I would not have given myself a label, particularly the one of “feminist” not so many years ago. I am not a fan of labels in general so it is not surprising that it has taken me some time to embrace this particular label as one that I have chosen to identify with in the recent past.
I did not need a label really. I grew up in a home where my feminine identity was affirmed and celebrated. I was given the freedom to be myself, strong and compassionate and imperfect and deeply loved. My identity as a woman was not something I really thought needed defending or clarifying. I was and still am celebrated because of my participation in the human race as a person of the female gender, a person of strength, directness and a low tolerance for injustice by my family and friends.
Considering my current occupation, I rarely would consider the cause I care about a feminist issue. In my mind, it is a human brokenness issue. People both male and female exploit and steal the dignity of others. Initially, there did not seem to be the need to particularly champion the rights of a particular gender.
Generally, I think participated in a general cultural misunderstanding of what feminism is and the purpose it serves in society. To champion the fair and equal rights of women under the label of feminist does not impinge upon the rights of persons of the male gender, nor does it intend to oppress or destroy appreciation for men and their parallel value to women. The existence of feminism as a label would not even be required if there was fair, dignifying and honoring treatment of women, who represent more than half of the human race. Feminism for me comes out seeing injustice perpetrated on women on a daily basis. Seeing that not many or even most girls come out of family situations that honored their femininity, their intelligence, their strength and their ability to change the world if they so chose.
I do not need to define myself over and against another human being. And I do not want to see anyone for reasons of gender, race, class, culture, caste or whatever defining themselves or their value over and against someone else’s who is different from them. And some who call themselves feminists may define themselves over and against men and some who call themselves Men may also choose to play the who is better game. And that is not okay coming from either gender. WHAT I do desire IS justice and the reconciliation of the male and female genders to one another as partners, equal participants in the human race, even with all its frailties and imperfections.
God loves people, male and female, considers THEM with the SAME LOVE (check out Galatians 3:28). And you had me AT Hello. God loves people and there are the beautiful words in Luke 4 which speak about setting the captives free, giving sight to the blind and proclaim the year of the Lord’s Favor. Seems all these words need to work together somehow. Feminism is about seeing captives free, women enslaved by the sex industry, women enslaved in cultural paradigms that do no allow them to live into their potential, and women prevented by law or culture from participating equally at the table. Feminism is also about giving sight to the blind, revealing the broken parts of cultures and institutions that are blind to the treasures they have in the women in their midst. Feminism creates a way forward, a voice, and an opportunity to re-evaluate that, which is within our culture that does not honor creativity of God in creating both male and female.
So yes, I am a feminist. And I am one and even willing to use the label because I see institutionalized injustice being perpetrated against women. I see brokenness in the relationships between men and women (both men and women participating). I see the image of God being subverted in humanity as one half of that reflection is subjugated, sexualized, prevaricated and demonized.
I choose to honor the image of God in the ones created, both male and female. Call me crazy and please do call me a feminist. For the love of all humanity let us stand in solidarity with women and also those whose voices are not heard and to whose voices we do not listen until we see a whole reflection God’s image in humanity brought into balanced focus.