A very dear friend responded to my recent blog post, Why I Won’t Settle For Feminism, with some pretty great questions that sparked a conversation between us. I think her questions did well to point out areas that I overlooked addressing in my previous post, and I’d like to address them here.
If you haven’t read the original post, this add-on won’t be very clear, so I ask that you read my original posting first.
The subjects of “dead-beat” dads, sexual abuse and ridiculous social laws pertaining to women abroad and in our early history are ugly and wrong. I think it’s important to make the distinction that none of those things that oppress women are part of God’s design, and I don’t think Feminism is the only thing to try and rise against them. Those things are a result of devaluing women, which God does not do. He created us and we are of great importance to him, equal in every way to men. But I think the problem with Feminism is that it has fed us the lie that it is the only fix for those injustices. That simply isn’t true. Real, scriptural design says otherwise.
I also think it’s worth distinguishing between Feminism and the Suffragette movement. While Feminism claims to be a continuation of Suffragette vision, I don’t believe this is really the case, and I think that many of the early Suffragettes would be appalled at the Feminist ethos. The Suffragette movement came from a place of seeking to end real oppression that existed among minorities that included, women, blacks, and those of low socioeconomic status. I still believe it had some flawed principles, but it did succeed in providing important legal rights for those people groups and helped to bring attention to very real oppression.
Feminism on the other hand was born out of the Sexual Revolution and most of its ideals are centered around sexual freedom, and abortion is a key point of Feminism because of its roots.
While I believe there are many reasons women make the devastating choice of abortion, it is a very real and unfortunate fact that it is being played within the political mainstream as a way to neutralize the sexes. I think this is deplorable, and I am honestly ashamed of women for allowing this to go on without speaking against it.
I think there is a place for gentleness when we speak on abortion, I know women who have chosen it from a place of fear, confusion and even persuasion, and I have infinite grace for them. But I think just as Jesus dealt with people both gently and firmly there is also a place for anger towards sin (especially sins against the innocent), and I think Jesus would be upending the tables in the temple of Feminism because it is largely responsible for a lot of problems and very much so for the deaths of the unborn. Yes, sin is the root, but I think because Feminism is rooted in a sinful ethos it has to be addressed firmly. The Feminist movement is largely part of why many women experience the fear that leads them to abortion, and I know women personally who have chosen abortion out of their need to fulfill the Feminist mantra of “equal sexual freedom”. I think the women and men that speak for Feminism feed the deception that leads to false hopes and when those hopes are threatened many women make fearful and devastating decisions. I also think Feminism has exacerbated the problem of irresponsible fathers and broken families (though clearly they are not the only sinful movement responsible for this, as I mentioned Male Chauvinism is horrible, and I think Jesus would upend those tables too, I am choosing to address Feminism because so many people don’t see it for the problem it is).
I also want to be clear that I am not saying my family was the only model or even the ideal model of a biblical family. But I think it was a good example of what scripture describes.
Scripture says the wife is to submit to her husband, that the husband is responsible for protecting and providing for his family, and that the wife’s main focus is in the home. Those are our specifics and I think they play out in different ways. I don’t think this means only homeschooling, or that women cannot work outside of the home, or that in some extenuating circumstances the husband couldn’t stay at home (due to disability, loss of job, etc). But the overall framework for a biblical family is there and I think we have to try and fit within it if we want to be faithful to our Creator.
My point in bringing up my childhood was simply to address that gender neutrality does not exist and that the diversity within my family (specifically between my brothers and myself) was a natural thing, and not socially constructed. Because Feminism tries so hard to say society defines femininity and masculinity, I wanted to bring an example–namely myself–as someone who is feminine in the way scripture describes but doesn’t fit into the social dogma of our culture’s definition of femininity.
I am also aware that we live in a fallen world, where husbands leave or abuse their wives. God does not call women to submit to abuse and those men are not doing what God has very clearly told them to do, and that is to love their wives above themselves. Abuse and abandonment are clearly not part of God’s design. And where the husband leaves the home it is the Church’s responsibility to step in and help fill the needs of a single mother (or in reverse single fathers), and our Christian brothers are called to protect their sisters, so in examples of abuse, the Church should be stepping in on behalf of women.
It is also worth noting that single females are called to submit to the Church, and the male headship and teaching that is within that framework, but they do not submit to men in the same way that a wife submits to her husband.
I know that there is so much sin and brokenness in our world. My point is that Feminism is not the answer to it. Christ is. And I think we would spend our time better seeking to repair that brokenness within the framework God has given us, instead of trying to do away with his design as Feminism does. I think that men, women and the Church at large haven’t always done this the best way, but there is a movement toward improvement. But I also think that Feminism has muddied the waters and confused a lot of people and I believe it has a very large responsibility in the shaping of abortion in our country and thus the death of millions. Which is why I have chosen to address it in a less gentle way.
And while I am primarily addressing women in my writing I acknowledge that men are just (if not more) responsible for the damage that Feminism has caused, but I think other authors have addressed them better than I could, and I feel it is my place to address women specifically.
I hope this clears up some of what I may have left ambiguous in my last post.