Sunday, January 3, 2010

the F word:please don't call it "crap"

I am a Christian. I am a feminist.

I realize this is a bit too shocking or confusing for some of you out there to wrap your head around. People often wonder, "how can that be? you can't be both. How can you be a feminist? How is that possbile?" In fact, I have even been told by a certain female in my life that I should quit talking about "all that feminist crap" because it scares off boys. It's amazing how wrapped up in that statement is precisely the reason why I am a feminist. "oh dear, don't be who God made you to be... be who men WANT you to be."

no, thanks.

so, what is feminism exactly? so glad you asked.

fem⋅i⋅nism-the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

Interesting. i don't see any of the following words: man-hating, lesbianism,

abortion, bitter old maid and no, not even the word crap.

So, either the dictionary has been misinformed about what feminism actually is or

we have come to have a gross misunderstanding of what the movement is and

why the movement was started. And we certainly have no understanding of why the

movement is still entirely relevant and necessary today.

A feminist, no matter who she is or what she may believe, starts with the concept of equality.

You know, that crazy notion that men and women are actually equal beings who deserve

equal treatment, equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities and that one is not actually

dominant or subordinate to the other. Where the feminist chooses to go with that and what

assumptions she chooses to make or causes she chooses to champion based on that are

entirely her own prerogative and should not be seen, necessarily, as crucial to the feminist

doctrine. There are many kinds of feminists out there and we all believe many different

things. That doesn't make any of us more or less of a feminist.

In that way, it's kind of similar to Christianity. I am a Christian. I follow Christ. I believe in

baptism by full water submersion. Another Christian may believe in sprinkling. Here we are,

both Christians, believing different things. Both believing it is our Christianity that brings us

our own understanding of baptism and yet we do not agree. Is one of us less Christian than

the other? No. (Although, I'm sure there are plenty who would argue yes... which I suppose,

in a way, further proves the point I am making).

Many people have told me that I should stop referring to myself as a feminist because of

what that makes people assume about me. To these people I say, "ok, then, stop calling

yourself a Christian, because people will assume you are a right-wing Republican, hell-bent

on the destruction of anyone who does not assimilate to your culture and beliefs. you really

should call yourself something else." In other words, I am not interested in inventing a term

to call myself that people have absolutely no reference for, for the sake of people feeling a

little more comfortable around me. Instead, I would like for people (mostly those in the

Christian church) to come to have a better understanding of feminism and how it relates

to our culture, our world and our church today.

Some of my friends say, "what are you talking about? women can i have jobs and stuff.

we're totally equals in our society. hello?" well, to you I say, "women still make less money

for the same job. politics, economics and religion are still entirely male-dominated. the media

still force-feeds us rigid gender-roles and stereotypes every day. thousands of women around

the world are forced into prostitution. women are forced to undergo painful female

circumcision and are threatened with death if they refuse. women are stoned for going out

without a male escort, etc, etc, etc. Hello? HELLO? what world do YOU live in?"

As a Christian, Christ has called me to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to seek

justice for those who have done wrong or have had wrong done to them. This is pretty clear

in the gospel. It also seems pretty clear to me that women in America and around the world

fit the description of those needing justice and needing someone to speak for them, to say

that women were also made in God's image and have a role in His perfect plan. So to you

feminist-hating Christians out there I say to you, "how can you

NOT be a feminist? How is THAT possible?"

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