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A generation of American Christian girls was taught submitting to men is God’s will. They should not question the men in their families or their pastors. They were told to remain sexually pure and trained to feel shame if a man was tempted. Some of these girls were abused and assaulted. Some made to shrink down so small they became a fraction of themselves. To question their leaders was to question God himself.
All the while, their male leaders built fiefdoms from megachurches and sprawling ministries. They influenced political leaders and policy. To protect their church’s influence, these men covered up and hid abuse. American Christian patriarchy, as it rose in political power and cultural sway over the past four decades, hurt many faithful believers. Millions of Americans abandoned churches they once loved.
Yet among those who stayed, a brave group of women spoke up. They built online megaphones.
In Disobedient Women, journalist Sarah Stankorb gives long-overdue recognition for these everyday women as leaders, voices for a different sort of faith. Their work has driven journalists to help bring abuse stories to national attention. Stankorb weaves together names readers know now—Rachel Held Evans, Joshua Harris, Bill Gothard—with new names readers will never forget in order to present a full, layered portrait of where Christian extremism stands in the twenty-first century, and how from within the church women and their allies are challenging that standing.
Disobedient Women is not just a look at the women who have used the power of the internet to bring down the religious power structures that were meant to keep them quiet, it’s also a picture of the large-scale changes that are happening within evangelical culture regarding women’s roles, ultimately underscoring the ways technology has created a place for women to challenge the traditional power structures from within.
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