Maybe Feminism is Not for Everyone – But What Is?

I’ve been watching the twitter war go down. And by watching I mean I’ve been avoiding it as best I can. There’s always a war going on on twitter, I guess that’s nothing new. People get outraged about all sorts of things. But this one worries me.

Today’s outrage is feminism and how we do and don’t need it. The hashtag #womenagainstfeminism is getting a lot of backlash from the group of people I follow on twitter who wave the flag of Christian Feminism. One side sees it as unnecessary. The other see it as an important and powerful social justice movement. I’m not as concerned with the reasoning on either side as I am with the attitudes of attack we’ve taken against each other.

I see another version of the mommy wars happening. We could be banding together and saying. “You know what, we are strong women and we can make a difference no matter what banner we fly”. We’re taking cheap shots at each other’s banners when we should at least be looking at what the other is fighting. I have a feeling if we actually all stopped to look we’d see women with similar passions and insecurities fight for the “other side”. We might make different choices and different words, but the motivations are similar and we are doing the best we can with the information we have. And that’s all you can do.

The word feminism has a lot of baggage, both good and bad. Some people don’t view the baggage as worth it. Some people want freedom from being defined by anything seemingly institutionalized. So they call for freedom and take pictures of their self-confidence and go to battle. Free and ready to fight any sort of definition or rules placed on them.

Other people see the benefit in being able to band together and make a change. They value having a different set of rules to live their lives by (rule-followers like me appreciate knowing there is another way they don’t have to forge alone). Rules that give freedom from the rules of patriarchy and allow them to step into society as wholly functioning people, insteadNot defined by gender expectations. They see the title of feminism as something more all encompassing, more an attitude and a lifestyle than simply a social justice movement.

The way I see it. We might be able to make more of a difference if we gave up fighting about it. Especially in our christian circles. The internet is always in an uproar about something. Trends go in and out.

But maybe this time, as Christian feminists, or as Christian not feminists (or as feminist not christians or not christians not feminists, really) we can acknowledge that we think differently about some things, but instead of letting that divide us we can look to see what we agree on.

Maybe we can focus less on ourselves and how our opinions are being trodden on and instead listen to what the other side is saying underneath their battle cries.

Is attacking each other really doing any good?

If feminism is about treating people like people we should be up in arms about our own treatment of the other side.

If you don’t need feminism, you can allow others to embrace feminism without hating on it. Can we listen a little to the concerns of others? And maybe instead of bashing what we hate we can talk about what we love? Is that too cliche?

I’m here to suggest that maybe you don’t need it, but other people do. And also, maybe you do need it, but other people don’t. And both options are fine.

Not everyone has to embrace feminism for the world to be changed for the better. But we do need to get better at working together and see more than one side of the story.

Finding feminism has taught me the importance of treating other people’s opinons gracefully. It has given me words to be less dogmatic and more loving with how I talk about my faith and ideas. Because more important than me smacking people upside the head with what I believe is that I demonstrate the love of Christ. And just admitting the world needs change and we’re the ones to do it is more important than using the word feminist.

So whether you do or don’t need feminism, we need to keep fighting for justice in the world. For women and men. The stats need to change. We don’t need feminism itself to do it. We need each other. We need to not be fighting over such trivial things as a name with the people who can help us make change.

Some say feminism is the way to get there, some don’t.

So do or don’t claim feminism.

But do consider the rest of the world as you live and make choices.
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5 thoughts on “Maybe Feminism is Not for Everyone – But What Is?

  1. If even half the people on twitter had the same mindset as you I don’t think we’d even have such an uproar on twitter about the #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtag.

    As someone who supports the hashtag the most disappointing part of this whole trend is just how quickly the supporters are being attacked or told “we don’t get feminism.” A quick visit to the tumblr clearly states(Well as clear as a straw-man picture can) why the hashtag exists.

    http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/post/92278701355/submit-your-pic-all-photos-will-remain-anonymous

    • Yeah, I don’t get the tumblr, sorry. But I am willing to assume people are making decisions from a good place and not from antagonism. I think it is important to define your cause by what you support rather than the antithesis.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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