Thursday, June 07, 2012

Yes, I'm a Feminist

Yes, I'm a man. And yes, I consider myself a feminist. Now, of course, by default I am talking about a particular kind of feminism. Indeed, there are some feminists who'd be offended at such a claim, some would see a man's claim to feminism as chauvinistic in itself, an arrogant presumption. I'm not talking about a sort of feminism which seeks to replace patriarchy with matriarchy. I'm talking about the kind of feminism which should be a no-brainer to readers of the bible (I realize the irony of that statement too, though however many apparently chauvinistic passages you may reference, the overarching and overwhelming message of scripture is about liberation, freedom from oppression, and human equality). I'm talking about courageously speaking out against the exploitative power-plays--in media, economics, religion, etc.--of men over women and advocating for the rights, the dignity, and the equality of women in the world and especially in the Body of Christ.

Even in this day and age, there are churches who won't ordain women into ministry, who won't allow women to teach, to preach, to lead and to fulfill their calling. It's actually mainstream in the church to teach chauvinistic gender roles, to marginalize the voices which challenge them, and to justify such behavior on the basis of scripture (no doubt a distorted interpretation thereof). In light of this, you don't need to be liberal or extreme in order to be a feminist. You can be very normal because the mainstream is extreme enough for itself. That which should be far from controversial, like suggesting that women should have the same opportunities as men in ministry, actually take a portion of courage to express in the evangelical world. As far as our culture has come, the church has been stunted in its growth when it comes to how we treat women.

A feminist is someone who refuses to see women as second to men... in any social, religious, spiritual, or economic category. It's someone who actually believes that God's image is male and female as the book of Genesis teaches. It's someone who agrees, in principal and in action, with the Apostle Paul when he says "There is neither... male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). A feminist is someone who looks for opportunities to empower women in word and deed and to affirm the equality of male and female without pigeonholing one or the other into rigidly distinct and hierarchical roles.

In this regard, there should be more men in the field of feminism--feminist theology, philosophy, and activism... Not because women are helpless (that would undermine my point here to say the least) but because equality and empowerment are part of the redeemed world and it's simply human, for men and for women, to be advocates and activists for healing, for restoration, and for justice. We should all be working to create opportunities for women to speak into the life of the church and society and we should ourselves be listening and learning.

1 comment:

Earning a Prophet's Wage said...

I am a feminist too. Sorta. Well a lousy one, but I am one by my standards! For what that is worth...

But that has two cutting edges to it. I mean, while I am a traditional feminist insofar as equal pay for equal work, promote women to the top if they really earn it type stuff, yada yada yada, I also hold a couple of tuff questions for some women who push these kinds of things at the same time.

For instance:

If women join the military, why don't they get buzz cuts like the boys? If men need to cut their hair to do that job and women want that job then the hair cut is justified for them too (or let the men off that hook).

But even deeper than than, I wonder why women want that job - especially the combat roles. I don't think anyone should be wanting that role under any circumstance. We humans really need to wrestle more deeply with beating swords into plowshares and pruning hooks etc.

If there is any level in this where the women want the job out of envy of men, then that is messed up beyond all recognition. This is the part where I call the feminists in for question.

But in the end, I am not overly passionate about feminism. I figure I should devote more concern there than I do. And at some points in my life it has proven more serious to me than others.

So, I am a lousy feminist. But, I care like a feminist in some ways.

blessings...