“Why do you hate men?”
This is a question that I have been asked over and over since I started blogging about Christian feminism. As a woman, who has a wonderful father and husband, I am always taken off guard by this question.
I have also heard those in favor of male-authority-hierarchy, say that “most egalitarian or Christian feminists have been abused by men, which is why they subscribe to such beliefs.” This, in my opinion, could not be further from the truth.
Of course, there are some Christian feminist women who have been abused by men, but many have actually been empowered by their most intimate male relationships. I am a Christian feminist today, because of my father and husband. I believe that I am equal to men in all ways, due to being loved and empowered by the men in my life.
I believe that gender equality starts in the home, and how a father interacts with his daughter, matters greatly. In general, girls and women find great security in the protection of good men. No doubt, this has to do with the fact that men are typically bigger, physically stronger, and have deeper voices than women.
These attributes (or maybe gifts from God), come with great responsibility. Not only are men big and physically strong, but they are favored in this world. Boy babies are wanted more than girl babies. All over the world, female infanticide and sex-selection abortions are common (particularly in China and India).
Many fathers and mothers want sons, and they are willing to discard daughters to have them. This is not a new phenomenon; people were “getting rid” of female babies during Bible times. Christianity gained popularity among women in the first & second centuries of the early church, and these women refused to abort or throw away baby girls.
Christ gave value to girls and women in a way that no other religion has ever done. Christ died on the Cross, sent His Holy Spirit to fill all who follow Him, and equalized the genders in both worth and spiritual authority at Pentecost (Acts 2:17). The Apostle Paul is crystal clear about his thoughts on gender equality in Galatians 3:28. The Bible is in full support of gender equality, as men and women are both made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
There is no doubt that many people “straighten up” when a man walks into the room and that a man’s authority can carry great weight, but Scripture makes it plain that Christians are called to empower those who have less power privileges.
Fathers have a choice. They can use their power to lift their daughters up and out of cycles of gender inequality, or they can systemically train their daughters to limiting “roles” and culturally oppressive “molds.” A father can bend down and let his daughter climb up and eventually stand on his shoulders, or he can keep her safe on his lap.
Here are three ways fathers can empower their daughters:
1. Disrupt cultural gender constructs that keep women in “their place:”
Cook dinner or do dishes. Better yet, do these things with your daughter. Teach your daughter to take out the trash and mow the lawn. Nurture your daughters and sons. Treat your daughters and sons the same way. Don’t spoil your daughter because she is so sweet and cute.
Teach your daughter how to function as an adult and take care of herself and her future home, without a man. Train her to be a survivor. Teach her everything you know. Let her fall down. Protect her as a child, but teach her how to protect herself as an adult.
Provide for your daughter as a child, but teach her how to provide for herself as an adult. Invest in her education and help her figure out her life-calling. Raise her to be independent, so that she will someday choose a man that she “wants;” not one that she “needs.”
2. Interpret the Bible through the context of Christ:
When Jesus arrived on the scene, everything changed. Jesus not only “allowed” women to get out of “their place;” He also praised it as good. Read the story of Mary & Martha (Luke 10:38-42) to your daughter and assure her that you and Jesus approve of her breaking gender stereotypes, if that’s what she needs to do to follow Jesus and her calling.
Christian girls & women often wait for permission, because they have been systemically trained to do so; but what if fathers gave their daughters permission to stop asking for permission to follow their dreams? Father’s empower their daughters by giving them all the choices they can. Fathers empower their daughters by teaching them that Jesus is the leader of their homes and hearts, not male authority.
3. Let her go:
It is not biblical, nor is it functional, for fathers to offer some sort of “spiritual covering” or any sort of covering to their grown up daughters. Once a daughter hits 18 years old, a father should start pushing her out of his protective, cushy nest. But, if a father did his job and empowered his daughter since she was a baby, he can trust that she will be just fine out in the real world.
Often, Christian fathers are overly protective of their daughters. This is normal and healthy to some degree, but a young woman needs to find herself without the constant protection, provision, and supervision of her father. A father should be the first to say, “Go chase your dreams. You know where to find me if you need me.” I know this can break a father’s heart, and it can be very hard and scary, but it is what’s best for all grown women.
I believe that “the father” of the home matters. Men are crucial. We need men. I don’t like when feminism acts as if we don’t need men. I believe that a father’s love offers a daughter great security; a sense of security that will make her entire life more functional. Christian fathers have a job to do, and when it comes to daughters, that job is to empower them to fly.
Help Jory Micah Break the Glass Steeple by Following Her Blog
(Insert your Email to the Right or Below)
Find Jory Micah on Facebook: HERE.
Find Jory Micah on Twitter: HERE.