A great myth that is often spread within the church is that feminism is a bad thing. This is based on two things – the over publicised aggressive “feminism” and arguing its failure to Christianity due to legal changes prompted by the liberation movement in the 1970s, whereby the Matrimonial Causes Act was replaced with No-Fault Divorce in 1975. What comes out of this deridement of change is an overwhelming argument that feminism causes more harm to Christianity, than good.
Matrimonial Causes vs. No-Fault Divorce
Under the Matrimonal Causes Act 1959, there were 14 different types of reasons that a divorce would be approved by a court. However, a spouse had to be proven at fault for the marriage breakdown. Who was the adulterer? Who was the drunk? Who was insane?
In reality, to prove someone was at fault a solicitor and/or private investigator needed to be hired. Divorce was an actual legal battle, with plenty of finger pointing. The nature of Matrimonial Causes meant that divorce was harder.
So why did feminism come in and make divorce rates sky rocket?
Women prior to the 1980s, and particularly mid-1970s, did not maintain financial independence once they were married. This meant that if a divorce was to occur, and cause was to be proven, a woman could not do that with no money. Often they were shown as the damaging party. But they got their divorce right? In some cases, yet the one usually found at fault forfeited much, if not all, their rights to children, assets and reputation.
No Fault Divorce removed the need to prove a specific cause. It alleviated the litigation in courts and the demand to point fingers.
Feminism was a catalyst for increasing divorce rates, there’s no argument there. However, laying waste to a movement that aims to bring equality between the sexes because of one turning point for divorce, ignores all the good that the movement has achieved.
By telling young men and women that you don’t like feminism, tells them you don’t value anything else the movement has achieved nor the implications for if the Matrimonial Causes Act had continued. The vote, equal wages, marital rape and discrimination were still issues under a hundred years ago (and still are for some people/places).
Whenever something comes along with a ‘feminist spin,’ and it challenges the status quo for Christian men and women, the echoing remnants of being told that someone who teaches them doesn’t agree with feminism, justifies them ignoring the rebuke of maintaining the status quo.
Men and women were created equal (Genesis 1:27), however, it was screwed when sin entered the world at The Fall (Genesis 3).
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. – Genesis 3: 21-22
The relationship of the world, men and women, is not what it is supposed to be. Perfection was in Eden. Feminism is simply a tool of the world to achieve something that will never be fully attained in this life. Yet, we should not take lightly the implications of treating feminism with emnity.