The sisterly duo known as Girl Defined love distorting progressive viewpoints, and they recently tackled an old favorite: feminism.
In a post on their website, guest blogger Bernadine Barber, whose mother passed away when she was a child, shares a sad story of how feminism almost ruined her marriage. (Spoiler: It wasn’t feminism.)
My husband grew up without his father. Not due to death, but to divorce. We met at a Bible study at seventeen. He was my friend first: someone who inspired me to grow closer to Jesus and deeper in The Word of God. We had all the butterflies and felt like we were living in a romantic movie during our courtship. We married at 21 and loved each other sincerely.
Then later, all the baggage and lack of discipleship started kicking in.
We’d fight, I’d feel despair, confusion, and regret.
We didn’t know our roles. Barely. Especially me.
How could a man know what manhood looked like if he grew up without his father? How could a woman know what womanhood looked like if she grew up without her mother?
Plenty of people grow up without one parent or the other. Difficult as that is, they turn out fine and they’re excellent parents and partners. It’s ridiculous that that needs to be said. Barber doesn’t go into detail about what she believes “manhood” and “womanhood” look like — as if these are truly black and white binaries to begin with — but so far there’s no direct indictment of how feminism is to blame for these difficulties.
The next section is titled, “Throw in worldly, feminist thinking, and you’ve got a pot that’s boiling, ready to explode.”
I threatened to leave, over and over again. Why? I didn’t know. Aside from some misplaced priorities on his part (we were young) and major storms that life threw at us, this guy was amazing. SO mature for his age. So selfless, brave, strong and enduring. Constantly fighting for me, our marriage and our children.
Is this blog’s audience supposed to already know what “worldly, feminist thinking” means? Because as a feminist myself, I’m not connecting the dots.
Was Barber being pressured by feminists in her life to leave her marriage? No. The reason she wanted to leave the marriage was, quite literally, “I didn’t know.” So naturally, she blames a movement she’s not remotely involved in. Feminism may make a perfect scapegoat for her problems, but the bigger issue is that she seems unwilling to take responsibility for her own actions and choices.
She attempted to explain the problem after that:
I didn’t know what my purpose was.
In my head, it meant making BIG changes in this world. But the only changes I was making now were replacing dirty diapers with clean ones. “I missed out on my purpose…” I’d think to myself. “I’m not reaching the world or making an impact… If only I didn’t marry, if only I didn’t have kids”… then the resentment, despair and threats of leaving would ensue. “This was a mistake!” I’d tell him.“I have to leave, or my life will be a waste…”
There are literally zero feminists or feminist groups that say a woman who chooses to be a wife and mother is somehow wasting her life. There are a lot of definitions of feminism, but one universal theme of the idea is that women should have the freedom to choose what to do with their lives instead of being forced into one particular role. If you want to be a housewife and mother? That’s fine. If you want to work outside the home? That’s fine, too. To suggest feminism means being a housewife is synonymous with not having a “purpose” in life isn’t just a mistake. It’s an example of Barber projecting her own insecurities.
(Serious thought: I wonder if she may have been struggling with postpartum depression without realizing it.)
Eventually, says Barber, everything got better when she let go of “feminism” and embraced her biblical gender role.
Then God started showing me, through His Word, that my purpose was to be a disciple of Christ, a helpmate to my husband, a mother to my children and a disciple-maker for other women. It’s not that I’m not “allowed” to do “other things”.
The Proverbs 31 woman did “other things,” but she had her priorities straight.
I didn’t truly understand the value of being a wife and mother.
To me, they were still not as important as a career (according to the world) or missions (according to the church). Somewhere along the way, no one ever really taught or showed me that FAMILY was truly God’s priority.
Imagine if every parent made their family the priority, this whole world would be REACHED. This is my first and most important ministry. Everything is rooted in and flows from family.
This woman would be amazed at the number of self-identified feminists who prioritize their spouses and children above everything else in their lives. (Imagine her reaction when she realizes some feminists are even stay-at-home moms!)
That said, making your family your first priority doesn’t guarantee everything will work out just fine. Abuse still thrives in close, tight-knit families. (Looking at you, Duggars.)
That nuance is lost on Barber. Feminists almost ruined her marriage, you see, even though she doesn’t indicate knowing a single one when she was struggling in her marriage, and even though feminist beliefs permeated her own thinking whether or not she acknowledges it.
In case you have any doubt about her misunderstanding of feminism, she made it clear in the comments section, when she wrote that she wasn’t referring to all feminists. Just “modern-day feminists, the ones who wear vagina hats and call for men to be killed. You know, the feminists who are real and exist in our society today.”
Huh. I never got the genocide memo. Time to turn in my feminist card, I guess.
(Image via Shutterstock)