An audience listened intently Monday night as communications professor Tim Muehloff spoke in Calvary Chapel and asked if feminism is a dirty word.
Put on by AS-run Coalition for Social Action (CSA), the chapel looked at early feminism in the church and in America. Muehloff, who has studied under feminist Julia Wood, encouraged students to put aside the “thin,” gut-level reactions to words like “feminism” and consider women’s rights from a more complex, “thick” view needed to share the Gospel with others.
“There’s a huge area of common ground before we get to those jumping points,” Muehloff said.
Muehloff said suppression of female rights was common during New Testament days, but Jesus fought against the Athenian culture, teaching men to love and protect their wives and allowing women to assume positions of leadership. Mark 14 puts the woman’s anointing of Jesus’ feet next to the Gospel, and women were the first to witness the resurrected Christ, he said.
“James gives us three tasks, [one of which tells us to] care for orphans and widows in distress,” Muehloff said. “Distress means pressure, the pressure that cancels the voice. Can you give them a voice?”
The first wave of feminism focused on female suffrage, but arose from a need to be heard about other issues like slavery and temperance. That need led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
“They realized nobody was listening, and it made it incredibly frustrating,” Muehloff said. “They were being treated as non-people, and it’s still going on today in some parts of the world.”
“There are still issues we’re fighting, even in America, and especially in the church” said junior Nicole Worth. “I’m a communications major interested in working with women in India, so I really liked hearing Muehloff speak.”