Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Feminists Are Not All Zombies: Paging Matt Walsh

Dear Matt,

Let me introduce myself. I am a SAHM of 6 darling children, a wife to an amazing man, a homeschooler, a church-goer, a daughter, a sister to 6 siblings and their spouses, aunt to 18. Oh, and I am also a feminist. Wait! Before you click away from me, let me explain to you what I mean by feminist because you self-admittedly have never met my kind before, and I really would love to give you the chance to do so!

In the late 1800’s the terms ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ were coined in several countries, and by the very early 1900’s they had made their way to the US. Simply put, these terms were abdicated to the cause of women’s rights. I’m sure you agree that women do have rights, yes? In any case, unfortunately, over the decades, the idea of advocating for women’s rights sort of morphed into what you painted in your blogpost as “a zombie corpse, lurching across the hillside, groaning and growling as it slowly devours itself.”   I completely agree on that one! Yes, sir. I absolutely love the imagery, also. Especially because that type of feminism sadly misses the reality that it is indeed devouring itself. What those women think is their ticket to freedom on the train tracks of “equality” and “reproductive rights” is actually no more than a continuation of the oppression women have faced throughout all of history. Devouring itself, groaning, lurching along the bumpy ride to a nefarious end of the line. Completely agree 100%. But what I cannot agree on is your idea of that being all feminism is. You see, there are many, many of us who refuse to allow the label of feminism to stick to us with that nasty glue that makes your tongue swell up and go numb – zombie drool, if you will.

And that’s where New Feminism comes in.

This is 2014, yes? While I’d absolutely love to believe that feminism has evolved over the last 100+ years into something spectacular, it actually has not. And that is where I come in. Or…ahem…where we come in. We are growing in numbers and aren’t just your typical SAHM mommy bloggers just voicing our concerns from behind a computer screen whilst we simultaneously bounce babies on our hips, and that’s it. We are women of all different ages, races, situations and life paths. Some of us have a career out in the world to contribute to our family income. Some of us stay at home with our children. Some of us homeschool. Some of us send our kids to public school. Some of us are very much into politics, while many of us would rather do the bare minimum to make an honest and informed vote on poll day. What we do have in common, though, is that while we believe women do have rights, more-so we agree that our rights are not defined by what we think society has taken from us or refused to give us, but what has been given to us naturally by our Creator.

Still not convinced? I know you have heard the term New Feminism before. You have heard it but perhaps you don’t understand it. New Feminists are all about respecting our uniqueness, our feminine genius as it pertains to how we compliment men and add value to society and the human condition; not necessarily being equal to, or even better than men, but in our feminine role as it was created, being a harmonic position to that of our male counterparts. New Feminism is also about the importance of advocating for our God-given abilities such as breast-feeding whenever and wherever we choose, birthing however we choose, and being able to define our roles as mothers and life-givers, wives and teachers of our children without the oppression of a misogynistic society such as you might find in Islam, or even loud “advocacy” shouted from the throngs of angry women who call themselves feminists but are no more than those zombies devouring themselves whom you spoke of in your article.

The truth is, we do believe that feminism can and should be redefined and there is a whole new wave of us coming down the hatch to do just that. We appreciate the noble efforts of all of our front-line men such as yourself who advocate for us. You are indeed our allies. But Matt, if you will open your eyes a little bit you will see that there aren’t enough of you. There aren’t enough men like you willing to take on the type of society we live in where women feel forced to work out in the world away from our families because someone advocated for that over fifty years ago. Or the kind of world where we view our fertility as something that is broken and needs to be fixed instead of the amazing life-giving beautiful phenomenon that it is. There aren’t enough chivalrous knights willing to stand up for us women, not because we are weak and can’t stand up on our own, but because you are strong and could add so much to our voice. There aren’t enough.

Matt, I’d like to invite you to the conversation. I’d love for you to do some research and talk to even just a few of the thousands of us who are here, living, breathing, self-proclaimed feminists who want to change the way society views women, but not in the way you are used to thinking of. You won’t see us out there in our birthday suits, screaming and smearing blood on every male we pass. You won’t hear our anger rise up across the nation, insulting and demanding. You won’t see us disrespecting ourselves and every woman who ever was or will be, in order to prove a point. We don’t want reproductive rights that will give us access to abortion on demand, the morning after pill and free birth control paid by our employers. You won’t see us filming our little girls dropping the F-bomb and spouting out words they don’t even understand, for a cause they know nothing about.

But Matt, you will see us in groups, peaceful groups full of love and respect for our sisters. You will watch us build communities who wrap our women in support as we birth our babes, nurse our babes, teach our babes and send them off into the world to make a difference. You will hear us praying for one another, laughing and crying with one another, encouraging one another. You will meet us and get to know us and find out that we love men, we love being their wives and helpmeets; we love sharing ourselves and our lives with them. We love our feminine role which compliments their male role. And we do need them.

I am writing this because you awakened something in me with your post. Much of it was dead-on about some feminists. But not us, Matt. Not us. If it’s the term you have a problem with, I completely understand. We all do. But it’s that exact term which gave us a voice over a century ago, and while we are not happy with how loud and angry the voice has grown, we are working to resolve that. We are working to redefine the very nature of the words ‘feminist’ and ‘feminism.’ You said on your Facebook page that you don’t think there needs to be feminism at all, and in a perfect world, that would be true. But Matt, in this world that we live in, in today’s society, we do need feminism. We do need women to stand up for each other, in unity with the men who are willing to stand up for us, and advocate for our rights to exist in the roles which we were designed for.

Your blanket statement about feminists just is not true. And because you are as you say a “professional truth sayer,” I really encourage you to open your mind to the idea that New Feminism does exist, it is alive, and we do have something to say. And that something is, “please?” Please will you join us in our fight to be unique, to be feminine, to love our bodies and our fertility, to not feel as if we’re broken, to be able to nurture our babies, our families and our men without feeling like we’re betraying our gender? Please will you give us a bigger voice by advocating with us and for us, so that there can be more men like you standing up for life, for truth? Please will you stop making blanket statements about things like feminism which work to only bury us under the blood and lifelessness those zombies are creating in their wake? We are here and we are growing and we are strong and we believe that someday our voices will be louder and more gentle than theirs, we will reach our goal of redefining what it means to be a feminist, and women will once again be able to live comfortably and without regret in our natural womanly roles of wives, life-givers, and nurturers.

Call it whatever you want to call it, Matt. Call it a bake-sale for all I care. But the truth is, it is feminism – redefined. New Feminism, if you will. And it’s here to stay.

*Another version of this post can be found here.