"Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs..."
This is a quote from an article that I first came across a few months ago, one that popped up on my Odyssey explore page and I had a very hard time viewing. I couldn't quite settle with what I was seeing- a headline that insinuated that the author was not a feminist because she is Christian and "God does not view women equal to men."
Upon truly reading into this article I had many questions racing through my mind. I was considering the fact that religion was used as the primary vessel and source for these ideas. I thought of how the author must perceive themselves and others in the world- the fact that a bulk of the argument was a strictly binary and oppressive way of thinking and I still to this day feel a deep hollowing pain when the now-viral article comes up every now and again.
I would call myself a feminist, an intersectional feminist to be more clear. I try my best to improve my ways of thinking, my empathy, learn and listen more, and gain a deeper understanding of how I can better support other people who are from various backgrounds, races, cultures, experiences, ages, identities, sexualities and so forth and understand that there are many things that attribute to a human's experience, their oppression, or their privilege.
I read, listen, and try to be as respectful, considerate, and aim to dismantle the systems that carry out any and all oppressions, including things or burdens I may not personally experience. This is the ultimate goal of my feminism and what I work towards, and assume that some others share the same and or differing viewpoint. Feminism, as it should be, works to allow all humans to be treated with equal worth, to be given their rightful voice, and to be heard.
Feminism (at least to me and how I have studied it) promotes the equal worth of all beings, transcends binaries, focuses on those marginalized and addresses oppression at various levels. We are stronger if we work together. It is sad that some people feel fear or threatened by the idea of feminism and what it aims to do, because if one is not then what is it that you are you supporting..?
In the article I referenced earlier, I feel like there's a complete disregard for acknowledging the fundamental problems that go along with accepting and believing that women are second to men. The language and the ideas are both extremely divisive, binary in thought, and very isolating.
For instance, there is a section that discusses that "If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal." I feel that we can in all actuality be independent on our own while still being able to foster great relationships with others and or God if that is what you believe in as well. Why would people be made to be half- instead of being whole and then having another hole in their lives. Doesn't that sound terribly unfulfilling and belittling?
This thinking is dangerous to me, and considering that it is an opinion, of course, I know this is a personal interpretation, however still feel that it is a bad message to send to absolutely anyone. The one sentence that was used alone suggests that people were not made equal (?), and this sets a terrible platform for things like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and more to be present, which we undoubtedly don't have space for in the world today.
Women and people, in general, are not property to anyone. Women have their own thoughts, ideas, values, etc. and do not need the presence of a man or significant other to be deemed successful or worthy. We have the right to be happy, angry, or sad whenever. We are powerful on our own. We don't need men. We can move mountains and change the world.
Women deserve agency over their bodies, thoughts, and selves. And in a world, like we have today in this social climate, the worst thing to do would be to oblige to archaic ideas that should have never existed in the first place (and then use an extreme interpretation of religion as the drive). We need to continuously break down the patriarchy and not support it.
I feel that there is a definite space in religion for these feminist values- not patriarchal oppressive ones. These feminist values are of love. They are of togetherness. They are anti-hate and pro empathy. People have risked everything, even their lives, for the rights that women have today and the work still isn't done because we are still in a patriarchal system that time and again refuses to treat women and many other people at large how they should.
This is 2019, an era where one's religion should not supersede basic human rights or treatment of others, or even how you view yourself. Various religions and feminism could be collectively working together instead of being battered and pushed apart through articles like the one I discussed.
I have hope that for anyone that read that article realizes that it doesn't have to be that way- and that no matter if you are religious or not, there should always be the inclusion of values that respect yourself and others as well. I hope for a world where we can exist peacefully, and acknowledging that intersectional feminism is valid and working within that lens is an important first step to that. Anyone that helps for a better world should be able to see that.