To those who think that feminism is poison:
Let me introduce myself. I am a SAHM of 6 darling children, a wife to an amazing man, a homeschooler, a church-goer, a daughter, a sister to 6 siblings and their spouses, aunt to 18. Oh, and I am also a feminist. Wait! Before you click away from me, let me explain to you what I mean by feminist because you may have never met my kind before, and I really would love to give you the chance to do so!
In the late 1800’s the terms ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ were coined in several countries, and by the very early 1900’s they had made their way to the US. Simply put, these terms were abdicated to the cause of women’s rights. I’m sure you agree that women do have rights, yes? In any case, unfortunately, over the decades, the idea of advocating for women’s rights sort of morphed into something else. Something ugly and disgusting. Can we agree on that? Yes, I think we can. That type of feminism sadly misses the reality that it is indeed devouring itself. What those women think is their ticket to freedom on the train tracks of “equality” and “reproductive rights” is actually no more than a continuation of the oppression women have faced throughout all of history.
And that’s where New Feminism comes in.
This is 2014, yes? While I’d absolutely love to believe that feminism has evolved over the last 100+ years into something spectacular, it actually has not. And that is where I come in. Or…ahem…where we come in. We are growing in numbers and aren’t just your typical SAHM mommy bloggers just voicing our concerns from behind a computer screen whilst we simultaneously bounce babies on our hips, and that’s it. We are women of all different ages, races, situations and life paths. Some of us have a career out in the world to contribute to our family income. Some of us stay at home with our children. Some of us homeschool. Some of us send our kids to public school. Some of us are very much into politics, while many of us would rather do the bare minimum to make an honest and informed vote on poll day. What we do have in common, though, is that while we believe women do have rights, more-so we agree that our rights are not defined by what we think society has taken from us or refused to give us, but what has been given to us naturally by our Creator.
Still not convinced? I wonder if you have heard the term New Feminism before. Perhaps you have heard it but don’t understand it. New Feminists are all about respecting our uniqueness, our feminine genius as it pertains to how we compliment men and add value to society and the human condition; not necessarily being equal to, or even better than men, but in our feminine role as it was created, being a harmonic position to that of our male counterparts. New Feminism is also about the importance of advocating for our natural abilities such as breast-feeding whenever and wherever we choose, birthing however we choose, and being able to define our roles as mothers and life-givers, wives and teachers of our children without the oppression of a misogynistic society, or even loud “advocacy” shouted from the throngs of angry women who call themselves feminists.
The truth is, we do believe that feminism can and should be redefined and there is a whole new wave of us coming down the hatch to do just that. And to the men who dislike the way feminism has played out over the years, we appreciate your noble efforts; the efforts of all of our front-line men who advocate for us. You are indeed our allies. If you will open your eyes a little bit you will see that there aren’t enough of you. There aren’t enough men like you willing to take on the type of society we live in where women feel forced to work out in the world away from our families because someone advocated for that over fifty years ago. Or the kind of world where we view our fertility as something that is broken and needs to be fixed instead of the amazing life-giving and beautiful phenomenon that it is. There aren’t enough chivalrous knights willing to stand up for us women, not because we are weak and can’t stand up on our own, but because you are strong and could add so much to our voice. There aren’t enough.
I’d like to invite you to the conversation. I’d love for you to do some research and talk to even just a few of the thousands of us who are here, living, breathing, self-proclaimed feminists who want to change the way society views women, but not in the way you are used to thinking of. You won’t see us out there in our birthday suits, screaming and smearing blood on every male we pass. You won’t see us disrespecting ourselves and every woman who ever was or will be, in order to prove a point. We don’t want reproductive rights that will give us access to abortion on demand, the morning after pill and free birth control paid by our employers. You won’t see us filming our little girls dropping the F-bomb and spouting out words they don’t even understand, for a cause they know nothing about.
But, you will see us in groups, peaceful groups full of love and respect for our sisters. You will watch us build communities who wrap our women in support as we birth our babes, nurse our babes, teach our babes and send them off into the world to make a difference. You will see us working and lending our talents to all areas of society. You will hear us praying for one another, laughing and crying with one another, encouraging one another. You will meet us and get to know us and find out that we love men, we love being their wives and helpmates; we love sharing ourselves and our lives with them. We love our feminine role which compliments their male role. And we do need them.
Much of what you might think is dead-on about some feminists. But not us. Not us. If it’s the term you have a problem with, I completely understand. We all do. But it’s that exact term which gave us a voice over a century ago, and while we are not happy with how loud and angry the voice has grown, we are working to resolve that. We are working to redefine the very nature of the words ‘feminist’ and ‘feminism.’You might think there needs to be no feminism at all, and in a perfect world, that would be true. But, in this world that we live in, in today’s society, we do need feminism. We do need women to stand up for each other, in unity with the men who are willing to stand up for us, and advocate for our rights to exist in the roles which we were designed for. I really encourage you to open your mind to the idea that New Feminism does exist, it is alive, and we do have something to say. And that something is, “please?” Please will you join us in our fight to be unique, to be feminine, to love our bodies and our fertility, to not feel as if we’re broken, to be able to nurture our babies, our families and our men without feeling like we’re betraying our gender? Please will you give us a bigger voice by advocating with us and for us? We are here and we are growing and we are strong and we believe that someday our voices will be louder and more gentle than theirs, we will reach our goal of redefining what it means to be a feminist, and women will once again be able to live comfortably and without regret in our natural womanly roles of wives, life-givers, and nurturers.
Call it whatever you want to call it. Call it a bake-sale for all I care. But the truth is, it is feminism – redefined. New Feminism, if you will. And it’s here to stay.
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