Feminism is one of the biggest movements in our time and it is not limited to the worldly thinkers. Christian feminism is very much a thing. The key here though is to distinguish between a feminist and a feminazi. Feminists fight for equal rights. They do not want to rip apart the male image – they just want to be thought of, and treated, as equal. Traditional religion basically teaches that a man is the boss and the woman is the slave. This is the hierarchy that is been passed down for generation to generation – the ruling husband and the compliant wife.
The world’s view of feminism is harmful to God’s intended family model. The world says: ‘men are horrible, and women should rule them’. I could write a whole essay on this, but it is not the intention I have right now. I just cannot find a single Scripture that justifies the way worldly feminism operates.
How did Christ view women during His time on earth? How does God view women? I have seen so many accounts in the Bible where women were held to high esteem. Some of them were even savior figures to their nation, rulers and church leaders. There is not an inch of life in my body and not a (contextualized) part in Scripture that gives me the idea that God thinks less of women than He does men. He has different roles for them, because why would He have taken the time to make two different sexes if He wanted them to function and be the same? Then He would have stuck with just Adam.
Here is where things get tricky though: women have indeed been disarmed and disadvantaged throughout history. Men (and women) have taken certain parts of Scripture, have not kept the context in mind, and ran with it. Probably the most prominent piece in Scripture to disarm women came from the apostle Paul, where he said that women should be silent, not teach and not hold leadership positions in the church. And it saddens me that one of the most respected Bible teachers (well, respected by myself, even though he already passed on many years ago) also taught this without contextualizing. What we need to remember from Paul’s letters is that he wrote some of them as answers to the different congregations. Who knows what the letters to him stated? What were their circumstances in those specific days, that led to Paul saying the specific things to the specific congregations that he had? What did their culture look like during those days? He was speaking to them specifically, as an answer to their letters. We cannot just go and run with what he said to THEM, without researching the why.
Some people branded Paul as a women-hater because of his statements. But he wasn’t a hater. In fact, he commended some women and referred to them as coworkers. (How could a woman be a coworker if she wasn’t allowed to work at all?) In other parts he instructed women in the manner that they should prophesy and pray in church. (How could a woman pray and prophesy if she should just be silent?) We need to keep in mind that he said these things in the same lifetime. Was he just being inconsistent from the one congregation to the other? No. Circumstances and culture weren’t the same from the one congregation to the next and that is why his instructions seemed to differ. I firmly believe that many women’s Godly destinies were squashed by religious patriarchy. It is good to take the Bible literally, but why would we need to ‘study’ it if we could just read? Context. Always context.
I have purposely not included the names of Scripture chapters and verses or any research sources. We as believers have become lazy sheep by just hearing and reading copy and paste sermons, without digging deeper OURSELVES. So, if what I am saying here ruffles your feathers, please do an in-depth search on this for yourself. And do not just go to prominent teachers – read the Word for yourself and let Holy Spirit interpret for you. Leaders in the church are not the only ones bright enough to understand Scripture. And I apologize if that statement may seem harsh, but the fact that we have given other people the task to interpret the Word for us, has brought us to religious mess that we are currently in.
To conclude – Christian feminism does have merit. (Please also include in your research how religious men made sure that women were non-important in the history of the church. There are some mind-blowing lengths that some early church fathers went to in order to shun women.) Things have changed during the years and women started to find their voice. If you are a Christian woman, believing that God also called women as leaders and teachers, then you are a feminist.
Roles of men and women
God made us differently and uniquely. He knew what He was doing – He created two beings that together form a well-oiled machine to further His plan for mankind. He has different roles for each and the one should not despise the other because of it. The Word is also full of instruction on this – be sure to (prayerfully) make your own study of it and keep context in mind.
The Proverbs 31 woman
This is something that has been stirring in my spirit for quite some time. I will partly give a bit of testimony – as I have seen and experienced this personally.
Just about every Christian woman want to be like the ultimate woman – the Proverbs 31 woman. She is noble and there is nothing but praise for her. But in this day and age where feminists and feminazis rule, I have realized something: women feel that they are so equal to men, that they lose the essence of being a woman. Not just lose it – some even despise it.
Some women refuse to be home makers and prefer to climb the corporate ladder. They do not cook or clean, because this is not the stone age anymore. And serving her husband or kids? Some women feel like it is a degrading task.
Let us then look at the physical tasks of the Proverbs 31 woman:
 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
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 opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
The perfect woman to whom Christian women strive
- Is very domesticated
- She cooks for her family – she even gets up early to do so
- She makes clothes for her family by hand, and even bedding. She makes sure that her family is well taken care of.
- She brings her husband good – meaning she humbles herself by being of service to her husband
- She has strong arms for her tasks – she does physical work
- She does effort with her appearance
- She has a charitable heart
- She is a businesswoman
These are just in a nutshell, but it is plain to see that the Proverbs woman would not sit around the same campfire as the feminazis. She gets honored for being a home maker and taking care of her husband and children. Working with her own two hands is not degrading to her. The fact that she gets praised by both her husband and children, paints the picture that she does not do her duties with a long lip, screaming at how unfair it is that her husband just does business and not the chores she does.
On top of all her domestic activities, she herself is also a businesswoman. Her home duties do not suffer as a result of her trading.
Now, as a woman that homeschool my kids, clean my own house, cook 3 meals a day, bake and still take care of my appearance, I can tell you that I have been in a lot of strange situations with other women. Most times when I get asked “So, what work do you do for a living?” I get the ‘oh, you are just a housewife’-look. Man, how I have memorized that look over the years! After many years and many ‘interesting’ (not) conversations I can confidently say that ‘housewives’ get looked down upon – by other CHRISTIAN women. The same women who idolize the Proverbs 31 woman. Now how does that work?
I rarely feel the need to add that I am a writer and artist and get income from it. Because before I can even get to that part, I already encountered the ‘oh, you are just a housewife’-look.
The other scenario I get when I say that I homeschool my kids and run my household is one of defense. May times I haven’t even finished talking before I hear the many reasons why they can’t homeschool their kids or stay at home the whole day. And how blessed I am to be able to do it. (Believe me, this can be said in a very condescending way.)
Many times, I get treated as a lesser being. I have actually been a part of a large group of people (who did not know me from a bar of soap) not so long ago, who didn’t include me in their ‘real world’ conversations, because I ‘don’t work’. A certain woman in this group made sure to repeat how I wouldn’t know what they were talking about (she works in a bank and didn’t know that I actually do have some financial knowledge). Whenever any serious topic was up for discussion, I was excluded from the conversation. Kid you not, I just sat and laughed. I did not feel for one moment to flex my general knowledge muscles in order to gain some of their respect. And I spent over a week with them.
Once a child in a doctor’s waiting room asked my children in which school they were. They said ‘Ma se Skool’ (mom’s school) and explained how we do schooling. So, the child asked her mother why she cannot also homeschool, and the mother said very snottily that she has a job. And not in the I-have-to-work-to-survive kind of way. She even gave me a dirty look. I just laughed.
The point that I am trying to make here is that everyone wants to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, but with all the hype around the feminist movement they also see it as degrading and old worldly to be domesticated. You cannot hold her in high regard, while despising her duties. Domesticated women get looked down on as not educated enough to hold a job or with a sense of pity about their loss of independence. Like the Proverbs 31 woman I am not ashamed of my lifestyle. Unlike her I do get tired and cranky, with the need of an attitude adjustment sometimes. But I do what I do because that is the special essence of a woman to me.
Some women long to be home with their children, caring for their family. Circumstances just force them to work outside the house. And like the housewives (I am using that term loosely) they aren’t lesser women either. The Proverbs 31 woman was a businesswoman too, after all. I believe that God uses some women at their specific workplaces for His purpose. I am not convinced that a woman HAS to stay at home and be domesticated. I am convinced though that there is a special place in the family unit that is meant to be filled by a woman. (I know that circumstantially some families lost the mother and wife or that single fathers must raise the kids. I am not talking about those families now.)
Christian women – can we please get to the point where we celebrate each other? Where we don’t look down on one another for the way we do family? Those that work, please respect the domestic divas. Trust me, it is the least glamorous work ever and your working hours never end. We also do not get a paycheck at the end of the month. We are not lesser women because we choose to serve our husbands and children.
I have yet to meet a woman who look down on women working outside of the house, but to those that do I want to ask you to respect the mothers who work long hours and have to get help to raise their kids and take care of their households. They are not lesser women for pursuing careers.
The Proverbs 31 woman is a good mix of businesswoman and homemaker. Do not let feminism (feminazis) convince you that it is shameful for women to take their homely responsibilities on themselves. Or that they are less intelligent, at a loss of ambition or just spoilt housewives who sit around in coffee shops all day. Stigmatizing does too much damage, where we are able to have compassion with and celebrate each other’s choices of lifestyle. Neither is wrong.
Written piece by Gina van Staden