Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Was A Teenage Feminist

In my first post, I wrote that I am in the process of figuring out God’s plan for my life and that in doing so I have begun to think in a new and different direction. Let me explain…

I found feminism when I was in college. I attended a school that was listed in the Princeton Review as one of the most conservative colleges in America. Yet even in this ultraconservative environment the feminist movement was not just alive but thriving. I was introduced to feminism by my academic adviser who suggested I enroll in a women’s studies class. I became a feminist, a staunch feminist. I mean to say that I was a bra-burning, man-hating, feminist. I read all the literature. I was a card-carrying member of NOW. I supported and took part in the NOH8 campaign. I volunteered at and donated money to Planned Parenthood. However, the harder I fought for the feminist cause the greater the ache in my soul became. After a great deal of prayer and work with counselors/trusted friends (and by the grace of God!) I have begun to overcome the hurts of my past that brought me to the feminist cause. In letting go of this pain, I began to realize that what I was being taught by feminism is in direct contradiction to who I am as a child of God and His purpose for my life.

In the dictionary Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” If that were the end of it, then yes I am a feminist. But that is not the end of it. Feminism has morphed into something completely different from its original purpose. There are typically considered to be three waves of feminism: the original feminists, the second wave and the third wave. The original “feminists” were not called feminists in their time. These were women who were fighting for the right to vote. These women were NOTHING like the feminists of today.

Original feminists were pro-family and pro-femininity. Second wave feminists are the generation of women that came with the baby boomers. This second wave created the term “feminism”. They took something good (the quest for political and social equality, i.e. the right to vote and get equal pay for equal work) and morphed it into a chance for bored women to vent their anger upon society. The second wave feminists called for women to break free of the bonds of marriage and motherhood and to achieve “equality” in all aspects of life. The last group of feminists is the group that my generation is part of, this is the post-feminist movement. Colleges and universities all across the country have accepted feminism as official policy. If you are a young woman with talent or ambition academic advisors are quick to push you in the direction of women’s studies classes (a term that is highly misleading, but we will save that for another time.) Women’s studies courses are some of the most popular classes and they are overflowing with postfeminist ideology.

It is no longer the norm to assume that a woman is pro-family, in fact in our society it is expected that a woman is a feminist. If feminism was still an issue of equal pay for equal work or the right to vote I would have no problem with feminism. However, this is no longer the case. Feminism teaches women that the only path to happiness is through a high-powered career and that men are holding them back from our potential. This is particularly problematic for Christians. Denise L. Carmondy author of Virtuous Woman: Reflections of Christian Ethics writes that, “No feminism compatible with Christina faith can make its bias for women into a destructive bias against men.”  Feminism tells us that marriage and motherhood are social constructs designed by men to hold women down and that we are better without them. This wave of post feminism calls for the “destruction of gender norms and social constructs”. They call for women to be treated as people, and screech about inequality. It has been taken as far as women who call for everything in the English language to be gender neutral to ensure equality. In Elisabeth Elliot’s book Let Me Be A Woman she writes, “I don’t want anybody treating me as a “person” rather than as a woman. Our sexual differences are the terms of our life, and to obscure them in any way is to weaken the very fabric of life itself.” Mrs. Elliot has it exactly right. Women are an incredible part of God’s design. He created men and women equally, one is not better than the other, we are just designed for different purposes.

But don’t worry Christian women! There are people out there who believe in marriage and motherhood, people who recognize women’s unique design by our creator. In Elisabeth Elliot’s book Let Me Be A Woman she writes that, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” Yes, we are women. Yes we are different from men, but that does not mean we are less than men. It means that we need to take back our understanding of femininity and what women are designed to do. The best way for us to do that is to interact with other Christian women. In an age where feminism is accepted as the social norm, Christian women need to stand up and be there for one another. Titus 2: 3-5 says, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Women can offer support and love to one another and help combat the influence of feminism in the lives of girls and women across the world. 

If you want information about biblical femininity and godly womanhood check out the blogroll on the side of the page or the suggested readings! 

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