Did you know that there are some “categories” or “causes” that have HUGE platforms and different people support or believe in different parts of those platforms? DID YOU? Because the word “Christian” supports a WIDE range of beliefs and there are plenty of people who accept or support some and plenty who deny or resist others. But they all still use the word CHRISTIAN because, as a whole, it fits their belief system. MANY people qualify they’re Conservative political leanings by saying that they DO support marriage equality because they believe that the government should stay out of the bedroom. Some will even say that marriage equality IS a Conservative political stance.
But – for some reason – people won’t qualify beliefs aligned with the word FEMINISM and the world is worse for it. They just simply say, “NOT A FEMINIST!” just because their beliefs don’t align with a small part of what defines feminism.
FEMINISM has a lot of small facets that some people disagree with. I tell you that coming from the land where plenty of conservative and fundamentalist Christians go to workshops and retreats where they learn how to be the supportive wife. Most avoid using the word “submissive” anymore, but some still do. Where the stateside cause of Feminism seems contrary to their beliefs. They are okay with women being not hired as much or at as high of a pay because women should be the caregivers of the home and the children.
And you know what? THAT IS OKAY. I do not argue with those people. That is their belief and their religion supports that so if the stateside causes of Feminism seem contrary to that – especially things like reproductive rights – then I surely support their decision NOT to support those causes.
But unless they are also PRO genital mutilation or PRO human trafficking or PRO women getting stoned for crimes like infidelity then I do NOT allow them to denounce the word “FEMINISM”.
Why is Feminism an all-or-nothing word? Why can’t you believe in the wife’s role as the caregiver in the home and be pro life but STILL be a feminist? Because there are SO MANY ISSUES that challenge women across the globe that need our attention too. So you don’t want to carry a Pro Choice sign next to me in the rally, that’s fine! Don’t! But can you please remind your community that FEMINISM is not a dirty word? That there are still HORRIBLE tragedies that women face globally BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN.
I qualify myself as an “atheist” all the time. I prefer a “Humanist” atheist or an “Agnostic” atheist because I don’t want people to think that I staunchly and FIRMLY believe that there is NOTHING beyond this corporeal frame and the physical limitations of my environment. But I still claim the word “atheist” because it still applies to me and I don’t want that word being defined by it’s connotation. I have friends who are trying to remind people that “Christian” does not automatically mean they believe homosexuality is any different than heterosexuality. I hear/see things like, “I’m a Christian but I think your gay child’s wedding should be blessed in the same way as my straight child’s wedding.” Or, “I’m a Christian but I believe there are non-Chrstians in heaven,” and similar sentiments.
Or even in politics. I hear things like, “I’m a social liberal, but an economic conservative.” People QUALIFY their platforms or beliefs because these words have a LOT of paths. Christian. Liberal. Atheist. Conservative. You can choose those paths to support or deny any number of beliefs so we take the label and qualify it. Very few people adobt those words WITHOUT qualifying them. I mean, I’m a total Liberal through and through but even I don’t like using that word whole-heartedly because I like to qualify that I think government funding is HORRIBLY mismanaged even at the local level. So, yes, I’m a liberal but I believe we need some focus on curbing government spending.
BUT NO ONE DOES THAT TO THE WORD “FEMINISM.”
These people that say, “I’m not a feminist.” I want to say, “Oh. Okay. So you don’t want to put any effort in making sure that women aren’t subjected to clitoral mutilation simply because they had the nerve to be born with a vagina?” Because Feminism is MUCH BIGGER than just a women’s role in the workforce and family, and MUCH BIGGER than a women’s right to choose. Qualify the word, but don’t dismiss it all together because there are still women on this planet that are tried as criminals and sentenced to death for cheating on their husband. Girls are still being trafficked as sex slaves across borders. There are HUGE issues facing girls and women on this planet and they are being dismissed because people are denouncing the word “Feminism” like it only relates to the challenges here in their country.
ALL OF THAT SAID: I support the stateside causes of feminism as much as I support global causes. I don’t think it should be assumed that women are the caregivers for children in a way that means men are considered for jobs without concern for their status as a parent. I believe very strongly in reproductive rights and am very staunchly pro-choice.
I just don’t understand why those issues define Feminism. Why can’t people say, “Of COURSE I’m a feminist. Have you seen the plight of women around the world? I am pro-life but I am still a feminist as there are still girls facing injustices across the globe simply because they were born female. So, until global equality is reached? Of course I’m a feminist. But I don’t have to support every cause under the feminism umbrella. Just like every Christian doesn’t believe every lesson taught under the Christian umbrella.”
3 thoughts on “Qualifying – Not Denying – Feminism”
Very well said.
I identify as a Feminist, and I am also a Christian who believes that it is no one’s business but a woman and her spouse whether or not she works. I am pro life, but I don’t believe that abortion should be completely banned. I would hope that most people would make the choice to not have an abortion, but I have compassion for those who feel they need to make the choice to have an abortion.
I obviously don’t align 100% with what is seen as a Feminist viewpoint, and I hope that eventually that label won’t be seen as a radical thing to identify with.
Zoot, you are the best. I just love the way you handle issue posts like this in such a rational and approachable way. Rock on!