A Brief Critique of Feminism
September 24, 2020 · C.E. Carter
It’s often the case with any discussion of ideas, that the definition of terms serves as a stumbling block to productive conversation. I’ve found that “what exactly do you mean?” or “what exactly are you asking?” are two of the most helpful questions in any discussion. To the end of attempting to live at peace with all men, we ought to be sure that we know what they are saying, first. Thus, when it comes to the question “do you support feminism?” in the absence of any context, my response is almost surely “it depends what you mean by feminism”. I am not an ideologue who merely opposes or supports anything attached to a particular word. If you were to ask me if I supported “social justice”, my answer would most likely be “no”, but I would refrain from giving a definite answer until I was sure I understood what was meant by “social justice” in the mind of the person I was speaking with. If they meant “a Marxist definition of justice”, my original answer would stand, but if they meant “limited structures of socialized support for those who have fallen on hard times”, I could probably get behind that.
So it is with feminism. Feminism, as “belief in or advocacy of women’s social, political, and economic rights, especially with regard to equality of the sexes” is largely something I support, provided that “equality of the sexes” means complementarian equality, and not egalitarian equality. Christianity holds women in high regard, as those created alongside man to assist with the work which God has assigned to man: fill the earth, and subdue it. Christianity recognizes the unique characteristics and strengths that God has given to women to assist men towards this objective. While men work to subdue creation in the realm outside of established civilization, women work to make livable and comfortable the ground which has already been taken. Both tasks are essential to human life, and insofar as feminism advocates for a society in which women are allowed to exercise their God-given feminine strengths for the benefit of all, it ought to be supported. Man is the crown of creation, and woman is the crown of man. This is the essence of complementarianism.
That said, what is often meant by “feminism” today is an egalitarian view of the situation; that is, men and women are not only equal in value, but equal in function as well. Contemporary feminism asserts that the only differences between men and women are the product of social construction, and are therefore only as arbitrary as something like the particular clothes which each gender chooses to wear. This “third wave” of feminism seeks, as do the rest of the postmodernists, to deconstruct anything which is perceived to be socially constructed by an oppressive power. As a result of this, new feminism has a two-pronged approach to politics: 1) tear down men, the oppressors, and 2) encourage women to be like men. Feminism which tells men that they are inherently evil and that their masculine ways are “toxic”, while simultaneously condemning women who want to be wives, mothers, and masters of their homes as “unempowered” is deplorable and fundamentally anti-human. As a result of this, there is a myriad of confusion among both men and women as to their roles within the world. Men are told that they are toxic and good for nothing, so they either become brutish achievers out of spite for those who hate them, or they check out and refuse to play the game at all. Women find themselves with conflicting desires, both to marry and to have children, and to abdicate marriage and motherhood for the sake of advancing their career and being independent. It’s a truly sad state of affairs, since most men want to be husbands, have children, and will happily create a life which nurtures their wife and their family, but they find it hard to find a woman who will go with them on the journey. Similarly, most women actually do want those things, but when the men have all stopped trying, the prospect of celibate independence seems like a better option. If your dating life is a little stale you probably have feminism to thank for it, and no wonder: it is a worldview which denies and opposes the basic tenets of how God created man and woman.