I struggle with this topic because I know that so many people will roll their eyes. both at the Christian part and at the Feminist part. But I am here to say that I believe both of these identities are not only valid, but intrinsically linked. I speak mainly to Christians in this post, but I think my principals are valuable to others as well.
One thing I do know about both Christianity and Feminism is that there are literally thousands of ways to be either one, and usually people look at them with disdain because of the most extreme examples. Say the word “Christian”, and many will think of Westboro Baptist Church. Say the word “Feminist”, and many will think of the man-hating, bra-burning kind. Now as a Christian, Westboro Baptist church is a hideous example of evil done in God’s name. And as a self-proclaimed feminist, I love the men in my life, and quite frankly, I need a bra y’all.
What even is feminism? ( Did you like my Seinfeld opening? “Feminism – what’s up with that?”) Seriously though. I’ve been hearing the word “feminist” my whole life and now… now that I am a grown woman… I have like, zero clue what the term even means anymore. It used to mean bra-burning, women-are-superior, men-don’t-matter kind of women. I don’t know if that’s true, but growing up that’s what I thought a feminist was.
Sort of like how I used to think if I got caught watching anything on MTV I probably wouldn’t be allowed into heaven. I guess I thought God would be like “Woah there. Daria is not for Christians. You can just wait outside here. Yeah right outside the gates. Now stay put. Forever.” I feel like now though I understand feminism as a very different thing. I even used to say “No way. I’m not a feminist. I believe that men are authority figures in the house and I would love to be a stay at home mom.”
I feel like many of us still have this perception. How can I be a feminist and a Christian? Is that even possible?
I think that the problem here is a fundamental misunderstanding of both identities. This is where it is helpful to examine what you really believe, and what is really important to you. I am a Christian. I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven and earth (Thanks, Rich Mullins, for your succinct little tune), etc etc. For more about what I believe, check out the 16 fundamental truths, because that sums it up nicely as well. Because of those beliefs, I think many would assume that I am anti feminist. For me though, it’s the opposite.
I see my personal brand of feminism as an extension of Christianity. I believe that feminism is celebrating women and their strengths, no matter what they are. If your strength is in the corporate world, great. If your strength is staying home with your babies, great. If your strength is somewhere in the middle, like mine, then that’s great too. I think the Bible has several very pointed and specific passages celebrating women and that it is important for us to do the same. I grew up in Missionettes (think Girl Scouts with more Bible verses – Shout out to Miss Sampson) and we were taught the rich and brave stories of women like Esther, Ruth, and Deborah. We were taught about the Proverbs 31 woman and Mary, both Magdelene and the mother of Christ. These women did not take a back seat in their own lives. They were Godly, brave, and incredible women. they are celebrated and cherished for their femininity and strength in a way that men are not.
But it can’t stop there. The thing with being feminist is that so many feminist proponents also loop in other issues like fighting rape culture and how women of color need special mention and protection (Black Lives Matter) and my body my choice. And as a conservative Christian many of those issues are so controversial that they make me physically anxious. Like… When someone at work brings up politics I want to flip the table I’m sitting at and bolt. “What do you think of Trump’s policy on…?” LOL BYE
But these controversial issues, though uncomfortable, are important. It is important to be talking or at least thinking about them. It is important to understand that the Stanford rapist got away with his unthinkable crimes. It’s important to know how unconscionable It is that the rapist’s father claims – with a straight face I might add – that his son “had a moment of weakness and should not be defined by it for the rest of his life” while the victim will forever be defined by herself and others as the victim of a horrendous trauma. It is important to understand that there is injustice in our country. It is important to know that yes, that officer did shoot that therapist without cause and when asked why he did it, he said “I don’t know.” It is important to care about these events and not just discount them. It’s important to be a champion for the championless.
So today, on National Women’s day, if you find yourself being turned off by the idea of celebrating women, remember that it’s good and right the celebrate femininity – and feminism is one of many ways to do so.
Empowering women and bringing them opportunities that they would otherwise not have access to is, I think, a biblical idea. Being a Christian and believing that the man is the head of the house does not mean that we believe women have to be docile and quiet creatures. We can be strong, and loud, and emotional, and wild, and beautiful. God created women to be special and we should absolutely celebrate that. Far too often in history, women were very much not celebrated but were oppressed. We are blessed to live in a time where women have more rights and opportunities than ever before, but there is still work to be done, which is why we recognize the women who have done so much for us.
I believe that God is a feminist. Don’t get me twisted, God doesn’t hate men or believe that women are superior, but He created us to be beautiful and strong. Feminism, in its truest form, is about empowering women. God empowers women who follow Him, just as he empowers the men who do the same. And in the same way that Christians don’t hate Christianity when a few bad apples protest soldier’s funerals with hate, we shouldn’t hate the idea of feminism just because some people will twist it to fit a sinful narrative.
You don’t have to agree with me, but I felt it was important to share what I believe about some of the most important beliefs I hold.
That is all.