Who Are You? I’m a Feminist

a pin that says Photo credit: stoptalk.wordpress.com

  “Who Are You?” is an ongoing series that asks members of Culture on the Edge to reflect on one of their own many identities (whether national, gendered, racial, familial, etc.), theorizing at the same time the self-identification that they each chose to discuss.

I received a touching note from one of my graduating seniors this past week, who said, among other things, that I taught her that she didn’t have to fear calling herself a feminist.   Every time I have a student tell me this, I consider the irony of my own response when, as an undergraduate, one of my Religious Studies professors handed me a photocopied article entitled something like “Jesus Was a Feminist.” I don’t really remember the details of what the author said, except for the basic thesis (now considered quite tame) that the Bible depicts Jesus as a person who cared about gender equity in a society that didn’t. I freely admit that, at the time, I had no academic exposure to gender theory, and even though I was acutely aware of sexism, I had never heard the term “feminist” used in a positive light. In short, I remember being appalled at the article. Continue reading “Who Are You? I’m a Feminist”

“New Books on the Edge” with Leslie Dorrough Smith

the cover of Righteous Rhetoric by Leslie DorroughRighteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America 

What sparked your initial interest in exploring what drives the “political power” of the New Christian Right (NCR) and Concerned Women for America (CWA)? How are such groups commonly approached and analyzed in scholarly discourse and the larger public imagination?

As with many scholars, I suppose, my interest in politically active conservative Christianity (a.k.a, the NCR) is at least somewhat autobiographical. I grew up in a social environment steeped in conservative evangelicalism, and so the claims made by these groups – namely, the valorization of the entire spectrum of conservative politics, including a religiously-rooted patriotism, traditional gender roles, and the superiority of the heterosexual, nuclear family – were not new to me.  In a very direct sense, then, my interest in these groups began when, as an undergraduate religious studies major, I was seeking to better understand the appeal of conservative evangelical ideas and their political impact. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with Leslie Dorrough Smith”