Today is International Women’s Day—a day to commemorate female achievement and remind people that women are equal to men. It could also be called International Feminism Day. Which leads me to the question I want to answer in this post: is it okay for Christians to support feminism?
First we have to define feminism. Google says that feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Feminism really started in the early 1900’s in the fight for women’s rights, the fact that women should be treated as equals rather than less than men. This heavily involved the desire for women to be able to vote and legally make their own decisions in life. And then we come to the feminism of today. Today, feminism has taken a radically different view. Instead of just being equal, feminists now want women to be viewed as the same, if not better, as men. There is a fundamental difference between simply being equal and being the same.
How does the Bible address these two differing stances when it comes to feminism?
First, I will address classic feminism—the idea that women should be considered equal to men. To be equal means to be the same in value. In the Bible it is obvious that God values each person equally, whether they are a man or woman. Paul said in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Christians, we are not valued differently because we are man or woman. We are seen as the church, one in Christ, each member as valued as the next. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created male and female in His image. We are equal because we all have that same image implanted on us. Classic feminism can be supported by Scripture because God doesn’t place more value on men than women. He sees us as His creation. We should not put more value on men over women or women over men. We need to see each other as equal in the sight of God.
Now we come to the issue of modern day feminism—the idea that women should not only be equal to men but also be seen as the same or better than as men. To be considered the same would mean that there is no difference between men or women. But that can be disputed simply by looking at the physical makeup of men and women. Our bodies are completely different in almost every way. And God created us to be like that. 1 Peter 3:7 says “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” Women are physically, and often times emotionally, weaker than men. We generally can’t handle the physical stress that men are regularly under everyday at their jobs. Yes, there are exemptions, and I have a lot of respect for those women, but for the most part we are the weaker vessel. God made us to be that way and He specifically gave instructions that men be careful to try to understand and honor us as such. We can’t be expected to be strong and courageous because we weren’t created to be. Modern day feminism expects women to go out and be like men, strong and tough. But that goes against how we were created, what is natural.
I honestly believe that modern day feminism is toxic to women and specifically biblical womanhood. Women like me, homemakers, are often frowned upon in society because of modern day feminism. Because women like me embrace their differences from men, we are a lot of times considered misogynistic. But really, we are just living the way that God made us to be. As wives, we are to serve and help our husbands. As women, we are to be aware that we are different than men and that’s okay. It’s how we were created to be.
Is it okay for Christians to support feminism? I would say yes and no.
Yes, we should support classic feminism and the idea that women are equal to men. But really this isn’t needed in Western society anymore. For the most part we are considered equal and there is no need for classic feminism. The place where this is needed is where equality and respect for women does not exist, like in a lot of Arab countries.
No, we should never support modern day feminism. Modern day feminism goes against how God created us to be and hurts women more than helps. It puts an expectation on women that was never meant to be there. Modern day feminism is contrary to Christianity and we need to oppose it as women of God.
So in conclusion, God values everyone the same. But He also made men and women fundamentally different. As Christians we need to accept and respect those differences. We shouldn’t buy into the world’s idea that women and men are the same. We are not and that is just fine with me.
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.Titus 2:4-5