Courtesy of guest writer Kirsten Ambrose
A few weeks ago, some group put “Why we need feminism” posters up all around my college campus. They included things like “We need feminism because I don’t know how to cook and I don’t want to learn,” and “We need feminism because I didn’t come here to get my Mrs. Degree.” We talk about the “liberty” found in feminism. True, a lot of good did come out of the early feminist movement. However, I also believe that certain aspects of feminism went too far. In reality, has feminism really freed us?
FEMINISM IN WESTERN CULTURE
At one time, women did not have the right to own their own property or vote and holding a job was frowned upon. Most of these rights had been gained for women by the 1920s when women’s suffrage was legalized. Still, women faced inequality in the job market, which they fought against. Early in the 1970s some women still took issue with the difference in gender roles as well as the “glass ceiling,” an invisible barrier in the corporate world that said that wouldn’t allow women to achieve more prominent positions in a company and many women also said accounted for wage discrepancy. This was largely due to the fact that women would begin a career but then get married and have a family and thus take time off of work. They would return to the work force in their 40s or 50s but by then their career had stagnated while the men in the same field had significantly grown their status and career. As a result, the younger generation of women fought against the idea of the traditional family.
FREEDOM TO DO WHAT?
Hand in hand with “sexual liberation” was a shift in the traditional family. Men and women no longer had to wait to gratify their sexual desires so what was the point of marrying? Women were now “free” to have a career and relationships without being “tied down” with the “burden” of caring for a family. I believe education is extremely important, but there seems to be this prevailing attitude among women that they should strive to be equal (or “superior”) to men because they have historically been “held back.” To do this, they should be the best in their class at school, get into a fantastic college, grad school, and then rush into the job market. But what would be so bad about a woman using her education as a tool to come alongside her husband, support him, and contribute to the mission God has placed on his heart? What would be wrong about an educated woman choosing to raise a family above having a career? Did we lose sight of God’s beautiful picture of His love for the church that He painted through marriage in the course of our “liberation?” I am not saying it is wrong for a woman to have a career and a family. But whatever she chooses to do should stem from a desire to glorify God, not prove a point about her own abilities.
Feminism teaches that to be equal with men we have to have the same role as men. But biblically our roles are quite different from those of men. Men are called to lead their family, take on leadership roles in the church, and lay down their lives for their wives. Women are called to affirm and encourage their husband’s leadership by graciously submitting to them.
This is not a call to laziness. Rather it’s a call to hard work. Check out Proverbs 31. It paints a picture of a strong, intelligent, and hard working woman that uses her God-given talents to glorify God and build her husband up instead of competing with him for control of the household: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
TRUE LIBERTY IN CHRIST
I’d like to close by saying that true liberty is found only in Christ. This liberty is far different from what the world tells us liberty is though. In the world’s version of liberty, I am free to do what I please to please myself and build myself up. In Christ’s version of liberty, I have been freed from sin, and I am free to walk in the Spirit and build up the body of Christ in order to glorify God.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:16-17.