A feminist is defined as a person who is an advocate for women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. Feminism is the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. By these definitions, I am a feminist. I believe that women are equal with men and should have equal opportunities.
I was fortunate enough to be born as an American citizen, which means, as a woman, I have the same rights and liberties as any American man. My heart aches for women around the world who were not born to such privilege. Women in many countries are given fewer rights than men. In some countries, women and girls are treated as property and are exploited. I believe in fighting for freedom for these women who are oppressed and often hopeless. However, I tune out quickly when educated, American feminists cry out about the injustices they suffer. They don’t begin to know oppression. Victims of sex trafficking are oppressed; white-collar workers, male or female, are not.
As a woman, I am free to make choices. Each choice has both positive and negative consequences, which I should weigh before making. As an example, let’s examine maternity leave. Those who choose to procreate must decide how much, if any, time she will take off from work. Choosing to take time off from work to raise a child will result in lost income and seniority at work. Choosing to return to work will result in greater income and opportunities at work, but lost time with the child.
These are choices! Choices have consequences!
Paid maternity leave is not a right. Paid childcare is not a right. These shouldn’t be regulated by the federal government, but should be negotiated between boss and employee.
As another example, let’s examine abortion rights. Both men and women get to choose whether or not to engage in sex. Both men and women know that sex can lead to pregnancy. Children are biologically half of each parent, yet only women are given the right to choose life or death for that child. A man who tries to harm the child is guilty of a crime; a woman can claim it was her right to choose.
I made the choice to leave the workforce to raise my children. I walked away from a respected position and significant paycheck. My husband trusted me to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to make this choice. Other women choose to return to the workforce, which is an equally valid choice. I’m thankful for the women in the workplace that touch my life and that of my family members. They are blessed by their choice, just as I was blessed by mine.
I can do many things that men can do. Yet, my abilities have nothing to do with my feminist views. My equality with men stems from Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
“Man” in these verses is short for humans and refers to all people, while “male” and “female” refer to the different genders. I am equal with men simply because God made me that way and declared it. Men and women are both created in God’s image. We are different from one another, but each gender equally bears God’s image. I have been validated by the one true God and need no validation from a man or a woman of my equality.
Philippians 2:1-8 has been helpful in establishing my role in marriage. I have the same God-given nature as my husband, yet I do not consider equality with him something to strive for. Instead, I willingly chose to submit to his authority as the head of our household. I remember words of wisdom from my mother when I asked her who was in charge of our family. She told me, “a ship can only have one captain.” If I fight for authority, then my family lacks unity and suffers. But if I choose to look to the interests of others, my family can experience the joy and love of Christ that He desires for us. In 18 years of marriage, my husband has never wielded his authority as supreme. Each of us considers the needs of our family and willingly lays down personal desires for the sake of the whole.
I hope that you will join me in promoting feminist views that pursue equality for women around the world while letting go of the promotion of self.
I desire every woman, man, and child to know they have equal value in the eyes of God. Jesus willingly died to save all people regardless of race, age, or gender. He does not show favoritism, but loves without impartiality. Knowing that, frees us to consider the needs of others as more important than personal desires and egos.