Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood

See if you can answer this quiz. Then scroll down for the answers.

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

3) The Canary Islands are named after what animal?

4) What was King George VI’s first name?

5) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

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ANSWERS

1) It lasted 116 years

2) They celebrate it in November

3) The Canary Islands are named after dogs. Canis is the word from which canine is derived.

4) King George VI’s first name was Albert

5) The black box in a commercial airplane is orange

This is why I do not like the term feminism: Like the Hundred Years War and George VI, the name is … well, a misnomer. The dictionary define it like this:

 fem·i·nism

(fĕm’ə-nĭz’əm)

n. 1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

2. The movement organized around this belief.

Do I believe women as a group and men as a group should have equal social, political and economical opportunities*? Yes.

Would I speak out when I see one group oppressed? Yes.

According to the dictionary, that makes me a feminist. But there is something wrong with the word. It makes me sound like I am a female-rather-than-male-ist. But I am a male-ist as much as a female-ist. I don’t want the Bible misused to favor men over women, but I do not want it misused to favor women over men either. The Inverse Statement, if actually adopted in the church, will be as bad as the Danvers statement.

I hate sharing a name, in the public mind, with someone who said a woman need a man like a fish needs a bicycle. But by the dictionary definition, she is only a feminist if she, likewise, believe a man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle. Otherwise, she does not really believe in the social equality of the sexes. Of course, I believe neither. The sexes need each other.

When you accuse me of being a feminist, I stand without an alibi. But then, God’s kingdom is feministic too:

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

His Kingdom cares for the slave as much as the master, the Greek as much as the Jew, the man as much as the woman.

And I pray: Heavenly Father, may your Kingdom come. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

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Note

* I do not believe that everyone should have equal outcome, though. Giving everyone equal opportunity, people will still have different aptitudes and interests. People will use equal opportunities rather unequally.

Comments on: "Why I hate the word “feminist”" (6)

  1. Well said !!!!!!!!!!!! Excellent!!!!!!!!

  2. Michelle said:

    Point taken with your interesting examples. Thank you!

    I do like the word feminist, but then I identified as a feminist long before I identified as christian. I hated the redefinition of the word “feminist” by those who oppose equality of the sexes/genders, as I hate the redefinition (arguably) of the word “complementary” by those who oppose actual/functional/lived-out equality of the sexes/genders and cite God as the reason for it…

    But you’ve got a point. I could hardly believe me ears when a female, younger (I hardly ever think about her age, but it might be a factor here), feminist friend of mine wondered, a few years ago, whether a man could be a feminist!! Certainly it was my experience in the secular world working alongside men toward the common goal of equal opportunities and respect for women as well as men.

    Maybe the word “feminist” indicates who is receiving short shrift in the current system. It would be great to be equal, and in the meantime, let’s be direct about who is losing out on status. Interesting to think about: I’ve never heard anyone put it this way, before.

  3. Anonymous said:

    I’ve only just found myself taking the same stance, and horror of horrors, cannot see why I don’t fit the description of a radical feminist. But if I were talking to a Christian, I would always add the word “Biblical” to it, just to make it more Biblical!

    With regard to that comment of a woman needing a man like a bicycle needs a fish, I’m sure Gloria Steinem was taken out of context. She was probably saying that in cheek, or she meant in the same way that a man doesn’t need to depend on a woman (in an unhealthy way that compromises himself). Why do I think so? Well, from what I have read of her quotes and seen in interviews, I can’t detect a man-hating position. Her position seems to be exactly what you describe in this blogpost – that of advocating for equality of sexes and highlighting the oppression of females in today’s society. A lot has been attributed to her and to the feminist movement that simply isn’t true. Which is worse, I wonder – being a liar or a feminist? When it comes to the church, we know the answer.

  4. Thank you, Anonymous. We should always fairly represent those we discuss. In the case of the fish/ bicycle comment, I think most of us can say we don’t agree, on face value. It will be interesting to know if Steinem agreed, or said it in only in one context.

    I know very little of secular feminists – I am motivated by (how I understand) God’s Kingdom vision.

    • Michelle said:

      What’s interesting to me about that, Retha, about your little knowledge of secular feminists, is that before I came to Christ, my feminism came from the view that the world (humanity) is poorer when it limits the way that people can use their gifts.

      For example, if a woman were a gifted engineer, and a man were a gifted teacher of young children, the world should not limit them simply because it believes that their gifts belong solely or primarily (or SHOULD belong) to the other sex.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but…funny the way that’s my understanding of a basis of christian feminism, as well.
      :-)

  5. Michelle said:

    A quick google revealed that apparently Steinem did not say the woman/fish/bicycle thing with which she is so often credited: https://www.google.com/search?q=did+gloria+steinem+really+say+a+woman+needs+a+man+like+a+fish+needs+a+bicycle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    This site has an interesting take on the context:
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/414150.html

    Steinem is quoted as saying, “…[Irina] Dunn deserves credit for creating such a popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men more than vice versa.”

    So while there are numerous things about which christian feminists may disagree with Ms. Steinem, I don’t read that to mean that she believes that women have literally no need for men.

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