Feminist?

Last night,  my husband pointed me to this great talk from Joss Whedon about the baggage surrounding the word “feminism” (at a linguistic level) and the need to find a word that expresses moral disapproval when someone has violated the social contract of equality. It’s a great video, worth your time to watch, but it also reminded me of this post I wrote in 2011. It doesn’t make me cringe as much as some of the stuff I used to write, and in my experience still has something to offer to all us weirdos. 

I read an interesting article yesterday – “7 Reasons There Are No Women Speaking at Your Conference.” The author, Rachel Held Evans, talks in it about getting yet another announcement about a keynote lineup at a Christian conference. It was being headlined by six white men. No one is surprised by this, but she offers an articulate series of thoughts about why this is the case – women have their own separate Christian subculture, hold fewer pastoral positions and seminary degrees, and they’re expected to be submissive.

It’s a really interesting and thoughtful post, but I was a little bit (really, just a little) bothered by the opening paragraph. Specifically, the sentence in which Evans says:

“not because I’m a raging feminist . . . ”

In the Christian world, ‘feminist’ is (still) usually thought of as a four-letter word. It cuts quickly and deeply to the heart of our deep-seated and funky gender dynamic. A ‘feminist’ is someone who thinks that women and men are equal. It’s pretty simple. And everyone, but especially Christians, should be proud to identify themselves as such.

Instead, it’s become a label that Christians are quick to dissociate themselves from. I’ve heard so many variations of “I’m not a feminist, but I do believe that men and women are created equal.”

Guess what? You’re a feminist! Congratulations! You can keep right on wearing pink and getting pedicures and shopping, or wearing black and kickboxing, or wearing neutrals and going to yoga. Women have been historically and systematically oppressed — and no, it isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be and yes, we have many more opportunities than our forbears. But women still get paid less than men for doing the same work. They still hold far fewer executive positions across the board than men do. And they are under more pressure than ever to look and act Just Right, some ludicrous combination of sexy and confident and demure and skinny and intelligent and not too intelligent and nonthreatening and a little bit helpless and on and on. We have a long ways to go.

So let’s go there. Together. In all our messy and nonconformist ways. And let’s give credence to what – and who – we are along the way.

3 Responses to “Feminist?”

  1. 高一數學 November 24, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    Sincerely Yours,I read your blog named “Feminist? | Laura Turner” regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you`re doing! And you can look our website about 高一數學.

  2. Douglas November 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    I’m in. Lead the way.

    I appreciate coming across your article on the same day I notice that the clergy in the special service held at my congregation were all male. There are female priests serving in the area, but I’m sure they were busy serving other congregations this Sunday.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I appreciate Rachel’s and Joss’ views, so thanks for sharing their thoughts and adding your own.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. A few things happening on the Inter-Web | style & grace - November 23, 2013

    […] Laura was talking about being a feminist and you know I like that. She also reviewed the recent Q Conference that Shauna’s talk is from, that was a great read too. […]

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image