This weekend an interesting discussion has sprung up between some of the people I met at #CNMAC11 a few weeks back.
The first post I saw on the subject was when Vicky Beeching wrote the post Christian Feminism is Not An Oxymoron she ended the post by asking a set of questions, I had started replying in a comment but it was getting so long that I decided a post/link back might be better:
- What comes to your mind when you hear the term Feminist?
- Do you feel Christian Feminism is a possibility or not?
- Do you want women to be treated, protected, paid and valued equally? Do you think this is happening enough in today’s society and Church?
- It seems that debates on issues of gender get very heated. Women are often portrayed as overly emotional and ‘ranty’. How can we avoid these kind of stereotypes and actually discuss things healthily?
So, what comes to your mind when you hear the term “Feminist”…….
While I was doing my degree at university I went back to college to do another AS Level as mine were a bit thin on the ground and I ended up doing Sociology. You do three major modules as part of AS Sociology so I did Theories (looking at about 5 or 6 different ideas), Families and Childhood (so sociology of families, how kids are affected by divorce etc. – BTW Matthew comes in ever so handy when you can’t remember your studies about marriage divorce lol) and then Feminism. So most of the things that come to mind are often the bits I studied then so things like the slightly mad ideas that Radical Feminists have (just read anything by Andrea Dworkin and you begin to question your sanity – or maybe that was just me). I think the whole bra burning thing does come to mind as well.
As was being discussed on Twitter the other night, it automatically has negative connotations because of the way the term as been distorted. To be a feminist the idea that most people come up with is a lady who is angry 99% of the time (the 1% being when they are asleep or something like that) and hates men and wants to see them crash and burn all the time. They probably thing of ladies who are classed as Feminists in the media such as Germaine Greer
It was commented on Twitter by various people about “Can Men be Feminist?” If we go with the basic definition of Feminism that Vicky used as part of her blog:
“Feminism: a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic, social rights and equal opportunities for women.”
Then why can’t men be feminists? I found a list via a certain online Encylcopadia a list of notable feminists – there were people like Carol Ann Duffy, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sylvia Plath and Simone De Beauvoir who are all people who’d expect to appear on the list but on that surprised me was Alan Alda (he played Hawkeye in MASH and one of the Presidential Candidates in the last season of The West Wing). He campaigned in the 70s and 80s for equal rights for women.
Now when I was a teenager I wanted to believe that I was a feminist and I was going to change the world – I think I had my head screwed on back to front because actually I had a skewed opinion of how to be a femimist.
If I am working towards women being equal to men then I am already a Feminist. I want to be considered equal to my colleagues and people out there who I meet so does that make me a Feminist (and not a bra burning crazy lady!).
So how can I be a Christian and be a Feminist? Well I’m not entirely sure but I think I get the gist – I need to go read some more about it. If you’re like me and you hear the Easter story every year you’ll know that it was a group of ladies that got to see Jesus’s empty tomb first and it’s’ Mary that sees Jesus at the tomb. When Adam and Eve are created, You could say that God gives Eve equal responsibility for the garden and the animals and things like that.
So where does this picture get so messed up. Well some of it is the social climate at the time the bible was being written, women were to be mothers and take care of their families that was probably the way it went. So for women to be involved in Jesus’s mission and for a woman to be the first person to see Jesus following his resurrection you could say that Jesus was a feminist – he treated women with respect and as equals.
Next up: Do you feel Christian Feminism is a possibility or not? I think if it’s about being equals and being treated with respect then yes I think it is possible to be a Christian and a Feminist. On the other hand if it’s the whole angry bra burning version of Feminism I don’t think that’s right.
Do you want women to be treated, protected, paid and valued equally? Do you think this is happening enough in today’s society and Church?
I think that women should be valued, paid, protected and treated equally to their male “versions” why should I be paid less because I’m a woman? You often hear about how women who are heading for partnership in law firms or other high flying companies like that who then because they get pregnant and have kids then get moved to the “Mummy Track” instead of heading for partnership etc. Then you get into the whole discussion about working Mums vs SAHM – I had a working Mum from the age of about 13 and I turned out a rounded individual – or at least I think I did lol. I think I rebelled a bit along the way but teenagers are meant to rebel a little right? I hope to be a SAHM when the time comes for me to have a child but for now I’m going to be the best Foster Mum to Our Sidekick that I can be so I’ll sit down with him and go over his homework with him if he needs it and encourage him to be the best human he can be! Where possible I want to be there in the front and centre cheering him on at a sport event or a school performance. (I’m going to my first Parents Evening next week and I have a stupid number of questions to ask lol)
Although I think Elders should mainly be a male category I don’t see why ladies shouldn’t be allowed to speak up the front of church. I’ve spoken at three different churches – one was at a youth event, the next was at my parents church and the third was at my friend’s church during the Easter Sunday service. I spoke at the Youth event about Tattoos and Piercings – which as someone who likes them both within reason was kinda interesting to do. When it came to my parents church my talk was mainly based on my testimony and how I came to being where I am now – this was kinda good as it was my home church before I was a teen and moved to a different church. The Easter Sunday service was hard and I was bricking it. CJ was in the front row and so was right in my eye line. I could also see my Mum and that was hard. I posted my notes about my talk for this one. (I’ll have another talk at Christmas which I’m excited about for now!)
It seems that debates on issues of gender get very heated. Women are often portrayed as overly emotional and ‘ranty’. How can we avoid these kind of stereotypes and actually discuss things healthily?
Stay calm if you can. I know that I struggled with dealing with my emotions at my current job. I had been unemployed for about 6 months then had a job for 4 months only to be encouraged to leave, so when I got to my current role I was desperate to do what I could to keep my job etc. When I had a disciplinary issue and my Manager and her manager had to have words I was devastated and really struggled to hold on to my emotions. I know that some days I still have issues but I’d like to think that I am calmer and a more chilled individual and that if I have an issue I try to go to my manager to chat it over before it comes something more and that has to be taken to that disciplinary procedure again.
More handy links about the topic:
And the boys…..(because Boy’s can be feminists too just look at Alan Alda – as mentioned above)
Well James gets a double link – The Masculine Feminine Balance and Divine Destiny – Thoughts and Reflections on the Role of Women.
If there are more links I should include please tell me 🙂