I'm just a girl: The portrayal of women in Peter Rollins' "Idolatry of God"

ESR student Jodi Jones offers a reflection on Peter Rollins’ new book, The Idolatry of God. Rollins will be on campus at ESR as the keynote speaker for our annual Willson Lectures on April 8.

I recently began to read Peter Rollins’ book The Idolatry of God in preparation for his upcoming visit. My interest in his work was centered on his assertion that faith is in “embrac[ing] our brokenness” and in “accept[ing] the difficulties of existence” (Rollins, back cover), which I felt I could apply to my chaplaincy. I was only a few pages into his book when I was overcome with feelings that I can only describe as rage and humiliation. The emergence of these feelings centered on a story Rollins’ uses to explain creatio ex nihilo.  The story is one in which a man tricks his friend’s wife into reluctantly exposing her naked body to him for four hundred dollars (Rollins, 10-11).

The sting of these feelings continued when Rollins used two more misogynistic examples without apology. In a milder instance, Rollins uses Immanuel Kant’s example of a man’s desire to sleep with a woman to be heightened by an obstacle (Rollins, 29). This is followed by an example where a woman remains in a destructive relationship with “someone who is highly respected” so that she can “get a form of pleasure from other people…wishing they were in her position” (Rollins, 40). While the last two cases of sexism are less impactful, in light of the first story they build upon a negative view of women in general.   It is a view in which women are sexual objects to be manipulated and in which they are manipulative. Thus far, forty pages into the book, I have not read a positive view of women in Rollins’ book that offsets the growing negative view. Disturbingly, it seems as if Rollins is unaware of his sexist views.

You can read more here: http://esrquaker.blogspot.com/2013/03/im-just-girl.html

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