Friday, March 5, 2010

What's Your Feminism?

 

 Are you a Feminist?

Recently, a great discussion ensued on the Lady Bloggers forum regarding Feminism.  It's really interesting and I'd like to encourage you to stop by there by clicking the image above and check it out.


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Here was my response/input:
"Feminism is…
Feminism is a vast array of things. Our mothers feminism may not be our feminism, but it’s still feminism. There are entire schools of thought on this topic of which I’ve spent a considerable portion of my educational career invested in.
Feminism is NOT a negative thing unless a person makes it to be as such. Feminism is not a result of a mistake that God made. Theologically, I don’t think that God made mistakes. I think the division of sexes and the patriarchal structure that suffocates so much of our global culture is a result of sin and not creation. I believe men and women were both molded by the hands of God and are uniquely and wonderfully made.
I am a feminist. I am also a number of other things like: a career woman, a wife, a mother, a student, a minister, a teacher, an activist, a peace keeper…I am me and feminism is just a part of who I am. It is a part of who I am because I am against oppression and violence against women in any form. This does not make me a male hater…I’m in love with one and gave birth to one…and I love my boys. As a feminist, I am for women being able to choose the life they want to lead. If you’re Muslim and you choose to wear your veil because you want to, then I want you to be able to do so. If you are a stay at home mom and that’s what you love, I want you to be able to do what you love.
This is too big of a topic for me to just summarize in a few paragraphs…but feminism is what we make it. It’s our feminism. It’s our voices working together to strive for the best opportunities…it’s a part of our pursuit of happiness. It is also a human construction and it is flawed. But feminism has afforded us the right to make the choices we do in a world that didn’t want to give us any voice. I think we often take for granted the work done by women, whether they called themselves feminists or pioneers or something else, that came before us. We are able to have the opportunities we do today because women before us were brave enough to stand up to injustice. Are we brave enough to do the same?"

This forum discussion has inspired me to open up a dialogue on feminism here on CGM.  
I'm interested to know:
  • What do you know about Feminism?
  • Do you find yourself to be a Feminist?  Why or why not?
  • How does Feminism affect your day-to-day life?
  • Can Feminism co-exist with Christianity?



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13 comments:

Andrea said...

I am not sure it affects me at all. I don't fit most molds. I sort of march to the beat of my own drum...not anyone elses!
Blessings, andrea

Rene W. said...

Great insight! I couldn't agree with you more :)

Single and Sane said...

Oh my, so many questions to answer....I'm old enough to remember when Ms. Magazine came out, when women started using Ms. as a title, and to have heard "I Am Woman" played on the radio constantly...until DJs seemed to swear off of ever playing it again. In my first job, I was paid considerably less than men who performed the same duties. So yes, I know about feminism, and I'm grateful for the women who came before us to do the truly heavy lifting, like getting the vote. We don't give them nearly enough credit.

It doesn't affect my day-to-day life much these days. Anymore, so much of it seems to come down to who opens the door. (I don't really care who opens the door - if I'm closer, I'll open it, if a man's closer, he should open it.) Feminism, like you say, is about having choices in life. That's much bigger than who opens the door.

Can feminism co-exist with Christianity? If we truly believe there is no male or female in Christ, then yes, absolutely.

Christy said...

Simply put if it goes against the bible then NO and since modern day feminism is ultimately against all that GOD calls of us and for us, I'm NOT a feminist. I am femine, I'm a woman who loves men, thinks women are amazing...thinks that as women we have NO RIGHT to murder a baby growing inside of our wombs, no MATTER what the reasoning EVER (even if the mother's life is in jeapordy...EVER) That no one has the right to beat us, rape us, harm us...but we have no right to do the same to a man in any way be it physically, emotionally, or verbally.
All we need to know about who we are to be can be found in one book...the bible. I don't need some ridiculous title (feminist) to tell me I'm a woman and should be valued...my FATHER told me that and tells me that everyday.

Just Me said...

I believe that men and women are made different yet equal. We all are so different in what we bring to the world. That doesn't mean that anyone should be better than anyone else. Just different! =)

nora muhammad said...

i studied feminist theory when i was doing my M.A. years ago. back then i was very much a feminist, (but i don't hate men, i love them!) i agree with your definition... feminism means to be able to live the life you want, to be able to voice your opinions and to be comfortable with yourself. i'm a muslim and i wear the hijab because it's stated in the Quran, and it doesn't bother me at all. that doesn't mean i can't voice out my opinions. i know my where to draw the lines, and i know my rights. and that is what i think feminism is

toohey said...

Hi, Absolutely love your blog.

So here is a question I've been debating with Kelly Stamps of KellysKorner:

If you father-in-law died - and he had a good, close relationship with your husband - would you attend his funeral?

Do you think being pregnant is a reason not to drive 4-5 hours to attend your father-in-law's funeral? Assuming of course you are otherwise healthy and having a normal pregnancy?

Of course, I'm sure you said "HECK YES"!! I would attend my father-in-law's funeral and NEVER think about abandoning my husband and his family during such a sad time!

Well, if you can believe it, there is one of our fellow bloggers named Melissa Stafford who can't be bothered to attend her father-in-law's funeral. Her father-in-law died earlier this week of cancer. She couldn't be bothered to go and visit him and now won't go to the funeral.

Melissa is pregnant. But she is going to the gym all the time, going shopping, going out to lunch with her friends. In other words, there is no health-related reason for her not to go to the funeral.

Can you believe this? Isn't this woman cruel and un-Godly? How can she be so mean and cold and neglect her husband at his time of need?

Truly unbelievable! Let her know what you think. Read the whole story here: http://staffordmoments.blogspot.com

Please pray for this woman and hope that God will forgive her cruelty, selfish and uncaring behaviour towards her husband (who by the way just lost his job (as well as his father) and is unemployed).

A 2 Z said...

Hiya,

Its been a while... Good topic! In the beginning feminism was a movement that ensured that women had the same rights as men. If men and women perform the same job and are equally qualified then they should get the same pay rate. Feminism corrected many injustices (especially financial). I dont know what abortion or wearing the hijab or hating men has anything to do with feminism.

While living in Qatar (muslim country) I listened to many debates on Muslim women and clothing. As specified by modern Imams NOWHERE in the Quran does it say that women must cover themselves. It just says that a veil (in a metaphysical sense) should divide men from the world of God. Certain countries such as Saudi Arabia order women to veil themselves completely. That has nothing to do with the Qu'ran. Women that wear it in NA do it for different reasons: here they have the FREEDOM to wear it to show that they are Muslims or, some say that it makes them feel closer to God. In other words by wearing it they feel they are better Muslims.

Best regards,

Anne-Marie

Kenya said...

In my opinion and according to the BIBLE, God made the SPIRIT of man first. (Gen 1:26) Then he made male and female (Gen 1:27).

Are we equal to men? Yes!

Are we different? Yes but it doesn't make us inferior or superior.

It's all in the bible.

In a way, I believe that feminism is saying that someone has taken something that is inherently mine. I'm not falling for that. I AM A healthy, strong, successful and happy WOMAN...just as God created me to be.

Some women have a problem with authority. I believe that it's ok for a man (even if he make less money than us) to be head...the leader of the house. Isn't that what God want?

We are suppose to fight and confront those who try to take our rights away from us because we are all equal in the eyes of God.

We must remember that God gave females a role and males a role. I'm not making this up. It is in the bible and it's something that I had to come to grips with.

Most importantly, I strive to be balanced. Everyone should desire to be more like Jesus:
Physically
Emotionally (wisdom)
Spiritually (relationship with God)
Socially (relationship with people)

I'm not going to take up too much space. Great topic!

Freddae' said...

Ladies, as usual, you are fantastic and I greatly appreciate all of your input and commentary. Though I don't agree with all of you, I have enjoyed the dialogue and the opportunity to listen to what you have to say. So thank you for bravely speaking your minds.

There are many misconceptions about what feminism is. Unfortunately, this leads many to believe that it's an evil thing, when at its roots, it is not. Anything in the wrong hands used for the wrong purposes can be evil...not just women in a group wanting to be heard.

Biblically speaking, it is my belief based on intensive study of scripture, that there is indeed empowerment meant for women. God did not intend for anyone to be marginalized, oppressed or used for the power and justification of another. If we are to be submissive, which I believe we are, it is not just to men. Our submission but start with God. We must be like Christ and give ourselves over to the will of God not our own will. From there, true selfless action flows from the teachings of love for God, neighbor AND self...those are vital pieces.

Jesus himself stood, peacefully, against injustice. Jesus, unlike anyone else, gave women a voice. Jesus empowered women in his ministry, was followed by women, healed and honored women. We are not just some after thought to men. We are uniquely and wonderfully made.

We have for so long be subjected to a global culture that does not find value in women, let alone respect for women. Our history, both political and religious, is minute. Stories of women have been silenced because they have deemed irrelevant. Are the stories of your grandmothers, mothers, aunts...irrelevant? Are the stories of the women in the Bible irrelevant? There are women all over the Bible and throughout the Gospels and yet how often are their stories told? Great stories of Jesus' healing, prayers, compassion...not frequently told.

Feminist theology is one branch of feminism that seeks to look at Christianity, for example, through a woman's lens. How might a woman's way of relating to Jesus be different than a man's way? There are tremendous differences based purely on experiences, if nothing else. Even within the male/female gender paradigm, we find that no two males have the same experiences and no two females have the same experiences. No two people in the world have the same life experiences and context, therefore we are going to come to Jesus, understand Jesus and relate to Jesus differently. These differences should be celebrated. I no more desire to silence my husband than I desire to be silenced myself. Think of how many men were raised by loving and inspiring women. How different would life be for those men if those women had been muted? What about the single mother...should we silence her voice? What about the prostitute? The young girl whose had an abortion? The woman on drugs? The woman who committed adultery? The infertile woman? The obese woman? The crippled woman? Which one of these women would Jesus have walked away from saying they had no worth?

Freddae' said...

The feminism I speak of is not one that robs men of some God given status, but replaces disillusioned power hierarchies with equality and love. It's were a voice exists. It's where women know that even in marriage, rape is NOT okay. It is lifting up and celebrating the value and worth that God gave us. We were made in God's image, not our bodies but our souls. Are souls demarcated by gender? What is truly truth from God and what is "fact" as given by the culture you're in? What do YOU really believe? What is God telling you in your private devotional/meditation/prayer time? Are we picking and choosing the scripture we want to defend what we want, or have we taken the time to look deeper into scripture, to study Greek and Hebrew translations, to read commentaries and research? Where do we get our information?

Could we be wrong?

Our human margin of error is great. But our love for God and God's love for us is so much greater. If our actions are synonymous with the greatest commandment which is to love the Lord our God...then to love our neighbor as our self, then how can we really go wrong? Are we acting out of love when we silence, when we propagate hate, when we judge even though God directs us not to, when we presume to know the inner tenants of anothers faith, when we are biased based on gender, race...or even the level of anothers sin? Who are we but the dirt from which we were molded? We are no greater than anyone else...and yet we are all part of the perfect creation of God.

Feminism is a way in which women can turn on the microphone. We no longer have to stand on stage speaking to a crowd who cannot hear us. We don't have to be silenced. We can say we want to stay at home, we want to go to work, we want to continue our education, we can be a God fearing wife and mother and still know who we are.

I could go on and on and on, but I think you get where I'm coming from. Ladies...we so easily forget the freedoms we have. We so frequently become complacent. If you have an education above high school, you are in a very minute percentage and a woman fought against injustice so that you could have the right, the opportunity to do that. Do you have a job? Is this a job you can go to feeling relatively protected by current laws against harassment and discrimination? Have you ever prayed out loud at church, read the scripture, or had a woman pastor? Someone had to walk before us and pave these roads. Not a one of us hasn't been impacted by a woman who fought for us.

Ultimately, I walk with Jesus and Jesus lets me, a sinner, a woman, a flawed human being, walk right beside him. Jesus' doesn't ask me to do anything different than he asks my male counterparts. The commandments are not separated by gender constructs. We are all to observe them and all to walk in the way and the light that is Christ.

Tori Cooper said...

I usually hesitate to call myself a "femenist" mostly because growing up my parents were very conservative and opposed to anyone who were labeled "femenist". Honestly, I have nothing against Femenism, I think with anything things can get out of hand and pushed to the extreme.

I read your definition of Femenism and I totally agreed with everything you said...

I do believe that in God's eyes men & women are equal. We do have different roles in life but should have the freedom to define these roles. Anything that oppresses a woman is so wrong... and I do agree alot of cultures and mentalities throughout the ages have devalued the woman. This was not God's intention for women to be devalued to a possession or object. It is sad to hear that to this day, women are mistreated and abused throughout the world.

So many are not aware that women are the largest target in third world countries to slavery. Many ignorantly have confessed that slavery doesn't exist but I tell you that it does... more than not. Females as young as six years old are being forced into prostitution, sexual slavery, and human trafficking. As I women I feel responsibility to do what I can to help stop this. Alot of the issues we deal with in the U.S. are minor to issues women around the world must suffer to.

I think that if women really want to make a difference through femenism... fight for those who can't fight for themselves... those young girls being used by creepy men...

If this touches you check out the home foundation... http://thehomefoundation.net
& http://www.notforsalecampaign.org

I do not represent them but just recently come across this foundation/campaign & was touched to start giving donations...

Freddae, I'm a newbee to the Lady Bloggers Society... so far I have found your blog very interesting and inspiring...! It's good to find other bloggers out there that have a biblical approach to blogging but not too spiritual that you can't relate! I hope to read more post in near future!

Freddae' said...

@Tori,
Raising awareness for human trafficking is very dear to my heart too. Thank you, thank you, for bringing this up here. Have you ever seen the movie Human Trafficking? Pretty powerful stuff. Further, there is a tremendous amount of resources out there to learn more about this form of slavery. And you're right, slavery is far from extinct. Children are trafficked into the US every year in large numbers and placed into slavery situations under the guise of adoption...no, I'm not kidding or exaggerating. Women are trafficked into the US by a variety of different countries and they exist in our backyards. Even here in Oklahoma we have been affected by local trafficking rings. They exist everywhere and some women choose to turn away and pass judgment on these victims as being "just prostitutes". Does anyone REALLY choose prostitution? I don't believe so. We should reach out to these women in love and we may find how much more humility we need to attain. We can't just live in our safety bubbles anymore. We have to keep working to make this world safe for our children, today and tomorrow, for the girls and the boys. We need to be more aware of Fair Trade products. We need to raise awareness about how certain BIG name chocolate manufacturers do not use Fair Trade practices and employ children into slave labor on their cocoa farms. Same situation with coffee. Really...feminism is about raising awareness and then giving that awareness a voice, an outlet to be heard.

-------

It may even be a shock to some that a great many men consider themselves to be feminist. It's simply one word that describes internal yearning to be free from oppression. We will never know oppression exists unless we lift it up and give it a voice. Then once we know, we have a responsibility to stand up against injustice.

Also, feminism is just one branch of this. There are also other branches known as Womanist and Mujerista. Womanism represents non-white feminists, primarily black women who celebrate their context and experiences as women which are different than white feminists and should be celebrated as such. The Mujerista movement, like Womanism, celebrates the differences of non-white women who are Latin American and their experiences and perspectives.

It's important we listen to the voices of our sisters, especially when their context is so very different from our own. I may never understand what means to be a Latin American woman, but I can come to appreciate them and celebrate them for who God created them to be, by raising my awareness of their voices in the world.

It's not about hating men. It's so much bigger than that. It's about consciousness raising and about seeing the bigger picture. It's ultimately about love.

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