A comment from a reader:
'Anna, I hope I don't offend you when I say that by my definition, you're a feminist (and I consider that a compliment).You chose your own path in life, chose what's right for you and you're acting on that decision.You do not consider yourself weak, feeble-minded or incapable. You respect yourself and you respect others around you.'
Well, I'm certainly not offended! On the contrary, I appreciate this comment, because it gives me an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the equation that has been deeply ingrained in our minds, the association of feminism with everything good, right and beneficial for women, and all that opposes feminism with oppression, weakness and incapability.
Some time ago, I wrote a post called 'Feminism vs. Women's rights', trying to give some good airing to the myth that we women weren't even treated like humans before feminism came into the picture and gave us 'rights' and 'liberation'. What a lie. Women's rights – human rights – are God-given, written out very beautifully and explicitly. What we need to do is enforce them, not resort to immoral practices that cause the deterioration of our society.
Here, again, I'm of a similar opinion. If being a strong, capable, intelligent woman means being a feminist, and being an anti-feminist means being a brainless weakling, then I suppose you could call me a feminist. But as far as I know, feminism didn't monopolize feminine strength, talent, virtue and wisdom.
All we need to do is look at what women are called to be. Remember the Proverbs 31 woman, eishet chayil? Interestingly, the word 'chayil' is of the same root as 'warrior'. Not exactly a description of the weak and incapable, is it? The one who 'girds herself with strength' and 'reaches out her hands to the needy'? The one who is 'clothed with strength and honor', 'opens her mouth with wisdom', and 'does not eat the bread of idleness'? What about Proverbs 14, where we are told, 'a wise woman builds her house'?
Very clearly, we aren't called to lead a life of incapable, unproductive, feeble-brained dimwits which are, at best, pretty ornaments. We are called to be valiant, virtuous women. If we look at the characters of Sarah, Miriam, Ruth and many other wonderful examples, we will also see strong, wise, capable women. Sarah wasn't afraid to confront Abraham about his son Ishmael. Miriam protected her brother Moses, ensuring his safety. Ruth the Moabite chose to leave her former life behind and follow the one true God. And indeed, there are more examples to beautiful, virtuous womanhood than I can possibly mention in the short time I have.
Yes, they were strong women – but not feminists. And similarly, I strive to be a woman of valor, virtue, wisdom and talent – but I do not consider myself a feminist. Why?
Because I embrace my God-given feminine calling, entirely and wholeheartedly, not seeking to twist it to better fit my views. This is the path I took, not what is convenient or socially acceptable, or what fits my whims and desires at the moment. I seek to submit, willingly, to strong and wise masculine leadership, not looking for ways to overrun it.
I feel the calling of marriage, motherhood and creating a beautiful home is a truly wonderful and empowering one; a precious gift. I focus on the home and family, and have no interest in pursuing a man's job of leadership, protection and provision. I don't think men and women are the same, or should be the same, or should take on the same duties; this is how God created us, and I see nothing offensive in it.
And this, you see, is why I'm not a feminist, and don't want to be one. Strong, wise, capable woman? Yes. Feminist? No thank you!