by Marcia Phillips
The current firestorm of sexual abuse accusations and the fall of political and media leaders represents failure on so many levels, personal and cultural. But it strikes me that it also demonstrates the failure of Feminism in America after nearly a half century of its tenets being embraced. Just hear me out on this. In spite of decades of promises of empowering women and men verbally embracing the concept of strong women, women are still becoming the prey of powerful men in the workplace. While the victims are not responsible for being taken advantage of by selfish men of position, we do have to ask why a whole generation of girls who were raised to feel empowered mostly…by the majority…did not speak up when abused until someone else did. Did Feminists teach them to succeed in a career but perhaps also that the zeal to succeed might cost them their innocence and their voice? Did Feminists convince them that they were not to be defined by their sexuality but then created a culture where allowing sexual violation without consequences was rampant? Didn’t Feminists slam the Biblical teaching of submission of wives to husbands but somehow fail to tell their daughters that they did not have to submit to abuse passively? What a contradiction to tell our daughters they can do anything they can dream but they cannot respond to a nightmare by doing the right thing and confronting wrong. Victimized as they were, having the courage to speak out sooner may well have spared some other young women the same agony. They are not responsible for the initial wrong against them, but may bear some responsibility for not protecting each other. Did Feminism not triumph women supporting other women? Do they get a pass on that in this matter?
I champion strong women shaped by Biblical examples and principles. Didn’t the Virgin Mary brave shame to do right? And what of the courage of Jael and Deborah and Abigail and Ruth and Esther to confront men of power, trusting the God they obeyed and believing they were in the situation they found themselves “for such a time as this.” While we want our men to be Josephs, both of the Old Testament who fled temptation and of the New who denied personal desires to carry out the mandate to protect Mary, we must also teach our daughters to be the daughters of Sarah, who “do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” They need to know that “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind.”
“I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth.” I taught my daughters how to scream bloody murder if they ever felt threatened or violated and to never be afraid to speak up or seek help if abused in any way. I’ve heard them use that voice and knew when they slapped someone who deserved it. Courage to do right is what we need to instill in our girls as well as confidence in God more than fear of what man can do to them…any man. The Proverbs 31 woman “dresses herself with strength” and “opens her mouth with wisdom” knowing that “charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” She understands the principle behind “Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” How terrible to get this wrong and be just the opposite, wise as doves and innocent as serpents.
Hebrews 11 tells us that mighty “women received back their dead by resurrection” but also “some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two. They were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated –of whom the world was not worthy.” Now that takes courage!
Isn’t there more than enough in Scripture to mold a young woman of character? Perhaps instead of telling our daughters to follow their dreams and achieve, we should be preparing them to deepen the well of their spiritual lives and believe. Feminism has failed our daughters. Let’s not make that mistake.