To Be a Jesus Feminist

Why is my body sexualized even when I wear the most modest clothes? Is it because of the way that I stand? The way I conduct myself? Is it my age? Is it the way I smile/don’t smile? (I was once told that I shouldn’t smile at a man because it gives them permission to do what they want to you). Does being attractive for a woman mean that men get to do whatever they want to the woman in their heads without the woman’s permission?

These questions I have regarding the power relations between men and women come from past experiences and it obviously frames men in a negative light. It’s true that I have been hurt by past experiences/interactions. It’s true that I have cried many nights, feeling used, abused, and manipulated. It’s true that I don’t know many men who can say they’ve had these questions about women, or have felt trapped in the web of the “male gaze”. It’s true that I don’t know many men who would even care if women do sexualize them.

But it’s also true that I know many women who also don’t care. It’s also true that I do know men who have been incredibly hurt by women. It’s true that I do know men who can’t  function around women out of complete and utter fear that they will be intensely controlled and manipulated like they have been in the past. People use, abuse, manipulate and destroy no matter their gender, sex, religion they claim, race, class or sexuality. People are human. People are hurt, and hurt others out of that place of hurt.

Am I making excuses for the incredible pain, and darkness happening in the world today due to oppressive systems in our socially constructed hierarchies? No. Am I denying that these hierarchies of privilege exist or think they should be ignored? Absolutely not.

But I AM choosing to recognize MY part in it. And I’m sorry – not the generic Canadian kind of sorry, but the deep, sorrowful sorry – for the times I don’t recognize my own privilege, for the times I blindly follow what society says is fine, for the times I let my frustration hurt those more privileged than I, for the times I’ve thought I was better than those more privileged than I and thought “at least I’m not like them”, for the times I’ve let my past experiences generalize men and put them in a box, for the times I’ve never stood up for those who are mocked, ridiculed, discriminated against, and treated as basically animals. No one deserves to be treated that way, and I cannot apologize enough.

I AM choosing to forgive. I forgave those who hurt me (and who will hurt me) a long time ago. Forgiving doesn’t mean that what they did was okay, it means I am letting go of the past because holding onto a grudge means that those people have control over me. And before anyone tells me that its too hard to forgive and let go, let me tell you about Corrie Ten Boom, the woman who forgave the monster that raped and killed her family. Let me tell you about Jesus who forgave not only the people who betrayed him and killed him, but all of mankind. I forgave because I myself have been forgiven. I forgave because no one can be filled with love for people with a bitter heart. And love is what heals the wounds, the darkness. True, genuine love starts with forgiveness and forgiveness starts with me.

I AM choosing to take a stand now. We all have our hurts to bring to the table. We all have pasts with wounding in different areas where we think our wrongful anger (from having our pride knocked down) and bitterness is what drives us to take a stand. But it shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t be anger and bitterness, instead it should be the GROWTH from our forgiveness that drives us forward. Our hurt not forgotten, but instead channeled with anger for injustice (the right kind of anger) into something good, something purposeful and beautiful.

I’m not here to point fingers – we all make mistakes. I’m here to draw attention to the power struggles people face every day without even realizing it. And to be completely honest, I’m writing this because (even if people don’t agree with me) I selfishly feel like I just need to get off my chest that (in my opinion) we ALL, including me, need to be doing a lot better job at loving each other as brothers and sisters.

For me, I find purpose in Jesus Christ. He is the only way I can truly forgive and be filled with genuine love for others. “Only by Jesus could I forgive” said Corrie Ten Boom. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH9nwFb87u4) Am I perfect? No. Do I love people perfectly? Absolutely not. But Jesus does. And so I will continue to go to Him for the energy to push forward, forgive, love others and take a stand for justice. It’s a daily battle for sure, in more ways than one. But this is what it means to be a Jesus Feminist, and that’s who I want to be.

 

 

 

For more info on why I believe, see my blog post “Why I Believe” @ https://annamariesarah.com/2017/09/21/why-i-believe/ , and for more on being a Jesus Feminist, I recommend reading “Jesus Feminist” by Sarah Bessey and listening to the “Undiscussed Podcast” on feminism by Power to Change, available on the following platforms:

Photo credits: Kayla Noakes

2 Replies to “To Be a Jesus Feminist”

  1. Your article certainly goes into deep subjects most choose to hush aside, yet I’m not on board with your title of “Jesus Feminist.” If it means to abide by the ideologies of Christ on how women should be treated, then isn’t that just a part of Christianity as a whole? Or if it means for one to emphasize the importance of what the Bible teaches about womanhood, then is it fair to do so since all of God’s word is inspired by Him and deserves to be recognized and followed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! Those are good questions! I didn’t fully explain the term “Jesus Feminist” but instead only posted my thoughts on the term. Sarah Bessey does a much better job at explaining the term, but basically the term exists because Jesus himself was a feminist. Feminism is a belief system that fights for the equality of both men and women, and this is exactly what Jesus did. He was a feminist before the term “feminism” existed.

      To answer your first question, yes it is absolutely a part of Christianity as a whole, yet there are many Christians who perpetuate the silence of women in the church, not allowing them to rise to equality in any way, as they believe that Jesus would do the same. Jesus encounters several women in the Bible, and treats them the same as he would any one else. I personally still believe there are different roles in the church and the family that men and women have, but that doesn’t make their roles any less equal or important, and it definitely shouldn’t silence anyone. I believe that God has given everyone a voice to be heard and valued with, which is why hearing everyone’s perspective is so important to me.

      And to answer your second question… I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking, but I’m going to attempt to answer it. Yes all of God’s word deserves to be recognized, but I don’t really have the room in one blog to emphasize everything in God’s word (lol) – like my last blog emphasizes what it means to be a child of God.

      Yes, all of God’s word absolutely deserves to be recognized equally, which is why the term/title of “Christian” exists – because it means that we stand on all of God’s word and He gives us the strength to emphasize his word throughout our lives. But there are different aspects of Christianity that can help define what being a Christian looks like. For example, what I believe being a “Child of God” looks like is written in my last blog. I am a Child of God, Sister in Christ, Jesus Feminist, Worshiper, and many other titles that define my roles as a Christian. Also, I think it is important to recognize that there are different “types” of Christianity, if you will. Like I know a lot of Christians who would identify as “conservative” or “liberal” Christians, which also puts a political term on Christianity. I believe that the term ” Jesus Feminist” (though it doesn’t exist in the Bible like “child of God” or “sister in Christ” does) accurately describes what it should look like to be a Christian in today’s culture. I hope this answers your questions!

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