Are you an Accidental Feminist?June 3, 2016
The word, “feminist” can mean a lot of different things today. But for American women, one thing is certain: we have been influenced by the feminist movement and a feminist mindset, whether we know it or not. Our guest today notes: “We unconsciously reflect our culture’s ideas related to womanhood rather than what’s found in the Bible.”
In her book, Accidental Feminist, Courtney Reissig wrote about her journey out of “accidental feminism” and into cherishing God’s good design for men and women.
In America, feminist ideas and ideology have become so enmeshed in the culture, so normal, that it is akin to the water in which we swim. Perhaps you read this and immediately dismissed the claim that feminism has influenced you at all. Like a fish that doesn’t know the relative quality of the water in which it swims, we do not always recognize the feminist-saturated milieu in which we live.
To help us see what we cannot readily see, let’s reframe the question. What influences your thinking more, the culture or the Bible? Is your conscience more conformed to cultural ideas or Christ-ideas? Ask yourself these questions honestly and invite the Holy Spirit to convict you of places your perspective has been shaped more by our culture than the Bible.
How do you view, treat and talk about men (in general and specifically)?
Courtney points out the feminist movement in America often operates out of a narrative where men have been- or are now- holding women down. Initially feminism was about issues including voting rights, property ownership, access to education and the legal system. All areas where equality was lacking and reform was needed. But feminism evolved beyond the issue of equality to the issue of men themselves as the problem.
The degradation and disrespecting of men in general and men our lives specifically may be subtle. Consider how man-bashing or husband-shaming sneak their way into your social media feed and into your girlfriend conversations. Do you consider men generally thick, dumb, unrefined, uniformed, brutish, garrish, banal, or often worthy of a roll of the eyes? Do you view men as useful but ornamental? Filling a functional role but of little other purpose or value – and certainly not of equal value, influence or importance as women?
Sin is real and rampant. This blame-casting of men by women is not new, but it is evidence of our sinfulness. It was in the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit that this breakdown between the sexes began. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake. And in the feminist mindset the man and the snake are one.
Who controls your life and decisions?
What began as an effort for voting rights at the turn of the century morphed by mid century into what most of us would recognize as the “I am woman hear me roar” feminism. This brand of what is called 2nd wave feminism sought to eradicate the differences between the sexes. Women can do anything men can do, adding under its feminist breath, “and do it better.”
But today’s feminists are different. They not only believe that men and women are equal in every way, men are ancillary to success, children, and career, but they also believe that career is ultimate and family/marriage can wait until whenever they decide. Underlying all of that is the very un-spiritual idea that my life is my own to do with what I choose, with whom I choose, for as long as I choose, until I choose differently. Today’s feminist see themselves as in control of everything, functionally dethroning God.
So, ask yourself, honestly, do you believe you are in control your life?
The witness of Scripture says that God is grants, governs, measures, sustains, redeems and fulfills life. Are you submitted to Him as sovereign Lord of your life, actively cooperating moment-by-moment with the Holy Spirit who guides and governs the Christian mind and life?
Considering that for many years women were completely dependent upon a male family member or husband to have any worth or representation in society– the message of control and power is attractive. Courtney addressed the very real- and justified- fears that women face. But rather than turn to a feminist mentality, as Christians we have a greater hope. She says:
The answer for us all is still the same: We are Sarah’s children, if we hope in God and do not fear anything that is frightening. Feminism can’t remove our fears anymore than it can give us the power and autonomy we crave. It’s all an illusion. What we really need, what stands the test of time, is hoping in the God who knows the end of our circumstances, who is over every detail of our painful, broken lives, and who has promised to always do what is good for us.
Who are the voices that have formed your thinking and who are the voices you amplify?
From music to TV sitcoms, how is the picture of womanhood forming in your mind? Are you operating out of a Father Knows Best, Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives or Modern Family mindset? Are you forming your male-imagery after the man-bashing ballads of pop music?
Many of us have social media accounts now– so we all have a platform. How are you using it? Which voices do you choose to amplify? Have you posted or shared, liked or retweeted, anything that if the tables were turned would be deemed misogynistic?
As you ask yourselves these questions, you are probably noticing, we not talking about something that is always immediately obvious. These perspective shifts are subtle and under the surface. They have become such a part of our culture we don’t even notice them. This is the water we’re swimming in, but it’s unfiltered at best and toxic at worst. It’s time to think about what we thinking about and where our thinking is stinkin’, it’s time to make things right.