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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Am I A Feminist?

Several years ago, I was sitting in my English class at our local community college. My teacher was talking about words having positive and negative connotations attached to them. After giving a few examples he told us, "If you are a feminist, raise your hand." The class mainly being comprised of young redneck males, of course no one raised their hands.

"What? You don't think women should have the right to vote?" he asked us. He went on to explain how none of us wanted to be labeled a feminist because the word had a negative connotation. But what he said made me think. Having adopted a more conservative worldview, I certainly wouldn't call myself a feminist, yet I believe that women should have the right to vote, get a job, and earn a higher education if they feel God calling them to. Does that make me a feminist?

I believe the bible teaches that men and women are of equal value in God's sight, yet God created them for different purposes. After the fall, He made it very clear in Genesis 3:16-19 that the roles of men and women would be different. The woman would bear children and serve her husband, and the man would labor and provide for his family. On that subject, I appreciated the thought-provoking post Kristi's husband wrote over at Courageous Homekeeping and this part really stood out to me. "[Speaking to men] You bear the curse of sweat and toil in the ground from Genesis. Don't share that curse with your wife." That quote could also be switched and applied to women.

I don't believe this means that every woman's sole purpose in life is to get married and raise a family--some are called to be single for the glory of God. I also believe that sometimes, when the need arises, God calls women to rise up and lead. There were many women in the Old Testament as well as the New, whom we might consider feminists today, including Miriam (Exodus 15:24), Deborah (Judges 4-5), Esther (Esther 4-7), Ruth (Ruth 3), and Phoebe & Priscilla (Acts 16) among others. However, I believe that a woman's job first and foremost is to be a keeper of the home. Anything outside of that must be a clear calling from the Lord.

So am I a feminist? I suppose the answer is yes. I'm a biblical feminist. :)

2 comments:

MamaVee said...

I think that being a "feminist" has negative connotations only in certain Christian circles. I know many men who identify as feminists, and it is not seen as a negative thing at all. As you and your professor stated, being a feminist is about women having the right to vote, the right to choose the life style that she wants...I think Christians have a perception that feminism is a negative thing because of how are society is today - but the Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun, and the problems we have today have been experienced by other cultures for other reasons - feminism is not the root of all evil.

Shyla said...

Hello Catharine,

Feminism began as all of the things MamaVee speaks of, and may retain the essence still with some people. Unfortunately, with the truths found in Solomon's words applied, it has primarily been hijacked by selfish gain within the Feminist Movement. Some still attempt to use the word in its true and original sense. You might enjoy reading http://www.judges19.com/ and http://www.thatmom.com/?p=5671

God bless,
Shyla