It’s new. It seems completely mild mannered and innocuous. But it is dangerous. It’s everywhere we look. It’s affecting our teenagers. It’s showing up in the newest versions of our Bibles. It dictates what we wear. It is on every TV channel. It influences who our children grow up to be.
What is it?
Third wave feminism.
What is Third Wave Feminism?
The first wave of feminism occurred in the 19th-20th centuries, when women fought for the right to vote, to own property, fair wages, end chattel marriage, and gain higher education. The desire of these women was to be recognized as persons.
Second wave feminism began in the 1960’s-1970’s, where women fought against social and cultural inequalities, including sexual freedom, abortion rights, careers, and to liberate women from home and children. The primary movement focused on women becoming like men, able to do anything they wanted.
Third wave feminism began in the mid 1990’s and has made its way into main stream culture in the last few years. It is a reaction against radical 2nd wave feminism. There are two main forms of 3rd wave feminism. First, the hyper-sexualization of culture of which we are all aware, where girls seek to become sex objects while demanding they not be objectified. Second (and opposite), women seek to erase their femininity and encourage men to abandon masculinity.Feminist’s today celebrate ambiguity, tolerance and androgyny. It’s all about gender-neutrality, where women and men become an its.
Where is Third Wave Feminism?
Last week, I was walking to class behind a teenage couple holding hands and whispering to each other. I could not figure out who was the boy and who was the girl. Both wore Converse shoes, skinny jeans, plaid button-up shirts, and feathery haircuts that flopped in their eyes and barely touched their shoulders. Neither 19-year-old weighed over 110 pounds. They had fully embraced the Emo trend and in doing so had erased their masculinity and femininity. This look, made popular in mainstream society by the Jonas brothers, completely blurs the line between genders. The movement seems to encourage guys to abandon masculinity. It results in guys who are weak, passive and un-masculine…. guys who at 27 choose to play video games all night rather than holding down a good job. But that isn’t the only place that third wave feminism shows up, there is an entire subculture in Japan that takes pride in the fact that no one can tell if they are men or women. Top designers Dolce and Gabbana, Cavalli, Lagerfeld, Galliano, Mcqueen, and Dior are known for using androgynous models and designing the same kind’s clothes for both men and women. In 2008, the mainstream NIV Bible produced the TNIV translation which replaced some male language with gender neutral terms. Europe began the trend of unisex bathrooms. A trip to England means sharing the “loo” with men. This may seem like a little thing, but it is just one more attack on masculinity and femininity. Unisex bathrooms tell us that we are all the same and shouldn’t need privacy from the other gender. The rise in transgender issues is a direct result of third wave feminism in our culture. Don’t like who God made you to be?…. there are hundreds of grants, scholarships and subsidies to pay for a sex change operation. Homosexuality and bisexuality have completely permeated our culture and effect even those who do not participate by erasing God’s designed roles and appearance for men and women.
The technical term for this is ‘Psychological Androgyny,’ combining both masculinity and femininity as traits of a unified gender that defies social roles and psychological attributes, resulting in a “gender-indeterminate” society. Third wave feminism is moving us from two genders to one.
Even secular relationship gurus recognize the importance of men being men and women being women. Patti, Matchmaker to the Millionaires Club, tells her clients, “Women need to be women, and men need to be men. The minute you switch into masculine mode as a feminine woman, and take over the show, you end up with a son and not a husband.” Performer Steve Harvey, says “A lot of men would be better men if they were required to be, well, men. We’re in this new age, and women have taken on these roles [men roles] out of necessity – I’ll admit that. But at some point, you’re either going to have to accept that you’re going to be the big ol’ strong, lonely woman, or you’re going to have to back down and be a lady. You don’t have to give up your money, or your job, or your education, or the pride and dignity that come with all of that. Just be a lady.”
This is not a joke, it is not a trend, and it is not going away. Gender neutrality is a slap in the face of Creator God. It is men and women rejecting who God created them to be.
Why is Third Wave Feminism a Problem? God’s plan for Masculinity and Femininity.
In the beginning, God created the world, man and then a bunch of animals. Adam looked over all the animals, but could not find a companion. God knew that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created woman. Men and women are unique; they are the only creation of God made in His image. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27-28 In making man and woman, God clearly designed them differently (man from dirt and woman from man’s rib) and gave them different job descriptions. Man is to protect, provide for and lead all that God has given him authority over. Woman was created to help man accomplish God’s purposes. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” At the very essence of femininity is the helping role.
The Hebrew words used here are “ezer kenegdo,” which literally means a helper comparable to him. God created women as a compliment and perfect partner to man. She is not less than him. She is simply what he is not. If God had wanted man to have someone to order around, he would given him a horse. If God had wanted man to have someone who worshiped his every move, He would have given him a golden retriever. But God wanted man to have someone to walk through life with, someone who in the very essence of her feminine nature would challenge and inspire man to be all God created him to be. So God created woman, a helper that complimented man in every way.
Elizabeth Elliot says, “Femininity has its limitations. So has masculinity….To do this is not to do that. To be this is not to be that. To be a woman is not to be a man.” “The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. A bird cannot swim, or crawl upon the earth. A bird is made to fly, and the ability to fly means that it is not equipped to do other things. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is the wings that bear the bird up, away from the world to freedom. So the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts, her special calling, will bear her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God.”
It is when we embrace who God designed us to be, as women, that we find freedom.
Gender is a picture of the gospel.
God created masculinity and femininity for a purpose. It was not just so there would be two genders running around the earth. It is in true masculinity and femininity that God is glorified and His witness is proclaimed in the world. Gender provides a living picture of the Gospel message to the world. Men as leader and women as helper has nothing to do with the skills of men or women. It has to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Elizabeth Elliot explains it beautifully, “We know that this order of rule and submission is descended from the nature of God Himself. Within the Godhead there is both the just and legitimate authority of the Father and the willing and joyful submission of the Son. Here, in the reflection of the nature of the Trinity in the institution of marriage is the key to the definition of masculinity and femininity. The image of God could not be fully reflected without the elements of rule, submission and union.” Ephesians 5:22-33
Gender is a calling from God on the life of his children.
Third wave feminism is dangerous. It attacks God’s design for men and women. It mars God’s witness to the world through masculinity and femininity.
If the world looks at us and doesn’t see male or female, then they don’t see Jesus. If we distort, hide or alter our femininity, we are abandoning what God designed us to be. To reject our God-given femininity is to reject God’s plan for our lives.
Does this mean we have to look like 1950’s housewives and do housework in high heels? Does this mean I can’t wear comfortable clothes around the house? No. Femininity is expressed in different ways by different women. We are unique individuals who have different likes and dislikes. As long as we obey the basic guidelines of Scripture, how we express femininity is our choice. But femininity must be expressed. Femininity must be evident to the world.
“We are called to be women. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.” (Elizabeth Elliot) It’s not about us. It’s not about women. It’s about Christ, and reflecting our Lord to a lost and dying world.
Women, God is calling you to proclaim His gospel by embracing femininity. Will you accept the call?