The Lies of Feminism
Sometimes we think of the early feminists as though they were just sweet little ladies who wanted more legal rights. They didn’t deny the existence of God, and they pleaded for fair treatment for both women and slaves. They played an instrumental role in the ending of slavery in America, a work for which we should be grateful. This monumental work alone should be our first clue: they were not sweet little old ladies. They were not wallflowers. They were tenacious, hard-working, and knew how to land a political punch.
But let’s be clear about something: what you believe about women and men is not a political issue, it’s a theological one. What you believe about people—our nature, our purpose—flows from what you believe about God. What the early feminists believed about God’s design for women and men, particularly in how we relate to each other, is still alive today. A quick perusal of the writing of women such as Susan B. Anthony and Emma Goldman tells us that they believed that being a wife means little more than being a housekeeper. It is a life of drudgery, mistreatment, and servitude. Wives are essentially parasites that are socially and individually useless. One must be stupid to believe that marriage is anything other than a commitment to failure and misery. In order for a woman to be truly free, she must not enter into a marital union. Women must be freed not from sin, but from men.
This is part of why it is so befuddling that Christians today are increasingly comfortable with labeling themselves as feminists. In our historically ignorant meme generation, it’s difficult to overcome the supposedly simple definition of feminism that is often accompanied by an image of those early feminists as doily-loving grandmas. Some still try to sell the “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people” line. It’s a lie that is somehow both blithe and misleading, but at least it’s short enough to fit in an Instagram post.
The #MeToo Lie
Feminism got a new lease on life when virtue-signaling tweets became a new kind of currency. One must not be actually virtuous anymore, they just must appear to be online. So while none of us who have read Proverbs were taken by surprise to learn that there are evil men in Hollywood, a refusal to audibly gasp can get you metaphorically sent to the gulag. Hollywood will continue to churn out blockbusters that celebrate sexual deviancy as art, all the while hanging their sins around the neck of the next goat whose reprehensible behavior comes to light. That goat has “#MeToo” spray-painted on his sides.
I have no intention of beating the “maybe they have good intentions” drum here. Christians who toe the line with the world are sorely deceived. There is no doubt that women in our nation regularly experience the heinous crime of sexual abuse. As the church, we should be angry and vocal about this. We should be a safe haven for victims. We should see sexual abuse as the reprehensible sin that it is, and be prepared to offer the hope of Jesus Christ, while seeking justice for victims.
Dealing with wickedness righteously requires that we understand the grievous nature of sin. Unfortunately, the #MeToo movement cannot see sexual abuse rightly because it was created by a world that loves sexual sin. If statistics can tell us anything, it tells us that at least 75% of the men behind the infamous #MeToo-pushing Gillette ad are regular users of pornography, an abominable industry that has done an untold amount of harm to women. But because they are willing to stand with #MeToo, we are supposed to believe that there is great virtue in their midst. No one is wondering just what their browser history would reveal about their actual hearts toward women. Men who regularly consume the abuse of women for enjoyment are able to hide behind the hashtag without having to do anything. They sail with a broken compass, and yet many Christians are willing to follow them.
#MeToo does harm to victims of sexual violence because it makes no distinction between kinds of sins. Because God is just, He makes distinctions for us between sins and crimes. All sins are evil, but not all sins are crimes, and should not be dealt with in the same manner. The man who whistled at you as you walked by is guilty of a great many things (not the least of which being stupidity), but he is not guilty of a crime punishable by death, such as a rapist or murderer should be. #MeToo makes no necessary distinction here, thereby doing great harm to real victims of sexual violence. Since what the Bible says is true, since women are made in the image of God, our treatment of crimes against women should not carry the margin of error that is inherent in the #MeToo movement.
The God of the Old Testament, the One who looked with wrath at those who sexually abused women, is the same God the church serves. He is coming again—and He’s coming as the Judge. His standards are just and right. As believers, we are required to live as though this is true, as though God has spoken, and it has real-time effect in our lives. When God defines sin and justice, we must act accordingly. You’d fire a doctor who recommended a leg amputation for every ill. So why are we still listening to feminist movements who diagnose societal problems with a similar amount of acuity?
The Intersectional Lie
The rise of Intersectionality explains a lot of what we see going on around us. Intersectionality is a humanistic religion, born from a feminist Critical Theorist, of which we cannot remain ignorant. Strict adherence to its principles grants one access to book deals, research grants, university tenure, job security, blue checkmarks, and a pass for men to wear long, flowy skirts on the red carpet.
Intersectionality is the idea that we all exist under different layers of oppression based on what social identities we can claim. Its framer, Kimberle Crenshaw, explained this idea as an “intersection”. Say, for example, you are a woman. In this worldview, it is understood that women as a group experience a sort of oppression that men don’t. But if you are also a woman of color, you experience oppression that women not-of-color won’t experience. So if you imagine that each of the identities you can claim experience a certain kind of oppression simply by their nature, where these identities overlap, you experience an “intersection” of oppression that someone who doesn’t share the same identities would not experience. The more identity groups you belong to (these false categories of identity are typically race, gender, and “sexual orientation”, and so on), the more intersections, and therefore oppression, you experience.
If you don’t experience the same intersection as someone else, you are often treated as though you simply cannot understand that intersection because you haven’t lived in that intersection. “Lived experiences” become an ultimate standard for understanding the world. This idea imbues those with more identity intersections as inherently more perceptive and intuitive than those who can claim less intersectional categories.
The religion of intersectionality is having its heyday and it’s easy to understand why. Ultimately, intersectionality is the religion of me, who I am, and why I’m more imbued with understanding than you. It’s a study of the self, born out of love for the self, and an insistence that your self is really what matters. Disagreeing with someone’s lived experience makes you anathema.
Intersectionality assumes a kind of ungodly partiality that Christians are consistently warned away from in Scripture (Acts 10:34, 35; Leviticus 19:15; Jude 1:16). We are not to judge a person based on their appearance, social strata, income, background, or ethnicity. Intersectionality insists that we can only understand ourselves and others through making judgments regarding ethnicity, background, income, social strata, and appearance. Intersectionality swaps out the idea of original sin for privilege, making all those with “privilege” the source of societal ills.
Again, this powerhouse in the feminist movement fails to properly diagnose the world around us, leading many into the virtue signalling trap. If it is a grievous sin to question a lived experience, what right do any of us have to insist that biological males abstain from competing in women’s sports? After all, the lived experience of a person who was born male but feels as though he is a female cannot be questioned by those of us who have not lived the same experience. Virtue, in the religion of intersectionality, often requires silence in the face of evil.
In Acts 6, there was a dispute among the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews regarding a distribution of food among their widows. In response, the Apostles did not analyze which group of women belonged to a more oppressed category in order to determine who the oppressor was. They did not appoint women to ensure that the women were taken care of because women understand women better. They appointed men of good repute, known for being wise and “full of the Spirit” to address the issue. It is people who are Spirit-filled who are wise in God’s eyes, who are best equipped to handle disagreements among us. It is not those who look just like us or think just like us who are imbued with the most understanding. It is people who think and act like God that are the most equipped to speak into our lives. When we are suffering, it is the person who knows God best that is best equipped to minister to us.
The Lie of Unbelief
Feminism is not a particularly tricky form of unbelief—it’s regular, old unbelief. It gives the appearance of being rather benign. It whispers to us in ASMR-like tones. It tells us it is not against us, it is for us. It suggests that we can be free from the drudgery of obedience to God’s design.
This lie is old, and we can find it all throughout history. Much like early feminists Emma Goldman and Susan B. Anthony, the pope of Martin Luther’s day despised women and found marriage repulsive. He believed that “one cannot serve God and be married.” The Catholic Church the Reformation fought against would agree with feminism that a married woman at home is useless.
But then the Reformation happened, and the Reformers had a very different view of women and marriage. The Reformers said that women’s work has immeasurable value. They agreed with Scripture that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. Martin Luther’s words about his wife were nothing short of glowing praise. He wanted people to know that he could not have done the work he did without his co-laborer, Katherine.
We must affirm with the Reformers, and against both the ancient Catholic Church and every wave of feminism, that the most noble calling of women does not necessitate a suppression of our nature. Scripture is clear about the value, importance, and purpose of womanhood. We are to be women who nurture, grow, beautify, and pour ourselves in to whatever setting God has placed us, single or married. Given that we are the children of the Reformation, how is it possible that so many of us have become sympathetic to a movement that disdains womanhood?
Our fear of Biblical womanhood is a commitment to unbelief. Look around you. It is common to read blogs aimed at Christian women who want to assure you that “Proverbs 31 is not all there is to being a woman!” Instead of thinking critically about the picture of womanhood that Proverbs 31 paints and asking, “Do we look like this?” it is popular now to assure women they don’t have to look like this. We all know that we will fall short. We are afraid of failure. We don’t lay hold of God’s promises to sanctify us and grow us. We don’t believe.
The prayer of every Christian woman should be that God would grant her the grace to look more and more like the Proverbs 31 woman. Instead of turning our noses up, digging our heels in, and being fearful of doing the work of obedience, we should repent and believe God. It is because of God’s work in our hearts that we will bear fruit. The woman described in Proverbs 31 did not become praiseworthy through dependence on herself. She was obedient to God, and she flourished. She embraced her design, planted the seeds she was given, and became praiseworthy. Our job is the same. Are we doing it? Do we believe that the work God planned for us before the foundation of the world is good? Do we believe Ephesians 2:10?
You can be a virtuous woman today. You can love women well today. You can do these things by battling unbelief. Believe what God says about women, not what our unjust, evil society says about women. God says that you must lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Him. God requires our obedience, and that is a truth that feminism cannot bow down to. In this path of life, there is fullness of joy. Joy for the brokenhearted, and the wounded. There is joy for struggling wives and moms and single women. Joy for the sexually broken. Healing for the abused. Don’t turn to the wisdom of the world for fleeting joys that require a marathon-runner-like endurance to maintain day after day. Feminism is a marathon run of bitterness and resentment. It’s a swapping out of Biblical truth for the appearance of wisdom.
Stop partnering with the world. Scripture commands it. You are not friends with the world. Their starting point is not your starting point. Their end point is not your end point. They hate your Father God. Christians laugh at those “coexist” bumper stickers while practically living out a pagan philosophy that’s been mildly Christianized.
It’s time to reflect. What philosophies have you allowed yourself to be swayed by? Who are you trying to impress? Who do you represent? Is He impressed with you? Are you a committed member of a local body, busying yourself with becoming the kind of woman described in Titus 2? Do you strive to look like the Proverbs 31 woman, or are you hoping for a more “safe” form of Christianity that won’t call you to radical obedience to Christ?
Psalm 16 tells us that, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.” Don’t run after other gods. Don’t bow down to the spirit of our age. Don’t support movements that require you to separate yourself from Biblical truth, Biblical unity, and Biblical standards. It’s time to log off the internet and call someone in your church. Find out from your pastors and deacons how you can serve. Get in the Word every single day. Be obedient to God. Be prayerful. Ask Jesus to make you more and more into a godly woman. Psalm 16 ends with the promise that God will show us the way we should walk, and in His presence we experience the “fullness of joy”. Experience the fullness of joy, dear sisters! Walk with Him.
Summer Jaeger is a married homeschooling mom of four. She is the cohost of the podcast Sheologians, which is a terrible pun she has to live with. You can listen to the podcast or read more of her blogs at Sheologians.com.