It is largely up to us on our own to rediscover God’s design for femininity, masculinity, marriage and family. This may require practically wiping the slate clean and building our definitions from scratch in God’s Word.
For a fairly detailed, historical account of the effect of the 3 first phases of the feminist movement on the Christian church, our culture and our mindset about gender, marriage and family, I would suggest “Radical Womanhood” by Carolyn McCulley – a former radical feminist who became a servant of Christ.
The original leaders of the feminist movement did help to alleviate some egregious abuses against women in past generations. There were problems – severe ones – that needed to be properly addressed. Women were wrongly being mistreated and abused and oppressed many times. That was not ok. (There are still women in other countries, especially, where that is happening even today en masse – how I pray for those nations to find Christ and to learn to treat people with dignity, honor, love and respect!)
Unfortunately, along with addressing the problems women faced at that time, the feminist movement simultaneously became a platform for some very ungodly and even blasphemous messages.
Why does it matter now?
The goals of feminism in the past have become our mainstream thought today.
Please very carefully compare these ideas to the Bible. I pray that we might compare everything that anyone says to Scripture and “test the spirits” and be careful to only accept things that are of God. Compare them to the 2 Greatest Commandments Christ gave us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our minds and with all our souls and with all our strength and to love others as we love ourselves. Remember that in John 14:22-24, Jesus said that anyone who loves Him will obey Him and that he who does not love Him will not obey Him.
It’s time for us to identify and strongly reject every ungodly idea that attempts to exalt itself above God, His Word, His commands and His wisdom.
A VERY BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL GOALS OF FEMINISM
Goals of the First Wave of Feminism – the Suffrage Movement
- Granted married women legal rights over property that they didn’t have before that time.
- Asked for the church to change and allow women into ministry positions (which were biblically reserved for men).
- Asked for women to have equal opportunities in the work place and to be paid the same for equal work.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton declared that “It is vain to look for the elevation of women, so long as she is degraded in marriage… I feel that this whole question of women’s rights turns on the point of the marriage relation.” (she was married 54 years and the mother of 7 children) She became an atheist and led the feminist movement in that direction.
- Stanton targeted and undermined the authority of scripture.
- “The challenge to church that was raised in (The Declaration of Sentiments in 1848) eventually led to the destruction of biblically defined concepts of God, sin, gender differences, marriage, and more.” (“Radical Womanhood”)
Goals and ideas of the Second Wave of Feminism – “The Second Sex” by Beauvoir and “The Feminine Mystique” by Friedan
- “Women were ‘imprisoned’ by the roles of wife, mother and sweetheart therefore ‘all forms of socialism, wresting woman away from the family, favor her liberation.'” (Beauvoir quoted by McCulley)
- Endorsed existentialism where “subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice are championed – ‘truth that is true for me'” (McCulley)
- Freidan “defined the ‘problem that has no name’ as the ‘voice within women that says: I want more than my husband and my children and my home.'” (Freidan quoted by McCulley)
- Supported a religion of believing in various goddesses, paganism and polytheism (idolatry).
- National Organization for Women (NOW) founded and NARAL (pro-abortion political action group) and the National Women’s Political Caucus
- No Fault Divorce (possibly the biggest impact of this wave of the feminist movement on our society)
- Said that marriage is unnecessary and getting married is not a virtue.
- Approved sex outside of marriage as a great thing.
- Opposed pornography as degrading to women.
- Supported abortion. (There have now been over 50 millions abortions in the US since abortion was legalized in 1973. This is NOT a victimless movement.)
- Supported the birth control pill as “freedom” for women.
- Supported and promoted sexual liberation.
- Encouraged women to ignore the authority and existence of God, the authority of the Bible, and any God-given authorities that weren’t women (like husbands, church leaders, etc…).
Goals of the more loosely defined Third Wave of Feminism – began in 1990s as a rebellion against the 2nd wave (McCulley)
- “Raunch culture”
- “Porn-positive” or “sex-positive feminism.” “Being involved in making porn is empowering for women.”
- Immodesty and blatant, public sensuality is feminine and powerful
- “Girls Gone Wild”
- Remove biology from the definition of family.
- Remove marriage from the definition of family.
- Hyperaggressive female sexuality that shocked the 2nd wave feminists. But 3rd wavers rebelled against the “establishment” of the 2nd wave and decided that they wouldn’t let the older women tell them what to do. “Participants in pornography and sex work (prostitution) can be ’empowered.'” (McCulley)
- “Fluid concept of gender.”
- “Reject any universal definition of femininity” (McCulley)
- Very casual attitude towards sex “hooking up” is fine and “won’t hurt anyone.” (McCulley)
- Many young teenage girls have NEVER heard of the concept of modesty or of saving oneself sexually for marriage.
- “‘Embrace the entire range of human sexuality’ including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered sexuality.’ (McCulley)
HOW FEMINISM MAY IMPACT OUR DAILY THOUGHTS AND CORE BELIEFS (some of the items on this list are things that were directly taught by various feminists and some of these are things that I have seen many women subconsciously embrace even in the church today that could be extensions of feminist thoughts):
- Men are the problem with society and marriage.
- Men are bad/evil.
- Women are wiser than and better than men.
- If only women were in charge, they would fix all the problems in society.
- Women are good. Women are not really “wretched sinners” only men are.
- Women’s sin is “better than” men’s sin in the eyes of God.
- Men and women are/should be spiritually, emotionally and mentally the same. There should be no spiritual, emotional or biological differences in the way that men and women experience and perceive the world other than the genital tract.
- Men need the same things and think and feel the same ways as women do – and if they don’t, then they don’t have emotions or they are wrong.
- A man being masculine in a godly or traditional way is wrong.
- A woman being feminine in a godly or traditional way is wrong.
- Women should be aggressive, assertive, domineering, and controlling.
- Men should always allow women to do what they think is best and they should agree with women because women are inherently always right.
- Male leadership in marriage, the family and the church (patriarchy) is oppressive to women, even when it is not abusive in any way.
- If a man ever has a chance to be in charge, he will be abusive 100% of the time. Any male leadership is automatically abuse.
- Husbands must earn respect and if a wife doesn’t “feel like” her husband has earned her respect, she is totally justified to treat him in any disrespectful way she wants to no matter what God’s Word says. A wife has no obligation to obey God if she doesn’t agree with the Bible in her particular circumstances. She is lord and master of herself. Christ is not to be her LORD.
- Be your own goddess. What you want is all that matters. Who cares what your husband wants or what he needs and who cares what is ultimately best for your children?
- Your own happiness is what is really important. If you are not happy, then you are justified to do anything (including sin) in order to try to be happy. Your personal happiness should be the ultimate goal (idol) in your life.
- The Bible is not authoritative. It was written by men and men are evil. There is no Holy Spirit.
- God is not a “He” and the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. Feminism says that God is female, or there are many goddesses, or you can become a goddess.
- The Bible is not true and is no longer “culturally relevant.”
- All of God’s commands and instructions specifically for women in the New Testament are oppressive and culturally irrelevant today.
- Any authority instituted by God is to be undermined and replaced by women and what women think is best because women know better than God, women know better than the Bible, women know better than men, and women should be worshipped, submitted to and served as goddesses.
- Motherhood and marriage imprison women and keep them from becoming all they are meant to be.
- Originally, feminism was about women’s suffrage and voting rights. But it didn’t stop with equal rights to vote and equal pay for equal work in the workplace, feminism began to also demand that women and men are essentially the same and that the roles/jobs in marriage should be identical and split 50/50 down the middle. Both men and women should be in charge in marriage – but this ended up meaning that ultimately women should be in charge and control their men if the wives don’t agree with their husbands. Scriptural instructions about marriage roles are evil.
- Husbands should submit to their wives and do what they say without questioning them.
- Women should not only compete with men in the work place, but they should compete for power and position in marriage, as well even though God clearly designated the husband as the spiritual head of the marriage and home in I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, I Timothy 3:5 and Titus 2:3-5.
- Women should assume masculine personality traits at work and in the home. They should look, dress, talk and act more like men.
- Women don’t need a family, husband or children to find fulfillment.
- Men should become more feminine and more in touch with their feelings and more domesticated.
- Children don’t need a mother’s influence.
- Children don’t need a father in the home.
- Marriage can be whatever we want it to be.
- Women should find their worth and identity in their careers, not the “prison and drudgery” of home-life.
- Men should be their wives’ helpmeets. Men exist to give women what they want.
- Women can “have it all!” – career, marriage, children and she won’t have any issue juggling all of those things at one time.
- Motherhood and/or being a housewife are worthless, meaningless, valueless positions. Your time and work is only valuable if you are paid money.
It is time for us to evaluate the thoughts we embrace and where they come from and whether they line up with the Bible or not. May we reject every heresy and all blasphemy. May we reject every lie and ungodly thought. I pray we will only embrace God’s Word as the source of absolute truth and wisdom.
I Corinthians 11:3