HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!
True feminism was created by strong women who sought to create equal opportunities and a better future for women in a world where they were treated as less than because of their gender, treated as property, not given the basic rights of a citizen, unable to vote, unable to practice law, unable to own property, unable to keep their own wages. Women’s voices were unheard and silenced.
Strong feminists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Alice Paul, along with thousands of others, devoted their lives to giving us the reality we live in now. They saw inequality, spoke up, and stopped at nothing to be heard and create change and equality. Feminism at its core and truest self is not about putting others down to make yourself seem superior; the early American movements of feminism were built on creating equality and eliminating systems and laws that strived on false superiority. True feminism doesn’t look at others and say I’m better or you’re worse because of your gender or mine, it fights for the equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone. True feminism seeks the marginalized and overlooked and becomes the voice for those who don’t have one.
Suffragists fought hard and stopped at nothing. By the year 1900, all states had passed legislation that allowed women to keep their own wages and own property. In 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified and women could vote. In 1923, the first version of an equal rights amendment was introduced. In 1963 the equal pay act was passed by Congress. In 1964 the civil rights act passed, in 1972 Title IX prohibited sexual discrimination, in 1975 women were no longer allowed to be excluded from juries, and in 1994 The Violence Against Women Act started helping fund services for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
This is only a small list of the women who changed history and the things they accomplished. While they paved the way for a brighter, better future for American women, there is still work to be done. There are still voices unheard, still those who are marginalized and mistreated, and those who are denied opportunities for reasons beyond their control. There are still women in our world who have no rights and no voice.
In some Christian circles, feminism is the other “F word”; ‘ Many Christians openly rebuke feminism or avoid acknowledging it at all costs. In their defense, the world has taken feminism and contorted it, as the world apart from God usually does. It’s hard to even know what feminism means to someone when they’re talking about it or what values they hold when they identify as feminist. And truly, there is no way to put all people in a box or define who they are because of one affiliation. However, the contorted version of feminism says women are superior, all men are sexist, all men objectify women, all men are idiots, and women can do everything better. Obviously that kind of contorted feminism is incorrect and almost the complete opposite of the values feminism was created on. Those kinds of contorted values and ideas are built on hurt, brokenness, and fear.
Many people find it easy to look at people with contorted feminism and blame them, ridicule them, and attempt to bully them back. But, as believers, we are called to the actual exact opposite. We are called to have empathy, compassion, love, kindness, and gentleness.
We are called to identify the truth of God and speak it in love.
"Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." Ephesians 4:15
We are called to see broken and hurting people and love them. Always. Regardless.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[q] and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends,[s] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48
We are called to act in obedience to the Holy Spirit of God that lives inside of us and the understand that the people who haven’t accepted salvation, and don’t have the Spirit of God living in them, will not make the same choices or have the same views that we do because of that. "Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit." Romans 8:5
We are called to love them anyways and share the saving power of Christ's sacrifice with them. "And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." Mark 16:15
As a woman who is devoted to God, I don’t see any world where I can be the person God calls me to be, and live the life He calls believers to live, without being a feminist who practices true feminism. I don’t see how I can be a woman of God who sits by and watches injustice silently and looks over the abused, marginalized, and broken. I also don’t see a way to combat the world’s messed up, broken, distorted, contorted version of feminism without God and the Truth.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a complimentarian, an egalitarian, a feminist or not; as believers in Christ, we have the only real solution to the world’s problems: we have salvation and the eternal promise of eternal life through Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection. We have the peace of God that passes all understanding and the compassion of Christ. We have the ability to produce the fruit of the Spirit and the ability to face tomorrow because Jesus lives.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness," Galatians 5:22
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say." 2 Thessalonians 2:13
We can dismiss lies and say cute things and embroider nice words on pillows and buy typography signs from Hobby Lobby with Bible verses and nice little quotes, but if we are not sharing the savings knowledge of salvation with those around us and sharing the love of God with the broken, it’s meaningless and we’re not sharing the true solution to the problems of our broken, hurting, messed up, sinful, world.
We follow a God who created human life in His image and gives every person value.
"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27
We follow a God who says every person is equal and no gender, ethnicity, race, level of intelligence, ability, culture, or background makes a person superior over another in Christ. "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
"Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Matthew 23:8-12
We follow a God who sent his Son to walk with the broken, eat with sinners, heal the sick and forgotten, and die for the sins of the world. When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17
His example is the one we are called to follow.
We can fight neither the sins of inequality nor the lies of injustice without the Truth of God and His power working in and through us.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:16-21 NLT