Culture,  Theology/Bible

Caitlin Flanagan’s Remarks on Teenage Sexuality

Anti-feminist Caitlin Flanagan writes in the New York Times about what she would do if her teenage daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. The column is inspired by the movie “Juno” (which produced 3 Golden Globe nominations), and here are some of Flanagan’s observations:

“The bitterly unfair truth of sexuality: female desire can bring with it a form of punishment no man can begin to imagine, and so it is one appetite women and girls must always regard with caution.”

On the surface, this is an entirely secular analysis. When God’s intention for sexuality is removed from the equation, sexuality itself is downgraded to an “appetite” which might be enjoyed without inhibition but for the stubborn biological fact that sex sometimes results in offspring. I would suggest that there is much more to the “truth of sexuality” than appears here.

Flanagan goes on:

“We, too, have a deep commitment to girls, and ours centers not on protecting their chastity, but on supporting their ability to compete with boys, to be free — perhaps for the first time in history — from the restraints that kept women from achieving on the same level. Now we have to ask ourselves this question: Does the full enfranchisement of girls depend on their being sexually liberated? And if it does, can we somehow change or diminish among the very young the trauma of pregnancy, the occasional result of even safe sex?”

Flanagan is correct in her description of modern, western society’s “commitment to girls.” It has increasingly been informed by feminist propaganda which has somehow made female sexual libertinism a mark of gender equality.

Feminist error on this point is matched by its attitude towards pregnancy. Pregnancy is something that “happens” to a woman. The condition is depersonalized to the point that pregnancy itself can be described with reference only to the inconvenience on the mother’s part and not in terms of the humanity of the baby in her womb. Thus pregnancy becomes a “punishment” or a “trauma” in many situations, and the humanity of the unborn once again gets really short schrift.

For those who think that Feminism is only about “equality,” think again. It is a worldview that among other things distorts human sexuality and diminishes the humanity of the unborn. It is totally at odds with what the Bible teaches about such things (e.g., Gen 1:28; 2:24; Ps 127:3-5). Is there any question about modern ideological feminism’s incompatibility with a Christian worldview? I think not.

I think that this article shows that merely opposing the errors of Feminism will not end the culture’s error on matters related to sex. Christianity calls us to so much more than that. It calls us to understand and to set before the world a positive case for biblical manhood and womanhood. Where this case is absent, so is the better part of wisdom.


“Sex and the Teenage Girl” – by Caitlin Flanagan (New York Times)

Interview with Caitlin Flanagan:

“Liberated but bound” – by Susan Olasky (World)


  • jeremy z

    Denny when you are alluding to Feminism you are being very ambiguous. You need to be aware there are essentially three or four movements of Feminism that argue for different agendas. It is not fair for you to lump one perspective, from the Liberal Feminism, into the overarching category of Feminism.

    I am not sure why you are so harsh and critical of the 3rd wave of the Feminist movement? It is my belief that the 3rd wave of the Feminist movement has brought liberation to the female population. In both the political and corporation worlds we have women CEO and senators. However, the SBC perspective is that women cannot be pastors!!! God may call you to lead a corporation and/or country, but God will never call you to lead a church.

    I think this issue in the article is a lot bigger and abstract, than you just pointing the finger just at “Feminism”.

  • Jesica

    I’m so thankful that my life isn’t ruled by my appetites anymore. Praise God for that!

    When I was a teen, my father said, “If you ever get pregnant, don’t bother coming home.”

    That was the best he had.

    I think about that often, now that I have children of my own…and while I know it wouldn’t be God’s plan for one of them to choose the path of fornication, I thank Him that my husband and I know the Lord, and would be clear on how He would have us respond in that situation.

    I cannot imagine telling my child that if they were to sin, they could not come home and seek forgiveness and refuge!

    OK…back to the feminist discussion. I just didn’t care to dig into that. 😉

  • tim

    The argument that you pose is given quite frequently from egalitarians to prove their point that women, since the world deems them capable of being the leader of a corporation, must be deemed capable by the church to lead a congregation. The difference is the God did not institute the corporation, but instituted the family and church to be modeled in accordance with His Word. Though He does care, I believe, about the ethical nature in which corporations are run, corporations are not to be symbolic of relationship we share with Christ. This is true, however, of the church and the family.

    But, this is an age-old argument that will continue. Not everyone views Scripture in the same way, unfortunately.

  • Ken

    jz: Somehow I don’t think “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” will be high on your reading list! 😉

  • MatthewS

    So here’s a side thought about feminism. We have recently watched parts of “1900 house” and “Frontier House” (PBS). I have a very strong feeling that almost all of us, comp. or egal., would be considered to be “feminist” to some degree by people in the 1900’s or earlier. Women had it hard. Times have changed and many things are better and more equal for women today.

  • jeremy z

    Tim good point. However I argue that God can institute a corporation. Maybe we have different ecclesiology, but I do not like to limit God to only ruling inside of the church. I like to see Him moving in and outside of the church. To say God belongs here and God is not here is bit limiting.
    What if a spirited filled women took charge a corporation instilling Biblical principles and values. To me, this seems as though God will be all over this corporation. Simply because the corporation does not have a cute sign outside stating: 1st Baptist Church of Dallas does not mean God cannot have ownership to what is happening.

    Ken you are right. I have only read an abstract from “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women”.

  • Mason Beecroft

    How would you ever know if God “instituted” a corporation? Our Lord has established His church. Our Lord has instituted an Office of Holy Ministry. Our Lord has instituted His Word and Sacraments. In these gifts, we know that God is at work, creating and sustaining faith as well as forgiving sins.

    God’s activity is not limited to His Church, but His salvation is specifically limited to Christ and Him crucified. Biblical principles and values are great for moralists, Mormons, and Osteen, but they are not the things “God is all over.” God is all over the Gospel. God has ownership over salvation through Christ.

    God rules over creation and even provides the unbeliever with daily bread. But to assign God’s work to a corporation or other civic entity based on biblical values or whatever is pure speculation with no word of promise. We can contrive such things forever, but they are always uncertain. We can only know God is at work according to His Word. God’s mind and activity is largely hidden from our sin-obscured vision, except in what He has revealed to us in Christ and His word. Anything else is just sentimental piety.

  • mike

    About this whole corporation arguement…
    We have clear direction, biblically, for the functioning of the Church (at least in the qualifications of the leaders). We have no such mandates for corporate leadership. Instead we have passages like the famous Proverbs 31, which seems to make the ideal woman an industrious and caring woman, a strong woman both mentally and physically.

    With that in mind if you’d care to show me Biblically why a woman should be a pastor, I’d be glad to change my position. ‘Till that day no amount of “if this… then this..” agruements shall be deemed true above the truth of scripture. Sorry but we have to be a people of The Book, otherwise we have nothing to stand upon but the words of men.

    Without an infinite referance point all individual points are meaningless.

  • Carlito

    Bryan L – if you go to and search on “Pastor”, that provides ample verses, definitions and contexts. Synonyms include shepherd, overseer, bishop, elder, presbyter.

    Titus 1:7
    Acts 20:28
    Ephesians 4:11
    1 Peter 5:1-4
    Titus 1:5-9
    I Timothy 4:6-16
    1 Thess 5:12-13
    I Timothy 5:17

  • Bryan L

    From the verses you provided Carlito it seems like you might then say that:
    1.) an Elder is an Overseer of the church (there is no difference between the two)
    2.) and they pastor (or shepherd) a flock
    3.) and must be married.
    4.) Also there is to be no such thing in the church today as seperate roles (offices?) of pastor and elder because they are the same thing.

    What I find odd is that Ephesians 4:11 groups pastor and teacher together as one and we know that all elders are pastors yet according to 1 Timothy 5:17 not all elders preach and teach. So is the role of pastoring (and thus of the elder) bound up with teaching as Ephesians 4:11 suggests or can someone be a pastor (and thus an elder) but not a teacher as 1 Timothy 5:17 suggests.

    What do you think?

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