Obviously, The Jezebel Effect contains historical and cultural analysis of the ancient Israelite queen Jezebel. She is the epitome of a slut shamed queen. Even though other queens are reviled as harlots, only Jezebel has a place in major religions as a uber-harlot. In fact, Jezebel has been upgraded from a strumpet to a demon in some conservative religious circles. As I wrote in the book:
“Some modern evangelical Christian pastors caution their fellow believers about the “Jezebel spirit”, which is a “demonic spiritual force … one of the most powerful demons” (Benson, 2012: vii) that infested/motivated the evil ancient queen. The demonic spirit of Jezebel is compared to “witchcraft” (McGowan, 2007:14) and fundamentalist Christians are warned that, “Jezabelic activity in the church is Satan’s use of man’s carnal nature to bring the church to the place of being dysfunctional … It is important we recognize that the attack of the Jezebel spirit is uniquely wrapped in the carnal nature of man … the Jezebel spirit loves to use the seduction of harlotry, adultery, and fornication as a way to accomplish its purpose with harlotry” (Richter, 2005:31, 64, 88).
Some of the beliefs about the Jezebel spirit link directly to sexist sociocultural paradigms. For example, one of the signs that the Jezebel spirit is present in a woman is that she lacks proper submission to the authority of her father and/or husband. Not only does the Jezebel Spirit goad a woman into refusing to obey a man, it motivates her to try to rule over him. This spirit of Jezebel is “the spirit in women today that says, “I will not have a man rule over me – not in my home, not in the church, not on the job, and not in government” … It’s called the Feminist Movement today, but at the beginning of this century, they were called suffragettes” (Henson, 2009:9-10).
(Feminism is part of a demonic spirit encouraging women to overthrow and terminate the “right” of men to rule over women in the home, church, job, and government? I’ve never personally, as a feminist, knowingly been the agent of a demonic spirit, yet I must admit that I am actively colluding with other feminist in trying to topple the belief that men should axiomatically rule over women. As an Episcopalian, I have a way to test the hypothesis that I am infested with a jezebel demon: I can have my priest anoint me with holy water. Holy water is well known to have a negative reaction when in contact with a demons. Therefore, if it burns upon application then I’ll know I am riddled with demonic spirits. However, if it doesn’t burn then I am going to assume God is totally okay with women’s equality.)
Evangelical women are also cautioned to learn from Jezebel’s bad example. The queen was dreadful at acting with wifely submission to her husband. Jezebel was emasculating, and her “cosmetics couldn’t make up for her ugly attitude toward her husband. Some of our [evangelical Christian women] men may be viewed as competent and capable in every setting but their own home. It may be our strong –willed nature – and not their weak-willed one – that makes them appear “less than”. Let’s pray for a gentler, more supportive spirit … If we want warrior-poets for husbands, let’s treat out men as if they’re already toting mighty shields and sharpened quills” (Higgs, 2004:187). In order to avoid being a slatternly jezebel a woman needs to remain compliant to her husband’s authority. Only a wicked tart would fail to prop up the king in his castle and allow her hardened heart make her husband’s personal resolve appear limp.
Jezebel’s demonic spirit is furthermore present in women’s uncontrolled sexuality. If a woman confides to someone that she is having sex out of wedlock, a “Jezebelite will assure the woman that it is okay if she is in love, easing the guilt and glossing over any godly conviction the woman might feel” (LeClaire, 2013:18). I wonder: is slut shaming therefore holy, if only the ungodly fail to do it? There is no word on whether or not a Jezebelite would offer a fornicating man the excuse of “boys will be boys” to ease his guilt and gloss over his godly convictions.
Then again, why is premarital sex connected with Jezebel (either historical or demonic) at all? For all of Jezebel’s many biblically recorded sins, none of those trespasses were sexual in nature. Jezebel was not involved in physical promiscuity or non-spiritual prostitution. So why is she so conflated with illicit sex? Why isn’t her name synonymous with haughty rather than harlot? Larceny rather than lust? Why, in short, has she been slut shamed?
As I explained earlier, most often a woman is slut shamed for the sin of contradicting gender ideology. It’s only after she is called a slut that her sexual ethics get called into question. That’s what we have going on with Jezebel. The fallacious line of reasoning is that since the queen was a bad girl she was QED a slut and since she was a slut she was obviously sexually promiscuous. It should be noted that the more a woman perturbs the powers that be, the trampier she is considered. That’s how Jezebel wound up with the reputation as the sluttiest slut to have ever slutted up the world.”
Which brings us to Girl Scout cookies. How? What connection does Girl Scout cookies have with a slut shamed queen of millennia past? Well, apparently Girl Scout cookies are delicious circles sin and full of the ‘jezebel spirit’ because Girl Scouts fosters independence in girls. The Girl Scouts, heathens that they are, encourage little girls to dream big and to consider themselves equal to anything – including boys. According to some far-right conservatives, this means that the Girl Scouts is a feminist organization and thus ‘ungodly’ and full of evil doings.
Pastors Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner are using their program on Generations Radio as a platform to urge listeners not to soil themselves by buying Girl Scout cookies.
Swanson said: “Please, I beg of you, stop buying Girl Scout cookies … The individualism of feminism has been devastating to this country. I’d say you ought to say no the Girl Scout cookies too. I don’t want to support lesbianism, I don’t want to support Planned Parenthood and I don’t want to support abortion, and if that be the case I’m not buying Girl Scout cookies. Now I suppose if you take a big, fat, black magic marker and you say, ‘give me that box,’ and you start marking out all of the references to the Girl Scouts of America on all the boxes then maybe we’re not promoting that organization anymore and I’d be willing to buy it. Maybe it’s not food offered to idols anymore if I had the opportunity to scratch out references to the Girl Scouts of America on the boxes of the Girl Scout cookies offered to me at Safeway … I don’t want to promote a wicked organization that according to its own website doesn’t promote godly womanhood, it just doesn’t, I don’t see anything that promotes godly womanhood. The vision of the Girl Scouts of America is antithetical to a biblical vision for womanhood, it’s antithetical to it.”
Buehner added to this by saying that girls shouldn’t participate in Girl Scout sales because they might then think it is acceptable to be “a woman who is going to compete with men in the marketplace,” when they should train their daughters on how to become “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.”
That’s why I wonder if Jezebel, who is also ‘ungodly’ and ergo a Girl Scout icon, would prefer Thin Mints or Samoas. I really hope she likes the Thin Mints the best, because Samoas are my favorite and I hate to share them. Fortunately, I have a lot of Samoas in the house right now, because my daughter in Girl Scouts in selling them and I want to support her AND the belief that she could one day be successful at work.
It didn’t burn when my priest anointed my with holy water, so I am taking the lack of scorch marks on my flesh as a sign that God is on my side in this.