Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist releases today. A little more than halfway through my advance copy, I can already tell you it is a disarming, poetic, inviting read. In celebration of Sarah's courage in writing it, I've decided to say a little something here today about why I'm a feminist. If you identify as a Christian, but the word feminism makes you feel yucky, you might take to Sarah Bessey's idea of Jesus feminism, which she likes to call "God's radical notion that women are people, too." You may also enjoy these stories of women and men whose feminism is inspired by their faith.
***I know. You hate the word. I get that.
But contrary to popular belief, there is no bouncer at the door of the feminism party, checking each of us for the proper sexual identity and political ideology before letting us in.
According to Merriam-Webster, feminism is simply "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities."
Is that something we can get behind?
Then we can be feminists, too.
Women and men. Republicans and Democrats. CEOs and stay-at-home moms.
We can all be feminists.
Because feminism isn't black or white, conservative or liberal, pro-choice or pro-life, gay or straight. Feminism is believing wholeheartedly in the women around you, in your daughters and sisters, mothers and grandmothers, wives and friends. It is moving aside to make room in the conversation for women from all walks of life, rich and poor, gay and straight, black, white, latino, native, and asian. It is listening to their stories and amplifying their voices. And it is using ours to defend their rights, wherever we find them challenged.
Can we do this?
Can we make a commitment to empower women instead of degrade them?
Can we do the uncomfortable work of challenging humor that deprives women of their humanity and complexity?
Can we walk through the door, or pick up the phone, today, and tell the women we love most that we believe in them? Can we acknowledge their gifts and support their dreams?
Because the women of the world need us.
They need us to believe in their personhood, their intellect, their contributions to society. They need to know they can begin the important work that will change this world of ours for the better. They need to hear in our voices and in our lives that they have permission to invent and create and lead. From the giggling toddler to the aging matriarch, every one of us needs to be freed to be ourselves.
Can we do that for each other, you and I?
Congratulations. We're feminists.