Pastor Doug Wilson explains that it is much easier to confront men on their sin than it is to confront women*. Men, even men who have done terrible things, expect to be called on their sins, while women rebel against the very idea:
When a man mistreats a woman, the current climate still allows a pastor to confront him, and to deal with it thoroughly. Even though the world gets conviction of sin all wrong, this climate does mean that the simple message of repent and believe is one that can still be delivered to men. The men usually expect it, which is good, because they deserve it.
But that is not the case anymore with women. Any counselor who actually tries to address feminine shortcomings in a dysfunctional relationship is a brave counselor. One of the things that happens is that any such an attempted address is immediately construed as “taking the side” of the abuser. And to anticipate an objection here, this is not a function of the counselor being male — my wife has seen the same reaction that I have, and sometimes more quickly.
However, even while sharing this, Pastor Wilson explains that he has often observed men to be sinning terribly, but the sins he observes of women tend to be inappropriate reactions to men who are abusing them (emphasis mine):
Taking one thing with another, over the years I have seen many instances of men doing awful things to their wives and daughters. And when I say “awful,” I mean awful. Their abusive treatment has ranged from wicked to blindingly stupid. Not only do I not excuse it or explain it away, I rejoice in the liberty that I still have in such instances to call sin sin…
Now I know that some women have done awful things to men also, and I take it as a given that this can and does happen. I do not assume that the man must be the worst offender. But in the counseling I have done over the years, the thing that usually wrecks the woman’s joy is not the fact that her sin is equivalent to the man’s, or greater than the man’s, or less than the man’s, but rather the fact that her sin is untouchable. We are dealing with a culture-wide insistence that women not be held responsible for what they do. This assumption has crept into the church, even into the conservative wing of the church, and has now been weaponized.
He knows that in theory women do awful things to men, but in practice he has observed men doing awful things to women. That he has observed men doing such things doesn’t surprise me. He has been a pastor for long enough that I would be surprised if he hadn’t seen men sin in the ways he describes. Yet at the same time he suggests that he hasn’t observed similarly outlandish behavior from women against men. This is truly astonishing.
If his observations are accurate, this would mean that the women in Pastor Wilson’s congregation are generally behaving better than the men, despite the men being far more open to rebuke. I find this unlikely. It also surprises me because while I undoubtedly have less direct experience with the kinds of situations he is describing, I have observed plenty of men and women treating others terribly.
While it is theoretically possible that the women in Pastor Wilson’s congregation are better behaved and yet more rebellious against authority, I strongly suspect there is something else in play here. As Wilson explains, it is far harder to hold women accountable. Even men who have sinned greatly tend to not only accept, but expect to be rebuked for their sin. But women tend to be far more resistant to being called out. Moreover, calling other men out comes with a sort of satisfaction, while calling women out feels cruel. Given simple human nature, we tend to follow the path that is easy and satisfying over what is difficult and uncomfortable. As Wilson points out, conservative Christian culture has been infected, but I don’t believe he sees the full extent of the rot. It isn’t just that we tend to avoid addressing women’s sins when we see them, but that we tend to find ways to not see them in the first place.
This is why the leaders of the CBMW have gone to such absurd lengths to deny the feminist rebellion with women in the military, and have created a fantasy land where cowardly men are forcing women to push their way into combat. This would also explain why Pastor Wilson not only hasn’t observed truly bad behavior by wives, but why he argues that only after a thousand years, when the stars have aligned, could we consider holding women who have abortions accountable. It would also explain why he can’t see the very open feminist push for women to delay marriage.