I am a feminist, through and through. However, my feminist expression will not involve picketing for free birth control or baring my breast on the cover of a magazine. My feminist expression is much deeper and true. I am a feminist because I am a woman, plain and simple.
A WOMAN... not an object... and not a man.
Lately, I have become enraged at the images I see that are supposed to represent the strength and power of women. I am sick of pictures of women flexing their muscles like men. I’m tired of naked women being used as a symbol of independence. I am appalled that feminism is trying to rob me of all the beautiful things that make me a unique gender.
Stop misrepresenting me! I am a mother of 9 who stays home with my children; yet I am highly educated, culturally exposed, diversely interested, and independent as hell! I am extremely pro-woman. In fact, I am so pro-woman, I have done something pretty radical in the world of feminism... I have embraced my womanhood, not run from it.
Basically, modern feminism has embraced two extreme views. To be considered as an independent feminist, we are told that we must accept either or both of these views. Just look around in the media and you will clearly see these notions. First, we see an over sexualized expression of the feminine. Second, we see a masculinization of the feminine. Both are corrupt and both negate the gifts I hold in the very essence of my gender.
The book, Fifty Shades of Grey, is just one recent example of this false notion that tries to tell us that true freedom as a woman comes from turning our bodies over to an animalistic sexual drive, where we open ourselves up to the thoughtless use of others. I am sorry, but I don’t need to become promiscuous and sexually irresponsible to proclaim my independence. In fact, in my eyes, laying myself open for possible abuse and damage actually ensnares me to the most negative stereotype women of all ages have struggled against. Women have fought endless battles to be seen as useful beyond that of the physical pleasure we can offer. Why oh why, would I give fuel to that fire? Yet, those feminists promoting this concept want to argue that we have taken the control back into our hands, not being used, rather being the ones with the power. Frankly, this is bullshit. Why do women need to embrace the most selfish, dishonorable qualities of some men and say that we should have those same “freedoms”? Supposedly, to be feminine we are encouraged to embrace the flaws within the masculine, such as infidelity and promiscuity, neither of which are virtues in the first place. So, in the most basic way, modern feminism wants to give me the “freedom” to ruin myself and my family as easily as a man can.
Another image in the media, trying to convince women they are strong and independent is that of the naked body. Extreme feminists storming a stage and assaulting a priest, all while being shirtless, does not promote a depiction of strength; rather it embodies rage, hatred, and destruction. As any successful icon of change has illustrated, those three emotions do not bring the best results, just consider Martin Luther King. Then there is also the recent nude photo shoots by famous women. A calendar is coming out next year featuring women who have been criticized publicly for their bodies. We are being led to believe that the best response they can offer, the clearest way to show their empowerment, is to pose nude. I am all in favor of positive body image, but I refuse to believe that stooping to the low level of a cheap nudie magazine is the way to do it. For decades, women have voiced their disapproval of trash such as Penthouse and Playboy, saying that they objectify women, but all of a sudden, that same objectification is now considered empowering. Wrong!
The female body is beautiful and admirable; however, I believe the strength in that beauty is diminished by the overexposure of it. Allowing the female form to be displayed for all to use for their own selfish gain returns women to the state of being objectified, not respected. Personally, as a woman in her mid-forties, I have plenty about my body with which I am unsatisfied. If there are people criticizing me about my looks, the honor and pride that resides in me is not displayed by flaunting my body for all; rather, it’s displayed by the peace on my face and my chin held high as I walk through their criticism as though I didn’t even hear it.
If we were to look back on history and study the women who have made the greatest mark on our world, we would not find them showing us their breasts or treating their sexuality as a dime store trinket being used for a brief moment and then disregarded. They had much more self respect. They used the other gifts they possessed: intellect, wit, creativity, courage, and love. They fought for the equality in women, not for the acceptance of the objectification of women. Are we working to undo, these decades later, all that they labored to achieve?
The second extreme view that modern feminism tries to convince women to adopt is the masculinization of the feminine. I find it ironic that the feminist movement seeks to de-feminize women. Somehow they have convinced themselves that true equality is not found in being accepted as fully women; rather equality is found in becoming more masculine. We must be as strong as men; flexing our muscles to show everyone our strength. We must be as unemotional as men. We must do all that a man can do. Yet, in our pursuit to be like men, we have thrown out the most beautiful and powerful attributes of being women. Our greater depth of emotion as women is a gift to humanity, not a curse to bury beneath a facade of stereotypical strength. Our bodies may lack the physical strength found in the male physique, but the female form possesses a power and strength of another kind.
For anyone who knows me, or follows my blog to any extent, knows that I am not a typical girly girl. Sure, I like to dress up and look good, but I LOVE manual labor. I love building things, working with my hands, and getting good and dirty. In a lot of ways, my brain works in the fashion that is traditionally, or stereotypically, like a man. In my house, the repairmen talk to me, the tools are my Christmas presents, and the projects are on my to-do list. Yet, I have never sacrificed my feminine qualities just because I enjoy “man’s work”. I am usually the person who cooks and cleans and the person who studies how to fix the bathroom sink. My husband and I have just figured out which gifts each of us possess and we encourage the fullest expression of those gifts. He doesn’t consider me masculine because I like tools. He loves my womanhood and gives it value. Furthermore, my husband knows me to be a feminist, not because I am tough, unemotional and equal in all things. He considers me a feminist because I love being a woman, from birthing babies and knitting blankets to fixing toilets and defending my family. I am obviously a woman, not a man-wanna-be.
Now this leads me to the most bothersome false teaching the modern feminists are trying to spread as truth. Through the promotion of free birth control and abortion on demand, the feminists are robbing a generation of potentially strong and independent women of their most feminine quality... their ability to bear life. It is the most horrendous lie being propagated today. To be a strong independent woman, you must unshackle yourself from the “curse” of motherhood. We are told that motherhood is the cause of our enslavement. If we can control that part of our existence, even to the point of taking the life of an innocent child, then we can experience true freedom. This lie is so demonic, it literally makes me sick. Young girls are led to believe that their fullest expression of womanhood will be discovered in becoming a man by surrendering their fertility. They are told to embrace their sexuality while entombing their unique ability to bear children. With mirrors in their hands, feminists want to herald their female parts as icons of freedom and pathways to independence. But allow me to be a bit frank. The power of my vagina does not lie in offering up free sex to anyone who wants; rather, it’s power lies in the fact that only IT can bring forth life into this world. That capability is ONLY possible by women. NO MAN will EVER be able to conceive, carry and bear a fully new creation with their body. No matter how strong a man is, he can never possess the power that is only reserved for the female body. Why would any woman, especially one seeking a higher footing over man or working to exert a new level independence, surrender that power? A woman’s fertility is not a curse, it is a gift. Some women may consider me a weak woman because I have allowed a man to dominate me and “force” me into to having so many babies. In fact, I know this opinion of me to be true. However, as I look at my life, it proclaims in the loudest voice “I AM PRO WOMAN!” I am not a subjugated, weak woman. I am a warrior, a queen and a damn tough beast, who has proved my love for my womanhood nine times. I have not hidden my unique gender gift, I have embraced it.
Allow me to interject quickly, I am not saying that bearing children is what makes you fully a woman. I know several amazing strong women who have not been able to experience that miracle. They are heroes and examples of pure strength and power. What I am saying is that we must recognize the false notion being generated by the modern feminists that wants to make a woman dismiss their greatest potential for a mere copy of the masculine gender.
I love being a woman. I am thankful that God made me strong, yet gentle; firm, yet soft; capable of bearing much pain, yet sensitive enough to have compassion for the pain of others; and rationally independent, yet emotionally dependent. Furthermore, I love the gifts that men bring to my existence. I can value them deeply without feeling the need to replicate them. I am teaching my 5 daughters to live strong feminist lives. I want them to display that strength by protecting their sexuality, valuing their fertility, and following their dreams in anyway they feel led.
We will be feminists in the way God made us to be.... women.... not men.