Growing up, I was a tomboy. I was not very in touch with being feminine at all. The dresses and the dolls and were not my jam. I wasn’t athletic either. I think I was just sort of neutral. My favorite activities surrounded sitting on my butt and watching TV. I don’t think I watched any particular shows geared towards boys or girls. Most shows I remember as a child were Touched by an Angel, 7th Heaven, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, Family Matters, Step-by-Step, Full House, and Boy Meets World. Essentially everything I watched centered around the family. While, I wasn’t pushed to be any type of person in particular, the 90’s welcomed the rise of female empowerment…even in childhood. Common phrases recited: girl power, girls rule, you go girl. Essentially girls could be anything, do anything, and try anything.Then throughout elementary school, I was commonly a gender minority in class, but I didn’t know any better. All I knew is that I was 1 of 4 girls in a class with 20 students. So being around guys was the norm and feeling equal to them in every way was as well.
Whenever I realized (which probably was at the age of ten) that there were some nonphysical differences between boys and girls that is when my personal coup against the regime of patriarchal oppression began. Again I was ten, so essentially my favorite color became blue. My closet was overflowing with denim and t-shirts; it was a no skirt or dress zone for me. Unless greater powers forced them upon me. Dolls were a thing of the past. Aside from these minor physical changes, mentally, I believed that I was equal to men…if not better. I rose academically to the top of my class. I sucked at sports, but that had nothing to do with gender. I was a fat human that loathed exercise. Nevertheless, I was smarter and wittier than boys in my class.
Then thirteen kicked in, and hormones starting dictating some crazy stuff to me. My hormone homies were telling me the same men I had been in competition with for years were also super attractive and that I would develop romantic feelings towards them. CONFUSING? How about super? Do you know why? Because if there is something I had learned by the age of 13, about men it was that they do not enjoy being usurped, especially by a woman. However, I didn’t like the idea that I had to become lesser to be accepted by them. So, I repressed it, and if there was a guy that I did like I did everything in my power to dominate him and emasculate him. I wanted him to know three things. (1) I don’t need you. (2) I can do this (whatever the heck this was) myself. (3) You have to prove yourself. I have never envisioned myself as a princess awaiting to be rescued and falling in love with the rescuer. It seems more fun (in my perspective of course…this is in fact my blog) to envision myself as something…like awesome.
So, all of that leads to this point. I am a traditional feminist. I support the traditional philosophy of feminism. I advocate women’s rights on the platform of social, political, and economical equality to men. I am pro-life. (I am more so pro-contraceptives. I would rather live in a culture that makes condoms, birth control, and plan B readily available to people, than abortions) This contemporary version of feminism that perpetuates a lack of modesty and desiring immodesty without attracting any sort of gaze is foolish. I am not approving of rape culture, but there is something to be said about people (not just women) and covering their body. Nothing attracts the gaze of another person more than the sight of human flesh. I am talking to both women and men….especially the buff ones that run up and down Heights Boulevard…and fútbol players (you are not shirtless, but you are gorgeous).
There was a time, I was fine with my feminist label, but I seems I have an identity crisis. There is in fact a tension being Christian and feminist. And if you didn’t know, allow me to inform you that there has been a long debate about the role of women within the church, the home, the workplace, and every other place it seems. And most conversations with Christians that I have about this issue either end in an explosion (basically I mentally morph into Wreck it Ralph and want to smash stuff) or a draw. Because it is hard for me to believe that God continually wants women to play the apparently lesser role. This is an excerpt from a post I wrote almost two years ago on tumblr that I still hold pretty fast to.
In this culture it is almost impossible to exist as both a Christian and a feminist. In order to love one I must hate the other. Honestly, I don’t think God is anti-feminist. Throughout the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) there are tons of examples of women taking on a huge part, in both traditional and nontraditional gender roles. You have women like Mary, Jochebed, Hannah who were all mothers and caretakers for Jesus Christ (Savior of the world), Moses (deliverer of Israelite people), and Samuel (prophet who called David out on his adultery). Then you have Jael. During a time of war a captain of an army asked to sleep in the tent of a woman from the opposing army. Jael, was that woman. When the commander was fast asleep, Jael took the NAIL of a TENT and used it to kill the man. She killed a man with a NAIL and a FLIPPING HAMMER. I don’t know if I am easily impressed, but that just screams (forgive me Jesus) BADASS! Seriously Laura Croft ain’t got nothing on Jael. Then you have the prophetess and GOD MANDATED JUDGE Deborah. Deborah was actually the prophet God spoke through to inform everyone the Jael would be the one killing the commander. Interestingly enough there is a decent amount of women prophets in the Bible: Deborah, Miriam, Anna, Rachel, and more (I didn’t know the others very well so I didn’t want to mention them). You have women ascend into positions of power such as Esther who became a queen and Ruth who married into prosperity due to her amazing ability to care for an older women whom she had ZERO responsibility for. Ruth was loyal and devoted. Additionally, you have women who supported the ministry of Jesus Christ out of their own means. You have women who supported the early church.
Then you have to contextually think about the Bible. Fast-forward to the ministry of Christ. People don’t understand that the way Jesus treated women was REVOLUTIONARY. Shoot if men treated women the way Jesus treated women now it would be revolutionary. Even when women were wrong (in our standards of wrong or the contextual standard of wrong at the time) Christ was so compassionate and loving. Consider the women with the issue of blood. As a women she had no right to touch a man. As a sick women she should have been put to DEATH the moment she exited her house, but Christ due to her faith allowed for her healing to take place. You also have the woman caught in adultry going to be stoned. The Pharisees wanted the “loving” Christ to condemn this women to what she deserved (AND LET’S BE HONEST IT IS NOT LIKE OUR SOCIETY IS ANY KINDER TO ADULTERERS) and again Christ asks everyone (Tosin paraphrase) “Anyone with no sin, no faults, no mistakes, no outstanding wrongness in you life, please take the first shot at her”. Nothing, except rocks slipping out of the hands of people and falling to the ground. No one condemned her that day not even Christ. He simply said, “Go and sin no more”. He wasn’t calling her a slut. He wasn’t ever calling her nasty. He simply knew that her actions were keeping her from being all she was capable of being. (I would love to see what her life ended up like after that encounter).
You know maybe those aren’t big roles in the Bible, but no one can convince me that there is not a reason they were placed in the Bible. Then there is that whole issue of Ephesians 5:22. Where it asks wives to submit to their husbands. Which leads me to this feminist point. IF I AM NOT DATING YOU I DON’T HAVE TO SUBMIT TO YOU. Technically, if I am not married to you I don’t have to submit to you. Nevertheless, I don’t know what exactly submit means…which kind of frustrates me. What does it mean to submit anyway? Is it so wrong to simply not want to be boxed into what feels unnatural? In most realms of Christian women I have seen submission become passivity. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be lorded over. I like the idea of an egalitarian marriage. Is that unbiblical? If I marry someone who submits to that ideal as well is that such a bad thing? Because, I honestly won’t date someone who feels they have the right to rule over me. I won’t marry someone who thinks I am lesser than him. I won’t marry someone who feels like I am a beauty to rescue or someone who needs to be saved from herself. I won’t marry someone thinks I need to tone down the personality God gifted me with. I won’t marry someone who thinks I am too sassy, because the truth is some men want a sassy woman. Some men need sassy women behind them.
Now to the various groups of people reading this allow me to leave you with these final thoughts. If you are someone who believes feminism is evil and are Christian don’t waste your time by trying to argue with me. There is nothing you could say to me that would make me miraculously change my mind. You can however pray that God reveal what His truth (not yours) is about this, because it bothers me not knowing. Also, please don’t pray for a man to come along and change my mind. That would just piss me off. I will be the first to tell you I have a warped view of men that often focuses on their incompetence and untrustworthiness. So, no miracle prayer angel of a man is going to coerce me into being a traditional gender role-playing women in a couple years. This is 24 years in the works dude. And requires some slow undoing.
To the feminists that are non-Christian. I still love Jesus and want to serve Him well. So, if it comes out that I am flat-out wrong, I will have to change my stance. I still love you though.
Finally to the other women who struggle with this just like me….this is confusing and the moment I know, I will let you all know.