Sunday, March 7, 2010


I've been thinking about a lot about Julia's off-hand comment about "femi-nazi's" and their attitudes being a ploy of Satan. I've also, due to Eve, been thinking a lot about my own femininity and feminism and I've come to some conclusions.

First: I don't like the term "femi-nazi" very much. I've used it myself numerous times, but I won't in the future. Let me explain with an example from the Civil Rights Movement. Many of us are firmly committed to the idea of racial equity and God's love for people of all races. We believe strongly that slavery was evil and the subsequent segregation was equally evil and led to terrible behavior on the part of many people (I had a student in one of my university courses tell me a story about when he was a young man wandering around the woods where he lived as young boys are wont to do and he saw a black man hanging from a tree. He's never gotten over it). We rejoice in the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of non-violence and his positive vision of a unified America.

But how do we feel about Malcolm X and the Black Power movement?

Think about it for a minute. It's okay for Martin Luther King, Jr. to advocate peacefully changing society but Malcolm X makes us nervous because he wanted radical change. He was so attuned to the prejudices and oppression and abuses of his people, whom he loved, that he could not stomach a peaceful coexistence but demanded a separation of those he loved from those who oppressed them. It is logical. It is consistent with human nature. It is amazing there was not more violence with so much "right" on the side of the black people.

I think of "femi-nazis" the same way. The whole point of the Eve book is that women have been mistreated since the beginning of time, and often, Eve was used as an excuse for the abuse, subjegation, and sidelining of women. Women didn't have the vote until 1920. It is mind-boggling the list of excuses men used to keep women in their "sphere" or their "place." To keep women from enjoying sex, getting an education, leaving an abusive marriage, handling money, owning anything, or the other hundreds of ways women have been harmed throughout the centuries.

And it isn't just me. That is what the book Eve is talking about. That all the excuses men used didn't hold up because Eve did nothing wrong. The author never argues that the abuses never happened--just that the Eden story can't be used to support current or future abuses.

My points:
1) Women have been mistreated throughout the history of this world.
2) It is disgusting and horrifying to thinking women who make a serious study of the past that these abuses took place.
3) Some women respond like MLK, Jr. and call for non-violent (non-radical) change. More access to education here. Access to birth control over there. A little more sensitivity about sexual harassment down that way. And when those changes happened, those women were satisfied.
4) Other women felt so connected to their female forbearers that a peaceful revolution was not possible for them. They wanted radical change. They, like Malcolm, could not stomach a peaceful coexistence with their previous tormentors, and so they opted for a radical removal from the existent social system. It is not an unnatural response. It is very human and very understandable.
5) I identify with both camps.

I also identify with neither camp because more than anything else, I shape my world view through the lens of the gospel.

But just because I am lucky enough to have a true vision of the power and destiny of women and the awesomeness of motherhood, and I am lucky enough to have a hint of the vision of true marital completeness doesn't mean I can dismiss other, less fortunate, women as mere pawns of Satan.

In conclusion, and this might surprise you after the above rant, I must admit that this book and other sources have led me to stop self-identifing as a feminist. I'm simply not a post-modern feminist. Or post reactionary feminism feminist. In reality, the word feminist no longer means what it meant in the 70s, when I would have wholeheartedly called myself a feminist.

This post sums up my feelings pretty completely.

*addendum: Upon further reflection--and the intense hurt I felt as I was writing that I wouldn't self-identify as a feminist anymore--I changed my mind. I think I will always be a feminist in my heart--because ladies, sisterhood and powerful womanhood is just part of my soul. And Satan can't change or warp my internal definition of feminism.

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