Friday, June 18, 2010
Finding the Worth of a Woman (and a book review)
I recently finished reading this book and I really, really enjoyed it. I am not surprised, because I usually really, really enjoy viewpoints that raise eyebrows and drop chins. The thesis of the book is that, now that there has been some time to see it played out in real life, it is clear that Feminism has been bad for the world and especially, for WOMEN.
Danielle Crittenden has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Ladies Home Journal and has appeared on NBC's Today Show. There is not an ounce of religion referenced within the work. I don't even know if she IS religious so if you are non-religious and afraid of some lunatic Christian writing some bit of religion-drabble (though I doubt anyone like that would read this blog, har har), don't let that stop you from reading the book.
The author shows us just how much of our "way" we have gotten~having just as many (if not more) opportunities for careers and education, more respect in politics, and still manage to get away with demanding more from everyone else. We have "won"-but at what expense?
She then explains that postponing marriage for singleness, motherhood for careers, and sacrificing values for promiscuity has led to women being sexualized, children to be raised by non-mothers (if you are indeed ABLE to have children when you eventually decide to have them), wives to be trumped by younger, more beautiful models (if they are indeed able to get husbands at all), and a whole other host of "results" (not so lovely) in areas of aging, politics, careers, etc. Her premise, then, is that we, the daughters of Feminism, have had to swallow a sour pill that our mothers spoon fed us without accurately assessing the implications of the medicine.
Her "remedy" of the situation involves WOMEN changing how we do things...find love (and don't give the milk out for free), get married, have children right off. After you have had the 2.3 children you desired and you truck them off to school, THEN you can have the career you have always wanted, the children you WILL want when you are old, and the husband who is already bound to you.
It is well written, insightful and will be profound to about 97% of the people reading it. Throughout much of the book I kept thinking, "THIS is what people need to hear! Girls need to realize the ramifications of them throwing themselves at men! Women ought to be getting married, not sleeping around uncommitted and then licking their wounds when they are hurt by uncommitted men! Children need to be raised by mothers-not by office-run daycare centers! Women need to stop making outrageous demands on everyone else, husbands, businesses, and legislation so that they can "have it all". This is what our society needs!" But as I read through the book and her conclusions played out, something unsettled me but I couldn't put my finger on it. For two nights I kept coming back to the thoughts swirling around in my head. What WAS it?
This book would have HUGE implications for women, children, men-and society as a whole if her practical, OBVIOUS insights into the failures of Feminism were actually adopted and acted upon. I would highly recommend anyone reading it and would anticipate better lifestyles for all the victims of the selfishness of Feminism (children and husbands and, turns out~ WOMEN).
So,where was the rub? What was it that was lacking?
Finally, it dawned on me. Danielle Crittenden, opposer of Feminism, was a Feminist herself. Or at the very least, had bought the same lie that had resulted in the transforming of a nation. What was missing in her book, in her life, was the very ESSENCE of femininity. It is her opinion that you can have it "all" if you do it in the right sequence and sacrifice in the beginning to get the 'necessities' out of the way first, but I wonder if her "all" is a different picture of what it would have been without the lie.
The lie that a woman cannot have a worthwhile identity or be fulfilled doing womanly things. That her value is in the pay stub she gets every Friday at 3:30.
Radical Feminism is destructive of choice and of LIFE~offering no solutions and choices to those who are impacted by woman...only to WOMAN, herself. Babies are prevented or murdered, with no choice given to them. Men have the responsibilities of leading a household and contributing the finances while simultaneously taking over half the woman's jobs too, with no say in the matter. We Christian women look at these affects and we scoff. Radical feminism? Hooey. Pure selfishness. But how have our minds already been infiltrated with the subtleties of the Feminist lie? How have our lives been changed by the adoption of casual feminism? The lie that says we have no worth or value IN the home, only OUT of it.
Dianne Chrittenden says we save ourselves for marriage, "catch" husbands while we still have the sex appeal, have children early so our bodies are more capable and so that it doesn't disrupt the careers that we will have. All great notions, on the surface.
But you will see the feminist worldview if you ask the question: Why "do our time" for the good of the kids until we can procure a better career? Is there not intrinsic value in giving yourself to your family? Is "doing our time" the sacrifice or is it in fact, the "all" which we all seek?
I would argue that no career is as valuable as devoting yourself to your home and family.
Husbands will need you, even after child-bearing years are over. Older children will depend upon you, even after they begin schooling (sometimes more!). Nutritious food will still need to be put on the table, money will always need to be wisely portioned out, pantries will always need to be stocked, clothing will always need to be washed, homes still will long to be beautified, younger women will always need mentors, strong households will always need dedication to thrive, people will always need to be encouraged, women will always need to devote times to furthering themselves, and worthwhile pursuits are ever-ready to happen.
So, is "putting in your time early" really the answer to getting it all?
Or is REALIZING what having "it all" really means the answer?
Is a career even PART of the "it all"?
Who told us the lie that womanhood, marriage and motherhood isn't enough for us? Who told us (and why did we believe them when they said) that living an obedient life to God is not where true contentment lies?
Women need to realize where worth and value come from, only then can they understand whether or not they have attained it. Is worth defined by where they went to college, a title behind their name, or on which desk the brass nameplate sits? Not hardly.
So why do we seek it there and overlook it when it is right in front of us? Why do we seek to be fulfilled in unnatural ways-when we have the potential to live fulfilling lives every moment, if only we see our lives that way.
Please don't understand me, I am not saying that having a job outside of the home is intrinsically sinful. I am, however, unapologetically shouting from the rooftops that a JOB is not where true fulfillment lies. If you leave home to seek it, your quest will be in vain. It is found in the very place we are LEAVING.
True fulfillment is found by bringing Glory to God through obedience, to thriving joyously in the roles with which He has ordered for us. For many, it is a life of marriage and motherhood~ it is found in a well ordered home and being an asset to your husband; it is found in the adoring eyes of the children whose lives you impact every.single.day. For some, God does not grant children and so it is a life of marriage and devotion to being a helpmeet. It is found in the good stewardship of gifts~like money, food, home and family. It is found on the lace tablecloths, the dressers filled, the books dog-eared, the moments grasped with joy. And for some, true fulfillment lies in a life without marriage or motherhood but obedience to God and contentment therewith. It is living a life of gratitude and of selfless giving, and of making the world more beautiful through the gifts God has given you. For ALL women, a truly fulfilled life is a life lived for Christ, endeavoring to serve HIM and others~for His glory.
True fulfillment is found when you give of yourself joyfully and wholly and are received gratefully. True value and contentment is found when you realize your value and worth is far above rubies.
No brass nameplate can do that. Not even if you send the children to school first.