AFAR has kicked 2018 off with a bang a number of huge events, one of them being our bi-monthly ABC (Alt-Book Club) Meeting! We started this year discussing last year’s biggest news story: the #MeToo Movement. We read an article from Politico called “How Politics Might Sour the #MeToo Movement” by author R. Marie Griffith (Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics) and an interview of author Julie Roys (Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood) with Religion News Service.
These two thought pieces made for a dynamic conversation about sexual identity, the politics of white conservative women, gender culture around the world, and how to raise our children to love themselves and others for who they are. One thing that I love most about ABC is that, though most of attendees identify as liberal or progressive in our political views, thats usually where the similarities end. We had folks from different careers, generations, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. Our meeting really made me appreciate the diversity among liberals and the different paths and journeys that bring us to identifying to this political point of view.
When we eventually came to the question of what the legacy of the #MeToo Movement would be in the political sphere, the room was split. Some felt that because the movement started outside of politics, there is a greater chance that it will stay true to its mission and cause the political sphere to conform, much like we see reflected in the DNC’s new “zero tolerance” policy. Others believed that the fact that the movement was a unified group of people that up until now felt isolated by their experiences, making it a unique moment in our history. Still others believe that it would only add fuel to the same ugly rhetorical battles we saw in the ‘90s.
According to the exit polls, these types of allegations affect the voting patterns of black women in a different way then white women (by and large), and the numbers are even more impacting when you look at Evangelical white women. This was a conundrum for many in the discussion: why aren’t white women more unified against these types of politicians as minority women? Why are white Christian women so accepting of politicians who allegedly have lives so distant from their confessed faith (if they even confess a faith)? Even those of us who have a history with the predominantly Evangelical church had a hard time communicating what exactly inspires its female members to vote the way they do (especially when some of their fellow parishioners are suffering from the same types of abuse). This is definitely a discussion that could not be contained in one meeting!
Stay tuned for the reading material, date and time for our next ABC Meeting! Until then, here is some continued reading (and listening) to tide you over:
- “The Rising Pressure of the #MeToo Backlash” by Gina Tolentino for New Yorker Magazine (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-rising-pressure-of-the-metoo-backlash)
- “Beyond #MeToo Program Special” Presented by WNYC (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-rising-pressure-of-the-metoo-backlash)
- “These #ChurchToo Tweets Are a Powerful Reminder that Sexual Abuse is not Limited to Hollywood (https://www.bustle.com/p/these-church-too-tweets-are-a-powerful-reminder-that-sexual-abuse-isnt-limited-to-hollywood-5535716)