Read Part 1 here.
I have a lot of problems with third-wave feminism. For one, I find that it is often self-contradictory. While it claims to want to give women the right to choose to be or do whatever they want, but the movement looks down on women who don’t fit feminism’s definition of “strong” or empowered”. For example, working-at-home, conservative, traditional women. We must all be like Katniss Everdeen, never like Bella Swan. We all have to be Elsa, not Cinderella.
What has this movement done? Defined female success in men’s terms, not women’s. If men are tough and unemotional, we have to be tough and unemotional. If men have jobs in certain fields, we have to have jobs in those fields. Everything men are good at, we have to be good at. But this is no two-way street. No one is urging men to quit their jobs and let their wives support them, or to make their primary responsibility the care of a household and children. This is because we’ve decided that the roles that women have historically filled aren’t good enough anymore. We would like to deny that women and men are biologically better suited for the roles that they have historically filled. We forget that those both roles are absolutely necessary.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
Here we see different roles in the context of a marriage. Wives are to submit to and respect their husbands. Husbands are to nourish and love their wives. What do women want from men? Protection and security. What do men want from women? Respect and support. Both sexes want a lot of other things too, depending on the individual person being examined. But in general, that’s what I’ve found. I, as a woman, want protection and security from men. The men I know want women who will respect and support them. These basic desires are reflected in the Bible.
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. (Titus 2:2-5)
Working at home? Pure? Kind and submissive? Not exactly society’s idea of an empowered woman. But it should be ours. A truly empowered woman is one who gives herself up for other people. The same goes for a man. We do it in different ways and through different roles, and that’s okay. Women have their own strengths, and they’re not men’s strengths, and that’s okay too.
We hear all the time that we should celebrate our differences. And yet, we also hear that there’s no real difference between men and women. Every gender-specific role that we fill is supposedly the result of social constructs. This is simply not true, on levels as basic as biology and psychology.
Sisters, let’s start celebrating the differences between men and women, instead of pretending like they don’t exist.
Let’s serve God within the parameters he has set forward for us, instead of deciding that we know better than God what our boundaries should be.
Let’s define true success not in men’s terms or in women’s terms, but in God’s terms.