The Bible is all about a bunch of dudes telling women to cover their heads and be silent…
Unshaven armpits, bald heads and man-haters…
What is Feminism?
Feminism is not about a group of jaded, spinster women who hate men with body hair galore and undercuts.
Feminism is the fundamental belief that men and women are equal. The movement itself was borne as a response to inequalities that, for the most part, women experienced compared to their male counterparts.
Some examples are:
- The inability to vote
- Requirement to leave the workforce once married
- Inability to control their own finances once married
- Perceptions of single women who had sex versus single men who had sex
- Unequal pay for the same work
- Marital rape and domestic abuse
- A real woman was a domesticated house-wife
- Incapable of “logical” professions such as doctors, lawyers, bankers, businessmen etc.
There are also ‘waves’ of feminism. That is, different stages of the movement that focus on areas of inequality. Note: Some of these deal with direct inequality whilst others may deal with institutional inequality.
- First-wave: 19th and early 20th century – focused on legal issues, primarily suffrage
- Second-wave: 1960s – 1980s – focus on sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, official legal inequalities
- Third-wave: 1990s – 2008 – intersectional feminism (the experience of inequality will differ across ethnicities, nationalities, religions, colors and cultural backgrounds)
- Fourth-wave: 2008 – present – increased focus on intersectionality including trans-inclusion
I am a Christian Feminist
How can this be? Well, I believe that men and women are created equal. This is not contrary to the Bible nor to the ideals of feminism.
Both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Just as the first man and woman were equally in the image of God, so are men and women now.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
However, far more radical to feminism is my belief that men and women were created equal but different. Equality does not mean doing the same thing. We are designed to have different functions but with one purpose.
Adam was given the responsibility to lead, whilst Eve was given the responsibility to be the helper. Both functions were to glorify God, both with equal weight and both with equal worth.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. – Genesis 2: 15
But for Adam no suitable helper was found…. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. – Genesis 2: 20 -22
What Equal but Different does NOT mean..
- That being a “helper” is of less significance than being a “leader.” The glorification of leaders over helpers is a human idea. In the Bible, there is none that can fit the role that Eve fills, so God creates her. Without Eve, Adam could not lead. Without Adam, Eve could not help.
- That women are incapable of leading. There are particular circumstances of the design of men and women, where women should not lead such as teaching men the Bible or headship in a marriage; however, for most positions of leadership, that don’t fit the two already described, women are more than capable of leading armies, governments and other groups. Both Adam and Eve are placed as rulers over the animals in the garden. Eve wasn’t the deputy, she was the co-ruler.
- That women’s opinions are worthless. Just because men are given the function of leader does not mean they get to ignore women. Equal means that a woman’s opinion is of equal worth to that of a man’s. Adam cherishes Eve as his own flesh after she is created by God.
- That men are workers and women are stay-at-home wives and/or mums. Women as helper does not mean that they should clean up after their husbands and do everything for them. Women are not servants and subservient; remember Adam loved Eve as himself which means he sees her value too.
Feminism is not a dirty idea, where women seek to “rule” over men nor where men are the scum between our toes. It’s essence and creation is based on equality of the sexes; an equality that is clearly acknowledged in the Bible.
Stay tuned for the follow-up posts in the next few days.