Thursday, April 20, 2017

Femininity Friday: Feminism and Social Equality

Good morning! Welcome to another Femininity Friday. This is the day of the week when we discuss issues specific to being a woman. Topics range from health and fitness to femininity and feminism. Lets jump in.

So, I started this series almost three years ago and then I had two children in two years and had to slow down my writing for a while.  In case you missed my article almost three years ago let me explain. I started a series about the differences between feminism and anti-feminism. You can read the introduction to the series here and the first post exploring feminism here. We are trying to establish which school of thought (if either of them) is right for a Christian woman. We will be breaking down the definition of the two camps of thought and tackling a part of that definition time I post on the subject.

I have listed out and put a short explanation of the various types of feminism here. (Feel free to check them out. If I have missed any, please let me know!) If you Google the definition of a feminist the answer you get is, "a person who supports feminism". Not super helpful. So then I looked up the definition of feminism which says, "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality with men".  

In my first post in this series we looked at the political aspect of the definition of feminism. The second "ground' discussed is social equality. 

So what is social equality exactly? 

Social equality is defined as "a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects." When reading feminist texts or blog posts I read a lot about  the following being social issues: equal access to education, the opportunity to develop personal ambitions, autonomy to manage their own lives, and reproductive health. So, since there isn't really a cohesive answer I am going to tackle each one of these topics individually. 

Lets tackle the first issue of education. Lets be  honest, there was a time in history when women weren't allowed (like they were physically barred from going inside) to attend classes at both major and minor universities and colleges. My own beloved Alma Mater, Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas only admitted women on a limited basis 54 years ago! This is an area where "man" made some pretty serious mistakes in my opinion, but here is the thing. It is over.
In the United States, you can now apply for college regardless of race, sex, or creed. In fact, there are now more female college graduates than male graduates. Thanks to Title IX, this battle is over, the goal of equal access to education has been achieved.   

The next two topics go together pretty well, so lets focus on them as a unit. Feminist want "social equality" and one of the ways that will be achieved is through making sure that women have equal opportunity to develop personal ambitions and autonomy over their own lives. I can understand this being a big deal in middle eastern countries where women aren't even able to leave their homes without a male relative. Yes, they desperately need this social equality. 

But here in the United States? 

Don't we already have this? Is anyone stopping you from trying to become a YouTube sensation, a WNBA star, or a nuclear physicist? NO! Women in the United States can do literally anything that they want, there is nothing holding you back. You have the autonomy to do whatever you want with your life. In fact, there was an article in the news this week about a girl being the first female athlete to earn an NCAA football scholarship directly out of high school. But here is the thing, do you know why she got the scholarship? Because she EARNED IT. It wasn't handed to her. I guarantee that she has spent hours and hours of her life practicing her sport. She had personal ambitions, she worked hard and she earned them, that is equality. 

This is usually the part where people start talking about how there aren't enough women going in to were in history predominately "male" jobs. But here is the thing, if you are all about women having autonomy, if they don't want to go in to that job field why do you care? If Sally wants a degree in Home Economics rather than Engineering, doesn't she have the right to make that choice?  

Lastly is the issue of reproductive health. This is a tricky issue cut and dry case of understanding what the verbiage actually means. Are feminists saying that women need to have access to information and treatment of female specific reproductive health problems? Then heck yes, I support that with a caveat. Abortion is not "reproductive health". I won't even start in on the religious side of the argument because it won't mean anything to people that don't share my faith. Just looking at the most basic science, these two issues don't belong lumped together. Check out The Secular Case Against Abortion and see what I mean. There is no pro-life and the pro-choice side of the reproductive health argument. Abortion advocates have done a brilliant job of tying murdering babies and "women's health" together. If you aren't pro-choice then you are anti "women's health". This simply isn't fact. I support women getting the medical care that they need, but I do NOT support women murdering their children and calling it "reproductive health". 

In my mind, women in the United States already have equal access to education, equal access to autonomy and personal ambition, and equal access to healthcare. No one is standing in front of these doors holding women away.  Therefore, advocacy for social equality is not a valid reason to join the feminist cause, since we already have the equality that feminism supposedly fights for. 
The next post in the series (which I would love to say would be next week but we are about to move across the entire country with two children under two so it may be a little further out!) we will be looking at economic equality. We will be looking at the Bible, academic texts, articles, news sources and more to get a clear image of what each group believes. Then I will check those beliefs with What I Believe and form a decision. 

While this is a bit more academic and a little less relational that the things I normally write, I still want to encourage constructive conversation about the topic. I would love to hear any suggestions, thoughts, or comments that y'all may have!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the points you have clearly made. One of the ironies in women's health is the controversy over midwife care. Recently a Swedish midwife was not allowed to practice in Sweden because she would not participate in abortion procedures! I wrote about this on my blog:

    An organization that i have found to have a good message is Women Speak for Themselves, WSFT

    Blessings and safe travels as you move!


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