When You Think Feminism Isn't Affecting You

"I know why she thinks that way," she sneered. "She's a feminist."

I overhead a group of women talking about a recent article encouraging women to embrace feminism and its influence, and they all agreed—feminism was bad for women and not a word they welcomed in their vocabulary. These women are godly and involved in their churches. They love God's Word and the truths of His design for women. But their disdain for outsiders was evident.

Feminism in some of our circles has proven to be a dirty word, hasn't it?

In part, it's because delighting in God's design for us as women is not a popular idea in our current culture. Everywhere we look, the world around us is telling us to reject the Bible's teaching on our femininity. For those of us who are willing to swim against the tide of post-modernism and feminism, our radar is always tuned to the prevailing ideologies of the day. We are quick to denounce anything contrary to His design, and sometimes might unknowingly think we have arrived on this whole biblical womanhood thing.

We can see a woman who is living differently than us and look down on her. We think that her false ideology, namely feminism, cannot be found in our lives.

Perhaps it is true that feminism no longer has a foothold on you. Praise God for that. But in my brand-new book, The Accidental Feminist, I seek to show how feminism has impacted all of us, regardless of whether we see it or not. And even for those who are a little farther ahead in understanding these things than others, none of us has room for boasting.

How We View Our Husbands

Maybe you are married and think that you can't be a feminist. You joyfully submit to your husband. You love him. You serve him. You enjoy being married, and maybe you were even married young (further rejecting feminism's lie that you need to find yourself before you find a husband).

One of the subtle ways feminism has influenced us is it has treated men as useless and stupid because they are not women.

But how do you speak about your husband when he hurts you? How do you speak about men in general? When your husband doesn't know how to work the toaster or leaves his socks on the floor, do you jokingly chalk it up to just "being a man." If only he were a woman, life would be so much easier.

One of the subtle ways feminism has influenced us, even the most conservative among us, is it has treated men as useless and stupid because they are not women. You may respect him in word and deed, but do you respect him in your heart—especially when the most obvious differences between the genders are displayed in your marriage?

How We View Our Children

Or maybe you are a mom. It's what you have always dreamed of. You see women choose a career over children and internally put them in a category of women who haven't arrived like you have. You watch your neighbor's kids go to daycare every day and think how lucky your children are to be home with you, not being watched by someone else.

But on your most difficult mothering days, the ones where peanut butter ends up in hair before 9 a.m. and your older children won't stop bickering, do you secretly resent the life you have been given? Do you judge the woman with a different life than you only to look longingly at her life from the four walls of your little blessed chaos?

The struggle against our own selfishness and desire for personal autonomy doesn't go away when we get married or birth a baby.

Perhaps you aren't out championing feminism in the public square or wearing an "I'm a feminist t-shirt." You love your husband and children. You embrace God's design for you. But the struggle against our own selfishness and desire for personal autonomy doesn't go away when we get married or birth a baby.

The hope for all of us is found not in our external adherence to God's commands. It's found at the cross of Jesus Christ. We are only able to live as godly women, in every season and every context, because Jesus, the God-man, lived perfectly for us. As we trust in Him, depend on Him, and treasure Him above all else, we are given the tools we need to obey Him. Delighting in God's good design for you as a woman is not owing to your own merits, but the merits of another. This is so freeing, isn't it?

It means when you fail, you have an advocate before the Father and the Holy Spirit to give you hope for repentance and restoration. It means when you are living rightly, you have a means of worship, knowing that the good works you do are a gracious provision from our all-competent Savior.

If God has given you eyes to understand His Word and embrace His design for you as a woman, praise Him for that. That is a precious gift! But when you see the woman who has yet to see what God has so graciously helped you see, remember these words:

Who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Cor. 4:7)

It's all of grace, sister. All of grace.

About the Author

Courtney Reissig

Courtney Reissig

Courtney is a writer and Bible teacher living in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the author of numerous books and Bible studies, including Teach Me to Feel: Worshiping through the Psalms in Every Season of Life and a forthcoming Bible … read more …

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