A Few Quotes from The Genesis of Gender by Abigail Favale

by Aug 31, 2023Culture, Theology, Worldview

The Genesis of Gender: A Christian TheoryThe Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory by Abigail Rine Favale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well written, provocatively helpful—provocative because she was schooled in evangelicalism (which makes her like me) and in feminist theory (which makes her not like me)—and is now a Catholic (which makes her both like and unlike me).

Here are just a few quotes I found helpful, out of many I saved:

There is a profound irony here. Through the vehicle of feminist theory, the concept of gender has displaced manhood and womanhood from bodily sex. Now, unmoored from the body altogether, gender is defined by the very cultural stereotypes that feminism sought to undo. In other words, when a girl recognizes that she does not fit the stereotypes of girlhood, she is now invited to question her sex rather than the stereotype.

I have definitely sensed this:

This leads to another consequence: the denigration of the body, because the body itself is a limit. The concrete reality of the body and sexual difference puts a limit on choice, a limit on self-improvisation, a limit on social construction. The gender paradigm, then, ultimately holds a negative view of embodiment.

Her feminist pedigree allows her to say blunt things I haven’t earned the understanding to say:

So-called ‘Christian feminism’ is, too often, secular feminism with a light Jesus glaze on top, a cherry-picked biblical garnish.

And she pays careful attention to Genesis at the beginning of the book:

Genesis affirms a balance of sameness and difference between the sexes. This is a delicate balance that is difficult, but necessary, to maintain. Most theories of gender lose this balance, veering into extremes of uniformity (men and women are interchangeable) or polarity (men are from Mars, women are from Venus). Both extremes lose the fruitful tension expressed here in Genesis.

That’s just a taste. Listen to her talk to Louise Perry on YouTube for more of a taste.

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