First of all, you’re welcome for the Beyonce reference.
Second, I have some words I want to share. Some words that may not sit well with others, some words that will spark passion and emotion in others. No matter who you are or which category you fall into, I’m writing this to you.
The women’s march in D.C.–and in numerous cities across the country–has made headline news since its happening this past Saturday. While scrolling through Facebook and other social media (when will I learn to avoid these sites in the days immediately following major political events?) my heart has been struck in a variety of ways by a multitude of opinions.
I’ll take a pause to thank God for the freedoms He’s blessed us with in this country, to freely and openly share our opinions on literally anything without fear of governmental punishment.
Still, I am saddened by some of the thought processes I’ve read about through my Facebook friends’ posts. I’m angered by the lack of information or misinformation people in my friends list have about what it means to be a feminist. I’m frustrated that women wearing genital-shaped hats have become the face of the march, of the modern feminist movement , because it is so much more than that.
I’ve written about feminism before, what that term is defined as, what it entails, what it stands for, but I felt led to follow up with a refresher, or at least self-medicate through writing about it again.
Feminism is not synonymous with pro-choice.
To be a feminist simply means a person believes that men and women ought to have equality in politics, education, careers, personal lives, etc. It does not mean denying that men and women are biologically different. It does not mean insisting that women have the right to abort their pregnancy. It does not mean burning bras, boycotting razors or labeling yourself a nasty woman. To be a feminist does not mean one must agree and believe in the idea of abortion at any stage of pregnancy. It is seriously just a plea for equality. Equal pay, equal opportunity, equal treatment in all areas.
Feminism does not mean liberal.
I am aware of the fear/anger/slur of opinion that follows the words liberal, radical, conservative, Democrat, Republican, etc. Feminism is not a political party. It is not a bullet on a partisan agenda. Feminism is found in the political realm only because there are laws restricting its battle cry and the people behind it are using their Constitutional right to spark change.
Feminists are not man-haters.
Feminism isn’t about diminishing the rights, powers or influence of men. Rather, it’s about asserting and securing the idea that women ought to have equal opportunities to such.
Feminism is not American.
It’s easy for Americans and Westerners to get caught up in our lives, our jobs, our families and all the truly good blessings that surround us. It’s easy to see the threat of small freedoms, to become enraged, to allow those feelings to drive us to invoke change. And that’s great, because that’s the only way it will happen. But take a look around the world.
Every day the sex slave trade grows; more girls, more women being pulled away from their homes and forced into a place that promises to help them provide for their families, but instead leaves them broken, alone and helpless. In some areas, even if these ladies were to somehow escape, they would be shunned for a sexual past, no matter the circumstance. They are truly stuck. Women in Saudi Arabia are legally banned from driving a vehicle. For decades, Chinese parents were restricted to a one-child policy, a second child permitted only if the first was a girl. Even to this day, though the one-child policy was eradicated in 2015 (praise God!), Chinese clinics often refrain from revealing a child’s gender until its birth to lower the risk of pregnancy termination if the child is a girl. Women all over the world have had to increase awareness of their surroundings, especially at night, because of the frequency of sexual assault. This is far from an exhaustive list.
This is not simply an American problem or an American movement. This is a cry for equality of all people globally, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
I’m thankful for the incredibly strong women that have come before me. Whether that’s Susan B. Anthony or my Aunt Jennifer, I look back and am so ridiculously proud of all the beautiful, unique, strong women who have impacted my life, directly or indirectly.
I am proud of the women who took the time to march on Saturday, whether they “represent” me or not. They took a stand, they made an impact, they pursued their passion, their voice was heard. That’s what feminism is about.
I’m proud to be a strong woman, one who isn’t afraid to say what I want, to take advantage of the opportunities I have to get there. I’m not afraid to take a stand to effect change when I think it’s due. I’m not afraid to use the freedoms I’ve already been blessed with to ensure that women around the world receive the same.
As I’ve found freedom in Christ, learned about the lack thereof around the globe and realized how blessed I am by my American freedoms, I’ve seen the massive blessing it is to be a Christ-following woman in America, to be a woman in general. This does not revoke men of their blessing, demonize people of other opinions, suppress people of other nations or support sinful actions. I am a feminist because I am a strong believer in the power of the cross, its ability to transform our minds and the love of the One who died upon it so all could be free and without condemnation.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”