I’ve become a part of something that I always thought was a dirty word.
What’s one of worst things a young lady of the Christian Right can be labeled?
A feminist. *Gasp!*
You know the ones…Those women who shirk off all that Proverbs 31 praises, who don’t follow the biblical call to womanhood found in Paul’s epistles, the ones who are “progressive”.
That’s not me. Please, don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that I can do anything he can do better. Not at all. I love that God created men and women with different traits, different responsibilities and different longings. Love it!
(End disclaimer here).
Defining feminism is challenging, but a general, broad understanding of it includes speaking, writing, and advocating on behalf of women’s rights and identifying injustice to females in the social status quo. I’ve come to understand that the meaning of feminism is simply the desire for all people to acknowledge that women have the same inherent privileges and the same worth as anyone else based on, if nothing else, the fact that
they we are fellow image-bearers.
See friends, that F word…feminism, has taken on so many different definitions over the years (much like Christianity) that it has become a very loaded label (much like Christianity).
So, what to do, what to do?
Go back to roots of it all. Go back to the truest meaning of the word.
The term “feminism” first appeared in France in 1872 (as les féministes), Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 1895 as the first appearance of “feminism”. The UK Daily News first introduced “feminist” to the English language, importing it from France and branding it as “dangerous”. Prior to that time, “Woman’s Rights” was probably the term used most commonly, hence Queen Victoria’s description of this “mad, wicked folly of ‘Woman’s Rights'”.
So, if feminism really is “dangerous” and “mad” and a “wicked folly”, then why become on of them?
Because I hear the silence left by the absence of all our unseen sisters. That silence is loud and large and looming in our own backyards.
Women Girls, all bearing the image of the Creator who loves them immensely, who wants them to have life abundantly. So I’m the type of feminist who wants women to know they have equal access to safety and to grace and to the Source of abundant life; that they are not by any means lesser.
Because I found out that a girl growing up in South Africa is more likely to get raped than she is to learn to read. Because one in four of girls the world over are likely to experience sexual assault. One in four. A quarter of girls, women who are reflections of God, will be told through actions and through aggression that their dignity, their freedom is worth nothing.
That, my friends, is why I am now a feminist.
Because this year I’ve heard story after story from my sisters in Christ who are here, in our first- world, equality-driven nation, and who are being asked to take their ideas about the Bible to their husbands first so that he can express them for her. Despite all the gifting that God has given them, they are to be kept quiet for no other reason than their gender.
Because when we put limits on who a woman can be, we limit who a man can be too. If there is clear cut list of what SHE does (like cry, be tender, care for children, show compassion), then if HE does any of that does that make HIM any less of a man?
selling sex selling women are making more than EVERY other industry in this world, but drugs. Because in MY city…girls are invisibley being used and torn and left without hope. Because in MY city women are not being told the truth…that they are treasures who had eternity knit into their hearts at conception for a reason. I’m a feminist because women need to be told that they are worthy of respect and of a love that puts them first and that their voices are worth listening to.
Because the answer to this gendercide (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org/category/topics/gendercide) is a revolutionary anger in which people feel wild for change. Please hear me: Revolutionary change is what happens when people experience such a genuine gratitude for what they have that they share it. And oh do we have it! You and I, we have freedom. We have privilege. We have respect. We have sacrificial love. We have voices that are being heard.
That’s what I feel burning me up: This radical gratitude for what I have been so freely given.
The radically grateful can’t stand injustice.
Because they are moved by radical grace. You can’t know grace and not be moved.
Grace starts movements. It is a catalyst.
That’s when gratitude for the grace I’ve been given urged me toward feminism.
So it was never a woman preaching feminism that changed my perspective. The women who have given me a glimpse of the freedom in my calling are the ones surrendered and focused on one thing–not their rights, but on the righteousness of God.
I’m not a feminist who believes in exalting women or our rights because if the gospel were our goal as women in the church, then how low would we be willing to go? To mutest depths of solitude to bring God glory? Even to the least of these? How small of a position would be too small? How big of an audience would be too big to hear the Good News of the God who redeems a people by the shedding of His own blood?
I am a feminist because I
was am all too familiar with shame. It’s long whispered to me…all the way back to Eve. My voice is weak. Shame tells me God’s righteousness isn’t enough. But it is. Isn’t He all we have to proclaim? Whether feminist or not…Love and the proclamation of love is all we have to proclaim.
I believe that women will be free in the church to use their gifts as they’ve been granted only when we begin to aim for the gospel. When Kingdom comes, there will be no shame.
So, the F word…I’ve heard much worse.