A Liberty University student and Prior dig into what the new wave of feminism is really all about.
When Karen Swallow Prior was young, she considered herself a conservative feminist. She believed the best way to share her beliefs of pro-woman and anti-abortion was starting a Feminists for Life chapter in Buffalo, New York.
Prior was inspired by the public voice of anti-abortion rhetoric, and wanted to combine those beliefs with her feminist background. To mesh her religious beliefs with her feminist beliefs, Prior changed her mind about the label she used.
“I don’t like to call myself a feminist,” Prior said. “It’s a label I don’t find helpful. I think few agree on the definition of feminism, so it’s hard for me to call myself one when people don’t really know what it means.”
Christians are meshing their beliefs to create a new wave of feminism — Christian Feminism.
Christian feminism can be defined as feminist theology from the perspective of a conservative Christian. Liberty University sophomore, Kasey Lange, identifies as a Christian feminist, saying that it is the unity among women that drives this new wave of feminism because it is how God sees humans.
“Christian feminism means equality,” Lange said. “And just like we champion the homeless and the refugees and loving them, it’s doing that same thing for women.”
Prior said that being a feminist can have different definitions to different groups of people. According to Prior, under the original definition of feminism, most everyone would classify as a feminist.
“The term feminist is a stumbling block,” Prior said. “Adding Christian to the front of [feminist] may change things, but it could also be problematic.”
Prior said that she thinks the real problem is that there are disagreements within the church about the roles of women in leadership. She said with the other categories of feminism in the church such as complementarianism and egalitarianism, it can be difficult to apply in a Christian context since the categories are not in the Bible.
Another area where problems may arise, Prior said, is the subject of abortion. Prior said it is a lie that pro-choice equals pro-woman views, because being anti-abortion is being pro-woman.
“Abortion is a symptom of culture that doesn’t support women, motherhood or children,” Prior said. “Abortion doesn’t benefit women. All it does is help men escape responsibility.”
Lange said that although she feels feminism should not side with any political stance, Christian feminists should hold true to the Gospel, and should stand politically where they feel it is appropriate in regards to scripture.
“If it doesn’t represent Christ, then it doesn’t represent Christian Feminism,” Lange said.
The goal of Christian Feminism, Lange said, is for women to live out their faith and values so more people can understand what Christian feminism is. Being an example of kindness, not being prideful in beliefs and standing up for what one believes is how Christian feminists should live out their faith and beliefs, she said.
Doing so, Lange said it provides a contrast to the view of feminism that the church often holds. Lange said living out Christian feminism could be a powerful testimony, and it is something that the world needs more of.
“Christian feminism is not inherently sinful, liberal or whatever [Christians] fear,” Lange said. “It is a posture of empowering yourself and the rest of humanity to be all that God calls us to be.”
Prior said that people are too concerned about labels when it comes to Christian feminism, that it is too important of a subject to be worried about what other people may call you.
“Live it, model it and support it,” Prior said. “It’s more important than the labels.”
The Feminists for Life chapter was an outlet that Prior could share her values and beliefs through when she was young. Though she may receive some backlash now with people calling her a liberal or far left because of how feminism may be portrayed through the media, the labels do not phase her.
“It’s always a time to be speaking out for women and against the oppression of women,” Prior said.