A female comedian recently said “Being a feminist means you just want to be treated fairly. You just want it even. No more, no less. You just want to get the same.”
If that’s feminism, then we can all get on board, right?
In December 2010 Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, gave a talk at TEDwomen. She is clear, in her writing and talks, that she wants more women to stay in the workforce. When it comes to equality, as Sandberg puts it, the numbers don’t lie. Women don’t yet make up fifty percent of any boardroom or any parliament, and this is the problem that needs to be solved.
Closer to home, we only have to ask our own mothers about the Equal Pay Act to realise that, not long before we were born, feminism was a real fight for something tangible. They weren’t suffering from pay gaps that emerged over a lifetime; they knew what it was to be qualified in a professional field and to be started on a lower salary than their equally qualified male colleagues.
Discrimination was real, and women were valued less; you just had to look at their pay cheques.
How will women achieve this equality and value? They need freedom – freedom from traditional roles, freedom from the restraints of childbirth and freedom from the contract of marriage. Freedom to act like men, transcend their existence and do the things that ‘really matter’.
Feminism pursues equality, value and freedom for women. It has, at its best, opened our eyes to the discord between men and women. It’s given us the words to articulate a problem and a voice to speak up in a world that is not the way it should be.
It has all of the questions.
And none of the answers.
Feminism aspires to a world where equality comes from the things that we do, value comes from paid work, and freedom is attained when I can do what men do. In order to say that I have them, it becomes incumbent upon me to do certain things; I have to achieve it.
Equality, value and freedom become things that women have to pursue outside of themselves. And that’s why feminism has never made the progress it hoped to, and will never achieve the utopia to longs for.
Genuine equality, value and freedom are only found in Jesus, because Jesus gives them to us freely.
My equality comes from being created by Jesus, just like men, and being given salvation, just like men.
My value comes from Jesus coming to earth, and dying on the cross, even when I hated God, so that I could be made right before him. Every drop of his precious blood that washes me clean tells me that I am loved and have value.
And this gives me real freedom. Freedom from sin – so that I no longer do the things I hate. Freedom to live the life that I was created for – in a relationship with God. And freedom to pursue any role in society (with a few exceptions) without wondering what it says about my value and status. I can take a lower paid job, because it has better opportunities for the gospel, and it doesn’t diminish my value before God. I can happily choose to stay at home and raise my children (or not), because my status is secured in Jesus, not in my location of work.
Jesus is the only one who gives us what we’re looking for. So I’m not ashamed to say, I am not a feminist. I’m a Christian.