The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman. – Elisabeth Elliot
I proudly say that I am a feminist who observes humanity and evaluates what it means to exist through a Christian framework. My faith is the caramel swirl in the chocolate ice cream of my feminity, adding flavor and texture and personality. Christianity does not make me a worse or greater feminist. It simply dictates for me a perspective on feminism that may differ from what would be labeled “second wave” or “mainstream” or “progressive.” My faith warrants its own voice in defining what it means to be a feminist, but this does not deter me from connecting with women whose definitions differ from my own. We do not have to agree in order to understand that we all have a story to share. Our experiences shape our perceptions of what it means to be wholly feminine.
Stasi Eldredge was the first to illuminate for me a Christian perspective on feminism in her book: Captivating. Hooked from the moment she began describing a beautiful narrative of Eve as the capstone of God’s good and beautiful creation, I have been fascinated with what it means to be a Christian feminist.
I am not angry at men. I do not desire to be “equal” with men, whatever that is supposed to mean. I have no inclination to degrade men or assume my sex and sexuality make me superior either. I also am not afraid of men though I have every right to allow fear to persuade my judgments. I believe that feminism transcends politics and the workplace, too. I respect the fight for women’s rights, but I also have observed that in our quest for certain equalities, women may have gone too far. Without realizing it, we have played directly into the expectations of our fallen state desiring more than our natural femininity. In our want to overturn a patriarchal society, we have sought a matriarchal one that forces us into a role that is not necessarily suited for our sex. What makes us women is that we are women. We must not seek to be more than man or equal to him in ever respect because in doing so, we argue to have a better vision of our personhood than the Creator who proclaimed us as good and the apex of his glorious creation. In addition to this skewed outlook, we risk losing that which is ours, unique and solely woman.
I can say these things because they are derived from a personal understanding of what it means to be feminine. I see the world in a fallen state, corrupted and hungry and striving, in need of a Savior. Womanhood is no exception to the rule. Feminism can either be a reflection of what it was designed to be before sin, or it can be a reflection of sin and selfish desires demonstrating themselves through action, word and belief. You see two sides of a spectrum emerge, and I land more towards the right in my inclination to view femininity as wholesome when it mirrors a natural and good design, doing away with the corruptive elements of Eve’s curse.
Okay, so I have stated some generalities concerning my stance on feminism. To flesh out a proper evaluation of the current state of global feminism and form a Christian, female response would take more than a thick book. I cannot satisfy all that you may want to learn about what it means to be a Christian feminist, and you may disagree vehemently with what I have already highlighted. The fact of the matter is that I believe in feminism. I believe in being a woman held to a high personal standard – not of excellence but of natural essence. For me to discover my most intimate and revealing and whole essence is to consider myself as beautiful in the eyes of my loving Creator and Redeemer. His standard of beauty and gentleness and femininity are qualities I long to emulate because He ultimately knows what is good.