For a long time, I didn't want to be a feminist. I rejected the label because I didn't agree with some of the things that were being said in the media. Shaving my legs and shaving my armpits was too important to me.
The odd thing was that I fully believed that men and women are equal. I believed that men and women should be paid the same and that they should be given the same opportunities, but all I saw were women who seemed to hate men and I didn't. Feminism was all about hating men and wanting to surpass them, at least that's what I thought.
Growing up in a conservative home and church, I was also told that you could absolutely not be a feminist and a Christian. There would never be reconciliation between the two, so I never pursued knowledge of the movement for fear of losing my salvation.
There were people in my life that knew I was a feminist before I did. My life revolved and still revolves around proving to the world that my gender doesn't make me less valuable or hold me back in any way. The women in my life have always been strong and have always stood their own, but they rejected feminism, so I felt like I had to, as well.
As soon as I got to college, I started to have some great conversations with people on both sides of the argument. I know it's a huge cliche to change your mind in college, especially when it comes to moving towards the progressive side of things, but I had to stop being scared of being challenged. One friend in particular outlined my beliefs versus the core beliefs of feminism and I couldn't argue anymore. Logic is the way to my mind and my heart. I was a feminist.
Coming out as a feminist to my parents was... interesting, but not a new experience. Our beliefs always clashed, but this one was near and dear to my heart. This one affects the core of who I am.
To this day, my parents and I still debate over whether or not I can be a feminist and be a Christian. I understand where they're coming from. It's hard to question everything you've ever known and have ever been taught.
One reason my mother claims that feminism has no place in the church is because a man is meant to be the head of the household (Ephesians 5:23). I won't pretend to be an expert on theology and I love my mother very much, but I have issues with this.
In the time that this passage was written, men were the only ones that were educated. They were the only ones that were allowed to be educated. It made sense that they were the "head of the house" because they were the only ones that were allowed to own property, work professionally, and have a say in politics.
Well, thanks to all the feminists before feminism was a thing, women can now be educated and women can now work professionally, vote, and own property. Those rights were granted to us in that order, by the way, with property coming in during the 1970s. So if we're equally educated, shouldn't we be equal in the household and in a marriage or does that have to wait until we're paid equally for the same work?
Now, I'm not anywhere near being married and I don't want to tell you and your spouse how to live your lives. This has nothing to do with gender roles, by the way. There is room in feminism for women who adhere to traditional gender roles. We just believe that we should be given a choice to adhere to them or not.
Stop being so scared of the word "feminism." I doubt that there are very many people left that genuinely don't want women to have the same rights as men. If you do believe that, come find me and I'll knock some sense into you. I'd just like to take a second to point out that there are plenty of people in the world that are scared of the word "Christian." Plenty of people who bore that title did terrible things, much more terrible that anything feminists have ever done. So us Christians, of all people, should not be scared of something as frivolous as a title. Believe what you believe and don't apologize for it.
Whether you want to accept feminism in the church is up to you, but I have one more thing to say. Don't tear us down and don't tell us that we're terrible Christians for wanting equality. Love us because as one of the "good Christians," isn't that what you're supposed to do? Love is the name of the game and division does not come from love.