It has been truly encouraging to see the new movement recently with modern feminism moving away from a “us vs. them” mentality and more towards an equality between the genders. It is undeniable that there has been a patriarchal type of inequality in our society that has taken advantage of women, making them second-class citizens, objects for sex to pet men’s ego; a weight of suffering that women have been crushed under for centuries – a weight that we must fling off. But the solution to inequality is not more inequality in the opposite direction, just like the answer for a man to lose weight is not to stop eating altogether. If women have been crushed by a weight, the remedy is not to fling it back over onto the opposite gender – the answer is the weight simply be removed. I have never described myself as a feminist because of the myriad of different definitions and connotations that come along with it. I see great beauty in the differences between men and women and in the complementary way that God has made us, and find it troubling to attempt to androgynously blur those lines – but I whole-heartedly believe that men and women are both made in the image of God, and therefore are equal in worth, status and value. No one is inherently more valuable because of their gender.
This is why I cringed when I stumbled upon an article, boasting a title, “I Aborted My Baby – Because It Was A Boy“, however I assumed it was just another shock-jock sort of title that we always see bouncing around the internet, desperately trying to get as many hits as possible through an alarming title. “This Man Opens A Box, What’s Inside Will Change The World!” You know, those kind.
Much to my horror, this was not that. This was exactly what it says it is. It is a brief blog, written by an avowed feminist, who upon discovering her 5-month old fetus to be a male, terminates the pregnancy out of the fear of bringing another male into the world.
The article, and the follow ups she has written as a response, seem so outlandish and exaggerated in the language and argumentation that it nearly seems like you are reading a piece of satire. It teeters on the edge of being so unashamedly horrendous, that you become suspicious whether or not it is just a bad joke. I sat in a stunned silence after reading it, grieving the death of this 5-month old infant, killed in an act of blatant prejudice, and stunned and horrified at the stone-like coldness of the woman writing about the entire experience as “liberating” and admits she would “do it again a second time, in a heartbeat.”
What is truly chilling about the account is the depth of affection she feels towards the child while she still thinks its a girl. She dreams about how she will raise her daughter, picks out clothes, and imagines the woman she will become someday. She isn’t under the delusion that what is growing in her isn’t a person, but speaks fondly of her child’s future. In a matter of seconds, however, all love and warmth vanishes, and she is left with what she describes as “a mental anguish the likes of which may only be experienced by those who have had their lives destroyed by war”. She likens being pregnant with a male, to being a victim of a war-torn country – no joke. In her disgust and anger, she says that she “knows what needs to be done” and goes to an abortion clinic. Because of circumstances which are entirely out of the control of this child, he no longer deserves to live; the eyes that once looked upon him with love are now full of revulsion, and she has him ripped out of her body. The message she sends is emphatically clear: “Women are inherently good, Men are inherently evil. So evil, in fact, that it is better to throttle them in the womb then give them a chance to live.”
For someone who speaks of her desire for equality, she has certainly put a visceral image in our mind of the exact opposite – unadulterated sexism, taking advantage of the weak, and hatred for others, simply because of who they are. She ironically likens her critics to Hitler, when the eugenics she is partaking in sounds like something the Führer himself would do.
In one of her follow up articles, “What It Takes To Be A Modern Feminist” the author, who appears to be shocked at the response she has gotten, defends what she believes to be her view of feminism, and offers two words of wisdom to up-and-coming feminists. She explains that to be a modern feminist, you must be 1) Thick-skinned and 2) Have a passion to act. However, the new push in feminism has recently worked hard to define the term simply as an understanding that men and women are equal in value, worth and status as human beings. So, following that definition, I think that the author’s advice she administers is the exact opposite of feminism.
The “thick-skin” she is referring to is not a toughness, but a deadness – a callousness. There is a kind of toughness that is seen exhibited by all great leaders – everyone who attempts to do something good in this world will draw critics. But the thick-skin of people like Ghandi, Jesus Christ, or MLK Jr. was a toughness that was born not from hatred, but love for all of mankind – even their enemies. The love-born toughness gave them the armor to endure the bites, scratches and stabs that would inevitably come when drawing near to the evil in the world with the antidote of love. It was their tenderness that made them tough, not their indifference or hatred.
The thick-skin advocated by this author is the exact opposite of that. It is a leathery-roughness, a deadness – the marble-coldness of a tombstone, looming over a coffin, born from suspiscion, bitterness and a vilification of enemies. If we are to fight for gender equality in our extremely sexist world, we must grow thick-skin; a toughness to fight against the grain of culture – but if we are not motivated by love, we simply become exactly what we are opposing, just a different shade of it. Hatred blinds us, making us ignorant, ineffective, and leads to gross injustices – like the murder of a baby boy.
A Passion to Act
A passion to act is only helpful if it is directed at good things. Muslim extremists in the middle-east have a passion to act. Serial killers have a passion to act. If our “passion” is not bridled by the weight of some sort of moral guide, we will be like a rudderless boat on the ocean, tossed back and forth by the wind and waves of our instincts and impulses, and will soon find ourselves on an erratic course of selfish wandering, frustrated and alone. This lady’s passion to act led her to an atrocious act, that has been widely condemned by both feminists and non-feminists alike. We need more than a passion to act – we need a destination to direct our passion, a set of “right” and “wrong” that serves to make the whole of society flourish and prosper most.
We see this taught most effectively in the God-man, Jesus Christ, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…if you only love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matt. 5:44,46), and lived out in his death upon a cross, to transform his enemies into his friends.
So may we…
- Strive for an equality in worth, value, and status for all people, of all genders and all races and all ethnicity.
- Reject a childish view of using more inequality to fix the problem of inequality.
- Strive to protect the rights of the unborn, the most exploited and abused and vulnerable people group in the world, regardless of gender, or mental health. All people deserve the right to live.
- Rejoice in the glories of men being men, and women being women, and show the world that the differences are beautiful and good, and do not ascribe more value to one or the other.
- Seek to put an end to prejudices that we encounter in our own lives. Refuse to laugh at the joke, don’t watch the TV show that objectifies people, stand up for the down-trodden and be a voice for the oppressed.
- Assume that you do, in fact, have prejudices lying dormant in your heart. Confess them, repent of them, and seek to befriend those who are different than you.