Feminism. The word brings so many stereotypes to mind. The first words in our literary criticism book’s chapter on feminism were, “I’m not a feminist, I wear a bra!” Oh dear, I can feel my eyebrows rising just thinking about being so hard-core.
Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to the stereotypes we think are feminism I think maybe we should take a closer look at what it really is. As Tamara McGinnis says in our literary criticism class, “there is a grain of truth to every theory.” I think that applies to feminism too.
Speaking of stereotypes, there is one from my hometown that I know I don’t fit. In Randle Wash. the majority of girls get pregnant in high school, get married as soon as they graduate, and spend the rest of their lives smoking a pack a day and working part time at the local gas station or grease-filled burger joint. There are people from my hometown who are still mad at me that I would be so uppity as to think I could go to college.
Where I come from, this is normal; this is how women are supposed to act. But feminism says that just because it is the norm, doesn’t mean its right. Just because women produce babies doesn’t mean that’s all they’re good for. It even says (sin of sins) that maybe our conventional views of men and women might be wrong. They might be just a little too clear-cut for reality.
So much of the time we define things by what they are the opposite of: cold and hot, black and white, male and female. Why can’t men and women share some characteristics? Sometimes men like to cook. Sometimes women are good at math. Why do we have to divide the world in half and say, “That’s your side and this is mine”?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning cross-dressing or homosexuality, but I think that we are harming both men and women if we line up character attributes and say you can’t have that one if you are the wrong sex.
How do I make that practical? How do I act in a way that doesn’t view the world in such a dichotomy, but still holds to biblical standards of male and female roles? Well, I don’t have a cut-and-dried answer for ‘ya.
Truth is, I’m still working on that one myself. I grew up in a family where my mother believed strongly in a traditional woman’s role, but didn’t actually follow God with her heart. I can see where that has taken her—away from everything that is truth-centered and into an illusion where you can do whatever you want and God just is your happy helper, and I don’t want to go there. But I don’t want to have such a knee-jerk reaction that I fall off the teeter-totter on the other side either.
I think maybe there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer that we can use to trim all our situations. But maybe that’s ok. Maybe that’s how God made it, so we have to come to Him for wisdom.