Feminism vs. Femininity On Three Roles of Women
by Daria Woods
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Randy Wilson and his wife, Lisa, founded the “Purity Ball,” a formal event for fathers and daughters to encourage abstinence. At the ball, fathers declare their commitment to treasure and protect their daughters’ purity, while the daughters vow to remain sexually pure until marriage.
Although there may be valid controversy surrounding the Purity Ball--such as whether the young girls who participate comprehend the vows they are taking, or concerning the modesty of the fashions worn at the ball--the media's reaction is incredible. Glamour, a teen magazine dedicated to spreading fashion tips, beauty secrets, and, ironically, advice on sex, reports on the Purity Ball with resentment. The article states:
“The roles are clear: Dad is the only man in a girl’s life until her husband arrives, a lifestyle straight out of biblical times. ‘In patriarchy, a father owns a girl’s sexuality,’ notes psychologist and feminist author Carol Gilligan, Ph.D. ‘And like any other property, he guards it, protects it, even loves it.’”
The author goes on to say,
“Fathers who are protective of their daughters’ virginity are nothing new. ‘Keep your flower safe!’ a good friend’s dad used to tell her when we were in college, and we’d laugh—both because it was too late for her virginity and because there was something distasteful to us about his trying to control her sex life.”
Thus comes to light a double standard. A magazine which sells copies based on sex advice to teenage girls censures concerned fathers for taking an active interest in their daughters’ behavior. Christian leader Albert Mohler commented,
“Here you have an absolute culture clash… [with Christianity which states] that parents not only have the right but the responsibility to guard the sexual virtue of their children (in this case talking about girls, but we could talk about boys as well… including the father’s responsibility to guard his son from pornography and other sexual involvements.)”
Activist Eve Ensler was quoted in Glamour as saying, “When you sign a pledge to your father to preserve your virginity, your sexuality is basically being taken away from you…It makes you feel like you’re the least important person in the whole equation. It makes you feel invisible.” Yet ‘invisible’ is hardly the adjective that comes to mind at the sight of a father and daughter uniting with a common goal. By promising to protect his daughter and showing her life choices matter, a different word seems appropriate: treasured.Sources:
"Reading about this, I was once again saddened by the way our culture takes the truly beautiful and makes it look undesirable (such as purity and faithfulness to your future husband, while it takes the truly undesirable (ungodly) and makes it appear beautiful (such as adultery and fortification). Then, I realized that it’s not just our culture. It’s been going on since sin entered God’s creation..."Read the rest here.
Part One/Part Two/Part Three
Christian leaders today are asking, what is the future of Christianity in America? What will this new generation, “Generation X,” do with the faith of their fathers? “I’m looking at the data,” said Ron Luce, founder of the popular Teen Mania youth rallies, “and we’ve become post-Christian America, like post-Christian Europe. We’ve been working as hard as we know how to work — everyone in youth ministry is working hard — but we’re losing.”
The Christian portion of Generation X has its work cut out for it. It is estimated that 42% of American women will have an abortion before the age of forty-five. According to a recent census, only “49.7 percent” of American households are based upon marriage. “Co-habitation” has taken the lead as the most common “lifestyle.” Within the next few years, Generation X can choose to either uphold these statistics or do away with them.
Imagine if every female did not consider herself just physically different from males, but a uniquely feminine creation, made in the image of God with a special role. Imagine how different our society would be if women viewed themselves Biblically. Women would not be valued not as commercial items, nor as independent individuals thrown out the door at the age of eighteen to live their own lives, but as people much Beloved of God.
It is not the presidents, senators, celebrities, or national icons with whom is entrusted the opportunity to change to culture for Christ. We, the young women of Generation X, have been given the opportunity. We have the chance to conform to Biblical femininity, and in so doing, show the world that we are followers of Christ through our wholehearted obedience.
We're Not Alone
When Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness, he realized how dependent he was on God. "If Your Presence does not go with us,” Moses said, “do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15)
It is vital for us to remember, as beautiful as femininity, modesty, and purity are, these principles alone will not save society. They will impact society positively, but will fail in true bringing about true transformation. If we attempt to change the culture positively without Christ, we will be doing only what every other political and human-wellness group has done in the past. We will be approaching the symptoms of the problem, without addressing the heart of the issue.
Our hearts must first be changed, and within us must dwell a passionate desire to go only where God leads. We must be as Moses. With hearts so focused on Jesus that we obey out of love for Him and a desire for His glory, how could the culture not be changed?
Ron Luce quote: Laurie Goodstein. "Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers," New York Times, Oct. 6, 2006
Abortion statistics from "Citizen Link"
Marriage statistics: Sam Roberts. "To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered," New York Times, Oct. 16, 2006
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I reached college filled to the brim with the "wisdom" of Cosmopolitan magazine, but I was to encounter something more insidious than fashion magazines - feminism and the Women’s Studies Department. Class after class promoted perpetual victimhood, disrespect toward all men, an overt embrace of lesbianism, and a broadly directed militant anger. I became a teaching assistant in that department for a semester before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in women’s studies. My twenties were more of the same and then some. I remember when I was 29 that I was so confused and depressed that I entered into therapy to figure out why I was so angry ... and for that matter, why I was still single. (Not that the two could possibly be related, right?!) Obviously, I did not have a very positive outlook on my femininity, and my therapist did not make much headway. However, God graciously intervened just as I turned 30.Keep reading here.
-Ellen Willis, November 14, 1981 issue of The Nation
"Feminism...is the cutting edge of a revolution in cultural and moral values... The objective of every feminist reform, from legal abortion ... to child-care programs, is to undermine traditional family values."
"Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage."
"I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore/And I know too much to go back an' pretend 'cause I've heard it all before... /If I have to, I can do anything/I am strong (strong)/I am invincible (invincible)/I am woman.... /With a long long way to go/Until I make my brother understand."
-"I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" by Helen Reddy
“The utopia envisioned by ideological feminists would be a world free from any concern for gender--a world where masculinity and femininity are erased as antiquated notions, and an age in which the categories of male and female are malleable and negotiable.”We live in a culture that is saturated with feminism. In the name of equality, feminists demand gender neutrality, insisting that there is absolutely no difference between the sexes. Feminism's indignant cries in the name of justice are only shabbily-disguised attempts to forever do away with the “archaic notions” of manhood and womanhood. Chivalry is shunned, mistaken for chauvinism, and all submission to male authority is considered degrading and demeaning.
- Albert Mohler
Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.”
God created both men and women in His own image, making us spiritually equal individuals. But He also created us with distinctly different roles. In Genesis 2:20-24, we see that God created woman to be man’s helper. In marriage especially, man was created to be the leader, and woman to be his helper.
Submit? Who, me?
"So, who do you think should be the leader in the family?" I asked.
She smiled before responding to the question. "Well, I believe in a democracy. Both the man and the woman should lead. But, you know, in many cases it depends on the man. Some men just shouldn't lead a family. Sometimes the wife is far more competent!"
My face expressed my disbelief. "But... but that's totally unbiblical!"
This view on roles within the family are very common. Many believe that submission to husbands and fathers shows weakness, but in fact, the opposite is true. Submissiveness is a beautiful virtue. Far from appearing as weakness, it shows inner strength and a spirit that trusts in God.
Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
Ephes. 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
The gender roles described by God in the Bible are balanced. But since we are sinful people, these roles can be twisted. Unhealthy, controlling leadership in a husband or father is devastating to the dynamics of a Christian family. A girl or woman can mistakenly allow herself to be taken advantage of physically and emotionally by her father or husband, while thinking that she is submitting. Women in these abusive situations must seek immediate, godly counsel.
The Root of the Problem
Feminism isn't really about equality, you see. It goes down to the heart: worshipping ourselves rather than the Creator. Our hearts are naturally rebellious; we have no desire to submit to any authority. Without Christ, it is utterly impossible for us to submit to our fathers, and, one day, to our future husbands. Only when our hearts are before God, broken and humble, can we accomplish this. If we cannot first joyfully submit to the Lordship of Christ in our lives, how can we expect to joyfully submit ourselves to our earthly fathers and future spouses?
You and I may not be feminists, but we still struggle with feminist attitudes. We all have the same constant challenge: to die to ourselves daily, and live for God; to kill pride by putting others above ourselves.
Questions For Discussion
"...Two women may jump from an airplane and experience the thrilling freedom of free-falling. But there is a difference: one is encumbered by a parachute on her back and the other is free from this burden. Which person is most free? The one without the parachute feels free--even freer, since she does not feel the constraints of the parachute straps. But she is not truly free. She is in bondage to the force of gravity and to the deception that all is well because she feels unencumbered. This false sense of freedom is in fact bondage to calamity which is sure to happen after a fleeting moment of pleasure. That is the way many women (and men) today think of freedom. They judge it on the basis of immediate sensations of unrestrained license or independence.... But the mature and wise woman does not seek this freedom by bending reality to fit her desires. She seeks it by being transformed in the renewal of her desires to fit in with God's perfect will (Romans 12:2). The greatest freedom is found in being so changed by God's Spirit that you can do what you love to do and know that it conforms to the design of God and leads to life and glory."(Grudem, Wayne and John Piper. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, pages 38-39. Crossway Books.)
There has been much discussion over at my personal blog (Spunky Jr) about the "Let's Talk" post here at Beauty from the Heart. One commentor, Wild Child, has posted an interesting article titled "Can Femininity Become An Idol?" which I would like to examine.
The title of Wild Child's post is really what caught my eye. He/she says (emphasis added),
"What happens when these young women, who are so obviously brainwashed by each other, (check some of their blogs, they uphold each others right to ignorance and the use of mops...(fearlessly feminine, spunkyjunior, feminine beauty, and unconformed) really do grow up and become adults? In Christian churches where the single male ratio is 1 man to 5 single women, what in the world are they going to do with themselves if they never marry? They take a stand saying that they will stay at home and serve their fathers. What if their fathers die? What if they have no
means to support themselves?...
Of course I think it's normal and healthy for young women to dream about husbands and families and that includes taking care of a home, but there is also each person's calling that the Lord gives us and my experience is that to live an abundant life we need to be submitted to Christ and find out where He is calling us to serve in the body of Christ. I don't think that adolescent fear of the future should be a cover for young women who are called as Christ's disciples to grow like Him, make more disciples and tell the world who Christ is and what He did for them! I also am afraid they are focusing on being feminine to the point that they are making it an idol in their lives. I truly believe if young Christian women today want to make an impact for Christ in the world tomorrow, they need to be submitted to Christ, educated, focused, disciplined, and ready to serve Christ and heed whatever calling He gives them . Motherhood is not an end to a girl's character. It is just one aspect of a woman's personality. I pray that these young women will wake up and become real adult voices for Christian women around the world."
First of all, Wild Child is correct that femininity can become an idol, as can anything else. Exodus 20:4 says,
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."This applies to everything in our lives that takes our attention away from Him. However, I do not see a woman's femininity as something contrary to Scripture; I see it as an affirmation of her focus on God by wanting to be the person God has made her to be.
Secondly, I agree that if women today want to make an impact for Christ they need to be "submitted to Christ" and must be "ready to serve Him in whatever calling He gives them"; but there are two sides to this coin. Godly women must be ready to serve God wherever He calls them, and that includes inside as well as outside of the home. If He wills that I become a mother and burp babies and clean the house then by all means, then I should obey. Raising children for God is an honor, and I am more than willing to do it. Many people have brought up the argument that I'm just "wasting my life" and "I don't really want that life" or that "I'm just throwing away my life for children." These arguments are self-centered and untrue. Again, raising children for God is an honor.
I would also like to make it clear that I am not against women receiving a higher education. Yes, I believe that the Bible directly points to women to serve their families at home, yet this does not mean that there is a Biblical mandate women must remain at home all the time or that we cannot serve outside the home. In Proverbs 31 "ideal wife" keeps the home and is also industrious outside of it.
Proverbs 31:13-19,27 says:
"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
"I guess it would be smart to do that but who knows if I'll ever get married? What if God doesn't bring the right [sic] person for me, would planning for being a homemaker be a waste of my time? "It is possible that any and everyone who hopes to get married someday has doubted at one time or another if Mr. or Ms. Right is really out there. I've wondered that. Probably you have, too. We fear our hopes being disappointed. What could be worse than planning on marriage and never finding "the one"? Sometimes we may just want to say, "God, show me this person, please, so that I can really know he is there and that this waiting for him will be worthwhile."
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."(1 Peter 2:3-4) In Girl Talk by Nicole Whitacre and Carolyn Mahaney, some good insight is offered concerning this verse. It is pointed out that a 'gentle and quiet spirit' is referring to trust in God. If the spirit is trusting God and resting upon His faithfulness, then it is beautiful in God's eyes. That is the beauty that God wants us to nurture, so that whatever happens in life, we will still be depending on Him. He may choose not to provide us with a spouse. He may call us to a single life of being devoted to Him. Yet whatever it is, we can know that what He chooses is best, and that He will not leave us to face our struggles alone.
"I'm a big proponent of single women cultivating a love for the home. Not only does this help balance the over-emphasis on the public sphere of life (a job is not everything that defines us), having a heart for the home means we will invest in the private sphere in terms of skills, time, and money--and thus be prepared to offer hospitality to both bless God's people and to reach out to others. "
"Learning how to be a homemaker is more than preparing for the future. It is a way to minister to your family. Cultivating relationships is not only done through spending time with someone, it is also done by serving--your family and your friends through hospitality. By sharing some of the responsibility in your household, you are opening up more opportunities through which your whole family can minister. By working together, more can be accomplished as a whole than if each person is only looking out for himself.
Keeping home is education in and of itself! Not that learning physics and Latin is wrong, but neither requires the exclusion of the other. This would be where time management comes into play."
"...you girls should do something on BftH [Beauty from the Heart] on why you don't consider wearing pants to be something non-feminine. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on that, because in my opinion that's a major part of the definition. It appears from a couple articles I read that you would agree, but where's the practice? Ok, I don't mean to ruffle any feathers. Just want to hear what you have to say."Thank you for the interesting question, David. First of all, I would like to say that I do wear skirts occasionally and have nothing against those women who choose to wear them all the time. That, I believe, is their personal prerogative. Yet when approaching this subject I would be very, very cautious of drifting into legalism.
A blog by three young ladies who have a desire to serve the Lord and encourage other young women around them.