I’ve noticed a couple of articles recently that touched on a topic I’ve written about before: feminist conceptions of motherhood. The Boston Globe recently published a piece in which a mother who had returned to the workplace after four years away to care for her children celebrated her career due to its lack of messiness, its ease, and its relative solitude. A New York Times article chronicled the efforts of mothers to fight for better workplace benefits. Both caught my eye, and both prompted me to want to respond to them.
Before I do, let me briefly lay out a very few brief propositions so that I’m not misunderstood.
1) I do not believe it is wrong for a woman to work.
2) My wife works.
3) I do believe that the Scripture-mandated role for women is that of wife and homemaker.
4) There are certain times in a woman’s life when it is entirely appropriate to have a job if she wishes–for example, after all of her children are out of the house.
5) Women should sharpen their gifts and abilities through collegiate educations.
I’m sure there are more I could think of, but that’s a solid base. With this base in place, I want to say that these articles trouble and even anger me. They represent the modern woman’s rebellion against the biblical role for women. There is now a whole generation–no, two generations–who fight with the mothering role. The Globe piece represents thinking that essentially despises the God-honoring work of childraising. Women who have been trained to be careerists will tolerate such duties for a spell, perhaps, but then they must rush back to work, or else the goals the feminist movement has set for them–higher salary, higher achievement, beating men–will go unfulfilled. This trend proceeds from utterly secular roots. It has utterly secular results.
I’m most concerned with Christian women who unwittingly have been trained in the feminist mindset and who thus espouse and live by its doctrines. As is characteristic of so many of us, I don’t think that Christian women who live by feminist principles even understand that they are doing so. They have simply been indoctrinated in feminism and raised in a culture in which feminism is simply a matter of fact, and so they live by feminist ideals, all the while obscuring the glory of God and rebelling–whether unintentionally or not–against His created gender roles. It is an ugly thing to see. We can only hope for a recovery of the biblical vision for women and especially that Christian women will cease to assume feminism and begin to practice complementarianism. After all, it is not my view that women should not work, but merely that complementarianism would hold first priority for a woman and that women would esteem and prioritize the role of homemaker.
Men and women are not in competition, but feminism says they are. The biblical vision for women is not oppressive, but feminisim says it is. Like other modern ideologies, feminism is so destructive, and so far-ranging. The idea of complementarianism is of great importance. Christians who downplay the significance of complementarianism are entering dangerous waters. The family is the essential unit of life. All that is proceeds from it. It is thus vitally important to make sure that we understand the Scripture’s teaching on the family. It is equally important that we then put into practice those teachings. It’s a terrible thing to rebel against God, whether you know you are or not.