Feminism carries a certain bad reputation with it, and the church community feels no different. When feminism first emerged as a social movement in the 1960’s, it came with displays of anger and resistance. The term feminist quickly became connotative with the idea of angry women or of women who wanted to emasculate men. Although one can find these types of personalities within feminism, this is not the official or academic representation of feminism. The truth about feminism that needs to be embraced is that feminism in its true form is the same thing as masculism and humanism: they are simply movements that promote equality, rights and dignity between men and women.
Feminism in its truest form simply promotes equal treatment of all people regardless of gender. It calls for the ethic of assessing people based on their qualities that are not related to their gender, such as their intelligence, altruism, talents and inherent strengths. It calls for society’s evolution out of the use of gender roles so that every person can feel as free as they need to live their life organically instead of to suit a preconceived role. The patterns of history of most global cultures favor patriarchy, and feminism brings awareness to why patriarchal systems are incorrect.
Feminism within the Christian church is a complicated matter because the bible does unarguably assign some basic gender roles. Apart from the obvious heterosexual stance that the bible takes, it also discusses a woman’s need to feel valued by her husband and a man’s need to feel respected by his wife. With feminism aiming to break down gender roles such as these, it may seem that feminism has no place in the church, but this is not the case. There are many ways that the bible supports the principles of gender equality, which can be observed in verses such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as well as the depiction of Godly women being those who took active roles in their faith and within ministry rather than deferring to men.