Months back, I was supposed to meet up with a friend to discuss the future of a certain project we had been assigned to carry out. The meeting was scheduled for 1 pm but I found myself sitting and waiting till 3 pm before my supposed partner showed up. Now, his excuse was that he had forgotten something at home and had to rush back to get it. On a normal day, that’s no big deal but I was upset. Let it be known that I had called him several times and he kept saying ‘I am close, give me 5 minutes’. Of course, I was not stupid to think he will make it in 5 minutes time so I called back every 20 minutes and he gave me the same response. When he finally arrived and I expressed how upset I was, he kept laughing and saying, ‘just forget it now, shebi I am here”. I refused to let it go and kept asking why he had to lie about being close instead of saying he had forgotten something. His reply this time was unbearable; “why are you angry like this, don’t you know you are a WOMAN?!”. The rest of our conversation will not be stated for certain reasons but I remember telling a friend about it and she said; “You should have unleashed the FEMINIST in you on him”. We had laughed over it then but it got me thinking if my being offended by that statement made me a feminist or if feminists were the only ones allowed to be angry by such statements. I do not consider myself a feminist because I am Christian and I believe that word has been to a whole different level. However, I believe in certain things they stand for.
Feminism! It is safe to say that this word has gained more popularity and association now compared to 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Africa, which is seen as one of the greatest anti-feminist continents was not even able to fight back its movement. We have the likes of Nawal El-Saadawi, Waangari Maathai, Ama Ata Aidoo, and the beloved Chimamanda Adichie who refers to herself as “a happy feminist that loves to wear lip gloss”. These women have gone a long way to center their writings on the central theme of women’s oppression and desire for self-expression which most fans and readers have accepted, concurred, digested and even spat out to share with unbelievers of feminism without even knowing what it truly means to be a feminist.
Before I proceed, here is the definition of feminism: An aim that women should have the same equal rights as men; the struggle to achieve this aim. Now, link that definition with the Christian faith and beliefs… do you see something wrong there? Something out of place? Your answer will determine how much of an eye opener you need.
In the year 2013, Chimamanda gave a powerful speech that rocked not just Africa but the world including the Queen of Pop’s throne and got her saying; “Damn!! I have to feature that”. This speech according to Chimamanda was aimed at giving everyone a reason why they should be feminist and I have watched this speech countless times and agreeing with 99% of what she said. However, I have come to realize that Chimamanda was addressing the basic human rights of both men and women, the advantages of teaching both boys and girls the simple act of nourishing themselves and striving for their career and dreams not minding the gender. In my opinion, Chimamanda spoke of the brighter end of feminism but missed out the darker end.
A lot of abstract protests and behaviors like legalization of abortion, recognition of prostitution as a career and the most outrageous of all, the right for women to move around without shirts as men do can be tagged directly or indirectly to this feminism craze. This also includes the continuous rise in the rate of Divorce and emergence of female pastors.
In the creation account of Genesis 1, God’s first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God (v. 27). Neither received more of the image of God than the other. So the Bible begins with the equality of the sexes. As persons, as spiritual beings standing before God, men and women are absolutely equal. Therefore, men and women are without question equal as humans, but they are also entirely unique as creatures. They are not only distinct sexually, but almost every other aspect of their natures is different as well. I believe these differences should be apparent, maintained, and even emphasized in everything, from the way we walk and talk to the way we work and dress. Men should never try to be women, and women should never try to be men.
I bet there were people who were nodding their heads my earlier stated list of abstract protests feminism has caused until they saw ’emergence of female pastors’ and they’re like “Why do you have to say that?” but unapologetically, I will say that has been one of the greatest flop feminism has caused to the Christian world.
1Tim. 2:11-13.says: ” I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control”
The same sentiment is echoed in 1Corinthians 14:34,35: “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” In this passage, Paul also tells the women of Corinth to learn in silence. I sometimes find it unfair that women are subject to this but then again, it is the word of God.
In the case of submission, Eph.5: 22-33 says wives should submit to their husbands and husbands should love their wives as they love their bodies. Is this unfair? Maybe but, If you do not want to submit to a man whose wishes doesn’t match yours, then marry the right man. Paul did not say ‘women submit to your boyfriends’ he said ‘husbands’. So if your boyfriend’s way is not the same as yours, terminate the relationship while you can else, you will be compelled to submit to that for the rest of your life except divorce comes to play and we all know God is against that!
I should hasten to say that the blame does not lie with just the liberal feminist movement. In fact, the brunt of the blame must fall on indifferent and even lazy men within the church. They are failing to fulfill their roles as strong, loving, and servant-oriented leaders. As a result, women are naturally stepping into the vacuum.
Yet Isaiah 3:1–12 offers a sobering thought about this scenario. “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. … As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”
It appears that when men fail to lead as they should, women and children fill the void as a negative consequence. This often comes with bad results, as was the case with Queen Jezebel, who usurped her husband’s authority. (See 1 Kings 18, 19, and 21.) While in power, she severely persecuted God’s prophets. Not long after, her daughter Athaliah took the throne of Judah—a six-year reign marked by bloodshed and confusion (2 Kings 11:1–16).
When a man refuses to take up his responsibilities such as providing for the family, the woman is left to fill this void and don’t blame her if she starts to hold the horse’s reigns with him behind.
Back to Chimamanda’s speech, she mentioned a catchy phrase, “we teach women to shrink themselves…”. This phrase will be mistaken by some people to say, ‘women are also sexual beings and they have the right to cheat and bed hop without being looked down on, after all, men do it and they are not looked down on’ but NO, I will like to think Chimamanda didn’t mean it that way. Of course, God created bothe sexes to be sexual beings but promiscuous acts should be condemned equally (using the feminist word) be it done by a boy or a girl.
Now, I am not a female chauvinist. I am career driven, I admire outspoken women and I firmly believe that men and women should get equal pay for equal work but I will never choose a career over grooming and taking care of my future home and I will be submissive to my husband.
A friend of mine often said I was a feminist by convenience probably because;
-I believe a man should cater for the bills on a date
-I believe a woman should aspire to being a good home maker (note, I did not say aspire to marriage).
-I believe a man should cater for his family including the wife not minding if she has a job or not. The saying, “My money is mine and my man’s money is ours” is no joke.
-I believe women should be noticed and not ignored in public places.
– I believe a woman should be an ambassador for Christ in their own little ways but, I am also against women taking over the pulpit in churches to preach.
-I believe women should be allowed to participate in choosing their leaders.
-I believe a husband should be able to cook, clean and care for his children’s hygiene just because it is important and he could assist when necessary even though it is the role designed for the woman.
-I believe a wife should be career driven and hard working so as to assist with finances when ‘necessary’ even though it is the role designed for the man but she should never put this before managing her family.
-I believe a man has no right to hit a woman or control her. God said lead not drag!
-I believe a woman should stand for what she wants especially when right; not by protesting but by giving reasons and proving why it should be so. It is said to be submissive not stupid.
-I believe a man shouldn’t let his ego come before a listening ear; behind every successful man is a woman.
-I believe a woman should be able to express her emotions and make it known when she is upset but not violently.
-I believe a woman runs the affairs of the kitchen but it is not the only place she belongs to.
-I believe no woman should be subject to being just a housewife. I know strong women who balance both worlds very well.
-I believe one cannot be a feminist and a Christian at the same time.
With all these, I can’t be called a feminist neither should I be called a female Chauvinist. I will rather be called a Christian woman in progress.