I was at a very interesting lecture last week, hosted by Christian Heritage and delivered by Sharon James. I’d highly recommend listening to the audio which has been kindly posted online. The lecture acknowledged and investigated the broad spectrum encompassed by the term ‘feminism’, considering the two main divisions – equity feminism and gender feminism. (If you don’t know the difference, listen to the lecture and learn!) I came away marvelling at how much of an impact feminist ideology has had on our society – both good and bad.
And I wonder if we even realise it? It’s struck me that I hear lots of women use the label ‘feminist’ perhaps a bit too thougthlessly – on the one hand we have this image of a pioneering, revolutionary woman who is making a stand for women everywhere (how she does that, and what exactly it is that she’s standing for can vary!) and then on the other hand there are those, particularly I think amongst Christians, who see the term ‘feminist’ as a dirty word, and immediately imagine bra-burning, men-hating, anarchists who want to destroy all that’s nice and sweet and fluffy in the world. I don’t think either stereotype is particularly helpful, and I’ve been challenged to think much more carefully about this.
With the Nobel Peace Prize this year focusing on women’s rights on a global scale, it would be naive to imagine this is just going to remain an issue for our society. What would be a right way to uphold women’s freedom? To ensure that women are given equal opportunities? As a Christian I want to insist that women are equally loved, valued and honoured by God, even though society and the church over the years has failed to reflect that… what will it look like, in a society that is leaning much more towards a gender feminism approach to policy, to insist that the real and wonderful differences between men and women compliment one another and make us able to work together? Do we need to be bolder in speaking these truths to those who are governing and campaigning for women’s rights?
Following that, this Saturday I was at the morning session of the London Women’s Convention. I travelled down with my friend Sarah and we had a great time listening to God’s Word and singing together, chatting and enjoying London in the sunshine – I’d forgotten how beautiful London can be! I’ll be following up this post with some thoughts on what we heard there soon! (At least that’s the plan… it may be another vain attempt to blog more regularly, we’ll see!)