Who is she teaching?

A few days ago CBMW Women’s Studies professor Mary Kassian published a new post titled Does a Husband have the Authority?*  The post follows the Duluth model framing headship as abuse, and the main image conveys the sentiment of the post quite well:  Christian husbands are dangerous brutes.

The first question that came to mind when reading this post is who is Kassian teaching here?  The possible options are:

  1. She is teaching other Christian women.
  2. She is teaching Christian men (directly).
  3. She is teaching Christian men via their wives.

When Kassian says that a husband has no authority, identifying the audience is critical to understand precisely what she is instructing.  If the audience is Christian women, the instruction is to not feel pressured to submit to your husband.  It is in fact a message to rebel against a husband that doesn’t meet Kassian’s standard of headship.

If the audience is Christian men, then Kassian is instructing Christian men in the proper way to exercise headship.  Lastly, the third option is that Kassian is teaching Christian wives how they should instruct their own husbands in the proper way to exercise headship.

Clearly, Kassian is doing all three with this post.  More importantly, the Bible makes it clear that she isn’t to be doing any of these three things.  Titus 2:3-5 says that older godly women are to teach younger women to be obedient to their own husbands.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Kassian is teaching the opposite of this.  The other relevant Scripture to consider regarding Kassian’s post is 1 Tim 2:11-15:

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.  13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

The traditional reading of this section of 1 Tim is that women are not to teach Scripture.  Dr. Moo defines the kind of teaching the CBMW founders believed are restricted by Paul’s words above:

…we argue that the teaching prohibited to women here includes what we would call preaching (note 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word . . . with careful instruction” [teaching, didache ̄]), and the teaching of Bible and doctrine in the church, in colleges, and in seminaries. Other activities-leading Bible studies, for instance-may be included, depending on how they are done. Still others-evangelistic witnessing, counseling, teaching subjects other than Bible or doctrine-are not, in our opinion, teaching in the sense Paul intends here.

Clearly Kasian is teaching Scripture authoritatively here, as she is setting herself as the authority on how headship can and cannot be practiced.  However, the CBMW has a novel interpretation of who Kassian would be prohibited from teaching in this way, arguing that women are only prohibited from teaching men.  This is based on the CBMW founders’ assumption that when Paul wrote in verse 14 that Adam was not deceived but Eve was, that he wasn’t talking about Eve being deceived but instead was making an oblique reference to the creation order, cryptically reiterating what he had stated clearly in verse 13 (emphasis mine):

…what Paul meant in 1 Timothy 2:14 was this:  “Adam was not deceived (that is, Adam was not approached by the deceiver and did not carry on direct dealings with the deceiver), but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor (that is, she was the one who took up dealings with the deceiver and was led through her direct interaction with him into deception and transgression).”

In this case, the main point is not that the man is undeceivable or that the woman is more deceivable; the point is that when God’s order of leadership is repudiated it brings damage and ruin. Men and women are both more vulnerable to error and sin when they forsake the order that God has intended.

…Paul’s position in the pastoral epistles is, then, consistent: he allows women to teach other women (Titus 2:3-4), 17 but prohibits them to teach men.

But even indulging the CBMW’s creative loophole for 1 Tim 2:12, Kassian is still clearly prohibited from doing what she did in that post.  According to Dr Moo and the CBMW founders, Kassian is not to teach men, and this would include teaching men the proper way to exercise headship.  Even worse, since Kassian’s site is primarily targeted at women, Kassian is inviting wives to teach their own husbands on the proper way to exercise headship.  No matter how you look at Kassian’s article, she had no business writing such a thing under even the most libertine complementarian interpretations of Scripture.  Only an egalitarian would argue that it is appropriate for Kassian to teach what she is teaching.

Putting all of this aside, there is also the massive problem of the message itself.  Kassian is teaching the Duluth model of abuse, a model that was developed by feminists to eradicate the idea of Christian headship. Unlike Focus Ministries (the domestic violence ministry Kassian endorses), she doesn’t call it the Duluth model, but this is exactly what she is teaching in her recent post (emphasis original):

… this truth deserves to be stated and restated with clarity: It is not the husband’s right to force or coerce his wife to submit. Submission is voluntary on a wife’s part, and her choice entirely.

The misuse/abuse of authority is an abomination to God…

According to the Bible, a wife’s submission is her choice alone. A husband does not have the right to force or coerce her to do things against her will. He does not have the right to domineer. He does not have the right to pull rank and use strong-arm tactics.

According to Kassian, a husband “pulling rank” is guilty of abuse.  If a husband makes what complementarians would call the final decision in cases where the two can’t come to agreement, or the “tiebreaker”, this is abuse.  While the Duluth model calls this “using male privilege”, and Kassian uses the term “pulling rank”, we are talking about the very same thing.  Moreover, like the Duluth model, Kassian is just fine with coercion to lead a spouse away from sin, so long as it is the wife coercing her husband.  In that case it isn’t abuse at all;  Kassian calls it submission (emphasis mine):

Submission is neither mindless nor formulaic nor simplistic. Submitting to the Lord sometimes involves drawing clear boundaries and enacting consequences when a husband sins.

It would be thrice wrong for Kassian to teach as she is teaching even if she wasn’t promoting the radical feminist view of marriage and headship (the Duluth model).  And it would be wrong for her to teach the feminist view of marriage and headship even if she weren’t going against both Titus 2 and 1 Tim 2 in doing so.

This is all the worse because Kassian is both a Women’s Studies Professor and one of the original people involved with the founding of the CBMW in the late 1980s.  This is her area of expertise, something she has positioned herself as an expert on for thirty years.

But realistically while complementarians claim to take the Bible’s instruction seriously (albeit with novel interpretations), what Kassian is doing here doesn’t put her out of the mainstream of CBMW and complementarian thought.  While in theory it is clear that even the complementarian interpretation of Scripture prohibits what she is doing, in practice she is actually on the conservative side of current complementarian thought.  Kassian is merely attacking headship and submission, she isn’t denying the authority of male clergy or attacking male pastors as androcentric chimps chimping like the new guard of complementarian women are doing.

*HT Hmm

Posted in Attacking headship, Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Crossdressing Theology, Domestic Violence, Feminists, Headship, Mary Kassian, Rebellion, Submission, Theological Crossdressing, Traditional Conservatives, Whispers, Women's Studies | 17 Comments

All roads lead to Duluth.

In the early 1980s a group of feminists put together a model to approach domestic violence called the Duluth Model.  Under this new (feminist) model the focus is not on actual violence, but on fighting the patriarchy and “male privilege”.  This is something the Duluth organization is very open about.  For example, in Countering Confusion about the Duluth Model they explain (emphasis mine):

The underpinnings of the Duluth curriculum do come from a historical analysis. When Europeans came to this continent, they brought religion, laws, and economic systems that institutionalized the status of women as the property of men through marriage. From the church to the state, there was not only acceptance of male supremacy, but also an expectation that husbands would maintain the family order by controlling their wives. Various indiscretions committed by wives were offenses to be punished by husbands. This system of male dominance (like any social structure where one group oppresses another) was perpetuated by: a) a belief in the primacy of men over women; b) institutional rules requiring the submission of women to men; c) the objectification of women which made violence acceptable; and d) the right of men to use violence to punish with impunity (Dobash and Dobash 1983).

…Do all men who batter want to dominate women? This is a complicated question. Clearly, many men who batter believe that women should be submissive to men and there are others who share a variation of these sexist beliefs—“The man is the head of the household” or “You can’t have two captains of one ship.” However, there are other men who batter that don’t believe that their wives or girlfriends should be subservient because of their gender, but they still batter. These men use violence to control their partners because they can and violence works…

we do not see men’s violence against women as stemming from individual pathology, but rather from a socially reinforced sense of entitlement

Opponents of a feminist analysis of domestic violence continue to argue their theory that women are as violent as men and that the level of mutual violence calls out for changing arrest and prosecution policies as well as advocating for marriage counseling to stop the violence. This may be an attractive theory to some in the mental health field and “men’s rights” activists…

The Duluth curriculum’s central focus is exploring and understanding power relationships and the effects of violence and controlling behavior on domestic partners.

The Duluth curriculum is an educational approach. The philosophical core of the model is the belief that men who batter use physical and sexual violence and other abusive tactics to control their partners

Back in the 1970s, battered women’s advocates were rightly concerned about how the mental health community used psychological explanations to describe wife beating. They correctly worried that battered women would be labeled psychologically and that mental health practitioners would collude with men who batter by treating offenders’ personality disorders rather than working to change their beliefs and attitudes about women, men, and marriage

Under the Duluth model, the idea of headship is not only abuse itself (male privilege), it is the very root of all domestic violence.  The focus of the program is to change men’s sexist beliefs (emphasis mine):

[We want men] to genuinely struggle with their beliefs about men, women, relationships, and entitlement.

A central assumption in the Duluth curriculum is that nature and culture are separate. Men are cultural beings who can change the way they use violence in relationships because beliefs about male dominance and the use of violence to control are cultural, not innate. Facilitators engage men who batter in a dialogue about their beliefs. Through curriculum exercises, group participants are immersed in critical thinking and self-reflection. Some of the men in our groups begin to understand the impact that their violence has had on their partners, children, and themselves.

A key teaching tool is the control log that helps group members analyze their abusive actions by recognizing that their behavior is intentional and inextricably tied to their beliefs.

This is critical to understand because when they talk about violence, they really mean power and control, and specifically they are concerned about men having power and control over women.  This isn’t really about abuse or violence at all, it is about radical feminism.  This is why under the Duluth model domestic violence by women is seen as wholly different than violence by men.  Violence by men is a tool of the patriarchy, while violence by women is a tool to fight against the patriarchy (emphasis mine):

When women use violence in an intimate relationship, the context of that violence tends to differ from men. First, men’s use of violence against women is learned and reinforced through many social, cultural and institutional avenues, while women’s use of violence does not have the same kind of societal support. Secondly, many women who do use violence against their male partners are being battered. Their violence is primarily used to respond to and resist the controlling violence being used against them. On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women.

Making the Power and Control Wheel gender neutral would hide the power imbalances in relationships between men and women that reflect power imbalances in society. By naming the power differences, we can more clearly provide advocacy and support for victims, accountability and opportunities for change for offenders, and system and societal changes that end violence against women.

Since this is radical feminist theory, who and whom is paramount.  For this reason not only do the Duluth model creators tell us the model should not be used to confront abuse of men by women, but it also should not be applied to women who abuse women or men who abuse men:

Battering in same-sex intimate relationships has many of the same characteristics of battering in heterosexual relationships, but happens within the context of the larger societal oppression of same-sex couples. Resources that describe same-sex domestic violence have been developed by specialists in that field such as The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, www.nwnetwork.org

The other key thing to understand about the Duluth model is that its influence isn’t limited to the kooky women’s studies departments that gave birth to this kind of analysis.  The Duluth model has been widely accepted as the model for understanding domestic violence.  Not only has this model been adopted by police departments and courts (criminal and family) across the West, it has saturated both secular and Christian thinking on the topic as well.

Complementarian Absorption of the Duluth Model

Very often the impact of the Duluth model isn’t entirely obvious on the surface.  For example, according to the CBMW founding document one of the reasons they created the organization was:

6. the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family

This was in 1988, and while there wasn’t an actual upsurge in physical and emotional abuse in the family in the 1980s, feminists had managed to dominate popular thought via the Duluth model earlier in the decade.

A more direct example of the Duluth model influencing complemetarian thinking can be seen in the post Signs of an abusive relationship by CBMW board member and Women’s Studies Professor Mary Kassian. Kassian doesn’t reference the Duluth model by name, but just as the Duluth model teaches she explains that abuse is about power and control:

An abuser will use a variety of tactics to manipulate and exert power over you…

Power and Control is core to the Duluth model, and chances are at one point or another you have seen an adaptation of the Duluth Power and Control Wheel. In that wheel all of the forms of “abuse” are presented, with violence mixed in with “Using Male Privilege” and “making her feel guilty”.  Keep in mind that like the feminists who created the Duluth model she (covertly) presents, Kassian is all about power and control, so long as the wife is the one wielding it.  Kassian teaches wives to set boundaries for their husbands and enact consequences if their husband doesn’t do as she tells him to do.  If a husband does this Kassian calls it abuse, but if a wife does it Kassian calls it submission (emphasis mine):

Submission is neither mindless nor formulaic nor simplistic. Submitting to the Lord sometimes involves drawing clear boundaries and enacting consequences when a husband sins.

Kassian concludes her post on signs of an abusive relationship with a referral to an organization named Focus Ministries:

Get more information and support at Focus Ministries, a domestic violence and domestic abuse ministry for Christian women.

The Book of Duluth

While Kassian doesn’t name the Duluth model when she presents their paradigm, Focus Ministries is very open in promoting the Duluth model.  In Weapons of An Abuser: Power and Control Focus Ministries presents modified versions of the Duluth Power And Control Wheel and the Duluth Equality Wheel, explaining that this slightly modified radical feminist ideology represents God’s teaching on marriage.  They go so far as to say that the Equality Wheel represents God’s design for relationships (emphasis mine):

Domestic Violence Help For Women

Adapted from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
Duluth, MN

…[The Power and Control] wheel symbolizes the relationship of physical abuse to other forms of abuse. Each spoke represents a manipulative tactic used to gain power or control.

[The Equality] wheel represents God’s design for relationships. The eight components are held together by Mutuality, each person submitting and serving the other. The core is Equality for each image bearer of God.

Focus Ministries presents modified versions of the two Duluth wheels in another article titled Healthy vs Abusive Relationships: What’s the Difference? This article identifies “Using Male Privilege” as a form of abuse, and explains that abuse is about power and control (emphasis mine):

In order to have a healthy relationship, both partners must treat each other as equal and independent human beings. The husband must respect his wife more than his need to control her. While the wife should respect her husband’s role as the spiritual leader of the home, the husband should be an example of Christ’s love as he takes the position of a servant leader. Both must submit to the Lord and to each other as they learn how to combine the scriptural principles of Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13. The relationship becomes abusive when the husband or wife usurps control of the other person’s thoughts, actions, emotions, freedom, and individuality. Abusers believe they have the right to punish their partner when they disobey or fail to measure up, and often use violence to intimidate them, keep them in line, and regain control.

Again, Kassian teaches women to set boundaries and punish their husbands when they transgress, but this isn’t abuse, because abuse is about the patriarchy.  Wives fighting against the patriarchy by definition can’t be abusive, only husbands can.

In yet another article, this one titled Power and Control—Weapons of an Abuser, Focus Ministries again presents the Duluth model, explaining that domestic violence is about men wanting power and control over women (emphasis mine):

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minnesota demonstrates through a “Violence Wheel” chart the kind of behavior abusers use to get and keep control over their partners. This chart uses a wheel as a symbol to show the relationship of physical abuse to other forms of abuse. Each spoke represents a tactic used to gain power or control, which is the hub of the wheel. The rim which surrounds and supports the spokes is physical abuse. It holds the system together, and gives the abuser his strength.

And again, everything is presented as men abusing women, not because the target audience is abused women, but because this is fundamental to the Duluth model.  This leads to definitions like:

Using Children
An abuser who wants to use the children as weapons may take his ex-wife to court when she withholds visitation because the children are sick. An abuser will also feel a great sense of control by keeping the children past the court-appointed time of visitation…

Complementarians and the Duluth Model; a Marriage not from Heaven

While feminist activism around the Duluth Model in the 1980s clearly influenced the founders of the CBMW, part of the alignment between the two groups is coincidental.  Both groups are deeply hostile to the idea of male headship, and prefer instead to have women in charge.  This is why complementarians like Kassian teach that wives should set boundaries for their husbands and enact consequences when they sin, but consider it abuse if a husband even points out that Scripture says a wife should submit to her husband.

Complementarians endorse wives smashing the family china (a “godly tantrum”) or threatening to leave and take the children, or using denial of sex (here and here), in order to gain power and control in marriage.  Wives who do this are presented as being forced to take drastic measures by their disobedient husbands.  Yet these very same acts would be considered abuse if a husband were to do them.  The difference between abuse and he had it coming comes down to who both the Duluth model creators and complementarians think should rightly be in charge.  The fundamental difference between the two groups in this respect is the Duluth model creators are honest about their feminist objectives, while complementarians claim to support biblical headship.

Posted in Attacking headship, Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Domestic Violence, Duluth Model, Feminists, Mary Kassian, Social Justice Warriors, The Real Feminists, Traditional Conservatives | 129 Comments

Kierkegaard on Christian scholarship.

Escoffier posted this quote from Kierkegaard yesterday in the discussion of Vox’s riff on my CBMW post:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.


Posted in Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Vox Day | 83 Comments

CBMW’s evolving position on spiritual headship.

From the beginning complementarianism has been an effort to split the difference with Christian feminists (egalitarians).  This comes naturally from their belief that feminism isn’t a manifestation of the same discontent that caused Eve to want to be like God in the garden of Eden.  Instead, complementarians see feminism as a misguided (but entirely understandable) rebellion caused by the provocation of cruel men*.

Complementarians believe if they are nice enough to women, feminist rebellion will go away as the reason for the rebellion is thereby withdrawn (examples here and here).  This requires compromise when Scripture offends feminists, and this has lead complementarians to invent novel interpretations of Scripture.  But this compromise is by no means a one time deal.  The compromises of yesterday become the starting position for bargaining today, and today’s new compromise will become the starting point for bargaining tomorrow.

We can see this with the complementarian position on spiritual headship.  Complementarians had to find an interpretation for Ephesians 5:26-27** that formally set them apart from egalitarians but caused minimal offense to feminists.  But no amount of compromise with feminists will actually avoid offending feminists, and this has lead to multiple complementarian stances on the topic of spiritual headship.

In the latest CBMW quarterly journal David Croteau describes the two predominant complementarian compromises on spiritual headship, and then proposes rejecting the concept of spiritual headship altogether.

Croteau describes the first compromise position complementarians created on spiritual headship.  This position frames spiritual headship primarily (if not entirely) as a club to beat husbands with.  The focus is on declaring husbands as failures, while avoiding offending the feminists in the pews by pointing out that wives should look to their husbands for spiritual instruction (emphasis mine):

The first category I’ve called “Sanctification is the Husband’s Responsibility.” The following authors/pastors have been specifically chosen as examples because they are known for being careful expositors and have ministries that I particularly appreciate. The use of these men should not be seen as an indictment against them, but calling into question their particular use of Eph 5:26–27. “The man is responsible for the spiritual well-being of his wife. Her sanctification is his responsibility. There is probably no male task that has been more neglected in our society than this one.[1]

But even constraining references to spiritual headship as a club to beat down husbands still will generate envy from feminists.  This has lead to a further complementarian compromise position on spiritual headship:

The second category is a little more fuzzy, where it seems like the husband is responsible but the connection to Eph 5:26 is more ambiguous: “By Implication, the Husband is Responsible for His Wife’s Sanctification.” For example, “When a husband’s love for his wife is like Christ’s love for His church, he will continually seek to help purify her from any sort of defilement. He will seek to protect her from the world’s contamination and protect her holiness, virtue, and purity in every way. He will never induce her to do that which is wrong or unwise or expose her to that which is less than good.”[4]

Croteau rejects both of these compromises, and argues that we should get rid of the concept of spiritual headship altogether.  To get here, he argues that Eph 5:26-27 is a diversion, and that while the Apostle Paul started making an analogy to Christ’s relationship with the Church in Eph 5:25, he has exited that analogy in verses 26 & 27 and is now talking only about Christ and the Church.  Croteau’s claim is that verses 26 & 27 are a digression, and while sandwiched in instruction on husbands and wives have nothing to do with husbands and wives (emphasis mine):

The third category clarifies that the husband is to have a sacrificial love for his wife and the example of this sacrificial love is the way that Christ loved the church. All of the discussion about sanctification, presenting the church as glorious and without spot or wrinkle, is primarily about Christ and the church. Thielman says, “The analogy between the love of husbands for their wives and the love of Christ for the church leads to a digression on the relationship between Christ and the church.”[8]

He reiterates this in the conclusion:

Analysis of the structure and context of Eph 5:25–27 demonstrated that a husband is given only one command in the passage: love his wife. The rest of the passage used Christ’s love for the church as a comparison for the sake of explaining the depths of the sacrifice of this love. The sacrificial love of Christ is similar to the kind of sacrificial love a husband should have for his wife…

None of this means that a husband shouldn’t seek for his wife to become more like Christ daily. Since every Christian should desire the progressive sanctification of each other, how much more a husband with his wife. However, the main point of this paper is to say that Eph 5:25–27 does not directly address this issue…

…Attempts to apply the specifics in verses 26 and 27 are misguided as it is specifically talking about the way Christ loved the church. The application of verses 26 and 27 can be seen in what Paul says in 28–29. Therefore, Eph 5:26–27 does not describe as part of a husband’s duty the progressive sanctification of his wife.

This is not (yet) from what I can tell a widely held position by complementarians.  Most complementarians still struggle to find a way to nominally support spiritual headship without supporting it in practice.  However, the fact that the CBMW is publishing this argument means that abandoning the concept of spiritual headship entirely is a discussion they are quite open to.  This is a formal announcement that the complementarian Overton window now includes the argument that there is no such thing as spiritual headship.

*An alternate rejection of the idea that feminism is women rebelling exactly as the Bible tells us they are most tempted to rebel is the claim that feminism is a scam men have run on gullible women.  However, this is not the mainstream complementarian view.

**And related verses such as 1 Corinthians 14:35.

Posted in Attacking headship, Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Envy, Headship, Marriage, Pastor Doug Wilson, Rebellion, Traditional Conservatives | 133 Comments

How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

The new feminist Ghostbusters can’t catch a break.  First the youtube trailer for the movie was widely panned by feminists and normal people alike.  Then the movie was released and eviscerated by critics, with reviews like Richard Roeper’s ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot a horrifying mess.

“Ghostbusters” is a horror from start to finish, and that’s not me saying it’s legitimately scary.

More like I was horrified by what was transpiring onscreen.

Seeing their high profile attempt at territory marking going terribly awry, feminists enlisted the media to try to turn the tide.  But the defenses of the movie turned out to be far more damaging than the criticism.  Wired lead the way by explaining that even if the movie were actually good, it would still suck (emphasis mine):

The new Ghostbusters will suck. That’s not a value judgement, it’s an Internet-predetermined truth—and come Friday, no matter how funny or smart or entertaining director Paul Feig’s reboot is, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Put simply, Ghostbusters can’t win.

But Wired’s assertion that it isn’t the movie’s fault that it sucks was probably the least damaging defense.  Andrew O’Hehir at Salon lectured moviegoers that right thinking people will find the movie light and funny, and won’t be distracted by the feminist message.  But even O’Hehir has a hard time swallowing his own party line. He doesn’t even make it through the title before questioning his own premise:  The new “Ghostbusters” delivers: It’s a cheerful exercise in feminist nostalgia — except, wait, is that possible?  O’Hehir then tries to recover from his own lack of faith in the opening of the review:

Is Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” remake, supposedly shrouded in supposed controversy ever since its supposedly subversive casting was announced, an exercise in feminism or in nostalgia? If this highly entertaining summer retread proves anything, it proves that those things are not incompatible…

O’Hehir then explains that you will find this movie funny unless you are a basement dwelling Gamergater:

…“Ghostbusters” is a goofy, free-floating romp with an anarchic spirit of its own, a fresh set of scares and laffs and a moderate dose of girl power that is unlikely to seem confrontational to anyone beyond the most confirmed basement-dwelling Gamergate troll. (Did I just indiscriminately slime an entire subset of the male Internet population? Oops.) Whatever the bizarre reaction to the “Ghostbusters” remake in some quarters is really about, it isn’t about the movie, which is relentlessly cheerful, entirely inoffensive and distinctly above the popcorn-movie standard in terms of wit and style. (The screenplay, by Feig and Katie Dippold, has a few unexpected nuggets — the 19th-century mansion with an “anti-Irish security fence” — that will be funnier on repeat viewing.)

O’Hehir reinforces his message that right thinking people will find this movie funny by identifying the other group of movie goers who will fail to laugh when instructed, mouth breathing Donald Trump supporters:

It’s depressing but unavoidable to observe that the “Ghostbusters” cultural divide is like the political divide over Donald Trump, on a dumbed-down and entirely symbolic level. Except, no: Nothing could be stupider or more symbolic than the Trump phenomenon, so maybe “Ghostbusters” is the truly important issue.

This quickly devolves into a rant on how much he despises ordinary Americans:

America in 2016 is like a giant game of hide-and-seek conducted by blindfolded children in a dark room, with broken glass and rattlesnakes on the floor. If we look for the simplest explanation, the one that covers all the available evidence, it might be that Trump has gotten so bored with running for president that he’s spending his time writing hate-blurbs about “Ghostbusters” on the Internet. Sad!

Keep in mind, the point of this SJW lecture is to instruct the faithful that they will find Ghostbusters to be light and funny.  Yet this supposedly relentlessly cheerful movie left him brooding about blindfolded children in a dark room with broken glass on the floor.

If you think the praises for the movie can’t get worse, you are mistaken.  Jen Yamato with The Daily Beast came to the movie’s aid by explaining that Ghostbusters will be a smash hit with the lesbian feminist demographic:  ‘Ghostbusters’ Review: Kate McKinnon’s Probably-Gay Gearhead Steals the Show

In the summer of 1984, crossing the streams was the ultimate male taboo the original Ghostbusters broke to defeat ghoulish evil from another dimension. In 2016, it’s female solidarity among four heroines whom the world has labeled hysterical, defying the odds and historically ingrained sexism…

Yamato explains that it is the quality of the characters that makes the movie so charming.  Kristen Wiig’s character “carries the dramatic thrust” of the plot:

Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a meek physicist up for tenure at Columbia University who wears her unhappiness with the strict patriarchal establishment on her face and in her stodgy, joyless wardrobe.

Yamato wants us to know this isn’t just a movie with solid lesbian feminist chops.  This is a comedy so funny it is guaranteed to make even the most dour feminist crack a brief satisfied smile:

…laughs come when the Ghostbusters hire a male secretary named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), a dim bulb with a pretty face who Erin takes an unsubtle shining to. It’s a role Hemsworth commits to with relish: Thor, God of Thunder, fetching the lady Ghostbusters coffee and answering their phones. He’s terrible at all of it but they keep him around just to have something nice to look at. The joke is broad and obvious, and yet so, so very satisfying.

But the part that will most endear moviegoers according to Yamato is the lesbian part, even though the patriarchy keeps it repressed:

McKinnon’s Holtzmann, meanwhile, is the secret weapon of this Ghostbusters. Aside from spewing rapid-fire technical jargon as the team’s resident eccentric gearhead, McKinnon oozes visceral charisma with the swagger—sans the womanizing douchiness—of Murray’s Venkman. She flirts brazenly with Erin, emanating cocksure confidence even if we learn very little about Holtzmann as a character. Hemsworth might be the beefcake on paper but it’s McKinnon who’ll leave moviegoers crushing.

…[Holtzmann] may or may not be gay but can’t say so because she’s trapped in a PG-13 summer studio blockbuster.

All of this goes to show that feminists can be funny after all, just not in the way they intend to be.

Posted in Envy, Feminist Territory Marking, Social Justice Warriors, Ugly Feminists, You can't make this stuff up | 197 Comments