As I mentioned in a recent post, I am excited to see so many conversations about feminism popping up all over the Christian blogophere lately. But with that excitement comes some skepticism and hesitation. I’m not a huge fan of some of the conversations about Christian feminism happening.
Criticism from women being dismissed as “looking for things to be angry about,” being “humorless,” failing to “speak life,” or wanting a “bush vs. beard contest.”
Unnecessary lines–which often rely on stereotypes–being drawn being “Christian” feminism and “secular” feminism.
Statements made in defense of egalitarianism about men and women being made for each other, that are well-meaning, but nevertheless leave out queer people.
Mockery of trans people, done in the name of feminism.
Hints that angry feminists, bitter feminists, cynical feminist, and depressed feminists are not welcome.
People insisting that we must welcome sexist, or even abusive, male allies, because oppressed and oppressor must have an equal voice.
We need to talk…
For all of these reasons and more, I am glad that some great folks got together to talk about #FaithFeminisms. To open up space for us to “undo each other” with our diverse standpoints and stories. To look at our privileges together, and repent of the ways we’ve ignored them or used them to harm others. To call out male allies using the feminist cause to gain pageviews, but refusing to listen to women. To go beyond Feminism 101. To practice intersectionality by talking about not just gender inequality, but racism, ableism, transmisogyny, heterosexism, classism and more.
The conversation so far…
I’ve added my voice (literally!) to the conversation already, on Thirty Seconds or Less, where I talk briefly about how feminism taught me what God’s love looks like.
Christianity taught me that God is love. But it’s feminism that taught me what love actually looks like. As bell hooks says, “Love and abuse cannot coexist” and “Without justice there can be no love.” Love isn’t just a nice feeling. It’s a force for liberation of the oppressed. Anything less is not God’s love.
I’ve also really appreciated Abi Bechtel’s post, “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be ‘Allies.'”
Sometimes we mess up. Acting in solidarity doesn’t mean that we must always be perfect; it means that when we aren’t, we must learn and do better.
I also enjoyed h00die_R’s call-out of male feminist allies who insist that liberation must wait, must happen in the “proper time.”
It’s a Top-Down #EmpireBusiness approach. I don’t think one can claim to actually talk about liberation if they prefer their abstract, hierarchal ecclessiologies over the very real, concrete livelihoods of women. The choice of Liberation always involves the choosing of the concrete over and against the abstract, praxis over the theoretical.
The right time is always NOW. The Kingdom is here NOW in the present as well as future. THE HOLY SPIRIT empowers women and men in the here and NOW.
Suzannah Paul gives an important reminder about criticism in Christian feminist spaces.
Words shape reality, and Christians who worship Jesus the Word who spoke creation into being ought to understand this better than anyone. Feminists who recognize that “mankind” isn’t inclusive language or can deconstruct modesty debates in their sleep, should not recoil if it’s pointed out that our own language is transphobic, ableist, or otherwise harmful.
Mihee Kim-Kort’s Thirty Seconds or Less podcast is another important reminder.
Being a feminist, Jesus or Christian or whatever, means joining in the work of something bigger than yourself, your blog, twitter, or social media, and sometimes that just means you need to get out of the way.
If there’s something you want to add to the conversation on Christian feminism, check out the #FaithFeminisms website, and follow the hashtag on Twitter. Consider writing a post or doing a video (either on your own blog, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like me to host it as a guest post) and linking up now through July 25th.
And be sure to read and/or listen to others who have already contributed!