Thursday, May 17, 2007

Feminism vs. Women's rights

Here's a question Buffy asked me:
Do I take it that you do not support feminism but you do support women's rights? I was wondering what you thought the difference was as most people seem to be unclear about the definition of either.

What a great question, Buffy! Very often, when people hear I stopped supporting feminism, they assume I'm against women's rights. The reason of this misjudged concept is automatically associating feminism with women's rights and benefits, and everything that goes against it with oppression and belittling of women – which is imprecise, to say the least.

To help you understand why I think so, let me first give a brief introduction of these two terms – feminism and women's rights.

What in my opinion constitutes women's rights? Here's a summary of the basics:

1. Physical protection and safety – this means no one has the right to abuse, harass, threaten a woman, or put a woman in a situation that endangers her physical well-being. A woman is to have a feeling of being physically protected.
2. Emotional protection and safety – no one has the right to emotionally abuse or torture a woman, cause her distress, endanger her spiritual well-being or undermine her feeling of emotional security. A woman is to have a feeling of being emotionally protected.
3. Appreciation – a woman should be appreciated for her being a unique human being, created in God's image, and for her role as a woman, helpmeet, wife, and mother – which is also God-given.
4. Respect – a woman has the right to be respected. She has the right to express her opinions, which should be taken seriously. No one has the right to belittle a woman, deny her importance or boss her around.

Anything important that I might have forgotten can be considered as a part of physical or emotional well-being. You will also notice, of course, that everything I listed can be applied to all human beings, men as well as women – except that in number 3, 'role of woman, helpmeet, wife and mother' should be replaced with 'role of man, leader, husband and father'.

Now let's say a few words about feminism. Feminism is meekly defined as 'The name of a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies that are concerned with cultural, political and economic practices and inequalities that discriminate against women.'

Some defenders of feminism claim that 'feminism is not against homemakers; it's all about choice" – is that so?

"A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism...the [housewife's] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable.... [W]oman's work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a 'career' for woman." ~ Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949.

"[A]s long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed.... No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction." ~ Simone de Beauvoir, "Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma," Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.

"Feminism was profoundly opposed to traditional conceptions of how families should be organized, [since] the very existence of full-time homemakers was incompatible with the women's movement.... [I]f even 10 percent of American women remain full-time homemakers, this will reinforce traditional views of what women ought to do and encourage other women to become full-time homemakers at least while their children are very young.... If women disproportionately take time off from their careers to have children, or if they work less hard than men at their careers while their children are young, this will put them at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis men, particularly men whose wives do all the homemaking and child care.... This means that no matter how any individual feminist might feel about child care and housework, the movement as a whole had reasons to discourage full-time homemaking." ~ Jane J. Mansbridge, Why We Lost the ERA, 1986.

(Quotes taken from LAF article "You Don't Know Feminism")

Now let's have a look at the consequences of feminism and see if it provided women with the basic rights I mentioned in the earlier part of my post.

Over 40 years after the beginning of the modern feminist movement of the 1960's, we have unrestricted sex, the Pill, abortion on demand, an astronomically increased number of single mothers, teenage mothers and women in their 40's struggling with infertility; we have a fatherless generation who hasn't seen a better example; chastity is mocked, women are sexualized and coerced into selling themselves cheap; we have no-fault divorce, deterioration of family values – and I could go on and on. Tell me, how exactly does it provide women with a sense of physical and emotional security?

A woman is no longer appreciated and respected for being a woman – on the contrary, she is expected to be as masculine as possible, and every suggestion that there is, in fact, a difference in the way a men's and women's minds work meets vehement denial (even an innocent statement such as 'a research has found a higher percent of women have talent for studying languages, while men are more inclined to mathematics'). Motherhood is regarded as 'just one out of many options', and being a helpmeet is perceived as slavery.

A daughter can no longer expect to be protected by her father; a woman finds it hard to trust her husband's leadership and feel secure in her marriage, with the divorce rates so ridiculously high; a lady cannot expect chivalry anymore.

Feminism claims that before its onset, women were a faceless, abused, uneducated mass. Nothing could be further from the truth. Biblical laws have protected women for many centuries before feminism came into the picture. Take for example Deuteronomy 22:28-29. I've heard various opinions about this verse, but the bottom line is that a man cannot take a maiden's virginity and get away with it. What did feminism give us instead of defending a woman's honor and chastity? The preposterous claim that it has no importance and is more of a hindrance to a woman's 'liberation'.

Women's education is another myth. If you listen to feminists, women were nearly illiterate before the start of feminist movement. I wish they knew my great-grandmother, who was home educated and had wide knowledge of fine literature, music, arts, history and management of the home; she was accomplished in the domestic arts; she was an honored wife and the delighted mother of seven children. My grandmother did go to a women's college back in 1934, but it wasn't like today. She stayed with two respectable old ladies and helped them look after their home, and the ladies in turn looked after her and made sure no unworthy man gets near her.

Yes, feminism has provided us with 'freedom of choice' – but only for women who make a certain choice. What about women who want to fulfill their God-given role as helpmeets, wives, keepers of the home, mothers, and who see it as a satisfying, challenging, full-time work? But ah, they are mindless slaves! Oppressed! Brainwashed! They should be educated and forced – by legislations and campaigns – to make the right 'choice'.

If feminism is a movement for women's rights and for improving the position of women, its ultimate test should be a reality check of women's well-being, security and happiness. After doing such a check, isn't it obvious that feminism miserably failed?

I'm not saying the times before feminism were all of a rose garden; but I'm very much against feminism being portrayed as some sort of kind fairy who raised women from the dust and saved them from meaningless slavery. Do you now understand why?

55 comments:

Tracy said...

Just like yesterday's article, this is extremely well written! You've done/are doing a marvelous job of educating men and women with your blog, Anna. Thank you for taking the time to sort this out for those whom might not yet fully understand the difference between feminine and feminism.

Tracy said...

Anna,
Here is a link to an excellent website that I thought you might enjoy. http://femina.reformedblogs.com/

Anna S said...

Thank you for the link, Tracy! I'm reading through some excellent articles on feminine virtue right now.

Anonymous said...

You've put this so well, Anna. I really do pray that some who read this post, and yesterday's as well, and who are perhaps confused about what feminist thought truly means, will be honest enough to admit that our society has been saturated with this kind of thinking for such a long time now. Women's Rights, on the other hand, is another matter entirely, and you've addressed that clearly as well.

I have such hope, when I read blogs like yours, that perhaps things could be turned around in my lifetime. Young women like you inspire me. Your quiet determination is so evident in your writings. I think I'm going to have my daughters (ages 13 & 15) beging reading your posts. Thank you!

Brenda

Emily said...

*Applauds* What an excellent post Anna, thank you for writing this! So well written and shows clearly that feminism has failed miserable.

Elizabeth at A Biblical Home said...

Very true! Feminism has done nothing to protect the rights that I value.

Haus Frau said...

You said **I'm very much against feminism being portrayed as some sort of kind fairy who raised women from the dust and saved them from meaningless slavery.**

Very true, Anna. In fact, feminism is bondage...slavery. So, how far have 'we' really come?

Back in the day when I was a card carrying member of NOW (Nat'l Org of Women) I was ignorant of the true nature behind the 'equality voice.' Once I realized what NOW wanted was to put men at the lowest rank of society, thus zero equality, I slowly found my way out of the organization. It was shortly after that the Lord began to change my life.

PaulaB52 said...

I read a quip once that said "The new word for slave is employee".

How can the feminist movement say that staying home is akin to slavery? From what I've read of slavery, they sure didn't have the freedom to do the things I take for granted every day.

I love staying home, being a mother & wife. If you had asked me that 10 years ago I would have laughed in your face. Reading blogs like this inspires me to be even more cheerful in my vocation .

Candy said...

I agree with Brenda and also hope too that I will see a major change in our society sometime soon hopefully or at least in my life time...In particular the acceptance of chosing to be a full time home keeper and the undertstanding that it IS a career in itself (domestic arts as you said).
I honestly have to laugh at feminists because when you think about it.....they would be SO happy being at home and they dont even realize it!!!!!

This is what I realized though, for myself....I HAVE to be an example, truly. When "working moms/women" visit my home, lurking around and wondering exactly what it is "I do allllll day" ...I have to take them from room to room, I need to explain to them gently and joyfully all the hard work I put into my home and show them how beautiful my home is and how peaceful and organized our family life is all because I AM at home. Showing them I have time to do all my household tasks, and yet bake a pie for my pastors family or cookies for my local fire dept. I actually do these things. Im also here for a widow neighbour if something should happen to her and she needs someone. And also when my son is sick at school, I dont have a "job" that I have to leave to get him from school to bring him to some sort of daycare service while I go back to work. Instead I can pick up my sick child from school and care for him myself :)
More importantly, I can read my Bible, listen to Christian music...so many things I can do to benefit my spiritual walk which to me all that really matters in the end anyway.
But my point is being an example and having my home always ready for that certain person, to show them that home keeping is the best choice.

Candy :)

Anna S said...

Thank you for all your wonderful comments!

Brenda and Candy - I believe a change *is* taking place. The euphoria of the early days of feminism is gone. And so many women leave the ranks of feminism after trying to live its principles - including myself.

The road is long. But I do believe we are planting a grain of sobriety.

Buffy said...

Thank you for posting this - and so quickly too! As usual you get people thinking, including me.

I think we would all agree on the women's rights. Unfortunatly there are countries where women's rights are almost non-existant and these often co-incide with cultures where women are supposed to be submissive to their husbands eg certain Islamic countries. This unfortunatley leads to a connection in the public's mind between women being treated very badly and women being submissive to their husbands.

There is a big difference between a woman choosing to be submissive to her husband and being bullied into it. The first is a loving offering, the second will only lead to hate.

What do you think?

Coffee Wife said...

"Feminism" - even the *word* is misleading! Modern "Feminism" requires that a woman become a MAN! It should be Manism!!!

Anna S said...

Buffy,

Submission of women to men is ingrained in God's word. I don't think it can, or should, be *forced* on anyone. God is good and kind. He wants us to *choose* to follow His instruction - otherwise, what value does it have?

The problem is, feminism has led us to believe it's actually a BAD choice.

Anna S said...

Yes Michelle, I sort of thought along the same lines today... how 'feminism' and 'femininity' sound so much alike, yet it turns out they actually belong to the opposite camps. :P

AnneK said...

Hi Anna,

As usual I enjoy reading your posts. This was well written and the differences brought out. I was always a "feminist" back when I was home. But there it has a different connotation and all I wanted were my rights- to walk safely on the road without being commented, not to be pawed and groped while on public buses- and these are things that happen on a regular basis there. There were a lot of social evils there that women's organizations take care of and I so I cannot be completely anti-feminist. I understand it is a loaded word here and I cannot support any organization which supports abortion and pills for "liberation". I work full time and I don't think that makes me any less of a woman or a help meet to my husband. Although I applaud women who have made the choice to stay at home, I do not like the attitude (not your blog, you know I love yours!) that this is what God called ME to do and he has spoken to me regarding EVERY woman on earth and that all women who work outside home are selfish etc.

I do not have it all. Nor do I know anyone who does. Personally I leave home at 8:30 and get back at 5:30. I still have time to cook, clean, garden/exercise and read until about 11:00. But I do not watch tv and my husband and I love doing all those things together (Well, I do the cleaning, hubby is not big on that LOL). I guess what I am trying to say is that if we have our priorities right, it is not all that difficult to manage a career and home. I have seen my parents do it all their life and their parents before them since it was a NECESSITY then to put food on the table. I am not talking about American frugality (downsizing from 4 cars to 2 cars) but no tv, cell phone, computer, car scenario.

Well, I could go on and on, but I dont want to write a blog in your blog so let me stop.

Annie

Anna S said...

Annie,

I wouldn't dream to pass judgment on anyone. Right now I go to college and work outside the home, so does my mother, and so did my grandmother when she and grandpa were forced to live in Siberia and there was REAL poverty with hardly anything to eat. They got food cards in exchange for their work, and without grandma's food cards, there would be no milk for their little boy.
And yet Grandma, no doubt, was a helpmeet to Grandpa and did everything she could. Yet it was difficult.

God calls us to submit to our husbands and be helpmeets. He also calls men to provide and protect their families, while a woman has no such duty. Yet if a woman and her husband make a decision for their family which includes the wife also working outside the home, and they feel it *truly* doesn't interfere with a woman's God-given role, and the woman feels she isn't exhausted and torn apart, unable to do anything right - who am I to criticize that?

Certainly, no one has it all. However so many women break down trying. I used to work full-time and I felt so exhausted in the evening that I had dishes piling up in the sink for days. I know I'm not strong enough to juggle homemaking and career; something would inevitably get hurt, and here we must, indeed, look at our priorities. There are also different seasons in a woman's life. What could be accomplished as a young woman with no children, or with only one child, is more of a challenge for a mother of several little ones, and even more so for a middle-aged woman with a large family.

AnneK said...

Anna,

I agree with you. There are different seasons in a woman's life. What I can do with ease today may not be how I am tomorrow. All I meant to say was being a woman with a career does not preclude you from "being there". And this I speak from personal experience. And about submission, I believe it to be from God as well, otherwise why would I have mismatched furniture in the living room (hubby says its comfy the way it looks! LOL. Seriously, I am not against submission or God given responsibility, only thing I am against is arbitrary statements. I think every family situation is unique and God wants different things from each, all to his glory.

Anna S said...

Annie,

God did not use cookie cutters when He created us or placed us in our individual circumstances.

Instead, each of us is unique - but we all got the same guidance and instruction from Him. This cannot be altered or changed. I know I've been guilty in the past of trying to fit it to my wishes, instead of giving my heart to God.

I'm avoiding one-size-fit-all concepts. But whatever decision I consider, I truthfully ask myself - am I really following God's word? Do I take it as a commandment or a suggestion? Is it my top priority or does something else come first? Will what I want to do - with all its consequences - bring glory to God? You might remember I described this kind of struggle not long ago when I considered doing MSc. These are precisely the issues I brought up.

I would not automatically say, "college is bad", or "women who work outside the home are sinners". We just have to be careful and make sure our top priority is, indeed, follow God's instruction.

Anna S said...

Whoops... Annie, I deleted your last comment by mistake. I did read it though. Yes you are right - I don't think we are literally told by God "women should never work outside the home and should never be paid". Just like we are not told "women should never go to college". It's more about the things that come from it.

I think I'll have to make another post about it as we're already very off the topic here. :P

Sheri Prescott said...

Well said Anna! My grandmother has shared with me recently that she sure misses the "way things use to be" before feminism infiltrated our homes.

Thanks again for sharing this very important blog with us!

Country Rosebud said...

Anna,
Right On! Wow, you were on a whirl there. I agree one hundred percent with what you said. Feminism is an invention of Satan, to try to trap us woman, into thinking we can be separate from those, God has placed in our lives. He made it to cloud our vision from the most important, our husbands and fathers. God put our fathers and husbands on this earth, as a channel to His infinate wisdom and grace. If we didn't have men, we would be so insecure, and emotional, we would be like cats trying to do a cat fight. Messy deal! I would say so! Have you ever witnessed a cat fight? It is not a pretty sight.

I used to wear things that would call attention to myself, but now, I just wear jeans, because we have a very windy climate here.:) I like to wear skirts most of the time. I am designing costumes that are modest, to wear. I like the Renaisance especially.:)

I do believe in woman's rights. We have the right to speak our mind, we have the right to marry, and we have the right to believe in God! I believe very strongly in Woman's rights! I mean, isn't that what we were created for, to balance out the earth, with children, and love? What is so degrading about that?
Anyway, just some thoughts!
Laura:)

magda said...

this is a very well-thought-out, well-written post. i agree that the feminist movement was very damaging, and i understand that everyone longs for the golden ages. but let's be happy with being alive now. now is a great time in many ways. most of all, we live now, this is right where God put us, and He must've had good reasons for it. think about it: women who dress modestly and live as keepers at home now are doing so because they want to. isn't that an incredibly powerful thing? we tend so much to idealize the past, but the past wasn't perfect, either. i have hope for a future in which chastity, modesty and feminine virtue are more valued and honored, and i believe that ladies like you are building that future. thank you for your thoughtful writing and for your work in making the present and future more gracious.

Anna S said...

Hi Magda,

As you will notice in this post (and maybe also other posts if you read some more), I'm far from idealizing the past.

I agree with you it's extremely important women CHOOSE to fulfill their God-given role, and try their best to do it beautifully. What bothers me is how HARD it became to make this choice.

James said...

Anna,

In brief, I think that the rescue of feminine dignity from the worst tendancies of modern feminism lies in Christian personalism. Personalism was a twentieth century Christian philosophical movement that emphasized the hylomorphic (body-soul unity) nature of the person, the fact that persons were uniquely capable of reason and free will, and the value of persons over artifacts. From the principles stemmed a significant belief in the innate dignity of the human person. Moreover, the idea was the hylomorphism implied that gender was not a matter of mere biology, but ultimately reached down to the level of the soul- such that one's soul was a feminine soul or a masculine soul.

Feminism tends to be marked by "what you do". Personalism shows that "what you do" or "what you can do" are secondary to "who you are". And this is how modern feminism sold its soul downriver for thirty pieces of silver. In the quest to show that women are capable of doing everything that men are capable of, femininity was pushed to the wayside.

And this is the crucial problem with the modern feminist viewpoint. Modern feminism persuppose materialism— the idea that "I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules called Carl Sagan," as it was so famously put. The problem with such a view is that there's no room for the soul. The other fallacy from which modern feminism proceeds is the idea that gender differences are reducable to hormones and reproductive organs. Scientifically, this has been debunked. The brains of women and men are very different; this is scientific fact.

The sad thing is that emphasis on "what you do" instead of "who you are" has been at great cost to children, who here in America have been given temporal goods in substitution for maternal love and instruction. Add to this rampant divorce and it is no wonder we have the problems we do.

So Anna, I give you a lot of credit for exposing the mendacity of modern feminism. Thansk again for the hard work that you put into this blog. Rest assured of my prayers.

James

Anna S said...

Hi James, and thank you for your input.

And yes. Perhaps women are *capable* of doing almost everything men can do. We are capable of many things - but it doesn't mean we should go out and do them, forgetting our God-given role.

Anonymous said...

While I may not agree with many of your beliefs I want you to know that my generation of "feminists" do not look down upon the mothers, housewives and helpmeets in our society. Many women choose to stay at home raising their children and that's fine, I admire them for having the guts to say "this is what I love to do, I want to put my heart into this". No one should ever make you feel less than you are.
I picked an academic route, saturated with all the things I love. I could never give up my work, because that's what makes me happy, whereas the idea of marriage and children does not. That doesn't mean that children and marriage cannot fill the void for someone else. We're all different people. Honesty and mutual respect will bring us all together.

Anna S said...

Anonymous,

I respect your politeness. Most of the comments I got from feminists to this post were less gracious.

It's true that we're different people, but on a very basic level, God calls almost all of us to marriage and children. If someone feels absolutely no desire to get married EVER, that's one thing. I didn't refer to that. But so many women feel frustrated and torn apart, trying to juggle too many things at once.

Anonymous said...

While I understand what you are saying, I don't agree with it at all. The "proof" in the quotes you provided is at least 20 years old. I am a teenage feminist, and proud of it.I have no relation to those quotes, nor do I support them. By categorizing feminists in that way, you are insulting me and my fellow feminists.
If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it reads "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men". Not "Look down on housewives and promote sexual promiscuity."
I think that if you are a feminist, you are free to choose. You can choose to go to college, or be a homemaker, or have a degree and be a homemaker. I believe feminism is about choice, and I wouldn't force that choice on anyone.
Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

Anna S said...

Dear anonymous teenager feminist,

Let me begin by saying I don't think *all* women who define themselves as feminists support those quotes, but it does give you material for thought.

You say feminism means freedom of choice. I was under this impression too, for many years. I was free to go to college, work, have a career, engage in sexual activity, woohooo! But when my point of view switched and I became home-oriented, and set my goal to becoming a wife and homemaker and decided not to have a career, what kind of response do you think I received?

It's a miracle I was able to make this decision at all, you know. Why? Because all my life, I've been constantly brainwashed: you must have a career, or you're worthless. You can't have many children. You aren't supposed to let your husband lead. Chastity is a joke. Modesty is outdated. Am I making this up? No, it's the typical public school agenda.

Anonymous said...

Anna S
There are a small percentage of woman out there who are very very brilliant. Most technical or engineering type jobs don't usually attract the average women. They can stay home and care for their young and be helpmeets. But for those who are above average it would be tyranny to keep her down by saying that God wants her to be a wife and mother.

Be careful ladies. Don't fall into the trap of worshipping your husbands or worshipping your position as a wife and mother. Remember that Jesus said "I am the way to the Father" There are other ways to honor God instead of large families. He used many different people through out the bible.

The biggest complaint people have about attending church, is the mentality of the people. Its not because they don't love God.

Anna S said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for taking the time to comment and giving me a good opportunity to clarify some things.

I'll begin by saying that the concept of a woman being a wife and helpmeet is NOT some sort of oppressive tyranny meant to tie women down and limit them. And it is NOT something meant for the inferior and less intelligent women! Through blogging, I was blessed to 'know' many former professors, engineers and simply very talented women who made the choice to come home and are happy about it. An ex-colleague of my fiance, a woman who recently got her PhD in biochemistry, chose to opt out of workforce and stay home for her husband and children. Because she was somehow less capable? No. She just felt she can't give enough to her family while in the workforce.

If a woman feels she wants to get married and have children, she takes responsibility for this, and must take care of her family. She is a wife and mother, and being many hours outside the home steals her away from her family. There's basically no way going around it.

Now, if a woman feels no inclination to get married at all - which is very rare, by the way - it's another subject which I will not touch right now. But I repeat, if a woman wants to get married but isn't willing to give herself to her husband, children and home; or if she wants to give herself to her family, but spends many hours away from them every day - we have a problem.

Anna S said...

Oh, and here's something else I forgot to mention: saying that being a keeper-at-home is only fit for women who aren't capable of doing something 'more worthwhile' comes from a lopsided mindset we have somehow been conditioned to: only office and paycheck mean we're doing something important. Only college means we get good education. Only... well, you see my point? But if we think outside the box, there are countless ways a woman can express her talents at home. Teaching her own children is the most obvious one I guess!
I have a degree in nutrition, and while I want to be modest, I'll mention here that I'm probably one of those 'above average' women you mentioned. I've always been a brilliant student. Now I can work as a clinical nutritionist, or spend some more years in the academy and get MSc and PhD. But guess what... I choose to be a homemaker and focus on my family - God willing, I will have a family - and I feel that my knowledge in medicine, nutrition, psychology and everything else I studied in college will be put to good use - well actually, it is already put to good use - right here at home!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what you are saying but I do not agree. In the bible Paul has stated that it was OK not to get married unless you are burning with desire. If you chose to get married then Titus 2 tells you how to make the best of the marriage.

Yes you can apply your knowledge to your children for so long. And I do support homeschooling. Children grow up and will still need you but not as much of your time.

I agree that the bible is our owners manuel and it helps us make the best out of lives and encourges us to utilize our talents.

However I see a flexibility with God that I do not see in christians. God understands that our talents are unique. He used all kinds of people for His purpose.

You also mentioned that it is rare for a woman not to be inclined to get married-that is very rare-but thats for another post. Do you believe that something is wrong with a woman who has no interest to get married? Why would that bother you?

See the people who stay away from church because of the mentality of the believers will be held accountable for turning away. HOWEVER the believers who turned those people off because of legalism will also be held accountable. Be careful.
Love
Georgia

Anna S said...

Dear Georgia,

Who am I to judge if a woman doesn't feel the desire to get married, ever? I know it happens sometimes, but I don't know any such woman in person. Even those who say they want to get married later in life still don't see themselves ending up alone. However we look at it, the majority of women will become wives, and as such, they are taking on duties which will demand MUCH of their time, skills and ability. Will they have time to spare for other activities? Maybe. And each woman should see how much she can give to other pursuits (in which I include work, volunteering, different personal projects) without stealing away from her family. And she should be honest with herself. If she spends many, many hours away from home and sees that she cannot take proper care of her husband's needs and her household, she shouldn't brush it off as unimportant, but should consider it very carefully.

Oh, and earlier today I didn't have time to write this, but I think that even if a woman is childless, she can have a beautiful and productive life as a keeper-at-home. Her talents are applicable in countless aspects of being a helpmeet to her husband and a good homemaker.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect we have to agree to disagree.
Georgia

Rightthinker said...

Georgia,

I respectfully ask you to carefully consider the commentary that Anna has offered. It is hardly legalistic. Legalism is setting a set of rules necessary for being saved-that has no place in Christian life.

What Anna is saying is what the Bible teaches for fulfillment of our roles. Do you doubt God has a perfect plan for His beloved Creation? His desire for men is clear, and so is His plan for women.

Although society has taught us that our validity is measured the same as the world, the Bible differs significantly. Ephesians teaches us, as many other passages, that we are to emulate Christ. We cannot emulate Christ-therefore follow His word, and still look like the world, with our selfish pursuits to prove to others how smart we are.

There are blessings and honor beyond reproach to being a Godly woman who tries to follow all of God's Word-including the parts that the world labels as archaic.

This, my friend, is not legalism, but a much needed realization that is quite rare in today's happy-go-lucky best life now "Christian".

You can only tell a Christian by his or her fruits. If the fruits of a woman are a paycheck and the expenses to justify said paycheck, we are looking pretty much like the fruit of the world.

I cast no judgement, (because I've been there-read Anna's current post commentary) and now I can see the error of my ways, and the way that a change in perspective through the lens of the study of the Bible can be the only true way to satisfy.

Anonymous said...

Ladies
The parable of Mary and Martha tells me that Mary put Jesus first. Martha was busying herself will all the house duties. Guess who got gently rebuked?
Luke 10:48-52
Jesus did not blame Martha for wanting to be concerned about being the keeper of the home. He only asked her to set her priorities in which Mary did. Jesus made it very clear to Martha that there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.

Martha was a friend of Jesus, she believed in him with growing faith. But emphasizing on being the keepers of the home and honoring your husbands limits Jesus' power in this life.

In Love
Be Careful
Georgia

Anna S said...

Dear Georgia,

I don't think a woman can EVER over-emphasize the importance of being a helpmeet to her husband. This is what we were CREATED to be! But, it's important not to lose focus on what it really means. For example, if a woman's husband is ill in hospital, and instead of tending to his needs, she's busy vacuuming the floors... I then think she's a bit off track.

There's no contradiction between serving God and serving our families. We serve Him by being helpmeets to our husbands and raising children for His glory. Some will remain single, true, and can serve Him in other ways. But I strongly disagree with the idea that a life of singleness is for the 'better', 'more talented' women.

Anna S said...

PS: I'm closing this particular venue of discussion (comments about other highlights of this issue are still welcome), but here's one last thing I want to say: no, raising godly children and serving our husbands is not to be taken for granted. It's not an inferior task for the 'brainless masses', and it's not something we can wave away. Ungodly people will not raise a new generation for His glory (one look at public education is enough to understand this), and if we all opt out of marriage, homemaking and childrearing saying we can find 'better' ways to glorify Him, no one will be left in the end.

It will never happen, of course, because marriage, family, and children are God's plan for the majority of women, from the beginning of creation.

Kathleen said...

Anna,
Well said!

Karen said...

I love this post so much! I tried for 4 years to do things the feminist way and I was lonely, tired, and miserable. I've now been married for 4 years and these have been the best years of my life. I don't think most women realize how much joy can be wrought from being the queen of a happy home, or how much freedom it gives to pursue your true interests. So many women *my mom included* tried to take the feminist route and work work work thier way to happiness, and even with a job she liked my mom ended up sick, broken, and alone. She ended up feeling cheated of the privelage of being there for her children. It shouldn't be a privelage... it should be the norm!

Love, Thejoyfulmother

Anna S said...

Dear Karen, you are so right. What's the point in having lots of money if you have no time or strength left to enjoy it with your family anyway?!

Gammy said...

Dear Anna, this is my first time to visit you. I was impressed by all the comments I read, and felt that the comments were well thought out. One thing I have noticed as a great lack, due to women working outside of their homes, is that there are no care givers for the elderly, sick, infirm, disabled, lonely, shut-ins, and so on. I am 70 yrs. old, grandmother of 14 and great grandmother of 1. Many of my friends work, still. And when someone in their family needs help, they call me, and I love to do it, but it is their responsibility to take care of their own loved ones. And how do these mothers and children feel that someone else has to take care of them? Also the nursing homes are full of people who are terribly neglected as the hired help does not have time to just visit and tend to their wants ( such as brushing their teeth for them or reading to them, or writing letters for them.) I can really preach on this subject as it has been a great concern of mine for many years. One mother I was caring for commented that her daughter worked so they could take nice vacations. I am sure this mother NEVER had a nice vacation, nor was it offered. So, to be a keeper at home, is also to be available to meet the needs of others outside of the home who have no one. I am thankful to be at home, and to be available when needed. Jesus said that he came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. We should strive to be like Jesus.

Anna S said...

Gammy, thank you for visiting me! It's always a pleasure hearing about the experience of someone older and wiser. And you're absolutely right; my grandmother (91) lives with us, and she's one of the few people of her generation around here who isn't in a nursing home. I know she loves company. She loves it when I serve her a meal, or just sit next to her with my knitting and listen to her stories. It's heartbreaking how little care old people receive these days.

Anonymous said...

Wow...its good to see there are still some rationalized sane women out there. I truly applaud u on ur views. i dont think that women shouldnt work and should be subjugated but seriously why would you want to work a job and take care of your family at the same time. if i were given the option then i know that i would want to stay home and enjoy myself, lol. but i understand that a lot of women arent given that choice. im all for womens rights and think they should be respected but feminists take it way too far. they dont want equality they want the best of both worlds. they dont acept the fact that they have more rights than us. just look at who gets custody most of the time and who doesnt get drafted. also if a woman gets pregnant then she can choose to have the baby or not totally regardless of what the man thinks. however if the man doesnt want the baby then the woman can just have it and the man is expected to pay child support. if the man wants the baby and even offers to raise it on his own then the woman can still have n abourtion. seems kinda unfair. also there are so many double standards like if a man cheats on his wife then its his fault and hes a pig but if the woman cheats then its because she didnt recieve enough emotional, or sexual satisfaction. its ridiculous. and feminists are corrupting our world, just look at this example, they got the standards of being a firefighter lowered because they claimed it designed to keep women out. i no that if im ever in a burning building i want someone who can actually lift me up instead of draging me down the stairs breaking every singgle bone in my body. women and men should be treated equal, women shouldnt get any privileges.

Martina Solmes said...

Todah raba, Anna. Brilliant writing. The world needs women like you!

You make me feel very appreciated. I'm a young stay at home mom. I got married in my freshman year of college, expected my first child in my sophomore year and decided to become a stay at home mom. I was raised in an extremely feminist environment in Western Europe. Growing up I never dreamed of being married or having children. I always expected to have my Ph.D in Anthropology or Social Pyschology by my late 20s. After reading "A Return to Modesty" in my late teens, coupled with some other events, I had a life-changing "aha" moment. Every feminist axiom I had embraced over the years fell off some internal mental shelf never to return. I started looking for people with similar experiences. I found very, very few! My family and friends weren't kindly disposed towards my new attitudes on womanhood, or my choices in life. Today I still get a lot of criticism for my choices to marry young, and to be a full time homemaker. The criticism comes almost exclusively from women. They refuse to see how happy I am or how empowered I feel in my role as wife and homemaker. I love the fact that my husband appreciates what I'm doing. He loves that I like my God given calling as a wife and mom. I have many interests, and love sharing and discussing them with others. It depresses me that many women judge me harshly for my choices. As a young full-time mom and wife, I'm easily dismissed as a failure, or as intellectually challenged. This is tough for me to deal with because I have always excelled academically.

Being a full time mom requires a good amount of emotional and spiritual fortitude. It requires just as much conscious personal sacrifice & effort as any serious career. Those who dismiss this kind of work as second class are, at best, ignorant. I will continue my education, but at this point, I choose to be a full time mom. It's truly one of the most surprising and authentic joys I've experiences in my life.

Catherine said...

Hello! I found your article very interesting. I do support feminism, but in many respects you are correct. I believe that a woman should have a choice to do whatever she likes and not be mocked. Unfortunately, before feminism, many woman could not fufill their potential as great thinkers, artists, and contributers to society without being ridiculed and abandoned by society. But you are right when you say all the bad effects of feminism. I still think that maybe not as a society we are better off, but the individuals are better off. Society always seems to be heading in the wrong direction, I suppose. But because of feminism, I can get accepted into college in front of a boy who might have gone because there were no girls to take his spots. I do not think all feminist leaders were entirely correct in their thinking. But I am glad I am brought up in a post feminist movement world where I can do anything, like finding love, a job I excel at, and connect with other women easily, just like now.

Natalia said...

I agree with your point of view.
my mom educated me that way, but now Id moved to the capital city of my country and girls at college always tell me that "Boys are pigs and woman should control them".
I disagree with that, I really respect boy as my mom respect my dad, I keep my self until I find the right person for me.
But sometime I feel my girl friends dont really like me, because of my point of view.
they call me "chauvinist".

I really enjoy reading your blog, and i add to my favorite site.
please keep on doing a great job just like now.

sincerely

Natalia

Anonymous said...

hi,
Id like to just say, I consider myself a feminist. Im at university now, and I would like to go even further with my education, and get a great career- however, I also intend to settle down and have a family afterwards or inbetween.
I am studying feminism at this precise moment, and the way it has been presented to me , by both male and female tutors, is it is about equality, but also a reevaluation of the social structure. things such as pornography were called empowering during the third wave movement by feminists, however there are a great deal more feminists challenging that now. We need to educate our children in such a way that they can see past what the media put forth, glorifying sex and violence.

I'd also like to address the comment about womens education.
I think to claim it is unfair now would be wrong, but during the first wave movement it was. there were a lot of women who were home taught, and im sure the level did not differ, however, Susan B. Anthony herself was home taught, because they refused to teach her certain things as she was a girl.
I believe women should have the right to choose. it is up to the family unit to educate them well enough to make the better decisions in life as far as sex,drugs, and self worth.
I'm sorry if i have offended anyone,
thankyou for allowing me to give my opinion

mimisleepwalks said...

Dear Anna,
I enjoyed reading your post! However, it is dangerous and misleading to define feminism by 2 or 3 people's opinions. Those old feminist's views that are presented in your post have been debated against by many new feminists. Have you read any recent books on feminism? Being feminist does not mean shunning traditional values of being a woman. It might be one person's view, but it does not represent all feminists. Feminism is asking people to respect women however they come, and to respect and love ourselves as women as we came. A large part of feminist work is to defend women's rights so I feel that feminism has been misunderstood in this post. I am with you. I prize the work of a homemaker and the work of a mother. It is rewarding despite the hard work!
Thank you,
Mimi
(There is another reader on here named Mimi!)

Anonymous said...

Why do you think it is so hard for a woman to do both? Might it be because woman are told that they have to take the burden of both? In the traditional gender roles that you expose, of course more women would give up their careers. Their husbands don't help them! I look forward to a wonderful egalitarian relationship with my husband. We will both work as teachers because we feel that God has called us to serve children with our intellectual gifts. We will BOTH raise our children to believe that they can be anything they set their mind to, and to never listen to those that try to put their gifts into boxes. We will both cook (we're both learning together!), clean, do laundry, mow the lawn, paint our house, and run errands. Why is this such an offense and strange concept for you? Why is it so threatening that men and women really can hold the same roles?
The claim that men and women are fundamentally different is flawed, not based on actual research, and fails to take into account the extreme pressure society puts on people to conform to gender roles. From the moment a child is born we are setting them up with certain gender expectations, even down to the language we use when we talk to infants.
THAT is what feminism is about. The right to say that we are all human, and that our abilities/roles are not defined by our genitalia. My discrediting feminists of years past, you are denying the hard work they did to make sure women could vote, had protection from spousal abuse and rape, and are still working to gain women respect in a wide variety of fields. There are not a smaller number of women in engineering because male minds do it better; it's because we keep telling girls they aren't naturally that good at it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting website and very refreshing form the feminist drivel i am so sick of hearing. However, I have noted in this article too many "i expect", "A women must have" and so forth. What about men?

To speak only of one gender in these terms but not the other is no better than feminism. Nobody has the absolute right to anything unless they have earned it.

Kat said...

Wow.. I can't believe what I just read. The fact that, as you claim "a woman is no longer appreciated and respected for being a woman" is why feminism was and still is relevant! Remember the movement didn't just die, it is alive, kicking, and fighting for many different women's rights. Feminism in it's essence is about securing equality for both genders - if you are for women's rights how can you be against it?

"What about women who want to fulfill their God-given role as helpmeets, wives, keepers of the home, mothers, and who see it as a satisfying, challenging, full-time work? But ah, they are mindless slaves! Oppressed! Brainwashed! They should be educated and forced – by legislations and campaigns – to make the right 'choice'."

This is nonsense, feminism believes in women's right to decide their own life choices, for them and their own happiness, we support women who choose to remain at home, and we fight for their access to much needed benefits! You cannot quote one person, who has decided they don't like the role of housewives and claim that this is true of all women.

You are obviously a very intelligent woman, for that I salute you. But you are obviously blind to what feminism actually is, and all that it has achieved. The fact that you can even write this blog and speak out without fear is testament to what our sisters have achieved.

In solidarity, feminist sister.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I appreciate this blog post and it gave me a little boost this afternoon. With the economy as it is today, I have found it very difficult to find a job even with two degrees. This has been very hard on my self-esteem since I do not have children to care for.

Still, my husband is a college professor and I very much enjoy helping him organize and grade papers as well as keeping up our home and doing craft projects.

Many internet feminists today are so hateful and vicious that although I am not religious and pro-women's rights, I will never call myself the dreaded f-word. Who would want to associate with such angry, intolerant people?

Modern feminists have called me nasty names, stated that those that disagree with them are brainwashed, and they exploit sexual assault survivors like myself for political gain.

By trumpeting "date r**e" and rejecting personal responsibility for drunken promiscuity, they make it hard for those of us who were actually attacked by strangers to get justice. The stranger that attacked me argued that it was consensual because he knew that "date r**e" is a he said/she said case that is hard to prosecute whereas as stranger r**e is a clear-cut crime.

He got off scot free in part thanks to feminism's work to insist that stranger r**e is "rare" and "something that almost never happens" while encouraging women who simply regret sleeping with someone in a drunken stupor to identify as r**e victims. I feel for women who have actually been assaulted, but the feminist bar for sexual assault has been lowered to include drunken regret, and that is a travesty.

As I am sure you are aware, many feminists despise and insult those that don't embrace the feminist label or the false argument that feminism ipso facto = women's rights. I owe feminism NOTHING, and their insistence that I worship them as savior's of women when their politics helped ruin my life just repulses me further.

Thank you for speaking eloquently on this topic, and although I am not a Christian, I respect your viewpoint that women have worth even if they do not work outside the home and that feminism is not synonymous with women's rights.

Eric Otness said...

Found this blog at conservapedia among its sources. Pretty good argument. Agreed for the most part. While I never supported abortion, I did, when I still had the delusional belief that feminism promoted women, try to stop sexism and pornography (which as a Christian I was taught to dislike, especially the latter), and try to make women's lives better. Although I still retain those things for the most part, I no longer go by the term "feminist."

Just out of curiousity, though: Did you ever get the sense that Disney's Beauty and the Beast may have been leftist feminist propaganda (as if there was any difference between leftist and feminist, anyways)? While Belle didn't try to seek out a job, the film stressing that she was the only female in the village who could read and was ostracized for that seems to match up with the propaganda that women were effectively illiterate until the 1960s (and I know a professor who pushed THAT lie, at least that women couldn't get an education until that time). Even in the immediate preceding years to the French Revolution (which the film clearly took place at), women definitely knew how to read at that time (Marie Antoinette being one). Also, Belle not wanting to be a "little wife" to Gaston and expressing disgust at the idea of having kids seems to match Beauvoir's Feminine Mystique/Second Sex. She also seemed to hate the village due to constantly complaining about its provincial life. Honestly, it seemed like feminist propaganda, especially after sitting through Heather Lucas' World History up to the 1500s class where she basically pushed that Christianity put women down and it wasn't until the sixties that women became empowered and started gaining education (and she calls herself a Catholic. Heck, her bashing us Christian heterosexual males is what drove me away from feminism.). Then there's my Chaucer Professor: Richard Palmer's inference that Christianity invented misogyny via Saint Augustine's Original Sin doctrine, and being absolutely praiseworthy of second wave feminism's actions. Not to mention Belle struck me as atheist as a result of the complaints against her village (the other villagers basically sang "praise the lord" in the Mob Song, and had a wedding that was Christian in nature, which implies that they were Christian, though that conflicted with their support of Gaston blackmailing Belle by incarcerating her father under false pretenses unless she married him [though I blame the song and its writers being cynical for that]). I once tried to help women by trying to bring Misty back onto Pokémon, under the hopes that it would eventually result in the destruction of pornography and the suffering women did, especially seeing how pornography was not being ended even by God, nor was the bulimia problem being gotten rid of (and my Health class even showed a video that implied that bulimics become that way due to fashion magazines).

Well, either way, very good blog, agreed with your overall message. Hope you respond regarding the Beauty and the Beast-related question. I do think we should kill education, though, as that's actually been very destructive since Rousseau (the same guy who created the French Revolution alongside other philosophers during that time) invented modern education.