We Should Not Look the Other Way When Christian Women Police Female Sexuality


Christian men receive considerable and well-deserved criticism for their attempts at policing women's sexuality. When they do it, it seems sexist in addition to everything else that's wrong with it. At the same time, I hate to see Christian women getting a pass for doing the same thing, especially when they often seem to be the primary offenders outside of politics.

From what I've observed in daily life, many Christian women are absolutely ruthless when it comes to policing the sexuality, dress, grooming, weight, and physical appearance of other women. They can make life a living hell for women who are on the receiving end of this nonsense, and they openly say things I rarely hear from men. So-called slut shaming is a prime example. They refer to other women behind their backs as "whores," "sluts," "tramps," and even "trash" simply because these other women are wearing something they might not have the nerve to wear. Of course, my favorites are the ones who actually call others "fornicators," as that one almost always produces an involuntary giggle because I just can't get enough of that word. I can only guess at their motives, but it often comes across as something we might expect to hear from someone who was horribly jealous.

Again, my point is not to suggest that Christian men should be absolved of anything when they do this. Their willingness to wield their great political power to penalize women and restrict their rights commands attention. It is worse in many ways. I just want to make sure that Christian women do not get a pass for their cruelty. From what I've heard from many women who have been on the receiving end of this, it is far from harmless.

Much has been said about the determination many Christians seem to have to control sexuality, especially female sexuality, and to impose their prudish attitudes on the rest of us. I'm sure that is part of what is going on here. Jealousy could be another part. But really, I'm just guessing. The idea that someone would get upset and even become openly hostile because they don't approve of someone else's attire has never made much sense to me. I see people every day wearing things I'd never wear, and it has never occurred to me to scold them or talk shit about them. Similarly, claiming that a woman with a tattoo must be a slut makes about as much sense to me as claiming that a man who drives a white car is racist.

I've known plenty of decent Christian women who didn't do this kind of thing. I've also known many "holier-than-thou" Christian women who love to proclaim their moral superiority over the rest of us while treating other women quite poorly. This is one of many reasons I think it is important for the rest of us to be careful that we do not unintentionally feed into the pervasive view that Christianity is equated with goodness. It isn't, and these Christian women are yet another reminder of that. Being a Christian does not make one morally superior to anyone.