On April 18, 2017, Christian author Sarah Bessey took to twitter to open a discussion of misogyny in the church with the hashtag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. While it revealed much about the male privilege that is embedded in many ministries, it revealed an uglier truth: the conversation was largely by and for white women.
Despite the presence of women of color who tweeted within the hashtag, our voices were largely drowned out and marginalized. Subsequent media coverage of the Twitter conversation continued to erase our voices, featuring only one tweet from a woman of color (there were 27 tweets total). It reinforces that even in the church, feminism is still so white.
Triggered by the grievous oversight, Ekemini Uwan of Sistamatic Theology (@Sista_Theology) decided to end the silence. On Friday, April 21st, Uwan began #ThingsOnlyBlackChristianWomenHear, a response to the ways Black Christian women suffer in public ministry and in the church.
Misogynoir & the Pulpit
Almost immediately, other Black women joined the chorus to share their experiences. Though misogyny is not exclusive to religious, many women took time to express the unique collusion of faith and patriarchy as ministers of the gospel.
Misogynoir, Love, & Relationships
Of course, it wouldn’t be a conversation if we didn’t get into the love lives of Black women. As it is everywhere, the church’s embedded sexism also works to pathologize the love lives of Black women. The hashtag included women who expressed their experiences with this as members and leaders of churches.
Racism, Politics, & The Church
There was a marked dissonance between #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear and #ThingsBlackChristianWomenHear with the discussion of politics. Where white Christian women gave voice to the white male Christian privilege that is abundant in many Christian communities, the discussion among women of color highlighted that the guardians of white privilege are not always male. Moreover, it highlighted the tensions between parishioners and leaders regarding the silence of Black churches around current political issues.
Why We Need #ThingsOnlyBlackChristianWomenHear
Certainly, there will be those who wonder why this conversation is necessary. For the women who excluded us from #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear and for the men who remain in vehement denial, Uwan shared the following: