Some time ago, I engaged in a social media comment exchange with a particular person who argued that we did not need feminism, because gender equality already existed, at least in most Western countries. The exchange was short. I could not deal with the ignorance that oozed from his words.
So, in honour of the man that will remain nameless, here is the beginning of a list of reasons as to why I need feminism.
- Because people somehow think gender equality exists
- Because female objectification still exists
- Because women who have been raped are asked what they were wearing, as if somehow being raped was their fault
- Because I’m tired of being told that I should be careful how outspoken I am for gender equality, as men don’t want to marry a woman like that. After all, women are, by nature, gentle, nice, and submissive, right?
- Because people scoff when I speak up for gender inclusive language
- Because feminism is treated like a joke
- Because men who are sensitive and nurturing are thought of as less manly, and women who are strong and outspoken are thought of as bossy and aggressive
After considering why I needed feminism, I started to think about the [Christian] church. Does the church need feminism? Ultimately, I believe the church needs Jesus, not a human construct. But I still believe it’s a helpful construct to consider. Here are my reasons why the church needs feminism.
- Because Jesus is a feminist (See my article here)
- Because the female leaders in the Bible are said to be an exception. Or used because God couldn’t find a suitable man. Or that they were going against God’s plan. In reality, they are people who responded to God’s call and used their gifts.
- Because we still treat the part of the curse that refers to female subordination as prescriptive and not descriptive
- Because we treat gender roles that originate in culture as Biblical, and therefore unquestionable.
- Because gender dictates service opportunities more than gifting and calling
- Because women are told to endure abuse due to the need to “submit to their husbands” (See, for example, John Piper in this YouTube video)
- Because there are double standards. For example, women doing the same role as men have a lower title or less pay just because of their gender. Or women who are allowed to preach are told they are giving a talk, not a sermon.
- Because we still use strongly androcentric language that excludes women
- Because people need to hear about Jesus and we need to use everyone we can to their best ability, regardless of gender
These lists, of course, are just a start. There are many more reasons why you, the church, and I need feminism. What would you add?