I’m Annie. You probably know that. So if you’ve met me, read my blog, followed me on twitter or simply heard of me, you probably also know me as a ‘Feminist’.
“Hi, meet Annie, she’s a feminist”
“Oh so you’re Annie the feminist”
“You’re that feminist aren’t you, so why do you hate men then?”
As if it isn’t bad enough that feminists have been given the label of ‘man haters’ (see blog post on the F word), but my beliefs about gender equality have somehow managed to present themselves as my sole identity. You may as well brand a big ‘F’ into my forehead!
So for the sake of my own social retribution, let me explain why that ‘F’ should be replaced with a ‘C’.
Once upon a time there was a girl who was very angry and bitter, yet passionate about justice. She dressed in dark clothing to match her dark soul and dark thoughts and she didn’t really like anyone. She was sad and lonely and never really had much of an example of true ‘masculinity’ in the way that God intended it to be. She saw violence, hatred, rage, malice and deception. The definition of ‘man’ was: reckless predator with high alcohol content. She felt the inflictions of this broken image and her heart gave birth to feminism, a screaming baby with high demands to be consoled. She kicked and screamed and fought this ‘otherness’ of men that she just could not understand, as anger fuelled the journey in her search for peace between men and women. Needless to say, anger does not breed justice. No peace was found.
It wasn’t until the girl was touched by God, and for the first time in her life felt what is confined to the word ‘love’, that things began to change. Her heart was transformed - a true miracle. A perfect father affectionately placed his hand on the screaming rage and brought peace to an angry feminist. All of a sudden, into her life came a figure of real ‘masculinity’, of love and comfort and adoration. A protector had found her. But she didn’t want to be protected, this was all new to her, she denied such love at first, and time was leant to her to grapple in search of understanding. Darkness was all she’d ever known, so what was this light? She tried to find ‘Mother God’, she found her, yet something was lacking. Then God sent her an earthly father, a man persistent in love, a reflection of the heavenly parent who never gives up on his children. She could not escape this physical presence and she softened, and as she learnt to receive love, she learnt also to give love in return. The bitterness was made weak by the strength of deep compassion, and the feminist fell in love with Jesus the man and God the Father.
And they lived happily ever after...? Well, almost.
The fuel behind my feminism has changed, but it is still there, just as it is there for God who hates violence and loves the unity of man and woman. As we know, Jesus spent most of his life trying to liberate women. My feminism is not something to be feared, or scoffed at, or joked about, because it’s probably not what you think it is. So, to clear things up:
I am not a feminist because I hate men, but because I love them.
I am not a feminist because I love women more, but because I want men and women to love one another.
So I love men, does that make me a bad feminist? Arguably I am ‘better at feminism’ now I’ve had a change of heart and the fuel is pure. Through embracing an image of truer masculinity, I have also come to see the ‘feminine’ that once was lacking from my feminism. Blessed also with an earthly godmother as of late, it has become all too evident that my desires have changed and my fears have been lifted. Over time the dark clothes disappeared, I stopped hiding behind my grim image and bitter grudges against the hurt I’d suffered. An exchange was made as the frustration of being weak and vulnerable evaporated, and was replaced by a new celebration of my God-given feminine beauty and a real sense of joy and peace that I am a woman. So what if I’d like to be a wife and a mother! Does that make me any less of a person? You’d think so according to my own determined political passions, but being a feminist is NOT about becoming as ‘masculine’ as possible and denying all those wonderful things that women are so dearly blessed with. I am a feminist whose heart has grown to love her femininity, to embrace it even and enjoy it for the blessing that it is. I am a feminist who loves men and women for all their differences and unique characteristics that are equally beautiful reflections of a divine God.
If I were branded, brand me with a ‘C’. I belong to Christ, and my love for him comes first, as he first loved me. The consequence of this is an outpouring of that love, so through me flows a passion for the lost and broken. A consequence of this is my feminism. For God so loved the world, man and woman, that he made us all in his beautiful image - God so loved the world, man and woman, that he gave his only son to set us free of conflict and hatred. And there you have it.