I grew up in a home that celebrated the diversity between men and women. My parents scoffed in the face of gender stereotypes but championed the true differences that exist between male and female. I have two brothers, and as the only girl I experienced life able to embrace true femininity; I saw how my brothers differed from me in ways that existed at our core, not as a result of expectations.
I wore stereotypical “male” clothing, I played army, and most of my toys were g.i. joes, legos, slingshots and paintball guns. My mom tried to teach all of us to sew and cook, but one of my brothers excelled much more in those typically “female” activities, while I preferred to spend my time exploring. Our home didn’t have gender stereotypes. I was allowed to explore according to my interests, not what was socially expected.
And as we played and explored together my brothers and I learned how different we were from one another. As much as I wanted to be like my brothers I am still female. I was physically tough earning concussions, black eyes and broken noses without shedding tears, but I was emotionally thoughtful and nurturing, something my male brothers just simply didn’t understand. I read the emotions they felt better than they read them themselves, I felt turmoil in ways they didn’t, and I was inherently maternal, seeking to repair hurt feelings. I was happy to follow their lead, whereas they constantly battled for who would call the shots.
My brothers were born protectors, they looked out for me, and protected me and tried to shield me from poor choices and mistakes. Despite the freedom we had to explore the world however we saw fit, we couldn’t help but approach it differently. My brothers are male and interacted as such, I am female and likewise interacted with the world in my own very different way.
My parents modeled (and still do to this day) the beauty of a Complimentarian marriage. My dad loves my mom, with a self-sacrificing love, he listens to her opinions and she gives input in every decision they make; my dad sought to provide for and protect his family. And my mom respects and submits to my dad as the ultimate authority of their home. My mom is such a woman of faith and strength that even when she disagrees with my dad she submits to his final decision because she trusts God with her future. Her biggest focus was caring for our home, nurturing and raising the children she bore and supporting my dad by providing peace and respect. My dad was the authority, not in a heavy-handed way, but through love that allowed my mom to trust him, and by seeing their unity we as children respected them both. My parents compliment one another as they both fulfill the roles they were given, and our home, though imperfect, reflected Christ and the church in such a way that I learned from an early age what the Gospel looks like in life.
And now as a woman, married and raising two boys, I see again the differences of the genders. There are aspects of my sons (most clearly in my toddler) that I cannot relate to. It doesn’t matter that his favorite color is purple and he loves tea parties, his maleness is still his core, and only my husband can really understand those parts of him.
I treasure that our home has so much diversity.
And Feminism just doesn’t allow for that.
Feminism is a reaction to Male Chauvinism (hereafter referred to simply as: Chauvinism). Unfortunately, I think both are deeply flawed.
Chauvinism is flawed at its core because it asserts that males are superior to females. Thus it excuses things like abuse, inequality, and sexism because it claims women are worth less than men. This is very clearly deplorable, and it is responsible for some heinous crimes, and not at all what God designed. The destruction resulting from Chauvinism is horrible, but not what I’m choosing to address here, because I don’t think it requires much explanation.
But Feminism isn’t really better. By its reactionary nature it seeks to annihilate the differences that exist between male and female. It claims they do not exist. It has mistaken equality with sameness.
But God created men and women equally and differently.
God’s kingdom is diverse, and to try and do away with that diversity is not only flawed but it leads to dangerous territory.
Because when we try and deny reality, we often leave a wake of destruction.
And Feminism has left quite a wake.
Because Feminism is so dead-set on eliminating the differences between men and women in the name of “equality” it excuses and even champions things like abortion because our biology doesn’t support a sameness between sexes. Our biology shouts our differences. We are the ones who can bear and nourish our children. Biologically women cannot be removed from this reality, so in an effort to eradicate diversity Feminism puts itself behind abortion so that our “responsibilities” toward our offspring are leveled. Because women cannot physically flee from motherhood, abortion has become the answer. Instead of calling men to rise to their responsibility even though they are not physically bound, Feminism seeks to bring women down to the irresponsibility of abandoning children in the name of “equality”. (The absurdity of sacrificing an innocent in the name of “equal rights” is enough for another post).
Instead of celebrating the diversity of male and female, Feminism has sought to eradicate it. But the biology is still there. We have even gone so far as to murder to try and rid ourselves of it.
But try as we might, our bodies tell it differently. We are different. And that is a very good thing.
Yours is the body of a woman. What does it signify? Is there invisible meaning in its visible signs–the softness, the smoothness, the lighter bone and muscle structure, the breasts, the womb? Are they utterly unrelated to what you yourself are? Isn’t your identity intimately bound up with these material forms?
Every normal woman is equipped to be a mother. Certainly not every woman in the world is destined to make use of the physical equipment but surely motherhood, in a deeper sense, is the essence of womanhood. […] Motherhood requires self-giving, sacrifice, suffering. It is a going down into death in order to give life, a great human analogy of a great spiritual principle. Womanhood is a call. […] glad if it means the literal bearing of children, thankful as well for all that it means in a much wider sense, that in which every woman, married or single, fruitful or barren, may participate–the unconditional response exemplified for all time in Mary the virgin, and the willingness to enter into suffering, to receive, to carry, to give life, to nurture and to care for others.
Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman
Diversity is a good thing. We need the qualities that both men and women carry; they are equal in value and equally necessary.
I’m all for doing away with gender stereotypes, they are silly and destructive. But I am unwilling to sacrifice real diversity in the name of so-called “equality”.
Because I’ve seen what true equality and diversity look like, they exist together and compliment one another perfectly. And I know that’s what God’s kingdom looks like.
I know God made me uniquely female, and I celebrate my womanhood as God designed it. My ability to bear, nurture and raise my children. My choice to submit to my husband because my faith is in my God, not myself or my husband. I am thankful for the way my mind works and most thankful that my husband’s, sons’, brothers’ and father’s minds work differently.
You see, I won’t settle for Feminism because it’s vision is too small, homogenous, and a poor representation of reality.
Instead, I choose to embrace the beauty of the kingdom my God created in all its diversity.