I’m feeling a bit torn on this International Women’s Day.
So please forgive me if my thoughts are all mumble-jumbled…I’m trying to get them all out before I lose them!)
As someone who has never really known how to describe myself to others, I like the idea of labels–it’s *so* much easier to be able to say “oh, I’m a [fill in the blank] (i.e. artist, writer, student, etc.)” than to bumble around trying to explain that I’m passionate about fifty different things that have nothing to do with each other.
. . . . .
So I like the idea of putting a label to my beliefs as a Christian who wants the best for my fellow ladies.
I love the idea of raising my future daughters to believe that they can breathe fire.
I want to teach them all of the beautiful words in Sarah Kay’s TED Talk, “If I Should Have A Daughter.”
And I will drill into their precious little minds that the King of the Universe created them to change the world.
I want to see my fellow women empowered, but not with the notion that the world (or that the men of this world) owe them something.
I want equality, but not the kind that says women are better than men.
I want my fellow women to feel protected, heard, and loved, but not in the ways modern feminism is demanding these things.
I believe that women (right along with men) have the power and the calling to be world changers.
But I refuse to identify with modern feminism because I DO NOT believe that we are called to:
- burn bras
- call people names when they disagree with us
- argue that American women do not have fundamental rights (can you go to college? vote? work? express your opinion? Yes ma’am.)
- degrade men (and then get offended when they aren’t “chilvarous” toward us)
- skip work to make a statement that women matter (when, based on the rights women have held in this country for decades now, this is clearly already known)
- scream that ALL lives matter (and then berate anyone who says aborting an unborn child is wrong–because, let’s be honest, a real feminist would fight for the rights of unborn women too!)
- do what we want just because it feels good in the name of equality
As my internal conflict on this topic raged, I decided to pose the question of feminism to a Christian Facebook group that I am apart of. Here are some of the responses that I received, and this first one put it the best, in my opinion (emphasis and formatting are mine):
“Great question! This is such a hard topic and it’s hard to answer but I would say I’m a biblical feminist. I believe women can change the world. I’m a feminist in the sense that I believe in God’s beautiful design of women, the influence and beauty we bring the world, and the importance of equality and a quiet strength.
However, I don’t identify with the modern feminist movement as it has moved so far beyond men and women are equal. Certain aspects of it are extreme and man hating and unbiblical. I believe in its founders original purposes and the God-ordained truth that men and women are created equal. There is a beauty in God’s design of gender roles but, unfortunately, our brokenness has twisted it.
It was twisted when men are abusive and selfish with their “power” over women, not serving them in love as the Bible says (Eph 5). But it also gets twisted to the point where women want to power over men now (not all women, but that’s definitely the direction the movement at its core is moving) – see also Eph 5 and Genesis 1-2 of God’s beautiful role for women as helper. God is often described as Helper so it’s truly a humble but exalted role that the world has lost sight of and beaten down.
Ultimately, it shouldn’t be about power but about purpose. The unique and beautiful purpose God assigned to each gender He crafted so perfectly. It’s a tough thing to talk about in a group full of women, but many followers of the feminist movement don’t realize the lack of biblical truth that has driven it to become what it is now.
But just because someone doesn’t identify with the modern, worldly feminism that upholds that a woman can do whatever she wants if it feels good or is most convenient, it doesn’t mean that someone hates women.
I’m the biggest supporter of women, empowerment of women, and building strong women. My whole ministry is FOR women…building strong women, empowering them, welcoming their brokenness. So I’m a feminist in every sense of the word. I just think we’ve lost feminism based on Truth and it’s transitioned into being based on power and proving a point.
There are so many things that are unfair and ugly and evil in the world, I know. But Jesus said we’ll be persecuted in this life — for being a woman, a man, black, white, whatever, if we hold to Truth. But what did Jesus say? Protest and yell and whine at the unfairness? No. He said turn the other cheek.
So yes, we can be bold. We can stand for equality. But we can’t do it blindly. We have to uncover the motives driving it and be willing to stand for God’s design before man’s design.” —Jordan Lee Dooley, founder of The Soul Scripts [CHECK IT OUT.]
Another one that resonated with me stated:
“I’m a feminist, I was raised to think that all feminists were bra burning mad women. As I’ve grown and learned things for myself I came to the conclusion that I was a feminist. Which actually is this radical belief that women are humans (crazy right?). I’m a Christian, I’m pro-life, I respect my husband and my greatest career aspiration is to be a mom. While there are a lot of feminist that would disagree with these things the root of feminism is that women be treated with respect and as equals in society. And I believe in that! ?” –Courtney
Like Courtney (and Abby, below), I believe that the founding principles of the first and second waves of feminism were biblical and worth supporting. It is the third wave of modern feminism that I cannot support.
“I love this question! I think that feminism in the true sense of the word – equality between men and women – is something that I identify with. I think that Gods design and view of man and woman, while different, does not define a “superior vs inferior” role in the relationship between man and woman. At the end of the day, we are both made in the image of God. In that sense, I would consider myself a feminist.
However, I have found that I cannot identify with the modern feminist movement because of the issues that they support. There was a specific article that I stumbled upon titled something along the lines of “No, You Can’t Be a Feminist and Pro Life” and I realized then that I (1) didn’t want to be a part of a group who was so exclusive that they would tell a large population of women that they could not be feminists because of their view on one issue, but (2) as a pro-life woman, I couldn’t identify with a group that holds abortion as such an integral part of their beliefs.” –Abby
Another perspective was,
“I will never associate myself with feminism- even biblical feminism. Biblical feminism states that God’s original design is that men and women are equal in value AND roles. Which is not true. We are all equal in value and God looks at all of us equally in Christ, however He has given each of us specific roles (found throughout Scripture) at the point of creation, before the Fall, and after the Fall. I think the whole idea of “feminism” is blurred and each person has their own definition for it. If feminism meant that women should not be treated as a doormat, then I would identify with feminism. However, Is that all feminism is? I personally believe “feminism” travels much deeper than that in areas of women’s roles within the Church, marriage, etc. So I don’t identify with it.” –(a different) Abby
Finally, Shea shared the following video with me. I highly encourage you to watch it!
1. You become your own God
2. Sexual liberation is praised.
3. Not all lives are valued.
4. Male leadership is despised.
5. Women are told that we are better than men.
6. Homemaking isn’t valued.
7. Unique gender differences are ignored.
8. The victim mentality is encouraged.
(the above video goes into more detail on each of these 8 points, and it is definitely worth watching if you are a Christian who isn’t quite sure where you stand on this issue.)
One last point from this video is a quote that they share from Erin Davis’s post, Why I’m Not a Feminist:
“One of the mantras of feminism is that “feminism is the radical idea that women are people.” In truth, feminism is the radical idea that women are god, capable of being their own authorities.”
I should never strive to be God. In fact, I don’t want to be God! I would much rather trust his plan and design for my life as a woman than to do it for myself.
Modern-day feminists might consider me weak and stupid for believing such things, but “am I now seeking the approval of (wo)man, or of God?”
I pray it’s God.
So, women, let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by being respectable, God-fearing examples to those around us. And let’s support organizations that work to help those women who are being persecuted, such as Rejuvenating Women.
And, brothers and sisters, let’s believe in God’s purpose and design and believe in each other.
Let’s build one another up instead of tearing each other down.
Let’s forget the labels and focus more on the principles.
Let’s raise our children to believe they can change the world in the name of Jesus. let’s believe that for ourselves.
And let’s believe that for ourselves.