Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Radical vs. non-radical feminism

A comment from a reader:

'I understand why you're against radical feminism. But why are you against feminism as a whole?'

This was written as an objection to my post, 'Feminism vs. Women's rights', which I published some time ago. In that post, I brought some quotes which, indeed, are probably part of the most extreme branches of feminism.

Why, again, do I insist that I'm against feminism – not radical feminism, or no-children feminism, but feminism as a whole? There are several reasons, which I will try to explain now.

The first, and most obvious one, is that while not all those who define themselves as feminists embrace the violent anti-family, anti-male feminism, what they believe is still in one league with their more militant comrades. And, deviations or not, I want to get as far as possible from that!

Why? Because – and this is the second, and more important, reason – I want to be as far as possible from anyone or anything that claims women shouldn't be fulfilling their God-given roles: helpmeet, wife, mother, homemaker. Or that these roles are unimportant. Or that they are suitable only for the inferior, less intelligent women. Or that they shouldn't be a woman's first priority.

I want to be as far as possible from any idea that undermines masculine leadership and tells us we shouldn't trust our fathers' and husbands' leadership. I want to be led by my husband, and I want him to provide and protect for our family. Not in tyranny and oppression, but in harmony and love, respect and honor, in a sweet, blessed, joyful union.

I want to be as far as possible from ideas that hint children, especially young ones, are better off anywhere else but in their mother's arms; that they should be shipped off to daycare as soon as possible; that strangers are more capable of educating children than their own parents, because they have 'qualifications'; that the money a woman can earn in the workforce is worth more than her presence at home, for her husband and her children, and that she is nothing, simply nothing, if she doesn't have a college degree and career.

And the third and final reason why I'm against feminism is that we can't only look at pretty slogans ('freedom of choice and women's rights!'); to really evaluate what feminism has done on the behalf of women, we must perform a reality check. Like I said before and will say time and time again, nothing and no one will convince me that high divorce rates, promiscuity, abortions, extreme stress, loss of respect for femininity and modesty and loss of true masculinity and true leadership are 'for the greater good' of women and society as a whole.

39 comments:

Terry said...

Well said, Anna. Amen!

Sammybunny said...

hear hear!

mm said...

Perhaps another thing that might be helpful in deciding if there is such a thing as 'good feminism' is to be sure that we are talking about the same thing when we refer to feminism.

If you define feminism as something opposed to what the bible says about women, then obviously there is no such thing as good feminism. If you were to use another definition - simply being less conservative than a particular standard, than perhaps there is 'feminism' that is helpful.

Michelle said...

Agreed! I realized (via the home living blog )we have feminism to thank for the last 40 years of drab, ugly, unflattering fashion : D

Rebekah S. said...

Amen, Anna!!! :) This may very well be one of my very favorite of your posts!! :) I couldn't agree with you more, sister. And here's another reason-the horribly roots of it!! Which, I'm still writing about. lol I'm so sorry for the huge delay-we've been busier lately than I thought we would be!!

Lydia said...

Good post. I would also add to that list that I am against the self-centeredness that pervades both militant and the softer versions of feminism. No wonder so many woman are unhappy.
p.s. I started reading Passionate Housewives last night. It is wonderful and full of the Gospel.

Mrs.B said...

Well said Anna!

I especially liked:

I want to be as far as possible from any idea that undermines masculine leadership and tells us we shouldn't trust our fathers' and husbands' leadership. I want to be led by my husband, and I want him to provide and protect for our family. Not in tyranny and oppression, but in harmony and love, respect and honor, in a sweet, blessed, joyful union.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anna. As usual, you have such a way with words. I hope many women, your age & younger in particular, will read this with their hearts open to understanding the dangers of our current feminist society, & that though we have years of damage to undo, it is still possible! I have hope!

Brenda

Kristy Howard said...

Well said, Anna. Why stride the fence? I'm with you- the entire feminist movement has its roots in "principles" that have proven highly detramental to the family through the years. It seems so much more simple just to embrace God's role for womankind and enjoy the blessings of going His way.
~Kristy

Rebekah S. said...

Lydia,

I,too just began reading that book as well, and what a blessing! I'm 15, and so am not technically a true homemaker yet, but what encouragement none the less!!! May the Lord richly bless them for their wonderful and much needed book!

Kelly said...

Well said Anna. I totally agree with you.

Allison said...

I completely agree! Great post! :)

Gurl4God said...

What are your views on women voting? I see this as a positive thing that came from feminism. As well as the view that women are equal to men (different, but equal in worth)

Anna S said...

Gurl4God,

I think it's alright if a woman votes, as long as her vote doesn't "cancel" that of her husband's. I think it would be better if voting was done by the head of family as leader and representative, and not by each one doing his or her thing.

Rebekah S. said...

Gurl4God,

The Bible teaches that women are equal in worth to men. We were both created in God's image. Feminism didn't bring that about.

Rebekah S. said...

Allow me, if I may, to re-phrase what I said about men and women being equal. Women are the weaker vessels, but are equal in worth to men.

Lillian the Ponderer said...

Well Put Anna, I couldn't agree more.

Lily said...

Perfect! God bless you!
~Lily

Laura H. said...

Bless you for those words! They really blessed me today! Keep up the good work!

Laura H.

Mrs Amy said...

Wonderfully written and well put. I like this line from the Gun Brothers film "A monstours Regiment" "If there is anything feminism has given women it is NOT choice" We are forced to become completely defined by what feminism would have us believe and do but oh the freedom in Christ and the plan of the Lord!!

Well Done sister!

Blessings
Amy

Jill said...

I love your blog, and how you stand up for what you believe in. Good on you. I love this post, I also think that there is a definite link between teenage crime/hoon behaviour and mum being absent when they get home from school because she is at work. "Hoon" is an Aussie word for idiotic, stupid, irresponsible behaviour, maybe what Americans call Jackass. We also call them yobboes!!! How many teenagers come home from school to an empty house, then go and do what they want.

Cristina (a.k.a. "Stramenda") said...

No extra words required - well said !

Mia said...

Beautifully said, Anna.
I think if they are being truly honest, all will agree that modern women (and men!!) are less happy than our ancestors were. We are more stressed, less healthy, and definitely not as fulfilled with life. I am thoroughly convinced that the primary reason for this (and so many of society's ills) is because they are not living in the roles which God intended for them. Until my daughter was born (ten years ago), I was an unhappy feminist. After becoming a mother, I gradually awakened to the truth. I am now a joyfully fulfilled wife and mother, and I am sure I will NEVER have any regrets about my choices. Blessings... Mia

a thorn in the pew said...

I just found your blog. Great topics! God bless!

Michelle said...

Very well said!!!!!

I just found your blog recently, and am impressed with what I have read so far.

I would like to ask your permission to link to your blog from my blog.

Anna S said...

Michelle - it's a pleasure to meet you, and you are, of course, more than welcome to link here.

Leigh said...

Very well said Anna! Have you seen "Return of the Daughters" yet? I watched it last night, and while I certainly didn't grow up in a family like those interviewed, it certainly gave me lots to think about for my own family. If God so blesses me. Keep up the good work. I LOVE visitting your blog.

Leigh :)

Karen said...

I can see your point though I don't know that I'd through out entirely. There are some good things that have come out of feminism, like the right to vote. Whoever said before that votes were done by the household - that's not true. Women didn't have the right to vote even when black men did, which pretty much meant that men decided everything that happened to women.

And if, Lord forbid, something ever happened to my husband, I like that I have the option to get a job that makes enough to take care of my family, without having to scramble to find a man to take care of us.

I think a lot of the sexual harrasment and anti-descrimination laws would not have come about without feminism as well. Heck, rape didn't even used to be illegal!

Though yeah, I do agree that on the whole women were still treated better back in the good old days, when people appreciated the noble role of wife and mother.

Sue said...

Karen:

I agree with most of what you said about the good things that feminism has produced. I would also add that early feminists were influential in getting the temperance movement started in the mid 19th century because married men with wives and children were drinking so heavily that they were not able to hold down jobs and support their families. These early feminists did this because it was almost impossible for a married woman to find respectable work that would support their families at that time.

I may be in the minority, but I can count on one hand the mothers in the workforce I've met who do not love and care for their children and husbands as well as SAHMs do. And I've worked either full or part-time for about 30 years. Of course, in these cases the husband/father generally does help more with household duties and child care than when mom is a SAHM. It's actually refreshing to me to see how much more knowledgeable and informed the young dads in my current office are about their children and their development than I can remember how the young dads were shortly after I finished college.

And remember, not all women who consider themselves feminists are pro-choice either. Ever heard of Feminists for Life or the Nurturing Network?

Finally, were women better off in the "old days"? I think a lot of it depends on your culture and your economic status. Middle and upper-class women were definitely respected as wives and mothers and could certainly be SAHMS (if they didn't have a nanny to care for their kids), but in the lower classes, women often had to work as domestics, barmaids, laundry workers, or even nannies for wealthier families' children. For them, their employers often cared much more that they were on the job than that their children or husband were ill, for example.

This is getting waaay too long, but I said some things that I've wanted to say. Please don't take my opinions or experiences to mean that I do not respect those of you have chosen to work inside the home rather than outside of it and to care for your children 24/7. I think it's wonderful that you stand up for what you believe. And I also think support for your viewpoint is growing. Many new moms are asking for reduced hours, a schedule where they can work at home some of the time, or even quitting the corporate life to start a home business.

My .02,

Sue

Lydia said...

Sue:
The question of feminism isn't so much what good or bad it may have produced but the breaking down of the Biblical roles and teachings. The Bible is our rule of life, as we, by God's grace, conform our lives to that rule we are trying to build homes that are even better than many that were in the "old days". There were unhappy woman in the old days and there are unhappy woman these days. The reason they were unhappy was sin, either their own or those around them, the same reason for pain and unhappiness today. I believe one sin that is causing this today is the breaking down of the Scriptual roles, the heart of feminism.

Sue said...

Lydia:

I realize that you and many readers of Anna's blog (including herself) will probably disagree with me, but I believe the degree of rigidity of the Biblical roles of men and women is a subject upon which good Christians can disagree.

While I can see that the breaking down of traditional Biblcal roles has made some women unhappy, there are undoubtedly Christian women and their husbands who have created a loving, mutually submissive marriage - the husband and wife submitting to each other and both submitting to Christ.

A good marriage and family life is often rare these days; it's my prayer that however we stand on these issues that we build each other up whether we believe God is calling us to very traditional views of women and men in society or not.

Rebekah S. said...

Sue,

With all due respect (and I mean that wholeheartedly, I assure you), our Lord NEVER calls us to disobey His commands! His Word, just like Himself, never changes. His commands are still the same, and are just as binding from one generation to the next. Our "degree of regidity to Biblical roles" ought to be out of an immense love for our Lord and Savior, because of His amazing grace!! We should not question Him, or disobey Him, but out of love for Him, we ought to happily obey His commands, knowing that they are best for us, despite what our society and culture tell us to do. We can never be truly happy or completely fulfilled 100% without following God's Word in every area of our lives.

Blessings to you, dear sister in Christ!

Rebekah

Lydia said...

Thank you Rebekah. I have been thinking all day about Sue's comment and trying articulate an answer that would fit in a reasonable space. You answered it very well. All Christians need to hold "rigidly" to the Bible no matter what society is saying, not out of a legalistic motive but a love for the Author of that holy book.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments."-John 14:15

Christine said...

Rebekah, I don't see where Sue suggested we should disobey what God commands! She means (I think!) that good Christians can have different opinions of what God is commanding them to do.

A great example is, I think, the case of people disagreeing over whether women working as missionaries is Biblical. Some people feel that a woman must ALWAYS be under the protective shelter of a male relative - husband or father. Others think that an adult daughter, no longer under the protection of her parents, is Biblically allowed to pursue a path outside the home. Now, persons on both sides of this debate are good Christians who want to love and serve our Lord - they just disagree on how to do it.

I think Sue is raising a very good point - that 'happiness' of women or society is very subjective and not what we should be focussing on at all! It doesn't matter if women in Victorian times were wonderfully happy or terribly oppressed. All that we should be caring about is how closely to God they lived.

I am personally kind of wary of ascribing to feminism all the ills of the world - I mean nowhere in the Gospels is God warning us about feminism. Throughout the Bible we are warned about old-fashioned selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility. 'No to feminism' is a distraction in my opinion, because what we're REALLY fighting are the same old sins we've always been told to. Better to highlight WHY individual 'feminist' issues are sinful (ie, abortion is selfish, irresponible, unloving) rather than recast feminism as a sin itself.

Rebekah S. said...

Lydia,

Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement! :) That's so true. All too often today, people view those who are counter-cultural as legalistic simply because they're obeying the Lord's commands and are going against the flow of society. One thing that women must begin understanding, is that not only is feminism anti-Scriptural, but the founders of it, Karl Marx, for instance, hated women!! He put them down, and he knew that the home was where women are most productive, happy, fulfilled, protected, etc., and so he began the feminist movement in England and our country right along side Marxism and Communism. He knew something (despite the fact that He was anti-God and anti anything Christian) that Christian women today do not understand. And that was that women are powerful when they're in the home! In Marx's own words, his goal in life was to "dethrone God" and he knew that he could only create a post-Christian culture that was socialistic if he got hundreds of thousands of women shipped off to the workforce. He knew that our Christian culture would be down the tubes if women went off to the workforce, because their children(the future of the world) would be indoctrinated with his principles in the government schools. If our current country is going to survive, and be restored back to the way it was, then women must begin to see the vast importance of women being keepers at home! They have a huge and powerful influence on our culture and the way it heads.



Hi, Christine!
Thank you for your input! Sue was making a point that she believes that sometimes God calls some women to be homemakers and others to not have this "traditional" role that God lovingly created for women. However, this is not true! Throughout the whole of Scripture, we see command after command after command to obey the Lord's commands! :) He NEVER calls someone to go against what He says and commands in His Word! This would go against His very nature. He's perfectly holy, pure, and blameless, and would therefore not call one of His children to sin!

It's true that there are truly wonderful Christian people on both sides of the missionary debate. But, before choosing our paths in life, and before choosing what we're going to do with our lives, we must always consult Scripture first, to see what the Lord says, and what His will and design is. In Scripture, we never see an example of women being called or commissioned or sent out as missionaries-only men are. "Believing wives" go with their husbands, but they aren't sent out alone.(1 Corin. 9:5) Why? Because this would go against God's very design and will! Women are the weaker vessel and are to be under the authority of their father's authority, if unmarried, or under their husband's authority if they are married. They are to be under this protection and see it as the blessing and gift that it really is, rather than try to forsake this blessed covering which the Lord has lovingly and graciously given to us as women. If a daughter's father feels that the Lord is calling him to go to the foreign mission field(or any other mission field), then his family is to follow Him and joyfully work in these missions right along side him. If a woman's husband feels the same leading, she is to do the exact same thing, for the Lord leads women through their husbands and fathers. But a young woman is not to go oversees on the mission field alone. This is not Scriptural. She is unprotected when she does this. Did you know, that during the time of the Titanic, that they viewed a woman's protection as being so important that if a woman boarded a ship or train alone, she was viewed as unprotected, and a man was "hired" from the crew to be her protector while on her voyage? How far we've come from those days!

That is so very true, Christine! I completely agree. Because we've been bought with a price, we are to glorify God in our lives, and live according to His principles.

I'm currently working on an article on the true history of feminism, which most people are unaware of. Feminism, rather radical, militant, or just your every-day women's rights feminism, is unbiblical and damaging to women and society alike. Consider this verse from Luke, and tell me if it doesn't sound almost as if it's talking about feminism? "For what is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15


If you have anymore comments, questions, etc., I would be more than happy to answer them for you, to the best of my ability. Feel free to e-mail me anytime at living_for_my_Lords_glory@hotmail.com please note:there is no apostrophe-hotmail won't allow commas, apostrophes, etc.


Blessings to you in Christ,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

Oh dear. Anna, I just realised how long that was! I'm sorry! :/ There was one thing that I forgot to say, though. lol

Christine,

In regards to missions, one duty and priviledge we have as women, is to train up the next generation of missionaries! :) We need to be training our sons (or, in my case, future sons) to be godly men who are trained in the admonition of the Lord. For all we know, God could use them to be the next Adoniram Judsons! And we need to be training our daughters to be mission minded as well, because wether their mission will be in their homes or in their homes on the mission field(along side their husbands), they, too, need to have developed in them a love of missions and serving others, and witnessing to others of our Lord's goodness. What a wonderful priviledge!! :)

Lydia said...

I agree Rebekah. These comments have led me to post on this subject on my blog. I would love to hear your input on it.

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Lydia! Thanks so much for your sweet words; they have truly made my day. It's such an encouragement to meet such a dear, likeminded sister in Christ! I can't wait to head on over to your blog and check out that post!

Laura said...

Sorry to drop in on this discussion so late, but I wanted to give my 2 cents.

On the one hand, for women to be under the protection of some man, used to be more important, because men were not accountable for harming them. If for whatever reason, women went out alone, any man could say or do anything and get away with it. It was then considered to be their fault and something that they deserved.

I am happy that this is no longer the case.

Also, I was wondering if Anna was against feminism for the non-religious who are not concerned with scripturally proscribed standards, or whether she was advocating against feminism mostly for religious people who are attempting to conform to these rules.

Finally, I have been wishing for a word that means the same thing as feminism to me ("A movement to end the sexist exploitation of women"), that isn't associated with lifestyle or politics and that also takes into account the way society hurts men.

To me, feminism means I don't have to look to other people for who to be. I can determine based on my own values.

Too bad the word 'feminism' is so loaded. I don't disagree with most of your essential points, but I will call myself a feminist until a better word comes along.