As we look toward next month’s theme of love, Jenni has written some words that discuss the beginning of her journey with feminism and the way love is a vital part of that journey.
By: Jenni Taylor
I became a feminist when I was ten years old reading the bible, and came across a verse that said women shouldn’t speak in church. I became a feminist the very moment in fifth grade when I was told I would bleed for a living and this was part of God’s creation. I became a feminist when sex was explained to me as a means of reproduction and I knew I didn’t want any part of it.
I was as angry and butch as you can get for a ten year old. The word “feminist” hadn’t even entered my vocabulary yet, but it was fitting right in.
While my anger came from a good place, a place of wanting justice, a place of wanting right to be right and wrong to be wrong, it was still anger, and the majority of it had nothing to do with justice but with a deep misunderstanding and feeling of betrayal. So much of my angry feminism began because of scripture, scripture from a religion I fully embraced, and now my world was crumbling to pieces.
This crumbling took place for a long time. It continued when a boy I liked refused to date me after a heated discussion of why husbands being the head of the household was bull crap and I would damn well do what I pleased. It continued when I decided I couldn’t be a missionary like I wanted to be because of that silly verse about women being silent. It continued as my boobs grew and my vagina began its monthly production of horror and I couldn’t understand why in the world God would make me a woman if it was only so I would suffer.
I stayed angry for a long time. But when the anger finally left, it wasn’t because of deep theology, or turning away from my faith, or even a book I read. The anger left because of a man and a picture.
I was at camp, and I had disrupted enough “women and the Bible” discussions for my counselor to take me straight to the head pastor for a talking to. I knew it wasn’t going to go well. It would be another man telling me about the blessings of being a woman and how I just need to trust God with my questions and blah blah blah.
Instead, the pastor listened to my lengthy monologue citing biblical texts, famous speakers, and anything else relevant I could get my hands on when I was 14 years old to explain why God was unfair.
The pastor listened, and then picked up a picture from his desk. It was a picture of his wife. “I love my wife,” he said. “I would die for this woman. If I love her, why would I stop her from doing anything that makes her happy?”
This answer didn’t fix the worlds problems, or even answer any of my questions and complaints. But the simplicity and sincerity in his voice stuck with me. He loved her.
Love. Is. Bigger.
Love made every single one of my issues seem so small. Did I need a man to love me? Hell no. Did I need to believe in a God who loved me? A thousand times yes.
The theology and the arguments become minuscule if you can wrap your mind around a love that encompasses the universe. The moment I decided to believe in a God who loves me, the anger began to fade and I was left with a much stronger feminism- a feminism that stopped complaining about injustice and began to fight injustice with the same love I believed in. Love was the beginning of wisdom.
Some people think being a Christian feminist is an oxymoron.
I say, any kind of feminist with love is one that makes absolute sense.