but a great many details she mentions in the original article are textbook feminism. The power of Wurtzel’s words–and surely this is Denny’s point–is that she identifies /herself/ as the perpetrator that made her a victim. You, on the other hand, continually point to /others/, and I daresay you point to anyone who has the temerity to identify themselves by the theological position you have identified as the source of all your woes.

              It would have been far more powerful of you to just say, “Yep. Unbridled feminism apart from Christ stinks. If she had been willing to marry a good man who would respect and treat her as an equal it sure would have been better than the ‘one night stand’ life she adopted.”

              But you didn’t say that. Instead, you all but implied that if women would just marry agnostics then they could all live happily ever after. Do you think such a statement–such selective stories, your experience though they be–glorifies God or furthers the cause of Christ (or Christian egalitarianism)? If I didn’t pity you so strongly I’d use stronger language still. But I think you are brushing up against putting the Almighty to the test with that one, a la Psalm 73:21-22. I pray that you may experience the rest of the psalmist’s journey that is described in the following verses.

              For the sake of the forum I’ll say this: Bad things happen to good people, and sincere people who do their all in a marriage sometimes get the short end of the stick. It happens to atheists and theists, Muslims and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, egalitarians and complementarians. Whatever the context, the suffering naturally takes on the flavor, form, and distinctives that the people involved identify themselves by. But getting hurt in life and being treated unfairly is part of the sinful human condition. But if you end up feeling like Job, don’t decide to play one of Job’s friends as well, vainly looking for the sin that caused all the trouble. Sometimes we just never know.

              • Akash charles January 8, 2013 at 2:44 am #

                you have guts-first person to try and go to the root of her problem!
                such criticism can be very useful-it was useful for me

    • erin adams January 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      YES!

  6. Emily McGowin January 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    The claims you are making here are overgeneralized and unsubstantiated. Why exactly is “feminism” to blame here? And, perhaps more importantly, what exactly do you understand “feminism” to mean in this context? (With sincere respect, if you understand feminism to correspond to a perspective where “a man should never lay down his life for a woman and stick by her side through all seasons of life,” as Brian suggests above, then that’s a serious problem.)

    Without an axe to grind against feminism, I read the tragic excerpt from Wurtzel and came to a different conclusion. Perhaps there are (at least) two things at root here: (1) an extreme manifestation of individualism and (2) the result of a life of materialism (both it its consumerist sense and in the sense of a denial of a spiritual/eternal realm of human existence). Both of these things are rampant in our culture. And, neither are synonymous with feminism, although they certainly show up in some versions of feminism (i.e., materialism in Marxist feminism or individualism in liberal Western [aka, "second wave"] feminism).

    Scholars understand that there are many varieties of feminisms today. So, to speak flippantly about “feminism” in a general way is inappropriate and misleading. Surely Christian scholars should model the skill of making such important distinctions, even in emotionally freighted conversations. How else can we help people to cultivate careful thinking and nuanced analysis of important cultural issues?–issues like the things raised by Wurtzel’s brutally honest writing.

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      feminism is materialism and the focus on self that is the point!!!!!

      • Emily McGowin January 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

        Right. And Christianity is Platonism.

    • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Emily, thanks for your push-back here. I agree that my abbreviated commentary was inadequate. I added a paragraph to try and focus the issue a little better than I did in the original post. It’s the paragraph that begins with, “I do not believe feminism is to blame…” Hope that helps.

      The moral pathology on display in Wurtzel’s article is wide-ranging and isn’t reducible to feminism alone. The items you cite–individualism and materialism–are certainly in the mix as well. What I was trying to say is that feminism–in particular the third wave variety–provides the social context in which women can make bad sexual choices and be affirmed for them. I also think that feminism’s insistence on egalitarian gender roles has give birth to a generation of passive males. This hasn’t helped all those women out there who would like to be married but aren’t because they find themselves surrounded by unserious, unmarriable men.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

      • Emily McGowin January 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

        Thanks for the clarification, Denny. Of course, as an evangelical who affirms complementarity in gender relations without hierarchy, I would not agree that egalitarian gender roles *necessarily* leads to “passive males.” (My very active, virtuous, masculine husband would also disagree!) But if by “egalitarian” you mean sexual interchangeability and a total flattening of difference, I do agree that can be seriously problematic, both individually and socially. Thanks again for the clarification and editorial change.

        • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

          yeah the idea of interchangeability is a huge problem-that is why I do not understand how those who agree with interchangeability oppose gay marriage, cause if a man can be a woman and vice versa why do you oppose gay marriage??

      • Bonnie Lindblom January 9, 2013 at 12:47 am #

        I agree that a feminist-influenced social context supports bad choices that women make, which is really unfortunate. But I also think that male passivity is in part due to cultural and social confusion on the part of men who haven’t been able to adjust to changing cultural gender norms. By this I mean more women in higher education and the workforce and excelling in areas once thought to be the domain of men. This isn’t so much a feminist insistence on egalitarian gender roles as it is a natural shift due to more opportunities for women, which are a good thing.

  7. Larry Geiger January 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    “He made us to give ourselves away to years of finding stale Cheerios in every hidden crevice of the minivan, to seasons of graduations and of anniversaries and of empty nests, to gray years with the love of your life who is your best friend, to lifetimes of covenant love.” Yes!!

    I take Brennan’s hand (my son’s two year old) and we walk out to the playground when he finally becomes too restless to sit in the pew. He is very allergic and we can’t leave him in the nursery lest he pick up someother child’s cup or food. For about 10 or 15 minutes he wanders around the equipment and little plastic houses. He calls me over when he makes a new discovery and we talk about acorns.

    If you are twenty something and making decisions about your future, try, try, try not to pick the life that this women has chosen. Decide to become a part of bringing new life into this world and loving the new life that has been entrusted to you.

  8. Rose Booth January 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    From a woman who has a solid career, but believes in biblical womanhood based on Scripture, I feel the pain of feminism. I work a career because I have to, not because that is how God created me to be. I serve the Lord faithfully right where I’m at, and pray that I can fulfill His calling in me as a wife one day Until then, I fight the battle of corporate America and shine as brightly in this dark world as I can.

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      God Bless!!

      what if God wants you to remain working and not get married??
      All women do not have to be wives and mothers
      unless you really want to be a wife -then it is different

    • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Dear Rose, Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I think your perspective is spot-on, and it made me think that my abbreviated commentary may have been inadequate. I added a paragraph to the original post to clarify that I didn’t have godly ladies like yourself in mind when I critiqued the feminist aversion to marriage and family life. I apologize if that wasn’t clear. I hope the paragraph I inserted above helps. Again, it’s great to hear from you! Blessings! -Denny

    • Barbara Jackson January 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      Right there with you, Sister. God bless.

  9. Anna Olson January 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    The problem here is that this isn’t about feminism. This is about being human and sinful. Yes, there are problems with the way Wurtzel chose to live her life, but what about those men who stay perpetually single, and don’t form meaningful relationships? Ostensibly, they’d have the same problems, but are they facing the same amount of judgement? She’s also associating material success with a meaningful life, as well as lamenting the lack of important relationships in her life.

    I’m concerned that the responses to Wurtzel’s story here are suggesting that only marriage and children provide a meaningful life. This is a constant problem in the church–the view that if someone is single, there is something wrong with them. I know many women and men who are single, for various reasons, and who have chosen not to let that stop them from living a Christ-centred life. Their lives are significant, and joyful, and while many of them are still hoping to marry and have a family, they don’t let the lack of those things destroy their lives or take them away from their callings. Better that they listen to God and wait for His timing than marry simply for the sake of marriage.

    • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      Anna, I couldn’t agree more that we in the church shouldn’t see singleness as a disease, nor should people marry just to be “cured” of it rather than out of a proper understanding and appreciation for what it is (or better put, who God is and who the other person is).

      But I fear that like a number of comments here that say, in effect, “Wurtzel’s statement is about Wurtzel and not feminism,” yours ducks the issue a bit. The lifestyle Wurtzel bemoans (and it is helpful to read the full article–Denny provided a mere exerpt) is, in fact, a textbook description of what many exalted not so long ago as the ideal feminist lifestyle. “Gone to seed” is the operative phrase.

      I have a sister who is an Obama liberal. She never took her husband’s name, is pro-choice in respect to abortion, largely pro-homosexual, and decidedly left-leaning on a number of other socio-political issues. But she did marry, and she did have 3 daughters, and for the most part has been a stay at home mother who did a stellar job of raising her kids. For me, she is an example of someone who is feminist but avoided Wurtzel’s despair, or at least the kind despair Wurtzel describes. But before there are too many “Aha’s!” at the mention of such an example, we need to be honest and note that in terms of pure feminism many would call my sister a fraud–someone who only /pretends/ to be a feminist, but in truth is just another household drudge. It is that kind of feminism that Denny astutely addresses.

      • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

        David, while there are some feminists who follow the radical school of thought (one must always make the “feminist” choice), most of us who are proud feminists follow the liberal school of thought (women and men deserve equal opportunities to make the best choices for themselves). Liberal feminists would never decry your sister as a fraud. We see her as someone who as made an informed choice about how best to live her own life.

        As a Christian feminist, I am always disheartened by articles such as this. No movement or philosophy is perfect (because of imperfect human interpretation), but Christians like to unfairly blame feminism for many evils in the world.

        • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

          Belle, I believe both Denny and I have sufficiently qualified our remarks so as to allow for what you are saying. Yet I respectfully differ with you on the matter of “liberal feminists” necessarily agreeing with my sister’s choices. I have personally dealt with some who are so militant that they feel that marriage and children, and staying at home to care for them in particular, are a betrayal of the liberty that feminism won for them. There are indeed “true” liberals (as I would call them) who would applaud her; there are also “fundamentalist” feminists (as there are fundamentalists of everything else) who would reject her.

          I therefore stand by my assessment.

  10. Don Johnson January 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I think the modern 3rd wave feminists were a reaction to the continued power of the masculinists, whether secular or religious. They had complaints, at least partially true. They were the antithesis to the thesis of masculism, but I think neither is correct.

    • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      So… standing up and speaking against sexual violence/harassment/abuse/etc. (largely by men against women) is an incorrect action? Demanding equal pay for equal work is wrong? Criticizing double standards is unnecessary?

      Individual feminists might take feminism too far (like individual Christians take Christianity too far), but overall, feminism has improved the lives of women across the world.

      • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Well more than 40% of domestic abuse victims are men and in europe it IS AT 50% it is just not publicized by the media as it is okay to abuse men
        Equal pay as per feminist definition-where women earn more than men
        google younger women earn more-all articles by feminists state equality has finally been achieved women earn more than men!!!
        they hypocrisy is hilarious-feminists need math class

        Also feminists were right to stand up against abuse but got all the wrong answers and claim they have a long way to go-fact is their logic failed to help women

        “criticizing double standards-pls pls look at yourself-feminists are the biggest perpetrators of double standards
        for example-it is ok for a female politician to say male lawmakers are incompetent because of testosterone -but when a male lawmaker says a female lawmaker is incompetent because of her emotions-FIRE RAGE!!!

        Feminism is all about creating double standards to benefit women and oppress men-this is not the solution to evil men who abuse women-you do not solve abuse with abuse, and if you think men are going to sit around and just take all the double standards ,abuse and manipulation of women your wrong(sure a couple of men would be stay at home dads who do as their wife says and have not guts to get a job) but oppressing men has always led to bloodshed

        Christianity solves abuse because it focuses on men loving their wives rather than abusing them-feminists hate the submission part-well then you eradicate the love part automatically

        what if men started trying to find excuses to ignore ” husbands love your wives sacrificially ” (in 200 years this may happen the culture will be so different-the bible is timeless regardless of culture)
        what if they hunted and said that was only for that culture-I think they should(to show how stupid their claims are) just to get these feminists and abusive supposed christian men to shut up and follow the bible men loving women and women respecting men-destroy that balance and you get abuse.

        Also atm christian really need to focus in boys most of them do not study(feminist ideal so they get their short lived empowerment!) and have no goals

        • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

          I’ll pray for you.

          Your words are borderline hateful and completely disregard the reality of hardships women face on a daily basis. The men I’ve encountered who speak this way are either vile, evil people or have been deeply wounded. I don’t know you, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt with the latter.

          I hope you can find peace within your soul.

          • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

            Thanks for your prayer, I need them as much as possible as I am horrible sinner.

            interesting to know that I am borderline hateful when you call me”vile”

            also interesting that when I pointed out the injustices of feminism all you can do is gather people in a group

            and news flash men face hardships too-we do not keep whining (in reference to economic reality)

            as for abuse-I said you cannot counter abuse with abuse!!! it will never end-I f you actually care about abused women you would not be a feminist!

            I and my family are fully involved with abused orphan women, atm we are making huge sacrifices to serve them, we know feminism is not the answer! God is

            God Bless!!

        • Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

          When talking about violence, let us remember those women raped, torn apart, and beaten to death. Let us remember that 4 times as many men kill women in intimate partner violence as the reverse. Please remember that you are talking to women who have lived with violence and know what it entails.

          • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

            yup we should remember that and solve the root issue-MEN!!!, feminism is not the answer

            in Europe the feminist haven rapes are on the rise not falling as America follows feminism and forgets God the same will happen

            Feminism does not translate to lower rapes or spousal abuse

            and boys get raped by men too-as much as we would all like to believe that does not happen it does and they mostly never report

            • Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

              Many girls don’t report either. I know. If we could drop the rhetoric that says women are in submission to men, that we women don’t have the same human rights as men, then we could tackle the problem of violence, one human being against another. I would like to see that.

  11. Nathan Cesal January 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Denny and others here seem really bent on reminding singles that their lives are less than…

    • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Nathan, in the original article, Wurtzel says she “never kissed a man out of any motive other than pure desire.” In other words, she laments that, though sexually active, she rejected marriage and commitment /on purpose/. Her mistake wasn’t singleness (which is in itself not a decision per se), but rejecting marriage as a convention of society.

      Are you doing that? if not, these comments don’t apply to you as a single.

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      why does every article that upholds marriage mean that the author hates singles??

      seriously I am a single and I do not get this attitude

      • Nathan Cesal January 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

        In all the years that I’ve read this site, I’ve yet to see Denny say anything positive about singlehood.

        Marriage is great.

        Fine, but if that is all one trumpets, then you automatically leave out the complement. Read Challies, Moore, Wilson, Strachan, FotF… they all do it.

        In their desperation to advocate for marriage, they create this huge expectation and those that don’t meet it, both the single and married, are left out in the cold regretting who knows what.

        I’m just asking for some sensitivity. Broaden the scope to include more than an idyllic marriage goal.

        Whenever I do, I get more than sideways glances. I’m thought to not be on-board with marriage. I have to ask: Who is on-board with singles? The answer is hardly no one (not even single people themselves)….

        • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

          umm the reason they do it is because single hood has way more praisers an backers from the secular church and in the Church-when majority of your population is single you have a problem!!!-these men just want to highlight and hope to change it-nothing wrong with that.

          Also a single person may want to get married because they want too!!! and not because of societal pressures.
          Singleness is the norm -the praised -the accepted and marriage is constantly bashed by the majority in the western world-I f you have not realized that your living in a bubble-founders of the current feminist movement made it their goal to end marriage-they are winning and Christians are losing

  12. greghahn4 January 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    “For Christians, it should remind us of what is at stake in our debates about manhood and womanhood.”

    That’s a pretty outrageous connection. As Christians, the debate is about whether women can lead men, or whether the husband has the final say in a marriage.

    This woman’s problem is none of that. She wasn’t in a marriage, nor even in a church as far as I can tell. Her tragic story unfolds precisely because she is lost, without Christ and without God in the world.

    To reframe this as having anything to do with the Egalitarian/ Complementarian debate within the church is sophistry.

    • Denny Burk January 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Greg, I think the egalitarian/complementarian debate is about more than the meaning of AUTHENTEO in 1 Timothy 2:12. The issues of gender and sexuality are front and center in Christianity’s interface with the wider culture. What the Bible teaches about manhood and womanhood matter in that debate. As a complementarian, I can tell you that arguing with egalitarians about what “head” means in 1 Cor. 11:3 is only a part of my larger concern. The culture is pressing in on the Christian church on this issue, and we have a responsibility to bear witness to the truth and to be salt and light.

      • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

        My parents are two of the most devout Christians I’ve ever met. My mother is a deacon of our church and teaches Sunday School. My father is an elder, a former deacon, and a former Sunday School teacher.

        Their marriage of 28+ years has been one of egalitarianism. They are not the same person–their strengths and weaknesses complement each other. HOWEVER. My father has never been the “head” of the household. Rather, in areas where he holds strength, he is head. Similarly, in areas where my mother is the strong one, she is head.

        I do appreciate the complementarian view that men and women should find partners who have complementary strengths. I do NOT believe, however, that men are naturally better at ABC while women are naturally better at XYZ.

        • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

          yeah I while it may be generally true I do not think the bible states men are better leaders that is why they lead-even our youth pastor agrees that his wife is better at certain leadership qualities then him but he has to take leadership over his family, the only reason we have complementary roles is because of the creation order as Paul explains.

  13. Stephen Wilson January 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    I too am a victim of this mindset, and I’m a 51 year single (never married)
    old male. You see, I had many opportunities to date beautiful women such as the picture in this article portrays, however, all of the women I wanted to date were either looking to “further their education” or looking for someone who had more (money) to offer. So you see, it not only effected the women, but the men too! Other men resorted to shallow relationships (one night stands) also due to this sad lifestyle. Everyone was hurt by this, not just the women.

  14. Teresa Rincon January 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    As an aside, are there any first-world cultures that aren’t egalitarian?

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      western countries are first world???-may be if actively trying to have sex with as many people is a first world idea!!!

      South Korea and Japan-although they do not follow biblical patterns of marriage(in general-not everyone, many do!)

    • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Teresa, as an aside to your aside, are their any first world cultures that do not have negative birth rates–and consequently impending demographic winter? /Might/ there be a connection, given the implication of your question?

      • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        Liberals believe negative population is a good thing!!!-a first world ideal

        they live in this fantasy world where they think in the future a smaller population will be able to support the larger elderly population!

        after all the most important thing a woman can do is try and be a man!-and since men do not give birth….

        South Korea and Japan are not egal but men and women both work so low birthrates, its a bit different-women’s “supposed economic empowerment” has not translated to social “supposed empowerment ” like western countries

      • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

        I don’t have extensive knowledge in this area, but to the best of my understanding, the declining birth rates correlate to the global economic crisis. Birth rates are higher in developed nations during economic prosperity, which we aren’t exactly experiencing right now.

        • David Thomas January 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

          Allow me to respectfully enlighten you:

          Birthrates are lowest in developed countries with strong economies, including the so-called “happiest” countries such as Denmark, Finland, Canada, Australia, and others. Birth rates have been steadily declining for a generation–and have been dropping alarmingly long before the current crisis. The more irreligious a population becomes, and the more traditional roles fro men and women are discarded, the more steadily its birthrate drops. And before anyone jumps on me and accuses me of saying something I am not, I might add that birth rates in many Islamic countries are also plummeting.

          Birthrates are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, in poverty-stricken but deeply religious (Christian) populations there.

          Economic conditions may have some minor bearing on birth rates in first world countries, but bring only small fluctuations minor birth rates, and by all accounts have little to do with demographic megatrends. The real issue is worldview and what bearing that has upon how people view society, family, and the roles God intends for men and women.

          • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

            it is interesting how when we disobey God it leads to chaos!
            The simple rule of not borrowing if you cannot pay back
            of following God’s plan for society and family
            respecting the planet God made

          • Teresa Rincon January 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

            I can believe that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest birthrates. I’m not so sure Christianity is influential, based on the prevalence of AIDS, dispossession of white farmers and violence (which also affects population growth).

            • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 12:08 am #

              I highly recommend David Goldman’s /How Civilizations Die/. Very helpful and compelling. It certainly transcends the feminism debate (in fact, it only treats it as an ancillary issue) and goes directly to worldview. Rather, it’s a worldview issue. http://www.amazon.com/How-Civilizations-Die-Islam-Dying/dp/159698273X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357618017&sr=1-1&keywords=david+goldman+how+civilizations+die

              Currently about half of all countries are in negative population growth via below replacement birthrates (which is the real issue–not war, sickness, etc. that can ravage population). The patterns that precipitate this phenomenon are comprehensive and nothing new–they’ve been repeated throughout history.

              The difference is we are now a global community.

          • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 1:12 am #

            Please add that Italy and Poland have the lowest, lower than France and Canada. Hence the popes frantc call for babies. But the more he calls for women to stay home and multiply, the less they do.

            • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 1:24 am #

              On this we agree 100%, except you forgot Ireland.

              Goldman’s thesis is that where faith is tied to nationalism it finally fails. He suggests that when faith is tied to personally encounter with God /apart/ from nationalism it thrives. From this he argues that America is on solid footing.

              That’s where he and I part ways.

              • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 1:59 am #

                “that when faith is tied to personally encounter with God” Like in France?

                • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 2:06 am #

                  Actually, Goldman argues that no country even /compares/ to France when it comes to national idolatry–of subordinating the Faith to the idea that the nation is preeminent. Of course, mixing politics and religion is what helped define the French Revolution.

                  What are you reading, Suzanne? In any case, you can take up your argument with him–it’s his thesis.

                  • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 2:43 am #

                    Sorry. I should have given a sarcasm alert. But France has a relatively healthy birthrate.

                    • Akash charles January 8, 2013 at 2:56 am #

                      France is pretty conservative socially not economically
                      they had the biggest outrage against gay marriage-larger than the states!!

                    • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 2:59 am #

                      Well, “relatively” would be the word. It is still just below replacement levels–but yes, it is higher even than Lebanon’s, which is striking. But France also has over 3 million Muslims, and Muslims of a variety that are having lots of kids, so that skews the data. Government incentives for having children are also strong.

                    • Akash charles January 8, 2013 at 3:02 am #

                      these countries are still marching towards a cliff anyway cause they despise women who choose a child over career-long term this is not sustainable

                    • Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

                      its higher than the USA and demographics show immigrants very soon reproduce at rates that match their environment.

                      Also France has a low abortion rate. But you are right that incentives and support is in place for the working woman to continue to work after having children. This is seen as the single biggest factor in raising the birth rate. The more the pope talks about complementary roles, the lower the birth rate falls in Catholic countries. The more you support women in the workplace, the lower the abortion rate, and the higher the birth rate. In addition, babies are usually born to mature working couples in France. That is their high birth rate.

                    • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

                      Do you live on another planet??

                      It is universally accepted that the rise in women working has translated to lower birth rates!!-countries like are trying to encourage women to work so as to lower birth rates!!1
                      European countries birth rates are largely rising because of muslim immigration-8 children is a normal number in their culture!!!
                      which makes the birth rate of the feminist Caucasians even lower.

        • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

          except there has been a sustained decrease in birth rates and lower economic prosperity has previously translated to a higher birth rate!

  15. Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Akash,

    You probably don’t realize that in the generation a little older than you are, Christian men championed birth control and a lower population growth. My patriarchal father-in-law would promote birth control at the dinner table to any and every woman he met. I had as many children as he allowed us to have. No more. And even then he routinely mocked women as being rabbits with selfish genes that wanted to reproduce. He mocked women no end for wanting to be baby-makers. This was a widespread trend a generation ago.

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      interesting to know how liberals of today’s generation got their whole -love negative population ideas.
      so I guess this is the same type of man who would not want to work for his wife or wants to do as he pleases with no love for his wife.
      I lie Byron Yawn’s chapter in his book about men
      Men should work for their family and not themselves-that is complementarianism too, husbands should not live for their career but their family- no one here is advocating your father’s behaviour

  16. Suzanne McCarthy January 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Akash,

    I just want you to know the patriarchal roots of population control. Throughout history, it has often been, usually been the fathers and patriarchs that have limited the family size through various means. Mostly in order to maintain land holdings.

    • Belle Vierge January 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Akash sounds like a Men’s Right’s Activist, so I believe our informative efforts are in vain.

    • Akash charles January 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      Thanks-I personally believe a woman should be able to choose how many children she wants and her husband should work to hopeful fulfill that-this is obviously not possible due to financial restrictions, but women should be given the choice-many men may have felt they could not provide in spite of working very hard.

      I looked up what an MRA is and they are just like feminists-I guess we should call them malists!!??

    • Teresa Rincon January 10, 2013 at 12:14 am #

      Control over women is also is control over men, because when you control women, you control the access men have to women. Lower status males in polygamous societies often have no chance of having a family because there aren’t enough wives to go around, and because young women don’t get to choose whom they marry.

      It’s a perfect mix for wars and societal disruption, and it amazes me that men in the Muslim world don’t see how the current system works against their interets. It also amazes me that there are fringe “Christian” groups out there defending polygamy.

      • Akash Charles January 10, 2013 at 12:21 am #

        Agreed
        I feel really sad for the majority of the boys in Polygamous communities in Utah that kick them out to the streets once they are 13 so as to maintain ratios-poor kids have to fend for themselves at such a young age
        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200802/the-paradox-polygamy-ii-why-most-women-benefit-polygamy-an
        this article is just crazy-and is probably the same propaganda muslims use to control women and restrict their free choice.
        I
        The muslim world is crazy- for them more women they marry they have a greater status- they care about themselves not other men who lose out or women-also muslim men also keep men to have homosexual relations-it is quite disgusting-and I cannot believe they are the fastest growing religion in the world-its quite scary

        The bible says marriage is between one man and woman- but was David etc ever punished for not following God’s law?

  17. Cicely Duke January 8, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    If Christians are ever going to take this culture back, we can’t afford to bar the female half of the body of Christ from the arts, politics, science, literature and business, especially since our enemies won’t follow suit. With technological advances such as blogging, a stay at home mother can too make impact in these areas without neglecting her household.

    • Akash charles January 8, 2013 at 1:05 am #

      wow suddenly this article is stating women cannot do those things!!???

  18. Kim Shay January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Sounds like in that list of things she doesn’t have she doesn’t have any joy, either.

  19. Leah January 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    This is an interesting discussion really. I appreciate you taking the time to write this and incite a closer look into the dark aspects of our culture that creeps so readily into our thinking. However I have some issues with this article. Wurtzel’s problem seems to be that she has invested her life into fading things; career and prestige and accomplishment; things that our culture (to an insane degree) values highly in BOTH men and women. Really I don’t see feminism at work here at all. Feminism has just included women in the career and success race that has been a part of human kind since the beginning.

    Also I have to take offense at the hinting (which may have been unintended but there nonetheless) that marriage, family and domestic life is the ONLY life that women have been designed for, or that accomplishment and education will bring only great unhappiness to women. This is something that I see in some of the comments here too. I am young (23) but as a single Christian woman already I’m becoming disillusioned and frustrated with the “marriage race” that is so much a part of our Christian culture. Get married quick, fast and well seems to be the goal of every young woman (and man) my age, and I feel this is imposed by our leaders, parents, and teachers rather than the Bible. Singleness seems to be painted by you as a consequence rather than God’s good choosing for some His followers. Singleness is not a disease or result of something amiss in a life. It is a wonderful opportunity and a vital part of the church as much as the place of marriage. In fact as a single woman a little respect and support (as opposed to patronization and condescension) would be much better received than “advice” on how to catch a man. Young and older single Christians should automatically gain respect as the fight to remain pure, content, and godly can be much harder. We are soldiers as much as any married believer and we have earned our stars believe me!

    As a single woman I have to work hard to gain respect amongst my fellow believers (a sad reality). Single men are seen as distinguished and normal (at least until they push thirty then it’s “about time they find a woman and stop messing around!”). Very rarely do I find a single woman in a position of mentorship or single men in the position of pastor or youth leader and these people are the ones I want to hear from the most, partly because I don’t have to fight to feel like an equal to them, and mostly because I know they understand my struggles whereas married individuals such as yourself seem to have lost that empathy.

    Again I am reading in between the lines in this article and I understand that you may not have meant your words to be taken in this light. So I apologize if I have misunderstood. Wurtzel’s life seems to me to stand as a warning to invest in people, and family as commanded by Scripture and not in position or things (although these things are not wrong in themselves). I need to put priority in the people God has put in my path to minister to. I do not, however need to be married to be found in obedience to this.

    Thank you for writing!

  20. Paul Reed January 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    “I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund—I don’t even have a savings account.”

    On what standard do you call this woman a failure? 8 of the 10 things listed were financial. What about the Christian wife whose husband makes little money? Or one who is poor because she’s adopted special needs children? Are they failures? And who is to say that this feminist woman couldn’t be rich tomorrow, or marry? And the Christian woman could be infertile, or lose her husband at any moment.

    Apparently neither the feminist woman nor the blogger writing about her know anything about what God values and what is eternal.

    • David Thomas January 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      Paul, did you actually follow the link and read the entire article? What the blog post reproduces is merely a teaser. Wurtzel goes on to say, among other things,

      “Most people say that as a statement of principle, but in my case, it is about feeling trapped when I am doing something I don’t like, and it is probably more childish than anything else. I likely do the right things for the wrong reasons. But it has also meant that I have not disciplined myself into the kinds of commitments that make life beyond the wild of youth into a haven of calm. I am proud that I have never so much as kissed a man for any reason besides absolute desire, and I am more pleased that I only write what I feel like and it has been lucrative since I got out of college in 1989. I had the great and unexpected success of Prozac Nation in 1994, and that bought me freedom. And I have spent that freedom carelessly, and with great gratitude. Why would I do anything else? I did not expect, not ever, to be scared to death….

      …It had never occurred to me before that any of the choices I made, which I prized, I guess because at least they were mine, were crazy or risky; but I was becoming convinced. I am committed to feminism and don’t understand why anyone would agree to be party to a relationship that is not absolutely equal. I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes, that is that, and I am heartbroken to live through a time where Wall Street money means these women are not treated with due disdain. But I also don’t get it: Even sitting through a carafe of Italian wine with a guy who worked in private equity felt like being handcuffed in the back seat of an unmarked squad car: The next stop is jail. And a lot feels potentially imprisoning to me: To get through every day, through a job of staring at pencil marks in spreadsheets through glassy eyes, through humoring a husband who has not sold a screenplay in six years and is writing a new one still, through telling everybody your three basic children are talented and gifted—I know that people who do these things are happy because happiness is the untruths we tell each other and ourselves or it would be unbearable. But I would rather not. I would rather be sad, and sometimes lonely, but at least not suffering the silly.

      Or is that my untruth?”

      And there’s more, but the link is there for everyone. In short, given Wurtzel’s own words, I believe you are entirely missing the point of Wurtzel’s mention of these finacial matters. She is a double Ivy League grad, a successful lawyer and writer, and financially she’s doing better, I daresay, than most of us here. Her point is that she realizes too late that the conventions of domesticity (among which these things stand in her mind, correctly or incorrectly) give a sense of order and therefore meaning to life. You can disagree with her assessment of her life as a failure, but at least do it based upon what she is /really/ saying. I think Denny pegged her correctly, and isn’t even remotely saying that he believes “feminism has gone to seed” for Elizabeth Wurtzel because she doesn’t have a 401(k).

  21. george canady January 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    It would seem easy to only critisize women for the rise of feminism. I am sure there is responsibility in my mirror.

    I married a burgoening feminist. She worked hard, trusted me, yet I chose to enduldge myself for almost 20 years. I played and lived a secret life. She finally divorced me. I got what I deserved, and solidified her hardening position of independence.

    At the end of that marriage God was gracious to save me. I spent the next five years learning to take reponsibility for what had happpened.

    I know now that I could have been the example to my previous spouse of the way God intended for marriage to be…, regardless of her temporary response. Who knows, it may have been enough to distract her away from an agenda of independence and attract her toward the interdependence of healthy marriage.

    I am remarried eight years now and am trying to learn and live the created order of a marriage as discribed in scripture. I say to men like me; if we turn and attempt to please God with our thought and behavior, we might lessen the effect on our culture of this dangerous exponential form of feminism.

    Please pray for me as I attempt to love my wife as Jesus loves the church.

    • Akash Charles January 8, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      you are right

      men in our culture our too weak-prefer to follow feminism rather than the bible

      Now days a man is not allowed to say I would like to marry a woman who would love to be a homemaker-but if a woman says the same she is praised.

      Men need to stand up – “equality”is a cover up to allow them to abuse etc

      Men also need to stand up for abused women and provide different solutions for them who have been hurt for their entire life

      basically we need to follow Jesus and this will all be solved-so evangelize!!

  22. Suzanne McCarthy January 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Would you say that women who end up divorced because of actions of their husband should have a career, and do you have advice for starting a career late in life. Or do you think that men in the congregation should be asked to put aside money to provide for single women? Or should single women just live below the poverty line, because that is what they deserve?

  23. Joy Felix January 9, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    To be single is not a disease. Much better to be never married than married to the wrong person. Wurtzel would be far more gloomy married to an abuser, an alcoholic or someone who had prevented her dreams. Jesus, Paul all of the disciples were either single or not defined by their marital status. Marriage is something should be entered into soberly, not with unrealistic expectations. Marriage is simply perceived much more normal in the church today (rather than the convent, single missionaries) because the culture is determined to control and replenish their dwindling supply of congregants. Same as the Catholics of the last century.

    • Akash Charles January 9, 2013 at 5:27 am #

      where in the article does it say singleness is a disease???

      also you assume all men are abusers(typical feminist)-she would have had greater happiness with a good man

      • Joy Felix January 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

        Hmmm I don’t remember saying all was equal to one. If potentially she had married an abuser then she would be better off single. I know several Christian friends who panicked because of pressures they felt from the church and married abusers and alcoholics, others who felt to be good Christians they should get married early and ended up sacrificing their dreams that maybe God had given them for bad marriages. I would say it is better to not be married than married to one of those – that has nothing to do with me.

        I’m Christian, and happily married and don’t hate men at all.

  24. Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    WOW! What a conversation! I guess this IS a relevant topic.

    Let’s just be careful, as some have already said, not to equate humanistic feminism with biblical egalitarianism.

    The main problem with feminism, after the fact that it is humanistic & godless, is that it has embraced sexual immorality as a female right, just like many humanistic feminists perceive it has always been a male right.

  25. Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    ” I am a Christian who believes the Holy Scriptures. I am a Christian who believes in the complete equality of women with men in value, status, position, privilege, opportunity, freedom and right. I am a Christian who believes in the absolute nature of the Christian moral standard for sexual relationships.

    On these truths I offer this challenge:

    Be a radical feminist. Reject immorality as a part of our cause and embrace Christian sexual morality as the single greatest strategy for the advancement of women’s equality in this new millennium.

    Be a radical Christian. Reject the double standards of both traditional morality and gender “roles” as a part of our cause and embrace equality for women as the single greatest strategy for the advancement of sexual morality in this new millennium.”

    Excerpt from:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/17346242/Knight-on-a-White-Horse

    • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      I think you’re my new favorite Christian. Rock on.

      • Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 11:55 am #

        WOW, Belle! Thanks so much.

        • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

          Do you have a blog or twitter or something I could follow? I see your account is linked to facebook, but I restrict that to people I know IRL. Thanks!

  26. Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    The biblical egalitarianism/complementarian discussion within the Christian church is of utmost importance to all the world because the church is the “pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/20906343/On-What-Basis

    • Kathryn Elliott Stegall January 9, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Yes, the conclusion the Christian church (the pillar and foundation of truth) comes to in the biblical egalitarian/complementarian debate is important to the whole world!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20938125

      • Akash Charles January 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        well, well I shall have you know that it is the complementarians that are rescuing helping to rescue such women in India-our family is moving to India to help that organization.
        The lady who founded the women’s home even spoke to the American Congress on women’s rights
        she was still a complementarian-the heads of the church she founded had to be male
        and she translated the bible from Greek and Hebrew to the local language!!
        http://www.mukti-mission.org/

        come and serve here we need people!!

        yes it is important hopefully we do not go the nordic egalitarian way where girls are given trains to play with and the put it under a blanket and sing songs to it cause they are not allowed to play with a doll!!(all in the name of egalitarianism)

  27. Becky Flory January 9, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Praise God, He is able to sustain & minister His Spirit’s fruit in & through me today, regardless of the CONSEQUENCES of my misguided youth [similar to Wurtzel’s), regardless of the lack of a husband & family, regardless of earthly assets or liabilities. He is with me, alone or surrounded, rich or poor, wise or foolish. His forgiveness & faithfulness give my step a bounce because He is my hope, not cultural admiration & conventional cloning. And in Christ, I’m never alone. The abundant life is not limited to familial structure. The saddest thing would be if Wurtzel stays trapped by her past when Jesus’ death & resurrection to new life could be hers.

  28. Char January 9, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Man. This woman’s problem isn’t that she’s a feminist, it’s that her life is devoid of all meaning, and “tiffany silver you never use” isn’t really going to do it for her either. Christians of all people should know domesticity, like empowerment, will do nothing to fill the existential cavern that gnaws at the centre of a person’s soul.

    • David Thomas January 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Well, yes. The core issue is that she is without Christ. But no one is fundamentally denying that, so as to suggest that /either/ the problem is that she is without Christ, /or/ the problem is that she is a feminist. The kind of feminism she follows (and there are clearly different degrees and kinds of feminism, as with any school of thought) has helped to keep her from Christ. Paul said that his preaching “took captive thoughts and vain teachings that exalted themselves against the knowledge of God.” He and other New Testament writers specifically targeted false teachings for what they were, and rebutted them in substance–they didn’t merely wave dismissively and say, “Those false teachers just need Jesus.”

      Wurtzel states in her article (which I have observed that precious few posters here really bothered to read in its entirety) that any woman who allows herself to be supported by a man is a prostitute. She didn’t say she /used/ to believe that. She didn’t say “like” a prostitute or similar in some aspects to a prostitute. Wurtzel clearly indicates she believes that stay at home moms and other women whose husband supports the entire household with one salary so that their wives can keep house ARE PROSTITUTES. She says it, right there in the article.

      That kind of teaching is a chain and a blinder. As I’ve stated elsewhere, the denomination with which I have my ministerial credentials ordains women, and I’m glad of it. But I do wish some ladies here would call Wurtzel the spade she is, accept her admission that her philiosophy of life is a failure–specifically, and not just generally–and call it done.

      • Belle Vierge January 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

        David, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for how respectfully you state your beliefs, even when you disagree with another commentator. I also appreciate your acknowledgment of the different forms of feminism. I have felt very personally attacked by other commentators on this blog, and if it weren’t for your example, I would feel even further driven away from Christianity than I already do.

        • Akash Charles January 10, 2013 at 12:05 am #

          Interesting how your belief in God is based on feminism and not the other way around-it is quite clear that you are a feminist first and a christian second.
          and what about you offending men and women who are not feminists and have suffered under its oppressive ideals??-we would not be drawn to Christianity by your examples of calling such oppression as christian like!
          again you have no defense for your oppression so you resort to such “I am a victim” comments

        • David Thomas January 10, 2013 at 12:19 am #

          Belle, I am a pastor and a missionary, as well as a college professor training young people (the majority of them bright, promising young women) to enter the missionary force. I believe I’d be a fool not to see them and their gifts for what they are. Recently I took a group to Los Angeles where we visited a human trafficking rescue center for young prostitutes. We men had to humble ourselves and stay inside the confines of the cafe, and pray, while the young women went out into the night in groups to minister to the women working the streets. They did what we, because things are the way they are, were incapable of doing. I am not attacking any complementarian by saying these things, or at least that is not my intention (in fact, one complaint of egalitarians is that complementarians “make exception” for women missionaries–but that’s /another/ talk show).

          I want you to be encouraged. One person you are bantering with is impassioned and (I believe) means well and is alarmed by what he sees as the deconstruction of society around him. But I perceive (I don’t know him) that he is of another culture. I implore you by the mercies of Christ to bear with the cultural as well as ideological gap and not judge too much by what is said in a blog. It’s bad enough that such a medium strips us of tone, facial expression, body language, and hand gestures. It also makes sharing a meal impossible, a context that would perhaps enable us to understand each others’ motives and intentions a bit better.

          I believe most everyone here just wants to please the Lord and love others. I don’t believe anyone–even complementarians–want to oppress women. They just see the Bible a certain way, and as a guide to true freedom. You may see it differently, but they aren’t out to get you.

          • Akash Charles January 10, 2013 at 12:24 am #

            That is great- those women and men must be blessed!!!

            just curious why would a woman missionary be against complementarianism-majority of female missionaries I have read about and met are complementarians?!

            • David Thomas January 10, 2013 at 10:27 am #

              Akash, as difficult as it is to believe in the context of all these exchanges, when a team of young missionaries in training are confronted with the intense spiritual warfare of witnessing to young prostitutes and dodging their pimps on an urban street late at night, the complementarian vs egalitarian debate simply doesn’t come to mind.

              • Akash Charles January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

                I know!!!!-you seemed to imply it was against complementarianism-It is more important to save people!!”I am not attacking any complementarian…….other talk”

  29. Patrick Rankin January 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Historically, the church was there to help widows and orphans, as it is commanded to do. Society is mostly worse off because of the situation you described. And that was the point of it to begin with. We are devided and being conquered.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] not sure who Dan Edelen is, but a friend sent me a link to one of his recent blog posts.  He read Denny Burk’s recent blog post critiquing feminism and noticed that many of the same laments that Elizabeth Wurtzel has as an [...]

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