In the past few years, numerous people have asked me why I make such a big deal about gender equality. Have I experienced such extreme inequality? What traumatic experience drives my activism? Why am I so passionate and outspoken about this issue? People often assume that a tragic event in my personal life led to this behavior.
Women make up 19% of active duty service members in the Air Force. I’m a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, and the numbers in my career field are even lower. The last statistics I saw reflected fewer than twenty female chaplains in the Reserves, out of about two hundred.
When I have heard discussion about love and respect it is often applied as gender specific: a woman needs love, a man needs respect. But it isn’t that cut and dry. Men need to be loved as well, and women need to be respected, too.
Peter states what should be common sense: husbands, live with your wives in a considerate and respectful manner. He then goes on to say that if a husband does not do this, his relationship with God will suffer.
In Finally Feminist, John Stackhouse provides biblical, theological, and practical arguments for his own understanding of the issue: equality is the biblical ideal, but patriarchy is allowed and regulated by a God who has larger kingdom purposes in mind.
Can evangelical feminism be saved from secular feminism? In response, I propose that many of the needs and the bases for feminism come from God and God's followers. Further, both feminists and male chauvinists elevate values and perspectives that, in truth, should not be contradictory or exclusive from one another.
You see, I have been called. Deep within me is a passion for justice, a burning desire to see women freed and systems changed, to see the playing field leveled for all people, regardless of race, gender, economic status, ancestry, or ethnicity.
Secular feminism and Christian faith view many key issues of morality and identity very differently. But those differences do not preclude the possibility of finding significant areas of common ground.
Sometimes sexism is harsh, blatant, and outrageous. And sometimes it’s none of those things. There are blatant forms of sexism as well as more subtle forms of sexism. The latter can make women feel a little crazy when they attempt to point it out, because people tend to minimize experiences with subtle sexism as harmless or misinterpreted.