‘It could have all turned out differently, I suppose…
… but it didn’t.’
– Fanny Price
Feminism for the Creative
Before my hatred for labels & my disgust for most arguments lead me to throw out the term entirely, I want to take this chance to try and explain WHY FEMINISM for a peace-loving, non-confrontational creative like myself.
At the heart of feminism is the belief that all people have inherent value as image-bearers of the divine. Why then, the feminine focus, you ask? When the sins of prejudice and hatred and hierarchy overtook the world, this is the way it all panned out: women, among countless others, have often been treated as less than human subordinates to men.
Could it have all worked out differently? Could the opposite be true?
It could have all turned out differently, I suppose. But it didn’t.
Amid all the murky waters of ragey Twitter trolling and reactionary blogging, I have struggled to keep my head above water; to remember why feminism is not merely a theory but should, in fact, be a way of life.
These are a few thoughts toward that end.
Feminism is for selflessness. It’s for seeking out the unloved by man but beloved of God.
When I sit beside a child in my preschool classroom, bend down to look into their crestfallen eyes and listen to their story, that is feminism.
When I go to war with the elusive pride of privilege when my own dire financial straits lead me to seek help in a community clinic I consider “beneath me”, that is feminism.
Feminism is an opportunity to rise out of quiet victimhood and speak up. It is an opportunity to name the sins of oppression in our culture, robbing oppression of its power & hopefully bringing help & love & Gospel to those who have been its hands and feet. If we are honest in our humanity, all of us have oppressed someone.
Feminism is gripping, stomach-wrenching art, created to draw attention to the things that we like to miss. I think of Morgan, Rachel & Jordan, friends and alums from our common alma mater, Moody Bible Institute, who wrote, directed & acted in “Vyrosla”, a musical (!) about the injustices of sex trafficking. While receiving both praise and censure from the decidedly conservative student body at Moody, I watched them stand up for their art last week & I am privileged to know such wild, talented, engaging, overwhelmingly courageous souls. (Highlights here!)
Feminism is writing songs and blog posts and tweets that consciously seek to uphold and revere the personhood of every unique, intriguing, whole human being that I get to encounter. It takes a bit longer, granted. It takes a lot more sitting & thinking & erasing & pray pray praying for clarity & guidance and most days, it means shutting up & listening.
Feminism is prophetic grief: a voice crying “All is not as it should be” & weary feet that bring with them good news saying, “Oh mourner! Redemption is yet nigh”.
Feminism is a voice of one crying in the wilderness –
for often following the Spirit can be a lonesome road –
that the heart of God is to bestow a crown of beauty upon the burdened necks of those who grieve (Isaiah 61). I find it very telling that God’s heart, as expressed so eloquently in these last chapters of Isaiah, is yet brought near to the mourners by human feet that walk & human hands that lift.
Feminism is both for repairing bridges long forsaken and rebuilding the walls of personhood torn down by sorrow and abuse.
Feminism is for broad shoulders and strong hearts,
for binding up the broken-hearted and holding the battered and being the servant of all. [Isaiah 55]
Feminism is “now I will show you a more excellent way”,
for at the root of feminism that is centered in Jesus is love, modeled after the love of Christ who ripped down the veil of the Holy of Holies and the individual veils that had kept us from seeing one another as the beautiful, sacred image-bearers we were created to be & he – the one, true, holy, enthroned creator – came NEAR, & in so doing gathered us, however unwillingly, across cultural & societal boundaries & near to one another. ‘For he himself is our peace.’
O Come, Emmanuel, & be our peace.
‘“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.’