I am a Christian. I bet a lot of thoughts pop into your head: “sin,” “control freak,” “holier than thou,” “gay person hater." And I haven’t even said a word.
I am a feminist. Now when you hear that, I’m sure a slew of thoughts pop into your head as well. “Man hater,” “Feminazi,” “democrat,” “liberal,” “misandrist” and many others. Now let me say something else:
A lot of people wonder how a Christian can be a 21st century feminist. Sometimes I do, too. But the way I see it, both of these things fit together way more easily than some think.
As a Christian, I was taught, as the basest level, to love everyone around me. To accept everyone to the fullest. Though I’m also human, so this hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do. But I do my best every day to live that out. And the way I see it, loving everybody means recognizing everybody and understanding everybody. That does not mean, however, that I will be a door mat for others to walk upon.
Being a feminist, I also believe that everyone should have the best of all opportunities equally (equity may be a better word, but that’s a discussion for another time). I believe in safety for women across the globe, and the freedom to choose what they to do with their lives without risk of stigma or pay cut because of their genitals.
These two ideas are a part of who I am, who I choose to be. And they mix much better than some may want to believe. I believe that God has made both men and women equally, to enjoy the same pleasures and to feel the same pain (of course, aside from the biological differences, because I know that someone will say it). Eve was made an ezzer to Adam, which in Hebrew means “helper and rescuer,” not like the English translation where it means a subordinate partner. So at the most common level, we were made to love one another, to be in fellowship and communion. So why is it that women have to fear walking alone down dark streets? How do we, as Christians, help with these kinds of inequalities that we see today?
I believe that being a strong Christian means being a strong feminist as well. We may all have different ideas on what that looks like, but we as a Church cannot ignore the blatant disregard for women, and even men’s, safety, emotions and mental health.
Lately, with the #metoo campaign, I’ve thought about this more and more. How should I react? How should the Church react? I know that I am a part of the many #metoo’s that are permeating every Facebook and Twitter feed across the nation. And I know that during that time when I was exposed to those things, if I had known the Church would help, I would have gone. I’m not saying the Church is a bad place, because it’s not. It just needs its eyes opened a bit. But the change has to start with each individual person because, together, we are the Church.
Each man and woman has a responsibility to each other and to God. We have to not only change how we interact with one another but how we think about each other. We need to try to understand the gap that has been present for too long. We need to truly try to understand how one another feels, what obstacles another must face and how we can help in any way. Compassion needs to make a reappearance in our society, and it starts with every individual.
Even if you don’t believe in Christianity, in God or in any other faith, compassion is universal. Compassion can go much farther than disagreements or hate. That compassion needs to proceed everything else. That is the only way we can begin to change.
So yeah, I’m a feminist and a Christian. And I think those two go together really well.