(not my photo, no copyright infringement is intended)
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests (merriam-webster.com)
After typing the previous definitions, my goal was to have the millennials’ definition of feminism; but the several websites I’ve read are all over the place. I think modern-day feminism can be summed up by a few statements.
“Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do with my body!”
“I deserve to be treated BETTER than the men in my workplace/society/culture!”
“I am no different than a man! I can do everything a man can do!”
“I don’t need a man. I can do everything myself. I am self-sufficient.”
“Men should be the ones staying home! Women being homemakers are a thing of the past.”
Those should all sound familiar, because those statements and countless others are being shoved in our face day after day. As a millennial female, I am sick and tired of it. The funny thing is, it’s not just my generation. I have had middle-aged women preach at me why they went to the Women’s March in D.C. Women old enough to be my mom have mocked me for wanting to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool my kids someday. I’ve been called “sexist” against my “own kind,” “old-fashioned,” and “uninformed.
And yet all we hear is “FEMALE EMPOWERMENT.” I don’t feel empowered when people belittle my life goals and beliefs on gender roles.
I am not saying I am for men stepping all over women. I am not saying women cannot be supervisors, managers, run their own businesses, or be successful. I’m not even saying that if you choose to follow a career path instead of get married and raise children, you are dead wrong. (Please continue reading for further explanation on that last statement.) I want women to be treated with fairness and respect. I want women to be strong, to be courageous, to be committed and hard-working and not let people or situations get them down. But I’m afraid that the feminism of today is less interested in making women hard workers and happy humans, and more interested in women stomping on men to get what they want–or have it handed to them.
How I wish women in our backwards culture would realize that we, as females, are created beautifully differently than males! I will never understand why feminists are so hung up on making themselves identical to males, instead of capitalizing on our own strengths and characteristics that are DIFFERENT and complementary to men! In the book Sex Matters, author Mona Charen says in the introduction, “I don’t think ‘equality’ means ‘sameness’” (page 10). I could not have said it better.
So how should Christian young ladies act in the face of radical feminism?
I heard a tremendous sermon on the topic of gender roles by Dr. Jim Shettler. One thing that has specifically stuck with me was his explanation of 1 Peter 3:7, where Peter writes that the husband should give “honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel.” So many people get hung up on the fact that the woman is called the “weaker vessel.” I have actually read about someone using that as an argument that God is sexist. But Dr. Shettler said, with his enormous grin, “It says WEAKER vessel, not weak! Men are weak too, but women are weaker.” That is why God created us different, so that we are complementary to each other. Ladies, obviously, we can do some things men can’t do. But our culture refuses to acknowledge that there are some things women can’t do, or at least cannot do as well as men! And I know that sentence makes a lot of feminists mad, but it’s the truth.
God has created you as His beautiful masterpiece. He has given you wonderful talents, characteristics, habits, ideas, perspectives, and personality quirks that are unique to you. Don’t squelch them because you wish you were different. Don’t regret how God created you. God values women. They play a key role in so many Biblical accounts. I am in the middle of reading Esther right now, actually, and her boldness and strength in a patriarchal society is inspiring! But do you know why she was so successful and courageous and able to save an entire nation? It was because she knew her worth in the God Who made her, as well as trusted His timing. We read through the book of Ruth a few weeks ago, and her joy, consistency, and work ethic was because she had learned the truth of God from her husband’s family. Ruth’s story is amazing because she didn’t whine and complain when her husband died because no one would provide for her; but she also didn’t shove it in anyone’s face when she went to work for herself and her mother-in-law. She meekly, lovingly worked every day, and her different attitude and quiet beauty made her noticed.
Girls, ladies, friends. Let us provoke, or stir up, each other to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Let us encourage one another to be a Ruth or an Esther in this ungodly world. Let us take back what is at the heart of feminism: building up other females. Not at the expense of our brothers in Christ though! That is worldly feminism: I must push other people down to build myself up. Let’s encourage each other in our endeavors, our goals, and our pursuits, most importantly when those pursuits are centered around Jesus and making Him known.
I just want to say something here about the profession of homemaking. The world has continually shed darkness on this, and even Christian young people have begun to adapt the same mindset. Homemaking is old-fashioned. Nobody is a stay-at-home mom anymore. Women need to be in college, pursuing a career, or already set in their career. Marriage is fine. Having a baby is fine. But staying at home to raise your children? No one has time for that.
One of my friends, who is already a mother while I am not, recently had some words to share on this thought of taking back the word “homemaker.” She said, “I think we need to view it in a healthy, non-judgmental way. I think many women feel ashamed to be called that. . . It’s in being a homemaker that I’ve seen dreams come to life, opportunities open up, life take form, and a measure of joy reached. A measure of joy that can only be attained in this kind of environment. It’s here at home that I’ve seen the Holy Spirit more alive than ever before. Being a homemaker means I get to partner with Jesus and advance and cultivate a little piece of the kingdom.” (Used with permission, via Instagram. Megan Shastri.) Mona Charen in Sex Matters, in the context of homemaking versus career-building, references how happiness has declined among females since the 1970’s, and in the 1990’s they were reportedly less happy than their mothers or grandmothers at their same age. She concludes the paragraph about this on page nine with this statement: “Happiness, then, has not marched forward with feminism.”
Ladies, we were made to be nurturers. Sometimes moms can’t stay home. They have to work to provide for their family and I understand that. But children are a gift from God, and from the moment they come into this world they should be priority. Therefore, when a young lady aspires to be a homemaker, let us not accuse her of being unambitious or old-fashioned or clueless. Let us rise above our backward culture, and encourage her. And we should likewise do so for the various ambitions of the young women around us. Especially as sisters in Christ, we should be intentional about encouraging both the next generation and our peers toward not just pursuing their dreams, but pursuing their Creator.
A woman’s success or satisfaction should not be based on how much she gets paid at her job. It should not be based on how many men she can intimidate or control. A great woman is a woman who knows that her identity is in Christ. A great woman is a woman who encourages other women to pursue God and His will with all that they are. A great woman is a woman who is thankful for the role she plays in her relationships with men. A great woman is a woman who can support her husband and submit to him because she trusts that he does what is best for their family. A great woman understands that her femininity is a gift from God, and she should not brandish it like a weapon but instead use it as a tool to comfort, encourage, grow, and love.
Be confident as a woman. Be grateful for the role God has given you. Pursue Him with all that you are, and encourage other woman to do the same.
Charen, Mona. Sex Matters. New York, Penguin Random House LLC, 2018.