Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Are Feminists Hurting Feminism?

I really am averse to calling myself a feminist, yet that is almost a ‘sin’ these days among women who care to be considered educated and modern. My favourite author once wrote, “Regardless of what we think any particular word should mean, it actually means what society interprets it to mean.” He was referring to the word Christian, and how most people’s definition of the word is anything but “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Do we reject the label or change the meaning of the label? Well that is maybe a subject for another blog but I wanted to mention it because saying I’m not a feminist seems to automatically make people assume I am of archaic ideals, that I believe women should be subservient, or that I live under a rock and can’t see inequality between genders in today’s society. Well, I’m not, I don’t and I can.

My problem is not with feminism.
feminism [fem-uh-niz-uhm] -noun “the doctrine advocating educational, social, economical, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”
My problem is with feminists.

Now, I have to preface this by saying, when I say feminists I don’t mean every woman who calls herself a feminist, I’m talking about the majority of feminists who are visible to me. There are two specific agendas I see in these feminists in particular that REALLY irk me! I’ll start with the least offensive one :)

First, the agenda of de-feminizing women. It is ironic most feminists are fiercely rejecting their femininity in the name of equality. Somewhere along the line feminists came to believe being “equal to” means “being the same as”. And they believe it’s our feminine qualities that make us inferior, these weaker traits like being nurturing, soft-hearted, etc., are considered a ‘socially structured’ quality in women, and we must shed these qualities or perpetuate continued inequality. In order to be equal these feminist truly believe we have to prove we are like men, can do what men can do, and essentially become men. The goal of feminism is to say we are equal as humans, humans who should have the same rights, it is NOT to make us entitled to equal abilities and attributes! There are a lot of abilities that other women have that I don’t but that doesn’t make us unequal in our rights. Isn’t it actually a detriment to the feminist movement to emulate men, to say with our actions that we are only deserving of the same rights as men as long as we act/look/think/perform like men? That is only furthering the perception that we are inferior, that we can’t get these rights just because we’re a human, we have to be like a male human.
And society enables this flawed view, I mean seriously, lowering physical standards of society’s protectors (just as one, severe, example) just so a woman can “stand her own” with men (which of course she’s actually NOT if the standards are lowered) in any profession she chooses! Really!! Would we hire a man to be a bikini model just because men and women are equal, physical limitations be damned/ignored? Now before I get something thrown at me, I’m not saying some women CAN’T be equal in physicality and strength, etc. to some men, it’s just not the way genders are naturally predisposed to develop. And I’m not saying all women have to be feminine, but we who are do not have to de-feminize ourselves in order to be equal.

Second, the agenda to make men inferior. These feminists want far more than equality, they want superiority. They are not content with the same rights, they want to reject everything and anything remotely male oriented. Just a few examples of how they assert this agenda (pulled from direct quotes from feminists):
1. Marriage is an institution constructed and legally sanctioned as a method of control over women, it is a legalized slavery. Women should reject marriage, not even live individually with a man. Women who are already married should leave their husbands. Women who don’t reject marriage do so because they are desperately close to receiving a much feared spinster label. Women who choose to save sex for marriage due so out of some implied incestuous pact with their father.
2. Every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.
3. Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession. There shouldn’t even be a choice to raise and serve a family, or to even plan life as a protected family-maker.
4. The father-figure God worshipped by the world is also to be rejected. All of history must be re-written in terms of oppression of women. Women must go back to ancient female religions like witchcraft (which usually worships a goddess).
5. People who believe in natural, complementary, gender roles automatically must believe that men are superior to women and that it's okay for men to treat women as inferior beings. AND this view has permeated ‘Christian’ society, this is not just "Father God" haters pushing this un-Godly philosophy. Have they read Genesis? A woman is the ONLY suitable helper.
help [help] –verb “to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need.”
We are a necessary part of a plan, and a superior being wouldn’t need help from an inferior being now would they!
Seriously!?!? How can this fall under a doctrine of equality? How does any of this even help women? Not only does it oppress men, it oppresses most women! It’s strictly a Western agenda, none of this is relevant or helpful to the millions of women internationally who are a hundred times more marginalized than we are! Already in the late 1980’s the original feminists said of this new generation of feminists, “They’ve stripped us of everything. Any real legitimacy. The feminist movement is in ruins!”

Feminists are indeed hurting, no tanking, feminism. At least original feminism was helping our world come closer to just valuing people for who they are, for their individual and personal contributions. Thankfully, the ones who truly just want us all, men and women, to be given the same respect and opportunities for the simple reason we are human, are not limited by any feminist agenda, and they don’t even care about labelling themselves, they just live giving respect as they wish to receive it. And, as I’ve said before,
I’m not a can of soup, so labels are bad, and so I’m not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I’m still going to be concerned with real marginalization of women, along with all humankind.


LaughingLady said...

Good rant!! Very well said. You make a good point that feminist ideology in society is actually shooting feminists in the foot ~ the example you give of lowering physical requirements for females to qualify for police services or fire fighters serves only to highlight the reality that women are indeed, the physically weaker sex!! There really is no denying the fact that women, as a general rule, simply aren't DESIGNED to carry a 200-lb man from a burning apartment building!!

I think it's so sad that even among evangelical circles, the idea of being a helper is so odious. How can being a helper be demeaning when God Himself is called our Helper over and over in the Scriptures?! Funny how when we think of being like God, we think of the power and the all-knowing-ness, but we never think of the servant-heart of Christ.

~ L ~ said...

oooh, yes! good point! God himself humbled himself to be our helper and servent, to exemplify how we should be, and yet it's an insult for women to be a helpmate?!? very sad indeed!

LaughingLady said...

I actually posted here about this whole "helper" thing a while back, quoting a couple of authors I've come to respect a fair bit.

Technonana said...

Ummm, Yeah, what Tammi said!! Loved this post. And if you haven't read Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge... Do!! It explains alot about why Women were created the way we were!! and how Satan, our enemy, and the enemy of all mankind, wants to destroy women, and why!!
Thanks again for posting this!!

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