So, I am looked at strangely when I announce to any of my Christian friends that I am a feminist. Why? Probably because of how the word feminism is so often taken out of context – so before I begin this ranty blog post, let me clarify what feminism is (in my opinion): the stance that men and woman are equal, both entitle to the same jobs, pay, opinions and lifestyle. What feminism ISN’T: a bunch of cranky women who refuse to shave their body hair and set fire to their bras because they are holding on to anger at an ex boyfriend, collecting cats and hating men, while listening to only female bands.
So – why am I a feminist? Well, firstly it’s because I am angry that as a christian girl, I was taught that marriage is a compulsory, completely necessary part of my life – that my wedding day would be the pinnacle of my existence and that my purpose is to raise children. Thank goodness I didn’t believe this lie that I have been told. I think that getting married and having children is a noble pursuit, but personally I get angry when I see young girls being taught that this is what they should strive towards – while young boys are taught to strive to be preachers, and ministers, and doctors and lawyers.
Lots of people say to me “you will change your mind when you meet the right man” – yet another lie that Christian girls are told; that there is a perfect, handsome man who is going to find us, and complete us one day, and that when we find this man, our relationship will be perfect and romantic and beautiful and we will never have a trouble for the rest of our days. They say to me “you will be glad to submit to the man that God sends you”. Lets get one thing clear – there is no such thing as a perfect man, or a perfect relationship. Every relationship is going to be flawed, have challenges and need a lot of work. I’m not perfect, neither are you, and nor is any man that you will ever meet.
So, onto my second reason for my feminist views: Christian men in particular, seem to think that women are supposed to be quiet, gentle, peaceful little flowers who don’t speak, go to them for everything, can’t open a door by themselves and need to roll over and submit to them in order to be wife material. Thank goodness my goal in life isn’t to be wife material. The amount of christian husbands I hear quoting ‘wives submit to your husbands’ completely out of context and blatantly ignoring the whole ‘husbands love your wives’ part really infuriates me.
My third point is that people act as though having children is the most important thing I can ever do. My own father told me that I shouldn’t do medicine because I’ll be 28 by the time I get a degree and by then my ‘biological clock’ (this crap makes my skin crawl) will start ticking and I’ll have children, so I shouldn’t strive to be a doctor, while my hypothetical husband could strive to be a doctor because he isn’t expected to stop his life to have kids – so of course every male wants children – because they don’t have to carry them for nine agonising months, birth them (which is even more agonising), and then leave their career for years and years to take care of them. Only for women, at the end of it all the children don’t even get your last name – seems legit. I personally see the value in singleness – I could be a successful doctor – serve God on the mission field, if I got a call “hey, we need you in Zambia” I could get up and go – girls, you don’t have to get married and have kids to be made ‘complete’, you are made complete in Christ.
So I guess my message here is that I think Christian’s (girls AND guys) CAN be feminists. Us girls can aim to be doctors, lawyers, missionaries and whatever else you can come up with. Don’t undermine yourself just because your ‘biological clock’ might start ticking, or because you are single – God made you, and He loves you just the same as any man.