Damsels in Distress
Biblical Solutions for Problems with the World
But What If I like to Have My Ears Tickled?
The Feminist Influence
by Liz Roeder
As a child growing up in the 1960’s, one of my favorite television shows was Leave it to Beaver. It was about a traditional family: the dad, Mr. Cleaver, was head of the home; the mom, June Cleaver, was a housewife who happily did her housework wearing a dress and pearls; and their 2 sons, Beaver and Wally were your typical mischievous brothers. It was a stereotypical picture of the family at the time.
Changes were on the horizon. In 1963, the feminist movement was starting to gain some momentum when Betty Friedan published her book, The Feminine Mystique. The feminist movement began more than 100 years earlier primarily embracing voting rights and equality for husbands and wives in property ownership, but Betty had her own agenda. She was a mom and wife who was “frustrated with existing only for and through her husband and children.” She believed that a woman’s mature identity would not be achieved through marriage and motherhood but through her own achievements in education and career.
Martha explains how Betty Friedan believed that women who stayed home and cared for their families never quite became all they could be; they were repressed and seen as victims in a male-dominated society. Men became “chauvinist pigs” and women were either “doormats or freedom fighters.” Betty believed there was inequality between women and men. Now there was some truth to this as far as women not receiving the same pay nor being treated equally as men in the workplace. But Betty took it a step further as her philosophy tickled the ears of women who perceived themselves as being taken advantage of and repressed. Betty was searching for the meaning of life and having an identity crisis.
During this time, everyone was reading The Feminine Mystique; it was the talk of television, newspapers, and women’s magazines. Feminism also started to infiltrate the church. Freidan’s philosophy helped to intimidate men into sinful passivity in their God-given role as the leader in the family (page 136). Women started questioning and disrespecting men’s authority including their husband’s; they were discontent with their roles as wives, mothers and homemakers, and also questioned their roles within the church. In the 1990’s, the acceptance of abortion and homosexuality became issues that we are still dealing with today.
Martha states that we’ve all been influenced by feminism-it’s all around us and no one has been spared. When this philosophy causes us to have an unbiblical value system, it becomes sinful and deceptive. Because many of these influences are subtle, our challenge is to understand how we have been influenced and how we must change.
In the process of writing this blog, I had to do a self-examination to see how I’ve been influenced. I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s which was a time of rebellion in so many ways: there were demonstrations against the Vietnam War, rebellion against society and the “establishment” with the hippie movement (I was a “wannabe” hippie) and the NOW feminist movement. I find myself to have a heart attitude that at times wants to be independent, self serving, and not always obedient to the authorities in my life including being in submission to my husband. I regularly have to fight against my fleshly desires.
So, how do we “break free” of this feminist thinking? Join me for part two of this blog next week as Martha gives us some biblical solutions to this problem.