Whatever you do, don’t share this article on social media- unless of course you’re willing to weather a fierce opinion firestorm.
I’ve made a startling self discovery in recent months, one that’s been bubbling away for some time, waiting to be acknowledged. There has been a gradual shift in my worldview, a questioning of all I thought I believed, an awakening of independent thought, which has all culminated in this….
I think I’m a feminist.
I wish I was embracing it, I wish I was comfortable with it. I wish there wasn’t still a part of me that’s ashamed of it!
I wish uttering the words didn’t feel make me feel as though I was confessing to a crime.
I’ve not yet had time to embrace feminism, as I’m only at the beginning of this journey, and so far I’ve spent the whole time cleaning. Scrubbing away at religious thought fungi that had spawned and colonised, thriving in the dark environment of my closed mind.
For a very long time I have believed, in part due to ignorance and in larger part because I’d actually been taught, that a Christian cannot a be a feminist.
Feminism was a dirty word, the description of a mind disease that plagued the ungodly.
Christian girls should aspire to noble lives of submissive subservience and self-sacrifice, immersing themselves and their identities wholly within the roles of wife and mother.
If a woman took leave of her senses and chose not to marry, but instead remain single, it would be for mission purposes only, and of course she would have been ‘gifted with singleness’.
To identify oneself as feminist meant you hated men.
You expected all women to embrace contraception and set out on a liberating adventure of promiscuous sexual relations with anyone you stumbled upon. However, a true feminist, would most certainly identify herself as gay.
To be feminist meant that you cultivated a pheromonally fragrant garden of underarm hair, and proudly sported legs adorned with their own fur coat (seeing as it’s winter here, I may or may not be fulfilling this current stereotype…. A lady never tells).
To be a feminist meant that you were angry. Angry with men, angry at the world, angry with authority figures, angry with the ‘system’, angry in general really. This anger probably arose from the bitterness of not having found a good strong man to submit to.
To be feminist meant that you were pro-abortion.
Given these preconceived notions of feminism and my new self discovery, it seems I’m failing miserably.
I’m simply the worst feminist ever.
Or maybe what I’ve been taught is incorrect.
Maybe my idea of feminism stems from the discovering of who I was created to be.
Perhaps my identity has become so rooted in Christ that I no longer believe I’m second rate.
I no longer believe that because I am a women I am weaker.
I no longer believe that because I menstruate and have hormonal fluctuations, that I am unable to make decisions with sound judgement, particularly any decision that would pertain to a church and it’s direction or leadership.
Perhaps I no longer believe that women deserve less financial reward than men just because of their genitalia.
Perhaps I no longer believe that expecting to be a contributor in our family decisions means I’m seeking to emasculate my husband (yes, I was actually told this).
Perhaps I no longer believe that men are to be the one and only leaders of all things corporate, spiritual and anywhere in between.
Perhaps I believe that women are so much more than what our culture portrays them to be.
Perhaps women have a worth and possess capabilities that extend beyond their looks, marital status, childbearing abilities or sex organs.
Perhaps I recognise that the freedom I hold to even express these views is a profound gift that many lack, it is a gift I dare not squander or squash, but one I will use to enact change for those who lack my blessed liberties.
Perhaps I now believe that when we empower women to discover their strength, purpose, value and worth, we will see a world that regains balance.
As it turns out, I’m in rather grand company, it seems that Jesus Himself was prone to feminist thinking and it shaped His actions.
Gasp! “You can’t say that!”
Oooops, sorry, just did!
Jesus was an activist. In a society that held women in the lowest esteem, He lifted them up into high spiritual and social places. He allowed them to hear His teaching and encouraged them to embrace it, live it.
When Jesus’ disciples sat forlorn, grief stricken and full of questions after His crucifixion, it was women who came to tend His body, and women who were first given the news of His resurrection.
In a society where woman had no social credence, God empowered them and trusted them to bear a message that world shape history, a message that would be remembered, repeated and celebrated the world over, until time itself elapses and reaches it’s commanded end.
I don’t know a whole lot about feminism, but I know that women are not inferior to men, nor are we superior.
We are equal.
Both sexes offer to each other, and the world a beautiful balance.
Everything exists and functions under delicate equilibrium and for far too long, the scales have been markedly uneven.
I don’t yet know how this new found thinking will shape my life, hopefully it will be in a way that helps give a voice to those whose voices have been muted.
What I do know is this: I’m not throwing my bra into a fire, I love my husband and don’t seek to have control over him, and I will continue to parent my children not based on their sex, but according to their God-given identities, empowering them to be all they were created to be.
And the best part? I have the privilege of exploring this new thinking with a man who is secure enough in his own identity that he seeks only to empower and encourage me into deeper contemplative thought.
‘Tis a fragile and insecure man who would feel threat over any woman’s want for equality.