Friday, March 15, 2013

Feminism's Sisterhood of Silly Women: Part 2

Please note: I first published Parts 1 and 2 of Feminism's Sisterhood of Silly Women as a complete post on on November 19, 2004, under the title The Sisterhood of Silly Women. I have edited the piece and divided it into two parts for clarity's sake.

[Continued from Feminism's Sisterhood of Silly Women: Part 1]
Silly: weak in intellect, unwise, foolish” [1]
Image source: stock.xchng
“...Silly women laden with sins, ...ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ~ II Timothy 3:1-7

Each of the other three women featured in The Sisterhood [1] had been in some way influenced by Betty Friedan’s work. Though all four ended up in the women’s liberation movement, their family backgrounds were dramatically different and their varying lifestyles eventually caused a rift in the movement.

While they promise them liberty, 
they themselves are 
the servants of corruption... 
~ 2 Peter 2:19

Gloria Steinem: Calloused and Uncommitted

For instance, while Friedan's father provided well for her family, Gloria Steinem’s father was a drifter and her mother, consequently, was driven to literal insanity worrying over money problems. After weathering the storm of her parents' divorce and then caring for her mother through her teen years, Steinem developed what appears to be a numbness of conscience. She picked up lovers and dropped them like so many useless toys, flitting from one affair to another with no commitment. Then, by abortion, she callously murdered the children she became pregnant with.

Germaine Greer: Molested and Self-Debasing

Germaine Greer had it no better. She grew up with a mother who was consumed with flirting with other men while her father was away at war, oblivious to the fact that Germaine was being molested by old men in the park. It is no wonder she grew into a vulgar, whorish woman with respect for neither men nor women, even to the point of posing nude for her own pornographic magazine.

Kate Millet: Gender Confused and Suicidal

Kate Millet, on the other hand, was raised in a conservative Catholic home, that is, until she took on the role of her father after he ran off with his mistress. Her mother often said that she was just like her father, and Kate, in her confusion, wondered, "If I’m like my father, am I still a girl?" Years later, while addressing a gathering of gays' and women’s rights advocates, she admitted to being a lesbian, though she had practiced bisexuality up until then. Upon hearing of this admission, her mother and two cousins tried to have her committed to a mental institution, but she was released on the condition that she seek psychological help. Afterward, she tried to commit suicide six times.

The Splintering of the Sisterhood

These women considered themselves “sisters” because of the views they held in common concerning women’s issues. Yet the women’s liberation movement, like any other man-made religion, ended up splintering into warring factions soon after it was started. 

Betty Friedan distanced herself from the others when they began to be represented by lesbians and men-haters. Many saw themselves as oppressed and not only shunned housework as Friedan did, but sought freedom from their perceived male “oppressors.” It is too shameful to repeat their opinions of men and children here as they are expressed in the book. All things considered, if the lives of these women are truly represented in The Sisterhood, I must conclude they are, in reality, a sisterhood of unwise, foolish women. 

Sisters in Christ and the Hope of the Gospel

Tragically, many women today are caught in similar circumstances (absent fathers, overbearing mothers, loss of innocence at an early age, etc.). But the "women's movement" does not hold out the hope or the cure for the ills these women suffer. It only holds out the promise of more pain, strife, and division. Only in Christ do we find the deliverance from bondage and the freedom to be His image bearers as women through our unique, feminine roles. 

Biblical womanhood is not an unattainable standard beyond the reach of certain "hopeless" women. It is for all of us, regardless of family situation or cultural "norms" which reject male-female roles. How are we working to reach out to the Betty Friedans and Gloria Steinems of this world with the hope of the Gospel? Living as wise women, we can demonstrate love for those who are trapped in our culture's male vs. female struggle by showing them Christ through acts of service, patience, hospitality, and more. May God help us to do so. 

Find Feminism's Sisterhood of Silly Women: Part 1 here.

[1] Cohen, Marcia. The Sisterhood: the True Story of the Women Who Changed the World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.