I was never much of a feminist. My upbringing taught me “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor one”. Within this context, loving = marrying. My mother is adored by my father in spite of the fact that she aggravates the heck out of him. If it’s within his power to give her what she wants, he will. If not, she’ll finagle it somehow. Men, in my world were stubborn, didn’t care about housework (as demonstrated by my mom’s placing clothes baskets where she stood a chance of dad aiming for them), made ugly noises in the bathroom, took you to movies, talked about sports and politics and liked to cook and garden. My dad was a first class tease…sometimes too much so. It was his love language and we learned to give it back, take it or walk away. Feminism was something we didn’t really talk about. Erma Bombeck was my mother’s ideal feminist, her relatable icon of gender disparity.
Having that context at home, my church subculture was even less traditionally feminist. Women did the busywork of church. They held down pink collar jobs, ran their homes and raised the kids. With each passing generation education of women became more prevalent. Men mentored boys in Royal Rangers while women trained the next generation of wives and mothers in Missionettes. Gender roles were well defined and executed! Of course there were families where women were suppressed or mistreated (aren’t there in every subculture?) but in the big picture mothers and wives were honored and held in esteem. This subculture had it’s own type of empowerment for women (think LaLeche’s “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” quote) and I am eternally grateful for it’s cultural impact on my life.
Now we come to today. Women’s marches all across the country. Women marching for rights, potential loss of them and the need to expand them. Rights for education, birth control, body control, control over the unborn, wage equality, housing, employment, marital equality, opportunities, and on and on and on…I feel accosted by the images of the women’s march on social media. Whether or not I want to know about it I do. So many women marching for so many things. I looked up the Pussyhat Project…must we, really? Fine with the all the pink but how does using derogatory genetalia language elevate or reclaim female empowerment? I must not possess the snark gene that sees this as helpful. My thought is that women should rise above the derogatory nature of men’s behavior and “reclaim” (though I’ve never felt my body was unclaimed) their bodies with more respect and dignity.
All the signs….hateful, vulgar, nasty, anti-Trump, vile words, ugly sentiments…sigh. Again, this makes us heard? Gives us a voice? Helps our cause as women in the world? Hmmm….One of the mantras of feminism that was distasteful to my mother’s generation was this idea that “if men can do it so can we”. My mom’s generation would respond “Why do we want to?” None of her cronies wanted to hit the work world 10 hours a day when they could be home with kids, housewifing, enjoying the neighborhood, living life without the pressure of providing. Go to a male strip club because men go to gentlemen’s clubs? Not something even remotely interesting to them. As divorce, abuse, cohabitation, unwed motherhood and male abandonment became more a part of their lives their opinions changed a bit but during the 70’s at the height of the feminist movement my mother’s take was “Brother, who do these women think they are?”
Do I believe women should be paid according to their abilities and achievements? Of course. Do I believe they should have access to birth control options? Yep, unless it means willfully killing an unborn child out of convenience. Do I believe women should be educated, that they can be as intelligent as men? Absolutely. Should they be able to live work and love how they want? Of course. Marry whom they please…yep as long as I my church isn’t forced to bless their marriage when it’s same sex. Should their feminine products be taxed more than toilet paper? Nope. Should society stop objectifying them? Absolutely. But until Hollywood and the music industry are willing to take pay cuts that ain’t gonna happen. Our own fascination and participation in it contribute enormously, and the Madonna’s of their world only expand this objectification with their profane art and nasty behavior.
I am not blind. There are disparities in our country for women of every socio-economical, racial, religious and gender type. I understand needs of women in poverty, their lack of access to affordable, quality health care. Their need for assistance in childcare, job creation, education opportunities, housing, insurance and so on. I am not unsympathetic toward any of those things. I have helped and assisted women my entire adult life when those needs presented themselves. Abuse of women by men is rampant, it not only breaks my heart but it angers and grieves me. The inability of women to defend and support themselves in light of it is astronomically wrong, profoundly evil and widely unaddressed. At one time society hid this abuse and it may have seemed it wasn’t as prolific, not so. I believe it’s always been there, now it has a voice and we are all better prepared to address it. But pink pussy hats, vulgar signage and women of means creating profane art making zillions of dollars complaining they don’t do as well as men to speak for us???? Really???
You can maybe understand my avoidance to participate in such an event.
I’ll end with this thought:
Galations 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
True equality is found in Christ, will always be found there and has never not been found there. Until the world is able to accept this truth, all striving for equality will be an incomplete effort to bring desired change. While I don’t disapprove of the effort I do see it’s limitations and I wish for something greater for all of us. Something eternal and powerful that isn’t dependent on culture or politics.
Transformation = equality, and it thrives in Christ and his people.