Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christian feminist mom raising a Christian feminist son

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus." ~ Galatians 3:28

Many people tend to create a very specific, often negative, image of a "feminist" in their minds. Feminists wear ill-fitting suits and have butch haircuts, they're either openly lesbian or deep in the closet with mousy, browbeaten husbands. They play softball with alarming skill and own many cats.

This is a rather specific image, and its absurdity is obvious when paired against the literal definition of feminist, i.e. "a person who advocates equal rights for women".

I mean, I'm a feminist. My hair is short, but it's a pretty cute style, not butch at all. I have three cats, but I suck at softball. (I swing like I'm chopping wood.) And I don't think anyone who's ever met my husband would describe him as "mousy".

But somewhere along the way, people got it in their heads that feminism was somehow anti-Christian. Despite people like Saint Joan of Arc, who didn't let her gender stop her from leading armies, and who was subsequently martyred for it. Despite early church leaders, like Lydia and Chloe. Despite that groovy little verse from Galatians I quoted at the beginning.

I believe the issue stems from the way that people confuse feminism with male-female conflict. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Inequality in power is what leads to conflict. Look at the civil rights movement! Don't we have less racial conflict now that we have moved closer to equality? It should be no different amongst men and women. Power struggles lead to contention. How can people see "eye-to-eye" unless they're on equal footing?

And, as that verse from Galatians illustrates, how great is our freedom in Christ when we treat all our brothers and sisters as equals. When we stop being hung up on antiquated notions of "roles" we can focus on what really matters, enjoying true fellowship together, and walking with one another in the light.

Furthermore, feminism is a quality which I greatly admire in men, as much as I would admire honesty, or fairness. A feminist man demonstrates that he is confident in himself and his abilities, to the point that he in no way feels threatened by a woman's intelligence or assertiveness. It is the men who find themselves somehow lacking that feel the need to boost themselves up via keeping a boot on the necks of others.

I find my husband's feminism incredibly attractive. No one who knows him could claim that he lacks confidence or self-assurance, and that shines through in our relationship. We're partners in everything. It doesn't matter if I make more money than him, or vice versa. It's all going to pay mutual expenses, so only the sum of our salaries is significant. There will be times when he does the housework, and times when I call the bank and handle our finances. As long as these things are getting done, why does it matter which of us does it? We're not constricted by limitations of "woman's work" or "man's work", which leaves us free to enjoy each other in a way that is very organic and natural, as opposed to awkward and scripted.

Growing up in this environment, I feel there is no question that my son will be a feminist as well. Every day, he sees a mommy and daddy who love each other, and him, and Jesus, without letting a bunch of silly social structuring getting in the way of it. And he will be taught to treat people the same regardless of what color or gender or social station they are.

I'm raising my son to live by Galatians 3:28.


Veronica said...

Thanks for visiting! And great post.

blue milk said...

Thanks for letting me know of your post. And it is a fascinating area to write about - being a feminist Christian mother. Keep going.

Emil Kagramanyan said...

Court, are you korean?

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