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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

15 minutes on "The Feminist Mom"

I feel like people often assume that they know much more about me than they actually do. For example: I am married to a Southern Baptist minister, I have three small children, and I live in a small town in  the South. "Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen" pretty much sums up the last 4 years of my life.

I have people start sentences with statements like "Of course I am a Republican..." and feel free to spit venomous bile about any politician that is a democrat. They must assume I am a homophobe, as well.

No one would ever guess, by looking at my life, that I consider myself to be a feminist.

Now, there are as many definitions of the word "feminist" as there are the words "liberal" or "conservative". I do wear a bra, and I think that your average woman tends to think a little different way from you average man. The problem with that is that I have never met a man or woman that meets every requirement for being "average", so how can you make role assumptions based on that?

I believe that every company, religion, denomination, and organization benefits from having some female leadership. I think that it is our differences that make us need each other. It is insulting to me that someone would believe all women are made to do all of the domestic work and just aren't cut out to lead. Studies show that societies that do not allow women to hold places of leadership are more likely to have high rates of violence and poverty. Studies also show that, if you want to raise the overall quality of life in an area of need, educate and empower its women.

I know that there are some difficult passages in the Bible about women, leadership, and roles in the home. I also know that there are many stories of strong women who held positions of leadership in the Bible. I could write a book on the topic, but folks already have. One neat example of God's idea of men and women's roles in marriage is in the book of Genesis where God calls Adam's wife, Eve, his "help meet". This term has been misinterpreted throughout the ages, but the original Hebrew here was "Ezer Kenegdo" - basically meaning co-warrior. The term "Ezer" is used several times again in the Bible, but always in reference to God fighting for his people. So, if the "Ezer" means subservient supporter, then we need to rethink how we view God. I don't think that's what it means, though.

I haven't even gotten into the dilemma that being a feminist mom of three little creates, but you can probably imagine. I know that there's an answer floating around, and that I can be a "co-warrior" and hopefully be a leader in my community again once the children are older, but right now, I feel sorta like Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter. "Master says it's nap time, we can't go anywhere right now." :) I'm being facetious now...

Alrighty, my 15 minutes are up, but I do want to cite the sources for the info I shared. The studies I cited about educating and empowering women to minimize violence and raise the quality of life are from "Half the Sky" and the explanation of the term "help meet" comes from "Half the Church".

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