Defining Feminism

I’ve been shifting through my personal identity lately as some of you have read about. Without going into a few things that really slapped me across the face, which I’ll blog about later, I want to talk about what I’ve discovered about feminism in the process.

When I first met my husband while a junior in college, I told him and nearly everyone else that, besides the right to vote, I was an anti-feminist. Lately, I’ve introspected a bit into why I felt that so strongly.

I didn’t grow up in a church or a home that preached against women being in the workforce or leaders or anything like that. The most I got were snide remarks about some female public figurs being feminists, and it was usually used as a derogatory word meaning something along the lines of “an unfeminine woman who tramples over all men, especially her husband.” All the women in my life I looked up to were nothing like that, so I naturally assumed that’s all feminism was, and I was staunchly opposed.

Fast-forward to junior year in college just a couple years ago. I studied at Focus on the Family. We talked about gender roles and being leaders in culture. One of my closest friends while out there was a self-proclaimed feminist and I was a self-proclaimed anti-feminist. We challenged each other on our beliefs of what it meant to be a biblical woman.

Rosie-the-Riveter

There, we were taught about the three waves of feminism – something I’d never heard of before.

Wave 1 – In the 19th and early 20th centuries, women focused on “officially mandated” inequalities such as the right to vote. Results of this were that women could vote and attend colleges and universities (I’m glad for these rights). If I were living in the first wave, I would’ve proudly been a feminist. They grew content being in their homes until the war when they went to work but were kicked out when the men came home. This led to the second wave.

Wave 2 – This primarily unfolded in the 1960’s-’90’s. This is when women grew dissatisfied with their roles as wives and mothers, claiming identity crises, and “transcended” to uniformly come against masculine society. This is the side of femininity I have always understood it to be and was staunchly against.

Wave 3 – The current wave of feminism we are in is very new – something leaders of both of the previous waves would have shuttered at: finding empowerment by using female sexuality over men. The new feminist “seduces, uses, and discards men as she wants.” In an attempt to discover feminine freedoms in society, the feminist movements have inadvertently led to sexual, uninhibited women who use sexuality to get ahead, objectifying both themselves and men. Just take a look at most of today’s female celebrities for an example.

This understanding helped me out. That and marrying someone who’s part of a denomination that believes in and nearly pushes women in leadership ministry. But I’ll save that topic for another blog.

What it comes down to is this: I’m thankful I have the right to vote, be protected against abuse, have a college education, and to work and not get fired if I get pregnant. That’s the good feminism has done. What it’s become, I don’t agree with. But where it started has brought a lot of good.

Feminism today still doesn’t fix the problem. Women who are wives, mothers, succeeding in the workforce, and trying to meet society’s expectations for sexuality have not fixed their identity crises. They are often stretched too thin. Women who feel sexually uninhibited or an empowered control over men, are often trying to make up for an overwhelming hurt or emptiness inside of them left by the abuse or neglect of a man.

Men aren’t perfect and haven’t historically or currently always treated women well, but so far women aren’t doing a great job of fixing the issue. In a future blog, I’ll write more on how true femininity, as opposed to feminism, may hold the real answer – maybe for both men and women.

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