Sunday, November 27, 2011

Woman Haters

By Nicole Unice

It was a chic bistro with gourmet sandwiches, and it was a lunch I looked forward to all week. I had the chance to sit with a trio of smart, influential, successful women in ministry. I was eager to share, to learn, to be encouraged. We talked about changing our churches and changing the world. The conversation turned to friendships, and then, this statement:

“Well, I don’t really like women.”

I’ve heard this said more times than I can count. And worse: I’m guilty of saying it myself. Between the delicious food and stimulating conversation, I found my palate sour.

Who but us women, I marveled to myself, can actually destroy from within.

The statement itself is ludicrous. What other species on this earth claims to not like themselves? Can you imagine a similar lunch experience with four men, where one of them exclaims, “I don’t really like men?”

And so I disturbed the calm and asked, “What do you mean about not liking women?” We agreed that when we say “women” we mean a certain kind of woman, and we let that kind of woman dominate our understanding of the gender.

When I’ve said “I don’t like women,” what I’ve meant is that I don’t like women who choose the superficial over the authentic. I don’t like women who try to control those around them. I don’t like women who are so wracked by comparison and envy that they spend their energy cutting others down to pull themselves up.

But I don’t like men like that either.

Why would I, a woman, choose to distance myself from my own gender? Perhaps it’s because I recognize how I’m sometimes like the women I dislike. Maybe it’s because I’m ashamed of women like this and don’t want to be classified as the same. I also know that I’m resentful of women who’ve led in unhealthy ways before me, leaving a path of destruction that has made it hard for me to find my way. But maybe, more than anything, I’ve slowly allowed this crazy worldview of women to creep into my own; I’ve seen that woman equals weakness and I’d rather not be associated with that thankyouverymuch.

These woman-hating statements are not far from a similar one: “I hate women’s ministry.” I doubt any woman thinks that actually ministering to women is wrong or bad or outdated (Jesus ministered to plenty). It’s that we’ve allowed the conversation about “women’s ministry” to be dominated by scathing critiques of knitting circles, beauty treatments and superficiality.

But as the conversation at lunch continued, the eldest at the table pointed out that good and kind women’s ministries have ministered faithfully for decades. That the women who lead them (crafts aside!) have stalwartly carried churches on their backs while simultaneously serving their husbands, their families, their volunteer roles, their schools. That some of these women have saved souls, saved marriages, saved men.

Yet we allow our concept of “women” and “women’s ministry” to be defined by a warped view. We women often allow that to continue, perhaps even perpetuate it.

The unspoken assumption during lunch between us women in ministry was that when we say “we don’t like women” or we “hate women’s ministry,” we exclude ourselves from the entire category. My heart ached in that moment, when I realized I was very close to turning into the exact kind of woman I want to distance myself from.

I don’t have the answers. But I do know that there’s something fundamentally wrong with being a woman and a “woman hater.” It doesn’t honor one another or God nor does it encourage one another to live out our influence.

Can you relate?

Nicole Unice is a woman on a mission to bring others to confidence and daily faith in God and his Word. She is the author of She's Got Issues, (Tyndale) releasing in May 2012 and work in student and family ministry at Hope Church in Richmond, VA. Find out more about her writing, speaking and musings on life, motherhood, ministry and God at or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. I agree on so many levels and I believe it grieves the God we seek to serve. I have come to believe that at the heart of it is insecurity - and an overwhelming cultural need to be superhuman. How sad it is that we who have received grace find it so hard to live in it and give it away.

  2. I know I am a dude commenting on this but I hear this all the time too.

    This is one of the biggest challenges we face in our student ministry. All the girls say they don't like girls.

    It is one of the biggest reasons why girls dont even attend
    certain events or even just youth group for that matter.

    It is not until we sit them down with a women leader with other girls in an environment where the negative girl attitude is not tolerated and they have nothing to prove do they begin to see that having a good girl friend is awesome and important.

  3. Wow, Nicole, I'm right there with you on this issue, and I'm convicted! I've been in WM for 20+ years and the thing that grieves me is superficiality. I know I'm weary of it, and I think today's younger women (20s & 30s) see it and don't want anything to do with it.

    Personally, I'm not interested in the message of somebody who has it all together. I want to hear from someone who struggles and sometimes stumbles, but always lands in the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus.

  4. Great article, Nicole! No Women Haters allowed, and yes I have been one on occasion. Love, Natasha

  5. Perfectly put! let no unwholesome words come out of my mouth about my Sistas--ever again. bless you, Lesa

  6. Oh Nicole...this article is ah-mazing.

    Yes, yes, yes I can relate. Thank you for being so bold as to out the 'I don't like women!' Skubala.

    I completely believe that when we 'don't like women', it isn't that we don't like the fellow souls that are walking this planet with us, it is that they hold up an uncomfortable mirror of the very qualities we loathe within ourselves, and instead of sitting with these ugly things, we react immediately to distance ourselves from them.

    What if we went into every female relationship from a place of worthiness? Of being good enough? Of having enough security in who we are in Christ that we didn't project our own insecurities onto other women who are struggling with the exact same thing?


    Thank you for this blog post. I am going to share, share, share.

  7. Thank you, Nicole, for your well-worded and authentic post. I'm in the middle of a long, painful conflict with another woman leader that could leave me bitter about women's ministries. It would be so easy to walk away. BUT we are both choosing to seek God and grow through the struggle.

    I believe that's what Titus 2:3-5 is all about -- women in community, helping each other heal and grow "so the Word of God will not be dishonored". When we come to rest in a resolution, and I pray it will be soon, God will be seen as strong in our weakness.

    When women who lead learn to lead themselves well, they can influence countless others to live whole and free.

  8. THANK YOU!!! There is an unconscious misogyny that many of us have absorbed, and we play right into the enemy's schemes when we go along with it. This isn't far removed from the women who whine about how much easier it is to raise boys than to raise girls--what an awful thing to say about your daughters, and what do we mean by making such horrible generalizations about girls?! You're right--we need to stop talking like that, and I believe we should call that kind of speech out when we hear it, because it is an incredibly destructive lie.

  9. Good words, but I will say I am one to admit that raising girls is more difficult for me than boys but I think that is because I am the mom. It is harder for my husband to deal with our teenaged son than our teenaged daughter.

    That being said, this is a good article and I've often shied away with getting into women groups at times because I have often felt a bit insecure around women. I've grown past it but sometimes if a young woman has encountered the negative aspects of femaleness she is shy try again.

    I am a bit overwhelmed today about all the hard hearts that seem to live in so many people's souls. But I've had to tell myself not to grow hard toward these people, not to cast them aside because of their bitterness.

    We all are human. We need to lift each other up, men and women.

  10. Wow. I haven't felt this way or had that thought (I don't like women) in a long time.

    Your article made me appreciate the women who currently surround me in women's ministry - authentic, vulnerable, godly, fun women devoted to living out his purposes in their lives. They're not perfect, but they're definitely not superficial. I've been blessed to be in community with such awesome women for the last 10 yrs.

  11. My husband called me out on this once. While I've never said, "I don't like women" (probably because I DO like women), I certainly get critical of those who I perceive as too girly or too shallow or whatnot. Anyway, once when I was being critical, my husband asked how I can go around talking and writing about women being free to "live who they are" while at the same time I criticizing those who aren't living up to my idea of what women in 21st America should be doing and caring about. Yikes. He was right.