When I was in college, a christian college in Texas so, you know, as foreign to me as if I’d gone to college in Jamaica, I took a statistics class. I had to, as part of my undergraduate degree program requirements. The prof was a sweet old guy who was teaching his last year of classes before retirement and really, he was just phoning it in.
It was the easiest statistics class in the history of statistics classes.
We talked about almost everything under the sun. Except statistics.
I remember one day, sitting in class and this prof asked us what we had planned for our lives, or something like that. And students were talking about grad programs or marriage or job possibilities, and I honestly never said much in this class because, like I mentioned, they were Texans and I could barely understand them let alone relate to them, but that day the sweet old prof specifically asked me a question.
I remember somewhere in my answer I said something about being a feminist, and I remember hearing a mighty collective gasp and it was like all the air left the room for a few seconds.
And then the sweet old professor kindly and patronizingly said something like, That’s very interesting, and went on to the next student, but after class he asked me to stay behind and kindly and patronizingly suggested that I not give up on men, and that marriage and children were the most fulfilling and God-honouring way for a woman to live her life.
I hadn’t realized that considering myself a feminist meant giving up on men or marriage.
Honestly, I don’t think I really knew then what it meant to be a feminist. Except for equality, I suppose, and maybe that was definition enough.
I went to a secular, Canadian university after that, in pursuit of a Master’s degree, although I never finished the program because I got married (to a man) and started having children. Oh, the irony.
Now, as a mature woman with many years of life experience behind me, I don’t call myself a feminist anymore. I still have a fondness for equality, but there’s some other stuff that bothers me.
Mainly, the babies. I don’t think I can call myself a feminist because I can’t not see a fetus as really and truly a human person. And there’s some other stuff too, but mainly, it’s the babies.
I know there are qualifying terms out there. Christian feminist, etc. But once you start doing that, it all gets so deeply defined, it becomes meaningless. Like the sabbath laws, or a bill in parliament. The forest gets lost in the trees.
Anyway, that’s where my thoughts have been taking me lately. One friend told me I was copping out. Another said I was over-thinking. Ya, probably.
But life is short, and kids grow up fast, and I just want to spend my time loving the ones I love.
And all the stuff I believe is important? I think I can believe those things as a woman, without needing to define myself any further.
Although Sarah Bessey just wrote a book called Jesus Feminist, and I’ll probably read it.