Pastors: Stop Disrespecting Women With Your Chauvinistic Name-Calling

Treat … older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters … . (Paul’s advice to a young pastor, 1 Timothy 5:1-2.)


Jen Wilkin wrote a post for The Gospel Coalition on how men pastors can better relate to women in their congregations. I thought she did a good job, even though I don’t agree with the complementarian doctrine she touches upon at some points.

Doug Wilson, a prominent pastor who is decidedly complementarian, felt differently. He thought Wilkin’s “structure” was inadequate and would lead to trouble. Among his criticisms he wrote:

And briefly, the last distinction we must have is the distinction between the wise and intelligent women who understood exactly what Wilkin was getting at, … and the clueless women who blindly liked Wilkin’s article on Facebook, but who are themselves pushy broads, twinkies in tight tops, or waifs with manga eyes.

I and a couple other people suggested to him that calling women names is disparaging to women, but Mr. Wilson denies that. He instead questioned the intelligence of me and the others who questioned him and said:

All I have to do is pop some particular sin associated with some women, however qualified, and a certain kind of mind reads it as an attack on all women. If I say that one woman can sin with her breasts, I must be saying that all women are sinning with their breasts. If I say that one woman is being pushy, I am arguing that all women are pushy. If I say that one woman plays dumb, then I am supposed to be maintaining that all women are playing dumb.

The examples he laid out in that paragraph bear no resemblance to the way he spoke of women in the original post. Mr. Wilson didn’t say, “This one woman is unintelligent”, and then found himself unfairly accused of saying all women are unintelligent. Likewise, no one said he called one woman a “pushy broad” and then concluded he must think all women are “pushy broads”. Rather, what he did was divide women into two groups and then resorted to name-calling for those in the disfavored category. This is what shows his lack of respect for women in general. After all, if you claim to respect all women but resort to chauvinistic name-calling when you disagree with a group of women, then you don’t respect women.

In other words, Mr. Wilson said he agrees with one group of women: the intelligent and wise. He said he disagrees with the other group of women; but does he merely label them unintelligent and unwise?

No, he labels them “pushy broads, twinkies in tight tops, or waifs with manga eyes.” And Mr. Wilson thinks this is all right? He thinks it’s appropriate for a pastor to call women names – as long as they deserve it?

That’s not very pastoral.

He should stop.


Treat … older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters … . (1 Timothy 5:1-2.)


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82 Responses to Pastors: Stop Disrespecting Women With Your Chauvinistic Name-Calling

  1. Laura Droege says:

    Totally agree, Tim. My goodness, what was he thinking? How would he feel if a woman referred to unintelligent and unwise men in similarly disrespectful terms? (I’m not certain what the male equivalent of a “twinkie in tight tops” might be, though.)

    • Tim says:

      I think he wouldn’t get it, Laura. Men are in the position of privilege, power and prestige in his circles. My suspicion is that women disparaging men through name-calling wouldn’t be seen as insulting chauvinism but either as cute or as rebellious. If rebellious, it means those women deserve to be called disparaging names, of course.

      • Laura Droege says:

        Talk about a vicious circle! I don’t understand why people listen to him. I mean, I can see why a certain type of man might agree with him; it gives them more power and justifies some behavior. But are there women who agree with him and don’t see how hurtful this name-calling is?

        • Tim says:

          From what I can tell he has a lot of influence over pastors in his circle. I saw lot of people agreeing with him in the comments to his two posts.

  2. Kathi says:

    Clueless women = pushy broad, twinkie in tight top, or waif with manga eyes. Talk about stereotyping! My immediate thought to this was what would he think if women called “unintelligent” men by disparaging names. Most of the disparaging names thrown toward men are centered around cuss words or genitalia, so I’ll keep those to myself. Although, Driscoll has done a pretty good job of disparaging young men over the years.

    • Tim says:

      I just don’t think Wilson would find it anything but either cute or rebellious, as I mentioned to Laura above. He is in a position of great power over women in his world, so being disparaged by them – while upsetting – doesn’t have the same effect as it does for him to put women down. He has the power to crush them while they only have the power to annoy him.

  3. Julie Anne says:

    Should we expect anything less from a man who writes this about the role of husbands/wives in the marital bed:

    In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

    This quote set off a viral firestorm on Jared Wilson’s (not related to Doug) blog a couple of years ago. Doug Wilson has never issued any sort of retraction on the above words, but instead defended them, justified them, and took issue with people who didn’t see it the way he did. Thankfully, Jared Wilson removed the post because it was especially offensive to rape survivors, but Doug Wilson, stands by his words.

    His behavior is the same now. Tim, you called him out on using inappropriate words towards women and once again, he blames others and refuses to look at himself.

    My thoughts on Doug Wilson: he is very consistent. He expects woman to receive, surrender, or accept whatever a man dishes out, whether that be in the marital bed or their words. Women are mere receptacles in Doug’s world. Receptacles. Think about that for a bit.

    • Tim says:

      Consistent is sadly true, Julie Anne. Not only are women to accept their position (pun intended) of being mere receptacles for men, but Blacks should accept that slavery was actually good for them in his opinion.

      It’s sad for a pastor to want to keep people subjugated and call it the gospel.

      • Julie Anne says:

        I feel like I need some brain bleach to remove these icky thoughts. These ideas are not lovely, pure, noble, good – his ideas are about dominion – over gender and race – and it’s repulsive to me.

      • Pastor Bob says:

        “It’s sad for a pastor to want to keep people subjugated and call it the gospel.”
        We do not call that “pastoring.” (Is there a more polite term for “dictator?” – It is not quite there but….)

    • Kathi says:

      Julie Anne – Even though I have read those words several times, they still make me sick to my stomach.

  4. Dee Parsons says:

    Thank you for writing about this. Wilson has consistently gotten himself into hot water when discussing gender roles and slavery. He is also an HIV denier.

    • Tim says:

      Oh my word, Dee. In that post you quote Mr. Wilson as saying:

      AIDS is not infectious in any way, shape, or form, and that the AIDS research establishment has been poleaxed by all the federal billions being, ahem, invested in AIDS research. Furthermore, the media has behaved herself like a kept woman, allowing the story of the century to walk right on by. If reporters were to seriously research the unbelievable scientific holes in the current AIDS “orthodoxy,” they would lose their access to all the important bunglers. And they don’t want that.

      So not only does he get the medical science wrong, he disparages women in using that awful female imagery to depict what he considers the failures of the media covering these health issues. And he told you he still stands by that statement? Wow.

  5. Helen says:

    I totally agree with you…but don’t like these things played out in public. I appreciate it’s sometimes the only way to disassociate yourself from it but I’ve been on the wrong side of a Twitter backlash. Should we as Christians really deal this stuff publicly?

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Helen.

      This isn’t like those situations where someone has a private issue and another person calls them out publicly on it, nor is it remotely analogous to a Matthew 18 private offense situation. Mr. Wilson is a writer who has said some dangerous things. Other writers can and should respond.

      I think people who aren’t Christian are more likely to think it odd if this is not dealt with, Helen. Mr. Wilson is a public figure in American Christianity, and it’s ok to deal with his odd and dangerous ideas in the same forum he aired them in.

    • When it’s someone in a position of authority, who may be influencing many people publicly, then it must be dealt with publicly, surely?

      I know what you mean, though. I got on the wrong side of someone on facebook a few years ago, and then all her cronies jumped on the bandwagon… it was vicious – and I hadn’t done anything. I just blocked them all and a few months later I made the decision to not participate in any social media. I later decided that I would make an exception with blogging, but I still think that that was a wise decision. I personally think Twitter and Facebook, etc., are not healthy environments for anyone.

  6. Pastor Bob says:

    You and others have seen the “R” word mentioned by me. This is no less important here. being one of an intellectual ilk, I may catch little heat but, it gets better….
    The only way to use such unkind disparaging terms is as you have used them, to point out stereotypes and the dangers of falling into those traps. When used by the original speaker they are dangerous and unkind. Some will laugh, but of those laughing they will hiding the pain.

    Safest yet – do not use this kind of negative imagery – EVER. The cause of Christ is best served without this kind of conduct, especially from a “man of the cloth.” For example, I just cannot imagine one of the Wesley brothers saying something like that, John Calvin, or D.L. Moody.

    Why now? (maybe we should reflect not answer that – new topic!)

  7. I cannot imagine any pastor calling any woman those names. That’s disgraceful and so completely ungodly that I would question the wisdom of the man and all those who follow him.

    • Tim says:

      It is hard to imagine “any pastor calling any woman those names”, even when I have the text right in front of me showing that one pastor not only used that language but then defended its use.

  8. catdog says:

    I wonder if he *does* treat his mother and sisters that way.

    • Tim says:

      It’s like the reverse of trolling someone else’s blog, Twitter feed or Facebook page. These posts attract the drama to them, instead of instilling it through commenting on another person’s blog posts.

      [Edited comment above to bring into compliance with this blog’s comment policy.]

      • kinnon says:

        My apologies, Tim.

      • Erica says:

        It seems that this is Matt Walsh’s strategy as well. And if it’s not him mocking dissenting commenters, it’s going to be his loud and contemptuous cronies that do the dirty work for him. He’s only popular because of the drama he stirs, and he himself appears as though he’s above the fray observing rather than the instigator which he most surely is.

  9. What is a “Twinkie in a tight top”?

    • Tim says:

      It’s undefined in his post, and he also does not explain the connection to the supposed lack of intelligence. It’s like saying “I disapprove of your position and I will tell you so by making fun of the way you look.”

      • Ruth says:

        As far as I can tell, a small sponge finger cake filled with cream, which wouldn’t fare too well in a tight anything….makes me think of bubble-brained, vain and sexually provocative the way he uses it. So demeaning and immature.

    • PEARL says:

      Interesting, using the same link provided above type in Twinkie, you’ll find out.

    • Amanda says:

      Found this definition at Your Dictionary, seems to be what he’s getting at:

      Twinkie is a slang term for someone who looks interesting or attractive physically, but inside has little value.

      My thought is that if you think that anyone had little value that’s a serious issue. We are made in the image of God and of unspeakable value to our Lord.

  10. Does he currently deny that HIV causes AIDS? Strange.

  11. I looked up twinkie on Urban Dictionary, and only came up with the ethnic slur, and one other definition which did not seem to fit. Regarding HIV/AIDS, I hope he is not giving pastoral advice based on such a strange view. What would even possess him to espouse it?

    I think that years ago a friend gave me some copies of Credenda/Agenda. If I am not mistaken, his attitude was similar, i.e. he came across as arrogant.

    These statements really serve to highlight a growing alienation from the culture that afflicts me, and a lot of folks I know. The mainstream culture skews decidedly Left, while the voices on the so-called “Right” are saying crazy, un-Christian things.

    • Tim says:

      His espousal was in the context of him reviewing a book on the subject. It said those things and he apparently endorsed them. Why he felt qualified to endorse the book is a mystery to me.

  12. Ruth says:

    The comments people made from a position of authority or prominence certainly call for a high standard. One cannot accuse this person of any such standards, far from it, as he insults and disparages half of God’s creation. He seems to have a great sense of his own self importance, I just wonder if he checked with Jesus, about those precious souls He died for, but our speaker doesn’t think worthy of respect. A loose cannon who one day may be caught by rebound fire.
    Reading his comments left me gaping and gasping at the same time, I too feel quite sick at his free and easy abuse of womankind.
    Very glad you brought this out, I had read the comments elsewhere and then noticed your replies…thankyou Tim!….sprang to mind. 🙂

    • Tim says:

      Both in speaking of women and in addressing those who suggested he should rethink the way he says things, it’s all ridicule and attack. Such language is not pastoral.

  13. Rev. Carlene Appel says:

    If I was his mother I’d take him out in back of the woodshed for a little “ahem” conversation with his behind. This would occur just before I dragged him back into the house by one ear and thoroughly washed that filthy mouth out with a case load of Ivory Soap. Or how about Fels Naptha Soap for that (spoken with a deep bass voice now)–“Manly mouth cleansing!” Pardon me, just had to get that out LOL 😉

    Anyone who talks like that should be asked to resign immediately for conduct unbecoming to a pastor. Wilson’s disgusting name calling, view of the marital bed and the sexual overtones of his conversations are disturbing to say the least, some kind of phallic fixation disorder. So much I wanted to say. But the Holy Spirit reminded me to Breathe! and remember the Scripture God gave me to remember as a pastor “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord. (Jer. 23:1) It keeps me in check and convicts me when I mess up. Wilson is going to have to give an account someday to the One he thinks doesn’t hear or see what he says or does. Woe to those in authority(the pastoral board/board of elders) who let this man go on destroying.

    • Tim says:

      “Fels Naptha Soap” – I haven’t thought of that product in years, Carlene!

      As for whether Mr Wilson thinks he is doing things unseen by Christ, I suspect he instead hopes God sees him do these things because to Mr. Wilson’s way of thinking he is advancing the kingdom of Christ through his words. It’s not.

  14. madhabmatics says:

    When I was growing up, I was taught that if I was going to beef with someone, I should do it for what they do, not who they are. Wilson wants to pretend, like you said in the OP, that calling one woman “a waif with manga eyes” is the equivalent of calling one woman “unintelligent,” and therefore criticism of his language as a broad attack is inappropriate. What he is missing (or perhaps knows, and is ignoring to get cred with his fans) is that language like “pushy broads” is already a broad attack. It’s water drawn from a well of derogatory stereotypes of women. It’s not just an attack on behavior, it’s an attack in a specifically gendered way. It’s “She’s bad because she does this thing AND is also a woman.”

    A lot of people (but not all, lesson from living in Alabama!) would recognize the same behavior as bad if it was in the context of say, derogatory ethnic stereotypes. Like we can pretty easily see that getting mad at someone and going straight to ethnic stereotypes is something that is unjust, and “I just meant this specific individual!” is the dumbest of excuses for that, but a lot of people don’t realize that stereotypes about women are also up there in that category.

    • Laura Droege says:

      I live in Alabama, too; I totally understand what you’re saying about the ethnic stereotypes, and I agree. There are people who wouldn’t recognize this behavior as unjust, no matter what context it was in.

    • Tim says:

      I thought the same thing. Imagine if a pastor said, “I didn’t say all black people are _____, but some are you know.” Yet when they say it in the context of sex instead of race they think it’s ok?

      As you said, let’s talk ideas, actions and language, not attack people with stereotypes and slurs. I think Mr. Wilson chose his language badly. He doesn’t. We can talk about that without devolving into name calling or questioning intelligence.

  15. Bev Murrill says:

    Yes, he should stop, but honestly, the guy is in love with his own rhetoric. He loves the way he puts words together as a wordsmith and he doesn’t have the emotional intellect to think over the top of his love of words to the real people he’s aiming at. He thinks he’s clever and resents people reading beyond that into his small minded and myopic doctrine.

    • Tim says:

      That’s the impression I received from those posts (and others he’s written) as well. Words over love – not a good choice for a pastor to make.

      • Adam Shields says:

        He made himself a character in his own novel about the downfall of a mega-church pastor. Of course he is not a perfect character in the novel, but he is one of the good guys. He can write, but being a good writer is not equal to being wise about what you say or write.

        • Tim says:

          Interesting, Adam. He wrote a roman à clef with himself at the center? Not that he considers himself a downfallen mega-pastor, but to base the character on himself and then make the character a heroic figure seems a bit untasteful to me.

          As for his blog posts, words can wound and words can heal. I am hoping he will learn to be more pastoral and do more of the latter.

        • Adam Shields says:

          I thought it was distasteful as well. Here is my review of it.

          Wilson for me has become one of those people that I pretty much dismiss, not only what he says, but almost anyone that cites him as being irrelevant. He has argued pretty forcefully against the concept that slavery is inherently sinful, although he does says that in most examples it is sinful.

          The problem with slavery (and I think with his discussion of women) is the very narrow way he reads scripture. Anything that challenges his understanding of scripture must be wrong. This post by Thabiti Anyabwile seems fair (and from his theological camp).

        • Tim says:

          Thabiti did a good job being civil with Wilson’s horrible doctrine on slavery. Unfortunately Wilson took it as a scholarly discourse where reasonable people could differ, completely missing the fact that Thabiti was in actuality calling Wilson out on his bad doctrine. With Wilson, it doesn’t seem to matter if you couch your position in nice terms or are more direct. He concludes he’s right and anyone saying otherwise is a fool.

        • Tim says:

          Thanks too for that link to your review. Just left a comment there.

        • Adam Shields says:

          Yea, Wilson and his ilk will never be able to have a real conversation because they can’t conceive of actually being wrong about anything.

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  17. Don Johnson says:

    Doug Wilson has a fondness for displaying his intelligence through words, but in the service of what? He thinks he is serving God, that is, God of the Bible, plainly interpreted. People today use slavery as an example of interpreting Scripture in a way that is not plain and doing that was and is a sin to be repudiated, according to him. It seems plain to him that patriarchy is right and just, if you deny that supposed plain teaching of the Bible, where does it stop?

    Just because he comes up with answers that repulse almost all does not mean he does not ask some good questions. Answering them well will help others escape.

    • I doubt the poor man knows in his heart what plainly interpreted is sadly. I pray the woman he attempts to ‘teach’ find men and/or women that realize they are coheir’s in Christ, and find ways of uplifting them to their proper position…after this man sadly banged them down into the one he feels is better for them.

      Its clear he is unable to handle a rebuke, because he is to scared of the type of human he described. It’s also defensiveness. He can’t act like a gentleman, because of a small minority that ‘might’ think he is addressing the entire gender instead of what he clearly wrote? That is a diversion off his behavior, and sadly feels his excuses make it better.

      He clearly needs peace in his heart, because he clearly doesn’t have it now.

  18. Lisa says:

    Perhaps in his supreme and scholarly devotion to Bible truths, he missed this one: “[A]nyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22. Oops.

  19. Lisa says:

    Oh, right, I forgot…Jesus told the Pharisees off, so he gets to as well. Of course, Jesus was perfect, omniscient, and knew everyone’s hearts, plus He was, uh, GOD, so Jesus gets to do those things. We, as imperfect beings who do NOT know what is going on (or has gone on) in someone else’s life do *not* get to do those things (unless we want to be in danger of judgment).

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  21. Jamie Carter says:

    Thanks for linking me to this post. Another thing I’m seeing among this crowd is just a general lack of respect for anybody. Last week I left a comment on a random blog that didn’t agree with it’s owner’s main theme, a few days later, the owner took my comment and turned it into another post instantly labeling me a troll. Then a few days later, he did yet another post from the same comment, both of which disregarding and shutting down any potential for dialogue on the subject. Were he a regular believer I could understand the short-shortsightedness, but the guy happens to be a pastor. Because I’d been labelled a troll, I knew that I wouldn’t get a fair hearing and that day I wasn’t as clear as I could have been; he was far more interested in everybody else agreeing with him than he was in other perspectives. I guess I actually paid attention when my school put me through an etiquette / manners class – I’d never talk to anybody that way, calling them a troll for not agreeing with me, disparaging women like that, it’s not even how Jesus talks to the average person. He saves his toughest criticism for the religious leaders because they should know better. Pastors like that should know better, but they speak so disrespectfully that they’re acting more like a road-block or a stumbling stone than a light on the path. Worst of all, they think that this blunt honesty is a hallmark of Christianity, when it’s driving people away or sending them down every road but Christianity.

  22. Anita Bagnall says:

    Totally agree Tim. Thanks for this blog post.

  23. MeganC says:

    Doug Wilson has always had an errant and twisted theology. These terms he uses here as referenced in this article are demeaning and condescending. Groups of women are made up of individual women and to say that they are “pushy broads” is a heinous slap in the face. I literally cannot imagine Jesus using such a term to refer to ANY woman, anywhere at any time. It is pastors like this who discourage and twist the gospel to feed their own agenda and their own egos. #tragic #ungodly

  24. Donna says:

    Who cares what he thinks? So tired of abusive men calling themselves pastors and the people who put up with them.

    • Tim says:

      As I mentioned in the post, he has an outsized influence on a portion of the church.False teaching needs to be countered with sound doctrine.

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  27. Isabella says:

    I cringed when I read his comment about Twinkies. He sounds like a chauvinist that chooses to have a Christian identity. There’s nothing new about his thought process: Some women are less than others. Says who? Not according to the Gospel. I’m glad you stood up to him.

  28. sparkerlpc says:

    I am glad you stood up to him, Tim. It is such a shame that anyone this twisted could have such a big area of influence among Christians. Although I do not agree with complementarianism, I have rarely seen it used this abusively. This guy is in no way, shape, or form any sort of pastor. He is a preacher, with a twisted and perverted theology. And is apparently a writer, although I don’t see how. I mean, you buy the first book, waste your money, get too embarrassed to sell it at a garage sale, and throw it away. Where do his book sales come from, except from those who have heard and believed it already? I had never heard of him before. Maybe THAT could become a trend!

  29. Diana L Harrington says:

    I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.
    1:10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
    1:11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

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