I read an article recently about a young Christian woman who said that she didn't believe that God intended women to be equals. Here was the Title, "I'm A Christian Girl, And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals."
I read the article, mostly because the title was a little unsettling, and understood where she was coming from. It held a great intention and standing in Scripture coupled with a passionate affection for Jesus, which I adore. However, the language and word choice could be used to reinforce the notion that Christians and God view women as lesser than men.
And so, I wanted to clarify a few things to ensure clarity. The idea that God views women as less valuable than men is truly and wholeheartedly not true. There is so much significance, value, intention, meaning, and need for women. And men, equally are as vital, so valuable, full of meaning, and so uniformly needed. And to put both of them on a scale to weigh out our equality in significance and value almost feels... completely unnecessary and out of place. Both men and women hold an equal degree of worth as persons, as they have both been made in God's image and are heirs together of eternal life.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1: 27
There is neither Jew nor Greek, thee is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:38
We cannot reproduce one without the other. We depend on each other for the very carrying on of our beings. And we depend on each other in a lot of other contexts too.
I'd like to open this up to a little bit more of a dialogue because I think there's some disconnect between how feminism and equality are understood and defined as in today's context. So just to be clear on exactly what we're talking about, here are some definitions from dictionary.com of the key terms that this topic revolves around:
The definition of equal: being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.
The definition of equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
The definition of feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
The definition of a feminist: A person who supports feminism.
Just a quick disclaimer, people have adopted various definitions of these terms in today's culture. For my purposes, I will be referring to the definitions listed above.
So, essentially a feminist is someone who supports the state of equality in status, rights, and opportunities relative to men. Under that definition I, a Christian woman, would define myself as a feminist. In a general view, I support and encourage the state of being provided the same opportunities, rights, and status as a woman, and essentially as a human being.
With that being said, however, I also believe that men and women are different, and have been given roles within the family setting to fit those differences. Here is one passage that describes a woman's particular role in a marriage.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Ephesians 5: 22-24
I think the word submit immediately scares us as women. It scares me a bit, to be 100% honest. But after being married and realizing that leadership is so important, and us working as a team together is hugely vital to our marriage, the roots of this message are being realized and understood further in my own life and as a wife.
The type of submission described here is not the obedience children owe to their parents. Nor is it stating that all women should submit to all men. This submission is in a specific marital context for the work of a harmonious and healthy marriage. It goes on to command the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. The husband is to be a leader that loves, cherishes, listens to, and protects his wife. We have both been given a responsibility and a role to ensure that our marriage is working toward one common goal. That we are on the same page because ultimately we are on the same team.
So although men have been granted a role of leadership within a marriage, this should in no means imply that we are not equal to them. Equal in quantity, quality, degree, or value. There are millions of angles and coatings to this subject, so please forgive me for the gaps that I haven't addressed in this small fragment of writing.
I feel like there are millions of layers to how God sees us as people, too. He has created us, putting pieces of Himself of infinite worth and value into our the heart of hearts knitted in each of us, both male and female.
I hope you know that we are valuable.
You are valuable.