Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feminism and politics...

I just finished watching a documentary on feminism. I came across it on this channel called "Free Speech TV", which, in case you haven't come across, is a very liberal "alternative lifestyle" focused channel.

So why, as a conservative do I find myself watching a channel like that? Well, for start, I can't say I watch the channel regularly. A few minutes here and there each year. (Honestly, I have way too little time to spend watching tv). in any case, the reason I choose to watch shows like this and others is two-fold. One, I want to see what "the other side" is saying. I can't know that I disagree (or not) unless I know their position on issues. If a discussion comes up between me and someone else on the liberal side, I want to be able to state my beliefs in a way that I'm no broadsided by theirs. Its a preparation for apologetics so to speak. Two, in reality I believe there is some truth in both liberal and conservative ideologies, and neither has a monopoly on God's truth. I believe a "good Christian" has some liberal and some conservative ideologies.

For example...lets talk about poverty. Its a huge issue on the liberal agenda. Liberal Christians will argue that liberalism is the Christian-like thing to follow since it emphasizes loving others, particularly the poor, widowed, outcast, different, etc. Sounds like what Christ did right? How can you argue with that. Unfortunately the Conservative agenda doesn't do itself justice in this issue...I'd venture to say that very few Conservatives LIKE the idea of people going hungry and cold. The difference between liberal and conservative is not the issue but how to SOLVE the issue (at least in this case).

I've learned the same about the liberal vs. conservative agenda for abortion. There are very few women out there who want more abortions. (I'd say none, but I'm sure there are some exceptions). when liberals and conservatives come together on the issue of abortion they come at each other like apples to oranges. Liberals want choice...they want women to be able to decide what happens to their bodies rather than the government...they don't think its the governments right to say what happens to THEIR bodies. They believe that they should have the right to protect themselves from babies who use their body to grow against their will. And you know what (except for the last point)...I agree. I think its my decision (and my husbands and most importantly God's) about reproduction rather than the governments...if you look at it this way, conservatives (or at least me) would be furious if the government stepped in and said we COULDN'T reproduce...right? The conservative agenda says that it is wrong for someone to kill anyone, particularly an innocent child, born or unborn. They see a baby in the womb as a baby that is fully human and that it is the governments responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves (unborn babies) and therefore abortion should be illegal...really is pro-choice vs. anti choice and pro-abortion vs. anti-abortion...two different arguments (when we get this down we'll be more successful in winning the arguments for the pro-life movement, btw...).

Anyway, feminism is a similar issue. The documentary kept emphasizing the points that feminism is simply about the mission for men and women to be treated equally in society and/or providing enough information for someone to make a decision...doesn't matter what that decision is. (now, of course, the comments used in the documentary such as "I just can't understand why a feminist would be pro-life" kind of shows the truth about the liberal feminist agenda). The truth is that in general, "feminism" is great...women should not be beaten by their husbands and should be counted as people. There are few people who would disagree with that. its the finite details of the discussion about what makes a 'woman' that cause the differences in political activism for women's rights and prevent conservatives from joining the feminist movement in mass. I, being a conservative woman, believe that I should be able to stay home wiwth my child if that is my choice and not be labeled by "feminists" as stupid and dependant. I should be able to choose to love my husband and submit to him as I believe my God has asked me to without being called weak. I believe that as a woman (and women in general) have been created specifically for certain roles that men are just inferior to perform (uh...hello, breastfeeding?) and that when "feminists" fight to get "equal rights" they actually cause more difficulties for women. Not always, but sometimes. When we fail to accept the role we were born to fill (and I mean our individual role, not just "our role as women"), our life becomes much more difficult to live.

Again, I'm a working mom, by choice because I believe that God has called me to make a difference in the business world to influence women (and men) I meet. That being said, I have strong desires to stay home with my son and I strongly believe that if women weren't widely in the workforce then I wouldn't have a ministry in the workplace and would be able to stay home with my son and any other children we have in the future. What led to women in the workforce? the feminist movement. And not the movement defined above...but the radical movement that tried to force all women to be anti-men and anti-traditional role of women. Fighting for equal rights caused some women to be so passionate they went out and told other women that they were stupid and harming the plight of women by staying at home to raise their children. Rather than giving women the "option" to work outside the home, society has now become a place where, more often than not, women are forced to work outside the home just to pay the bills. If a family is less-wealthy because mom chooses to stay home, people begin to put pressure on the mom to go out and get a job to help pay the bills, which for the most part means "keep up with the joneses". Its sad.

Nevertheless, my point is that I couldn't deny that I am a least according to the definition in the documentary. That being said, we have to consider that if the argument of feminism is purely to give all people equal opportunities, why is it called feminism? The "fem" in feminism insinuates it is focused on the plight of women...I am notout to get women equal to men...I want people to be equal, men or women. At least up to the point that the Bible says we are. The more we try to be people who we aren't or fill a role that by creation should be filled by men, the more we harm ourselves.

Anyway...ramblings...I'd like to know what you all think about feminism.


Candice said...

Once again Marie - I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! :-) I am glad you sit down and write it! I have so much going on in my head too but I can't get it out as eloquently as you. I think that being a female should not make us any less of a person and that we should have the same liberties and choices as men do. Being a SAHM by choice, I sometimes feel that I am looked down upon by women with careers. But there is a flip side, sometimes I feel like career women think that I look down at them because they aren't at home with their child. I don't. I think that it takes a special person to work outside of the home - one with a little more sanity than myself :-) For me, on a personal level I tried working and my heart wasn't there. I knew that if I was working I wouldn't be able to give my all because I wanted to be a SAHM. I guess we should be grateful to the "feminists" who fought for our rights but maybe it needs to stop there and let each person make their own choices.

Raina said...

I could try to write out what I think about feminism, but it would look an awful lot like what you just wrote! It's amazing to me how far modern feminism has strayed from the original meaning. I guess that's why Rush Limbaugh calls them "Feminazis." His point was simply that they have a much more liberal agenda than simply wanting equal treatment for women. It's sad to me that because I believe human life starts at conception and deserves to be protected, and that mothers spending time at home with their children might actually have some value (not that I think working is evil or anything,) that I am suddenly weak and let myself get pushed around by men. I am a feminist, but you won't catch me using that term to describe myself because of the connotations.