Dawn and I recently had a conversation about feminism with a young woman we have known and cared about for a long time.
The topic centered around how society had made this young woman feel “less than…” and how she felt that the ideals of feminism defended her value as a woman.
She identified “society” as anything and anyone (male or female, Christian or non-) who made her feel she had to look or act a certain way to be valued as a person. Whether it was pressure to look sexy in heels, or to like pink or dolls, or to not like math and science, the pressure was real to her.
Dawn and I spoke at length with her about this. Through the conversation it was evident that the pressure she felt took an emotional toll on her. It caused her pain. And we tried to be supportive.
The next day, reflecting on the conversation, I realized that we hadn’t told her one, very important thing.
THE thing, really.
So I wrote her this note.
Perhaps some of you need to hear this as well.
It’s evident from what you said last night, that the environment you live in pressures you to believe that to be a woman is to be “less than…”
I understand the reality of what you sense. It’s wrong. And it’s sad. Because it’s not true.
The best response I can think of is the gospel of Jesus Christ:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.—Galatians 3:28-29
The idea that all of humanity, regardless of gender (or rank, or ethnicity), is equally valuable by God’s measure and equally heirs of God’s promised blessing was radical in the ancient world.
And it is the foundation of the best view of ourselves.
⟩ The extent to which our culture pressures women with “You are less than…” is the extent to which our culture has rejected the gospel of God’s unmerited favor toward women.
⟩ The extent to which women feel the need to assert “I am not less than…” is the extent to which they have not understood or embraced the gospel of God’s immeasurable value of them.
⟩ The extent to which christians or the church pressure women to feel “less than…” is the extent to which they have twisted or betrayed the gospel of God’s unconditional love toward women.
I glimpsed your emotion about this matter and I’m sorry. I can’t fix society or the church for you, but I can unashamedly recommend that embracing the gospel fully, is the best means of finding true liberty to be a woman who is never “less than…”
The gospel assures us that God embraces your value as a woman.
I hope there is some light in that for you.