Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Feminist Me

I don’t usually go for political or even social issues as blog topics, but today I got HOT and this just exploded out of me. 
As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook read today in my little tyraid on country music. J and I played a radio while we were camping last week and while listening to a country station, we were SHOCKED at how every single song mentioned beer, “girls” (never women or ladies) in painted on, cut off, skin tight revealing clothing, back roads, moonlight, and getting some action. Country music today makes women from the south seem like ignorant party girls who are good for nothing but a good show and a good time. An article I read today put a name on this genre of music as bro-country. It’s despicable, objectifying, and derogatory. And frankly, it’s just trashy. Women are so much more. 

Despite my feelings towards today’s country music scene, as I said on Facebook when I shared the article, I do not consider myself a “feminist,” at least not by today’s connotation of that term. Why not?
I believe:
-Wives should submit to their husbands as the Bible teaches. That doesn’t make me weak, it empowers me and makes me strong, because humbling yourself down and allowing him to lead takes will and strength. It doesn’t mean he’s my boss. It means he’s my leader, and I trust and respect and come to him openly with my thoughts and ideas. Also, it means picking a good man, one who doesn’t view you as a daisy-duke wearin’, beer fetchin’, Friday night good time. (See any bro-country song for details.) I was able to say obey in my wedding vows because I know my husband will never “order” me to do anything that wouldn’t elevate me spiritually, physically, or emotionally. 
-I am pro-life. I do not believe in abortions. A woman’s right to choose means two things to me, the right to choose to have sex or not, or in cases when conception has already happened the right to choose to raise a child or make a plan for adoption. A woman’s right to choose does NOT mean a right to murder. That’s plain and simple.
-I do not think the fact that you are breast-feeding gives you the right to bare your chest for all to see. I believe in modesty. I do believe women should be able to breast-feed anywhere, but if she is unable to do so without exposing herself, she needs to go elsewhere, because let’s be honest, this is no longer about her right to mother/feed her child and the baby’s right to eat, it’s a prideful show of attention. 
-I am astounded that speaking against promiscuity is now referred to as “slut shaming.” Perhaps  one feels shamed because…wait for it… it IS shameful. 
-Man-hating is equally sexist. Just because a man broke your heart doesn’t give you the right to say all men are pigs. 

I could go on. I am old-fashioned in many ways, and clearly, I don’t fit the “progressive” ideal of a feminist. I do think I have a feminist side, though, and lately, I have felt that side stir in me. Today, it happened twice. First while reading about “bro-country” and again earlier. It got me thinking… What kind of message is this world sending to my daughter about what it means to be female? And frankly, I got kind of ticked.

Earlier, I was looking up some exercises (Jake and I are currently doing a 30 day squat challenge, which have my legs burning and aching and now I am cursing that blame Pinterest pin!) and I ended up on Women’s Health. Midways though the article, this pops up:

How lame is this? This pop up proclaims to have a plan to get me a “bikini body.” First off, what exactly constitutes a “bikini body” and how do I know if I actually have one or not? By who’s standards? Inevitably, I have to ask myself if think my body is a bikini body or not, therefore pushing me to judge my own body based on the standards I choose, which, keeping with my theme of being honest here, is going to be the social norm. You know, today’s socially-accepted ideal of a “bikini body.” Do I measure up? Heck no. Do most of us? Not at all! So now, we all need to type in our email and make Women’s Health some money while working our tail off on some half-baked exercise plan that may or may not actually deliver results, and will clearly not transform us into Hollywood starlets fit for a Victoria's Secret bikini.  

Stop this crap! 

One of my biggest goals this year has been body image. I don’t think it’s healthy to love fat. I am not going grab my jiggles and love them, and embrace a me that I don’t like. At the same time, you can’t hate yourself and succumb to the pressure that you are not ____ enough. I am not saying that this new trend of every-body-is-beautiful, body positivity is good or bad. In fact, I’m soooo glad that a lot of people are NOT giving into the society pressure that being thin is the only way to be happy and beautiful, when it is so not. I just don’t think that body positive movements that promote loving and accepting and beautifying extreme obesity is really productive, when if you are really loving your body, you will work hard to take the best care of it you can and keep it healthy as much as you can. For me, this dichotomy has met with me learning to run, to commit to a healthy, or active lifestyle while at the same time, learning not to be ashamed of my wide thighs, soft tummy, or size 14 dress. It’s not feeling embarrassment if the red stretch mark by my belly button shows while I sun on the beach. It’s a tough journey!

Do I have a “bikini body” yet? No. I might not ever. Might I wear one anyway? Maybe one day. But I still clicked “No thanks, I already have a bikini body” anyways, and smiled, because in reality, isn’t a bikini body just a body in a bikini? And as I clicked, I mentally flipped a feminist bird to Women’s Health. 

The same mental bird I’m flipping to the song writers in Nashville. 

Someday, I hope my daughter will know that she is powerful. She is smart. Being a girl should never limit her hopes and aspirations in her career nor her education. She is in charge of her body. She is also in charge of how she feels about it. Self-worth isn’t about your physical appeal, but your value as whole person, spiritually, socially, and emotionally-  it's embracing the unique way that God made you and created you before you were even born (Psalm 139:13-14) and being a good steward of the blessings He's given you, like a body and a mind, and taking care of them and loving them.

I’ve always said that if you really think about it, God was the first and ultimate feminist. 

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