A Response to A Response to A Response

Sarah Moon has responded to several criticisms of her previous post, “Complementarianism’s ugly relationship with rape”, by clarifying and expanding her belief that complementarians benefit from rape culture and even “need” it. In so doing, she co-opts Beverly Tatum’s “moving walkway” analogy (new to me):

Rape culture is like “a moving walkway at the airport.” (Tatum) Rape culture is pulling us along as a society of domination. Those in power can stand still on that walkway, ignore the floor moving under their feet, even turn the opposite direction and insist that they despise rape, but unless they are actively running in the opposite direction–away from victim blaming, from rape jokes, from the idea that some groups of people are meant by nature to rule over other groups of people–it continues to pull them along.

For the most part, I agree with Sarah, at least when it comes to the benefit complementarians derive from the existence of rape culture. She has persuaded me to that extent. But the “moving walkway” analogy bugged me from her first mention of it in the comments section of her original post, and here’s why: it puts the onus on everyone deriving benefit from an oppressive system to actively fight that system.

Not every issue can be a personal issue to everyone. Feminism is important to me, but I don’t try to force it on everyone else. I think about it, and I write about it, and I talk about it to others in socially-appropriate settings, but I don’t try to make everyone care about it as much as I do. That’s just the golden rule at work; I wouldn’t like it if everyone else tried to force me to care about their pet issues.

I don’t wish to put words in her mouth, but I suspect that Sarah is not really saying all Christian complementarians should feel obliged to actively fight back against rape culture; she is taking a strong, principled stance, and when we do that we tend to be a little more black-and-white in print than we would be in practice.

She’s right in her conclusion, though: it doesn’t seem like any complementarians are running the opposite direction on the walkway.