The Christian Feminist

Do you believe that women should be equal to men?

If you said yes, you’re a feminist. 

[Sorry if you were getting ready to fight me, it’s actually quite a simple principle.]

Feminism isn’t like a meringue- with precise measurements, and needing a lot of whipping into the perfect white shape. It’s more like being given the order of a “cake”. You can add or take away based on your own wants and passions, but there are a few foundational things without which it would not be counted as cake. 

As soon as you begin to believe that women are not considered or treated as equals globally, you begin to understand feminism. That women’s clothes and gendered products are more expensive despite the fact they get paid less, that displays of emotion are seen as feminine [and not masculine], that there are clear gender stereotypes, women can’t work in some societies, pornography and the sex slave trade are booming, and issues of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and harassment are deeply woven into every society. Once you start to think about all of this, it’s actually rather easy to consider the feminist perspective.

However, last night I was faced with a lady who had decided not to be known as feminist because she was a Christian, and so here I have decided to outline what I believe feminism means for Christians, both male and female. 

To keep it short and simple, I will list 3 cans and can’ts. 

A Christian feminist can be a Christian and a feminist. 

This seems remarkably obvious to me, but was not to the lady last night. She argued that feminism challenges the very foundations of what it means to be a woman, and destroys the ideas and purposes God has laid out for us. That feminism argues against the idea of [particularly a male] headship. However, a Christian feminist should listen to God as much as a normal feminist would listen to whoever is teaching her how to drive when she’s on her L plates. He is still sovereign, the Creator and loving. Like with science, political views need to correspond with biblical teaching, but often cover other or additional areas. Science explains the how, feminism explores a response to fighting for justice in a sinful world. 

I believe that feminism gives Christian women an opportunity to express freely what and who God has created them to be. In societies around the world, women are told what to wear, who to marry and how to behave. Feminism fights for a world where a woman is valued just because of who she is, while Christianity fights for a world where a woman is valued just because of who God sees her as. If they work together, they can achieve aa world where God is sovereign and a woman can recognise how much she is to be loved despite her appearance, grades or social status. A world where a woman is not defined by whether she is dating, but simply by her relationship with Christ. 

A Christian feminist can decide what they will and will not support and still call themselves a feminist. 

Many Christians disagree with abortion and same sex marriage. Honestly, some Christian women are uncomfortable not shaving their legs, wearing make up or having short hair. But this doesn’t mean they are excluded from the movement of feminism. This just means they are choosing their battles with another perspective. You should not purposely ignore every invitation to go to a rally which supports or opposes something because it is based on feminism [for instance, political rallies, mental health days, fundraisers for organisations which benefit females]. Indeed, it is probably more helpful to present a positive Christian influence than to withdraw from a name for fear of incorrect association. 

A Christian feminist can disagree with other Christians and still call themselves a feminist. 

I disagree with the woman from last night about a couple of the things she said, and that’s okay. Just like with church and Bible study, and everywhere else I get challenged on things in the Bible, it means I have to have a humble heart and allow myself to be challenged before I write people off. Sometimes quarrels are unnecessary, and weirdly, she might just end up fighting for things that I do under a different name. But that doesn’t mean neither of us can be feminist. Complementarians and egalitarians alike can be feminist, Protestant and Catholic- as I say, anyone who thinks women should have equal rights to men.

A Christian feminist cannot choose feminism over Christianity. 

There are admittedly times where it seems preferable to ignore what the Bible is clearly saying to follow everyone else. However, we simply should not compromise our faith to follow an easier or more popular path. There are many issues many feminists support which I do not believe actually benefit women or their rights, due to my understanding of God’s plan for the world. That means I cop some flack. Christ will always come before anything of this world.

A Christian feminist cannot purposely do things just to bug others. 

This is a weird one, but it is one that was brought up last night and has stuck with me. Another of my friends doesn’t believe in feminism because she recognises all of the things the word is attached with rather than the simple definition I began this blog post with [whiny middle class “slacktivists” who are happy to retweet other people’s opinions but refuse to change their lifetyles, and wish to oppress men. For example, my high school drama teachers, who didn’t recognise a need for the male gender at all.] [I do not subscribe to this view.]

 Popping the word “Christian” on the front means that, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we still have a mandate to be kind and loving. To not shove our opinions in other people’s faces unhelpfully, and to test every opinion that comes our way before mindlessly adopting it. The woman last night said she purposely shaved her head and ignored authority because it annoyed men, and that’s what [she thought] feminism is. However, there is a way to fight for better rights and still be helpful, meek and humble. I have shaved my head, but it wasn’t to shove it in anyone’s face [it was for charity]. I still have short hair, not because I despise femininity but because it’s practical, and, I believe, better for the environment. As with everything in life, consider how it affects others, how others perceive it and what you would say if you were asked a question about it.

A Christian feminist should not be scared. 

There are many scary things in the world today, and often the feminist movement has an urgency about it. However, the best thing about being a Christian feminist is that I know I am fighting to make this world better, but a day is coming where there will be no inequality, no fear of the future. A Christian feminist doesn’t have to worry about what other people think, or when other people disagree with her, as long as she is fighting for a world which is like God’s kingdom. 

In conclusion, I believe every Christian should be a feminist, no matter whether they’re male or female, and no matter how many of the “extras”/hashtags/movements they partake in. I think feminism campaigns for a world like God wanted, where men and women worked together not for themselves, their individual genders or the competition of it all, but for God’s kingdom come, his will done and earth like it is in heaven. 

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What’s the Issue With Makeup?

I’m in a play at the moment about feminism. As fancy as that sounds, it is really just three of us getting up in front of people performing, but, it is, in the classic sense of the word, a play. Besides, it’s fancy to me. But after watching it, a comment was made- you made fun of girls wearing make-up. Why is it such a bad thing? [I’ll try and get around to addressing some of the other issues that were mentioned as well, but the comment about make up has really stuck with me, so I’ll give that a bit of spot light.]wedding_makeup_20

Well, you see, what is the problem with make up?



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Make up is, for those of you who are confused, all the creams, powders, swabs, pencils, tools and tricks that are used by women to make themselves used more beautiful. Indeed, in some cases, it’s used by men, and in even other cases, it’s used by men to make themselves look like beautiful women. Make up refers to the various devices that, at a certain age, dictate that a woman is no longer beautiful relying on her natural qualities, but must rely upon these to fit in and once again be considered worth looking at. because-youre-worth-it
By the age of say, eleven, girls are given make up as presents, expected to wear it at least to parties and indeed maybe begin wearing it to school. At first it’s subtle- a little mascara to make the lashes look longer, a little trimming of the eyebrows to make give them shape [the right shape, of course]. And while I may sound like I’m being sarcastic, I’m trying to deal with this in a light hearted manner, which is very, very hard.  There are some girls who, from the age of six, five, four, are aspiring for this idea of beauty that is very, very hard to reach. By the time you’re in your twenties if you’re not wearing foundation [all over face cream], eyeliner, mascara, lip balm, stick and gloss, blush and perhaps fake tan, you’re just not doing enough. While it may not fit into “make up”, this also includes waxing/shaving/threading your eyebrows , legs, underarms, sometimes arms, and even pubic hair. This is what society deems beautiful, and these are the standards women are expected and taught to live up to.

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Now that it’s defined, let’s look at it more closely [the complete anti thesis of wearing makeup, of course, which is designed so that one looks beautiful from afar. Wear it but don’t look like you’re wearing it!]

One side of the coin: What if girls like wearing make up? What if it’s just fun? What if they enjoy “feeling like a princess”. These questions were raised last night. But as I said, we need to look deeper.
Why do they enjoy doing it?

To look like a princess, you need to wear makeup. To get attention, you need to wear makeup. 14ee66b8bbee53256e1f6b5e549c34f7To be beautiful at all, you need to wear makeup. Make up is thinking, at its very core, that you’re not enough. If there was no makeup, girls would have to walk into rooms and be treated like they’re worth something because they would be all that is expected. The amount of times I have been told I am beautiful over people asking me what I’m doing at school, or asking me what I’m reading, or actually asking me about my life, makes me sad. By wearing makeup, you’re teaching the next generation of girls that all that will matter when they walk into a party, a job interview, wanting to catch the attention of someone they’re attracted to, is their face.
Now let’s consider that there are girls who do not want to wear makeup. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming [hence “gee, you take forever in the bathroom”]. It can be very, very painful. False eye lashes are glued to your actual lids. Wax rips the hair from its roots in your face. And let’s not even consider that most of the products you are using have been tested on some animal in a lab somewhere, chemical after chemical, until they find one that won’t irritate or, God forbid, kill you [after they’ve irritated and, God forbid, killed the animals]. If you enjoy looking pretty, fine. But make up has certainly strayed, if it even started, from being fun. Because now it’s the norm. Do you wonder why people like Lady Gaga go to such extremes? Because suddenly, all of this work doesn’t make you stand out. Everyone’s wearing make up! So it’s just average life. And those who don’t are weird, or lesbians, or making a fashion statement, or just “don’t care”. I have been through all of these, and the flippant comments cut you to your very core. For a while, I gave in, and I spent my hard earned money buying this stuff and learning how to wear it, and I got compliments and that felt good. But aren’t we just encouraging society to look at us shallowly? Aren’t we saying, by giving in, that it’s okay?

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Makeup is a monster we’ve created a monster, and we’re trying to fix- that’s where feminism comes in. Equality. Because if a man grew his facial hair, he’d be normal- sometimes it’s even considered sexy. Because men don’t wear makeup, and when they do, it’s considered “trying something new”, or “highlighting their features”. A man with makeup won’t be chosen for a job over one without it. A handsome man is just a man who is handsome, without even trying. He’ll still get asked what he’s reading, what he did on the weekend, that his suit looks nice, what he’s doing after school. That’s not equality.
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That’s why make up is “bad”.

At the end of the day, fine, keep wearing it, but answer me this.
Why are you wearing it?

You’re beautiful enough.

Stereotypes for the Stereotyped

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So, I know that stereotypes are used in movies. And it’s not even a real issue to me that sometimes they’re used in certain movies as a way to stir up people’s humour. But I was wondering why stereotypes are used in certain movies. I mean, why use stereotypes of girls when we know they’re not real?

I’ll give you an example. The other day, I watched Pitch Perfect 2. In that, the girls in their college sorority house walk around in their pajamas and have a pillow fight, their faces all perfectly made up and it seemed completely pointless. Why? Let’s agree that the target audience of the film was teenage girls- the majority of people watching it, therefore, was aware of the goings on at sleepovers. I, myself, have never had a pillow fight. So what is the point of stereotypes in these films? I mean, sure, if it was a film aimed at guys [lets say, Fast and the Furious, or the Terminator, but then again, that would be me stereotyping], but in a chick flick? And what is all of this stuff about romantic relationships?

So, I pondered this, and I came to two conclusions.
Firstly, that the people who make these movies are really this clueless. They’ve seen countless chick flicks before, and they assume the stereotypes are just easiest to stick to. So, instead of the girls gathering around a campfire and figuring out how to get their harmonies just right, it being a singing movie [oh wait, they do that at the end], they threw in a pillow fight and some boyfriend troubles.
The second idea is that there are screenwriters out there who want girls to be like this. Yea, this is stereotypes but not only is it how girls have been “forever”, but it’s how girls should be. You’ve never had a pillow fight? Well, everyone else has, so you should probably get around to that. Except, there’s added pressure to wake up in the morning with a perfectly made up face. And there’s the implication that your life will be better when you have a boyfriend to support your dreams and aspirations. No, you can’t do this on your own.

What?

I’m a STRONG, INDEPENDENT WOMAN…

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A woman wakes up in bed, alone. It is a single, so it’s probably not the first time she’s done so. She has short hair, is not wearing makeup and the image is black and white, so we’re assuming that this isn’t going to be happy or light hearted- there’s a point trying to be made. She whines, begging to be pampered. Then she realises the room is empty and is disheartened because there is no one around to give in to her demands.

Recognise three things about this drawing.
Firstly, she’s a feminist. That’s clear by her dress sense and pixie cut, because in a stereotypical representation, a picture tells a thousand words, and this one says no self-respecting woman would have it that short. There’s some sort of distinction being made.
Secondly, she’s a woman, and women need to be pampered. She wants someone to bring her breakfast, perhaps, or give her a massage. She needs that, craves it, and yet sacrificed it when she decided to actually hold some political opinions. Of course, no feminist would ever wake up to a handsome partner curled around them or some children ready to make her some coffee.
And that leads me to my third point- she’s alone. She’s sleeping in a single bed, so she’s not expecting anyone. There is no family represented in the photo frame behind her- think I’m overanalysing it? They bothered with
the checks on the blanket, the bush outside and the drawn curtains [despite the fact we’re assuming she just woke up]. Oh no, no one’s coming to this girl’s rescue.

This drawing cheeses me off on so many levels.

The artist is basically implying that to be a feminist you have to give up the life you could have had. Don’t expect anyone to be able to love you, because they won’t be able to deal with your political standings. “I think, therefore I am single.” Plus, she woke up and for a split second forgot how crap her life was, implying that feminism is something that isn’t deep rooted, or an instinct, but something you put on every morning like a jacket. Oh, great, I’ve got feminism today. She’s not looking forward to this at all.
They’re saying that feminists fit a stereotype- she has short hair, she’s not going to put on make up, and she’s not what you would draw if you’d want to represent a feminist as someone beautiful. Does she have long, flowing hair? No, because feminists aren’t “every woman”. Every woman wants beautiful, flowing locks- every princess wakes up with lovely curls in the morning. Her hair is scruffy and fluffy. What about noticeably thick eyelashes or great breasts? No, because, while they don’t prescribe to society’s standards of beauty, feminists don’t want to be beautiful at all, in any way. In fact, let’s take this a step further and say that only ugly women are feminists. Unshaven, braless, angry women who hate men because they can’t get them.
The artist is saying you’re going to regret it. You’re going to wake up one day, and you’re going to want someone to love you, and you’re not going to get it, because you used the F-word. Leave aside partner and children, she doesn’t even have parents. She has no one to answer her call- is that independence? And you’re going to regret whatever you did, because it was wrong, and unacceptable.
This picture says that women need pampering, that intrinsically, we’re not independent.
This picture says that when we are independent, we’ll suffer for it.
This picture says that feminists just aren’t worth it.

You want to know what “independent” actually means? “Free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority.” Therefore, no, I don’t need a man to control me.
Do I want one to love me? Sure! Do I want kids to love me? Damn straight. Friends, family? Mmhmmm. Do I want to wake up some day and ask to be pampered and be pampered? Yes, please. But can I still be independent, and a feminist? Yes.

Food for thought.

Just Another Post About Feminism

It’s funny that when you Google “feminism opinion”, you get a lot of negative stuff. When you google “myths about feminism”, you get a lot of positive stuff. When you google “feminism”, you get a bunch of people trying to be neutral and give you legitimate definitions, but those definitions don’t sound so bad to me.

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What frustrates me is the fact that no one seems to be able to find a balance. Why can’t you just be a feminist without being a feminazi? Why can’t you just disagree without some elements of feminism or the way it is communicated instead of being a #womanagainstfeminism?

So, here are some reasons for and against feminism. They’re from the hashtag #womenagainstfeminism, and I’d like to put them out there- if you want to agree with them, that’s cool. I just want to present both sides of this story.

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Okay, so the prefix “fem” on the front suggests that you’re advocating for women’s rights, not equality. But let me suggest that fighting for women’s rights will get us to equality. Here’s an analogy [there will be a few of these].

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Say there was a poor man and a rich man. If you were to give both money, that would be advocating equality, but you wouldn’t have fixed the problem. If you were to just give the poor man money, that would be equity- i.e. fix the problem. I am a feminist because women have problems. There is a pay gap. It does exist, and it’s not fair. Women do the same job for less. Why? Furthermore, while most victims of “street violence” [i.e. getting mugged, beaten, etc.] may be men, 1 in 3 women will experience some sort of sexual abuse [including rape] in their life. I’d say that’s pretty significant. “Rape culture” means women still getting asked how short their skirt was when they went walking. It means treating victims like it was their fault. It means men not getting compensated for being raped because men always want it [yes, a feminist issue- women are weak, and victims. Men are strong, and not.] It is a woman’s fault for walking alone at night. Women are still taught “don’t get raped” rather than indoctrinating males with “don’t rape.” So, rape culture does exist.

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A great example by youtuber “Laci Green”. When you say to a woman her skirt was too short, I’ll ask- did you get mugged? Were you wearing a suit? You were rubbing your money in their face. Next time, wear poorer clothing. When you say to a woman it’s her fault naked photos got posting, I’ll say- did your credit card get scammed? It’s your fault for using a credit card. You should always use cash. Make sense? Let’s move on.

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So, you like it when men compliment your body. Well, you are very pretty. But sometimes, it isn’t done with the best intentions. It isn’t done to make you feel good. That’s the sort of thing feminism is against. Ever noticed a “cat call” or a “wolf whistle” is how you would treat a dog? There are some guys out there who are just being rude, and that’s what feminism is fighting. I was walking with some friend once, and it was pretty dark out. These guys suddenly slowed down in their car and started telling us we were pretty, and at first, yea, it felt good. And then they got ruder and ruder, encouraged by us not stopping them, and it got very scary, very fast. We walked a lot faster to a petrol station we didn’t need anything from. See, I only realised recently that I should never be made to feel that way. And that’s why I’m a feminist.

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Well, tell me what you really think. I guess the reason I picked this one is that she finished with “I respect men and they respect me”. I’ve grown up with an awesome Dad, and I’m pretty close to him- we talk quite well. But, I know that not everyone has a Dad like that. Not everyone has a good male role model in the first place. And that’s an issue. Feminism fights the men that are not respectful, because they still exist. Furthermore, feminism is not a small minded thing. We don’t [or shouldn’t be] fight for only our country. Think of the world. Here are the UNICEF statistics for child marriage around the world. Feminism is fighting this.

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This one made me depressed. Think of it this way. Plane crashes happen. People survive. Doesn’t mean plane crashes should happen.

sexualassault010_jpg_775x525_q85While I am glad that this woman has overcome what happened to her, and come to view herself as a survivor, I don’t see why it should be used as an excuse to be against feminism. Feminism isn’t victimising people, but recognising that there are victims. While she may be a survivor, 1) rape shouldn’t happen. She should not have to be a survivor. 2) There are women out there who are victims. These women commit suicide, or go through the pain of a trial only to see their rapist go free on a technicality. Feminism fights this.

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Last one, and my answer to this is simple. If a boy does not like you because you are fighting to be equal with him, then he is not worth it. Men should be feminists. Fathers, brothers, boyfriends. Men should fight to make women equal with them. To make sure they 2772338202_b1b284ce49don’t have to fear being raped for walking alone, to make sure they make the same amount of money, to make sure they can work in “male dominated areas” [like engineering, science, etc.], to make sure they can wear anything they want without being accused of being a slut or a prude, to make sure that female celebrities are asked more than who they’re wearing, to make sure that girls can cut their hair short without being accused of being a lesbian. Men should fight with the women.

 

Yea, I’m a feminist.

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So, to conclude, I think there is a solution. Instead of fighting against feminism as a whole, why don’t you fight for the things you do agree with. By being a “woman against feminism”, you are doing more harm than good. By being a feminist who shoves opinions down people’s throats, you are also doing more harm than good. No one wants to listen to being shouted at, and besides, you’re meant to be fighting for freedom, and that includes freedom of speech and opinion. Feminism isn’t what it was, no, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. Instead of bagging it, tell me what you do think we need to fix.

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And, while I generally try to be accepting of most things, this is just offensive. Not shaving is not a political statement, it’s because it’s uneccesary and I’m a clutz. So there.