(EDIT: Read my re-take HERE)
Before I begin, I'd like to reinforce, in case any of you are worried, that my views on feminism do NOT include being "pro-choice". I am 100% pro-life, and I'm not sorry if that offends you.
Okay. Here we go: Why we need feminism--A Christian Girl's Perspective
Feminism--and how and why it applies to a Christian Girl's life--is something I've been thinking about a lot.
I know feminism is fighting for women being equal to men, but today I want to talk about how feminism means equality among women.
So before I begin (wait, did I already say that once? Oh well), I'd like to point out that when I say feminism throughout this post, I'm talking about the idea that women are equal and we need to treat each other as equal beings with equal rights to make our own decisions. If that makes sense. If it doesn't, hopefully it will.
We need feminism.
We need feminism so women can feel accepted and loved no matter what they choose to do in life.
We need feminism so that women can choose to stay at home and be a mother and not be judged by women who chose a career for "wasting their life".
We need feminism so that women who choose a career and not have a family are not judged by women who stay at home with their children for "wasting their life".
We need feminism so that women who choose to have children and work outside the home are not judged by other women for "neglecting their duty as a mother" and "not caring about their children's lives".
We, as women, should be loving and supporting each other, no matter what role we are serving in society, in our communities, and in our homes. The last thing we need is to be judging each other for individual decisions.
One of my former leaders and a friend has given me permission to share part of her story.
She is a good, faithful, Christian woman (though perhaps she'd laugh to hear me say that, it's true), and I have no doubt that she does everything she can to follow the Lord's plan for her. The problem? Some people doubt that. People judge.
I'm going to start her story after she was married (which in itself, though she married a man who is perfect for her and I'm certain it was God's plan, brought judgmental comments), when she didn't have children right away. In her case, she wasn't able to, physically. In this particular church, having a family is considered extremely important and girls are taught from an early age that having a family is the most important thing she can do. That being said, of course people would understand if it wasn't a matter of choice, but of actual possibility--right? These Christian women would love and support their sister anyway--or rather especially--right? There were a few women who loved and supported her through this. But it's tragic how much people judged her for it and shunned her and things. In her words,
"I honestly could write a book of the comments I heard during those five years. My response? I withdrew from anyone that I thought would have a negative comment. I told very few people of our struggle and the ones that were supposedly the “perfect” members of the church offered no sympathy, no support, or a caring hand. They only offered the judgey eyebrows, the whispers, and the cruel chuckle of an invitation given to another baby shower."
This is not what being a Christian woman should be. We as Christian girls and women need to be the ones to love each other no matter what, and stop judging based on ideas of righteousness, or as in too many cases, self-righteousness.
What if, instead of judging, we stopped to consider that God was planning and guiding her life just as He's guiding anyone else's? And that she is following that plan?
The judging didn't stop when she did, after much praying and waiting, have a child.
You see, she works outside the home. The judgmental comments about that are plentiful, too. In her own words, "Those comments are hurtful too, but because I became stronger they tend to roll off my back a little easier these days."
But why do people feel the need to judge her for making the decision she felt was best? Why judge someone for following God's plan for them?
She quoted this, and I 100% agree:
"When it comes to:
To finish her story with a few more of her words,
"As long as Heavenly Father knows your heart and knows what you are working towards, that is the ONLY person we ever need to answer to. The point is, if we are truly going to love our fellow sister, this terrible judgement and strange hierarchy of how you fall on the “are you a good [Christian] woman” status has to stop."
(Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience!)
Ladies, this is why we need feminism. So that women like this absolutely wonderful woman aren't made to feel worthless and inferior. People have and do treat her like she's worth less, and that kind of judging needs to stop.
As Christian women, we try to follow the will of God, wherever that leads us. And you know what? It's not going to be the same path for everyone. Can we understand that?
If someone from church is a mother who works outside the home, stop before judging her for "neglecting her child's needs". Do you think this was a decision made with a lot of prayer? You bet. Do you think she's doing it because she doesn't care about her children? Absolutely not. Do you think she is doing her utmost to do what's best for her family, and follow the Lord? Absolutely!
If you work outside the home and see a fellow woman at home with her children, stop before judging her for "wasting her life" as "just a mom" instead of pursuing a career. Her decision was made with prayer and trusting in God. And you know, she's working a whole lot harder than it looks like she is. Being a mother is a lot of hard and dirty work; it's not easier than choosing a career.
We need feminism so that girls who don't get married until later in life aren't made to feel worthless and wayward. We need feminism so that girls don't feel like they aren't of worth if they don't "have a man". We're all agreed, yes, that we as Christian girls and women are trying to follow the Lord as best we can. We are agreed, then, that this includes these unmarried young women.
Some of these girls haven't had much opportunity to date or consider marriage. If you're a married woman, stop before you judge them. If you are one of these women, don't you dare give into anyone who makes you feel worthless and unloved and unneeded. If you're doing everything you can to serve the Lord, and He's going to bless you for that. He has a plan for you, and nothing you do can change that. If you know one of these young women, refrain from judging them or making them feel like their life is wasted if they don't marry. God has a plan for them, too, remember?
Other girls have opportunities to marry but decide not to, at least not yet, because they want to focus on things like education or a career. Is this okay, deciding not to get married right away? Of course it is! These girls are doing their best to follow God's plan for them, too. Stop before you judge them for "getting distracted by the world" or "being 'too good' for marriage", or anything. These girls have every right to live their life the way they feel is following the Lord's plan for them.
If you are one of these girls, don't let people make you feel worthless and incomplete because you've chosen not to get married yet. Keep following God's plan, and live your life.
We need feminism so that girls who do get married young aren't judged for "tying themselves down" at "such a young age". We need feminism so that girls who skip education and a career and have a family at a young age aren't judged for being reckless and hasty.
These girls are no different from the rest in at least one thing. They're doing their best to follow God's plan for them, too. They are choosing the path that they feel the Lord wants for them.
We need feminism because no girl or woman deserves to feel worthless or inferior for following God's plan for her.
We need feminism so girls are taught that their worth comes from being a daughter of God, a King, and not from anything else the world tries to tell them. We need feminism so that girls are taught to love their sisters because they all have the same worth she has. We need feminism so that we are united as sisters, instead of divided by differences.
Now, I've talked mostly about how we need feminism for equality among women. Now to turn briefly to the slightly more controversial topic of feminism as equality with men--from a Christian girl's perspective.
Men and women are equal, yes. Does that mean they are the same? Obviously not.
Here's my Christian girl feminist's take on men vs. women.
Men and women are equal but different. We are equal because we each have gifts and abilities that the other doesn't, and many that we share.
An idea I see a lot in feminism is that "women are equal to men because we can do anything a man can do". I don't see a problem with this, necessarily, but I think that's not giving women--or men--the credit we--or they--deserve.
You see, the way I see it, women are equal to men because we can do the things men can't do. And men are equal to women because they can do the things we can't do. And we are equal to each other because we can use our different but equal qualities to work together.
We need Christian feminism so that we recognize that women are equal to men not simply because they can do anything a man can do, but because they can do things a man can't do.
Stop. Judging. Stop judging other girls and women for the paths they choose.
Your worth comes from the fact that you're a daughter of a King, and that's what matters most.
Those around you have that same worth.
You are amazing because you can do things men can't do, not just the things they can.
Now, how many people have unfollowed my blog by this point? I'm torn between hoping I didn't offend people and feeling no apology for what I've said. I believe in what I've said. I am sorry if I've offended you or hurt your feelings. I do realize that not everyone is going to agree with what I've said. And that's okay. That's another reason we need feminism, is so that people can disagree with everything I've said and still be treated with respect.
To all of you, though, I will apologize for all the rambling and ranting I did. Also for anything that didn't make sense. This is a pretty difficult topic to work with, so I'm sorry if I didn't do an ideal job!
To those of you who stuck around this far, tell me your thoughts!
(EDIT: Read my re-take HERE)