“I am proud to be a Christian woman who is not a feminist.”
Lately, I’ve been hearing that narrative a lot. Hot take: it makes no sense. It’s like saying, “I am a proud woman who does not use a heating pad for my cramps.” Like good for you homegirl, but I’m gonna be posted up over here with my heating pad and a party size bag of potato chips.
It seems like a weird proclamation to make, and I find it baffling because it just seems so backward.
Why wouldn’t women- especially Christian women- celebrate and encourage the empowerment of other women?
Right now, I see a major trend happening in the church: our support of political movements is directly linked to whether or not we have had to endure it.
The church is in the middle of a widespread denial of topics that are literally rocking the lives of its members. We are ignoring the things that the people who sit next to us deal with on a daily basis for one simple reason: Those issues don’t affect us.
The church should be on the forefront of feminism. They should be the ones who are setting the example of how it’s done. Why? Because Jesus did. Homeboy got in the dirt with a #nastywoman to advocate for her rights and protect her future. And he did it in front of all of the leaders of the church because he didn’t give one single crap what anyone thought.
Jesus told them, “Leave this woman alone.” And if you feel in any way that you have once been rescued by an undeserved and intentional act of kindness, then you cannot ignore those who are still waiting to be rescued.
I really think that most Christian women just don’t understand feminism. They think that feminism is a dirty word that means you’re never going to cook dinner for your husband again because eff you, men. And that if you’re a feminist you definitely can’t be a Proverbs 31 woman because the Sister Proverbs sewed and feminists are too busy busting balls to sew.
Somewhere along the line, someone decided that feminism and Christianity don’t mix, and it’s caught on like a wildfire, providing those who jump in with a deep-set sense of pride. (But not that kind of pride, obviously.)
I have to be honest, I don’t get the whole Christian pride thing as it pertains to anti-feminism. I don’t get why someone would flaunt it like their 17th pair of Lululemon leggings. I look at the proud anti-feminist and I think, “Or…maybe you’re just privileged.”
Privilege says, “I don’t have to deal with this on a daily basis, so I don’t support this.”
Privilege tells protestors to “get a job.”
Privilege asks sexual assault victims what they were wearing.
Privilege doesn’t see the need for feminism because they’ve never glanced at a male coworker’s paystub and saw that they’re paid 20% less.
Privilege has never had to endure butt-grabbings by their boss because they needed their job to feed their kids.
Privilege takes the issues that carry life-and-death importance to entire races of people and casually says. “That’s not a big deal.”
Christian women, I say this in the most loving way possible, but if you don’t see the need for the empowerment of women in our country right now, you, my sweet, dark chocolate sea-salt encrusted friend, are privileged.
If you’ve never needed your girl-tribe to rally around you and speak life into the stagnant and fearful areas of your life, then you are in the 1% that has it pretty dang easy.
And hey girlfriend, I’m not mad at you for having the best healthcare on the planet, for marrying rich, for not having any debt because your parents paid for college or bought your house or pay your phone bill. Privilege isn’t a dirty, horrible thing. But it’s not realistic, and it shouldn’t be seen as the norm.
I think it’s incredible that you are an attentive wife or a proud mom. I applaud you for choosing to stay at home with your kids or deciding to homeschool to provide a better education. I admire your commitment to your family and the way that you put your husband first. And I don’t think you’re wrong to do any of that.
But what I do think is wrong is the idea of that’s what a good Christian woman does.
Your anti-feminism rhetoric does nothing but isolates the women who don’t have it just like you. So, I want to set the record straight:
We don’t have to choose. We don’t have to pick between Christianity and being a woman who is sold out for the fair treatment and equal rights of other women. And even if you *somehow* don’t see the need for all of that, you don’t have to blast the women who do.
There is not a cookie cutter life that you have to live. You can open your own business and vote differently than your husband. You can go to college and become anything that you want to become. 100 years ago, you couldn’t do any of that. And now you can. Thank you, feminism.
I’m not asking church women to burn their bras as a sign of solidarity at their next Sisterhood group. But what I am asking is this: As a group, consider that the life of the average woman in America may not look like yours.
I am asking you to reach out to these women without some sort of compassion-child-awareness-night, without the prompting of your pastor, without the reward of a hot cocoa bar when service ends.
I am asking you to do this without the promise of recognition, without the guarantee of Instagram photo ops, and without the need to always feel really good about it.
Get dirty and uncomfortable and speak up when something isn’t right. Advocate for women who don’t have the same opportunities as you. Speak up for the disenfranchised just as passionately as you speak up when your Starbucks order is wrong.
Because if you can do that- if you can support the voices of women who have been oppressed, if you can expect women to make as much money as men, and if you can demand that the opportunities for young women match those of young men, then you’re a feminist (Sorry to have to be the one to tell you.)
Don’t do this for me. Do this for your kids and for their kids. Do this because it’s part of your DNA. Do this because it’s just what you do.
This is what Christians should be doing for each other.
This is what the church should look like.
That’s what a Christian feminist does.