- Rick LoPresti
Femininity vs. feminism
Webster's dictionary defines feminine as "characteristic of or appropriate or unique to women". It defines feminism as "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". Therefore, femininity has to do with accentuating and valuing what makes women different than men, and feminism has to do with trying to make men and women the same. Femininity has to do with the beauty of all the aspects of being a woman, and feminism has to with asserting "rights". God clearly made men and women different. Even science bares this out. There are commonalities because both genders were made by God, and both are human; but there are also distinct differences. This does not mean one is better than the other, or that one is inferior to the other. It means God made us with different strengths so we could compliment and balance each other. The alleged war of the sexes is a man-made attempt to divide us instead of unite us in the great plan of God for man. God gave each gender different roles, not different values.
Some people think the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is oppressive to women. While women did not have the same status they do in modern western cultures, they were not oppressed. The Bible places responsibilities on both genders to fulfill. If the Bible is so uniquely oppressive of women, then why is it that every culture that is under its influence gives women more status than every culture that is not? Why are churches made up of more women than men?
That question is an interesting one which has many aspects. History will provide some information on this. The culture of the people of the Bible was patriarchal and monotheistic. Although God is a Spirit (Jn 4:24) and not a person with a gender, the Bible does use the pronoun "he" for God. The large majority of the leaders in the Bible were men. Jesus Christ came as a man. This is not said to promote chauvinism or oppression of women. There were many great women in the Bible. It is said to show that generally headship is given by God to men (Gen 2-3, 1Cor 11:3-16, Eph 5:23, 1Tim 2).
A major cultural shift occurred after the worldwide flood. God commanded men to spread abroad and repopulate the earth, but instead they gathered in one place (Gen 11). They began to build a city and tower. Their intent was clearly to defy God and become their own gods and saviors. They were fulfilling the agenda of the serpent in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-7), which was directly opposite of God's. Just as it did not work out for Adam and Eve, it did not work out for them. God confused their one language, and they were forced to gather into groups that spoke the same language, and to disperse. Thus the place was called Babel, or later Babylon. This was the beginning of different nations and cultures. They took their religion wherever they went, and the names of their idols changed according to their languages. One specific feature of this religion was a female deity. It was based on a woman named Semiramis. Her idol name was Ishtar, whose title was queen of heaven. The Jews fell into this idolatry, and were conquered by Babylon (Jer 44, 2Ki 24). We are ruled by what we worship and serve (Jn 5, Rom 6). All the pagan religions incorporated female idols, and many had one as their main deity. The Hindus have several including Lakshmi and Parvati. A branch of Hindu called Shakti has a female force that animates the world. Egypt had Nut and Isis. In Buddhism, the highest achievement is to become like a female Buddha. The chief goddess of Shintu is Amaterasu. Rome had Venus. Greece had various names such as Artemis, Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Nike, and Diana whose worship Paul dealt with (Acts 19). So the worship of female deity was spread throughout the world. Some of the female deities were part of a three-person god. The concept of one "male" supreme God was diluted in those societies.
Jesus and the apostles warned repeatedly that the day would come when people would bring heresies into the church after their departure. The apostles' doctrine was dominant at first, but then false doctrine began to creep in. It was already starting in their day, but after their deaths, doctrinal corruption began to take hold. In the third and fourth centuries A.D., there was a merging of the 3 main religions of the time - Judaism, Christianity, and paganism. Religious beliefs and practices were blended together to form a "super-religion". Revelation 17 describes this belief system as "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH". Notice this religion is described as a woman named Babylon. It is also identified as sitting upon 7 mountains, and ruling over the kings of the earth in the first century A.D. Again, this is not meant to degrade women. To the contrary! A harlot does not set femininity in great esteem. She degrades it. A "sexually free" woman does not liberate herself from traditional oppression of women. She enslaves herself and devalues her womanhood. Although not expressed overtly, households became matriarchal under this system.
Biblical roles for the genders were generally accepted in western culture until the 20th century. Then World War I happened. In the 1920s women started cutting their hair. It was called bobbing. Then, during World War II, the men were off fighting, and the women stepped into work roles normally filled by men. They began to work in factories outside the home. While they were courageously helping the war effort, they also began wearing pants to do their work. A phrase describing manhood used to refer to who wore the pants in the family. Then in the 1960s, the "sexual revolution" happened. Traditional roles were thrown off in favor of "freedom".
When what might be called feminism first started out, it was about the right to vote, equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity, etc. However, it became a radicalized movement which now betrays the evil spirit behind it. It is not about blessing and honoring femininity. It is about attacking and degrading manhood. Now we have a great dearth of real manhood. A real man does not oppress women and treat them disrespectfully. That is a violation of the Bible. A real man cherishes his wife and honors her based on scriptural principles. A real man highly esteems true femininity. Now that there is so little true Biblical femininity and masculinity, the gender roles have become so confused that now people do not even know what gender they are.
If you look up the word "goddess" on Wikipedia.com, you will find an article with a subsection called "goddess movement" which talks about how the spirits behind ancient female idolatry are behind the modern feminist movement. Huffington Post also published an article written to women entitled "11 Powerful Goddesses to Invoke in Your Life". It gives detailed instructions on which spirits to invoke and for what purposes to allegedly empower womanhood. This is demonic and pagan.
Women do not need to throw off their God-given Biblical role to be empowered. Being able to fornicate and then murder the resulting pre-born baby , to attack the role of men, or to enter roles not particularly suited to the way women were created is not power. It is to embrace the way God made them and the role He gave them (1Cor 11). Womanhood is highly honorable and valuable to God (1Pet 3:1-7). It is essential for a strong and stable society. Any man worth the name knows this and also treasures the gift of God that is woman. Those who don't are not following God's plan for them, and that is not God's fault. This includes but is not exclusive to marriage. It is not just some old-school outdated value for women to follow the leadership of men, especially their own husbands (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1Pet 3:1 & 5). What we need is a revival of real masculinity and real femininity.
The point was made above about more women being in church than men. Why is that? It is at least in part because manhood has suffered greatly under the hand of "women's lib" a.k.a. "feminism". What if Jesus came to some of our churches? Would the man who turned tables upside down and drove people out with a scourge, called the religious leaders poisonous snakes and tombs of dead bones, threw the unbelievers out of the houses he was going to raise the dead in, advocated the Genesis model of marriage, and told the truth everywhere no matter what, be welcome? God created femininity, and it has an essential place in the church, but it is time for masculinity to be unleashed again. We need both in balance.