A Christian Egalitarian/Complimentarian
Between the popularity of Tumblr (something I find to be a blight on humanity), the uptick of Social Justice Warriors (something that initially seems good), things like #GamerGate and #NotYourShield, and numerous debates on my Facebook regarding Feminism…I’ve been doing some thinking.
(Read about #GamerGate and #NotYourSheild initially here: Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart and Gamergate: Why Gaming Journalists Keep Dragging Zoe Quinn’s Sex Life Into the Spotlight.)
I want to first state the Socratic idea that in order to begin any sort of discussion, one must define the terms, these are according to Dictionary.com
Feminism: “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” and “(sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.”
Egalitarianism: “belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life.” and “active promotion of this belief.”
Compliment: “something that completes or makes perfect:” and “either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart.”
Complementarianism (Definition provided by Theopedia): is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities.”
I am not a feminist. This does not mean I hate women. I am a Christian Egalitarian/Complementarian.
God, who transcends gender, created men and women in his image. Since God’s image cannot be divided into a higher and lesser value, likewise, men and women cannot be divided into higher and lesser value. This equality, however, does not mean that men and women were designed the same in every facet. They were designed by God to complement one another. Since God transcends gender, it is humanity who has created the idea of masculine and feminine traits, and further, it is humanity who wrongly ranked those traits by value.
In general (though there are always exceptions) men are inescapably different than women. This is evident biologically and genetically. Biologically, men and women have different organs, and genetically, there are factors that make men more physically strong and women more emotionally keen. These differences are to be celebrated, not inherently prioritized.
I differ from stereotypical Complementarianism in that I don’t believe men and women must strictly adhere to a set of established gender roles and responsibilities. While I have good reason to hold to the biblical belief that women are not to be head pastors or elders, that does not imply that they must inevitably be limited to work in children ministries or be confined to the role of a housewife. Although not all Complementarians believe in established gender roles, the belief structure does allow for the practice.
Socially and politically men and women should have equality of opportunity. Women should have access to everything that men do. Women should not have public subsidies or scholarships for education in “underrepresented” areas. Similarly, we should not vote for people based on skin color or how many X chromosomes a person has.
True equality promotes true freedom. Equality of outcome does not allow for true freedom because it does not give people the opportunity to pursue what they love to do. My mom, my sister, and five out of seven of my aunts became teachers. They love their profession and are amazing at it. I could not imagine them doing anything else. If there was a mandate that forced any of them to get an engineering job, because of a false sense that more women needed to be engineers simply because of their gender, they would have been miserable. Yes, there would be more women engineers, but it would not be what they truly wanted.
I am not a feminist because I believe in equality of opportunity; not equality of outcome. I am a Christian Egalitarian because I believe that all people are equal. Regardless of race, creed, color and gender, all people have value and self-worth because they are made in God’s image. I hold to many aspects of Complementarism, primarily that God made us different on purpose and that there are basic roles which men and women were made to fill, however I do not believe those roles are exclusive.
Focusing on one gender over another is wrong in many ways. While we should be factual in stating the difference in percentage of males and females who have and are currently being trafficked, I don’t believe we should be fighting to stop only women from being trafficked.
There is a substantial difference between Feminism and Egalitarianism. Feminism by definition focuses on getting the same social and political of rights for women which men have. Many modern day western feminists will argue that Feminism means equality for everyone, and that feminism also helps men. This argument would change the definition of the word to make it closer to Egalitarianism.
Words have meanings and, because of that, Feminism cannot be Egalitarianism.
[Edited on 9/22/14 for grammar and readability, not content.]