Today’s guest post is from my friend and fellow Redbud writer, Jamie Rohrbaugh.
I have a confession: I’ve always said that I am not—repeat, NOT—a feminist.
I said this because I have always thought of a “feminist” as being a woman who spends her time in Washington, D.C., lobbying for a liberal cause. I thought being a feminist required me to paint my face blue or red or pink, and shout FREEDOM like Mel Gibson, and march on the Mall. I thought being a feminist meant I had to climb the corporate ladder, be as power-hungry as I could be, and carry a chip on my shoulder about the rights of women in corporate America.
And I am none of those things.
I’m a woman. A simple woman like many others; maybe a woman like you. I have a wonderful job in a Fortune 500 company, but I don’t race to climb the ladder anymore. I have a husband, and a cat, and laundry to wash, and a gym membership I pay for but rarely use. I’ve never marched on D.C. and don’t have any plans to do so, and I’ve never voted liberal in my entire life.
I’m a woman, but I never had any desire to get involved in what I perceived to be the feminist cause.
But then something happened: God began to open my ears. And I started hearing things I didn’t like.
- I heard from a pastor friend about those who look down on women and refuse to let them work in ministry.
- I learned from a friend in inner-city missions about women who have never been taught to read or write, who have been abused from a young age, or who sell their babies for grocery money.
- I learned about young girls who are stolen from their families and forced into prostitution, afraid to risk their lives by running, and seeing no options for finding a better life.
I had no idea. But when I began to hear these things, my ears were opened and my heart was grieved. Suddenly the world looked very different.
And then I understood:
- I don’t have to attend demonstrations at the United States Capitol to care about the plight of women.
- I don’t have to picket in front of the courthouse to believe women should be allowed to work in ministry, giving their time and talent for the cause of the Gospel.
- I don’t have to vote liberal to know that toddlers, teenagers, and adults alike shouldn’t be trapped in sexual slavery, hoping the next customer will end their misery because life has become too much to bear.
And when I understood these things, suddenly the word “feminist” didn’t mean the same thing to me anymore.
Oh, I know there are still women who march on the Mall, paint their faces, and climb the corporate ladder. That’s ok for them, but it just isn’t me.
But even in my quiet life—in my family, my job, my church, and in my circle of friends—I learned that I can still care about women, and I can still make a difference.
- I can advocate for righteousness and justice, which are the foundations of God’s throne.
- I can shine the light of mercy and truth into the hearts of hurting women around me every day.
- I can hug women who are lonely. I can encourage the downcast. I can help women find practical help that will get them out of tough situations.
- I can share real-life information with those around me who are, like I was, blissfully uninformed.
I can care. I can make a difference in the lives of women right where I am…
… and so can you.
Even if you’re like me, living a quiet life in suburbia, you can still make a difference in the lives of women. You can touch the hurting and broken around you. You can advocate for justice right where you are. You can educate your friends about the plight of girls caught in the sex trade. You can learn about resources available to help people in crisis, so that you can offer a hand up whenever you have the opportunity.
That’s what I’m trying to do. Yes, I’m only one, and I don’t fit into my old stereotype about what a feminist is. But I care about women, and I’m doing something about it.
And I think maybe, just maybe, that might make me a feminist after all.
Jamie Rohrbaugh is crazy in love with the presence of God. She blogs at FromHisPresence.com about revival, worship, prayer, and discipleship. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her trophy husband, and together they have one cat. Follow Jamie on Pinterest or Facebook for frequent doses of Biblical encouragement.
Image courtesy of Girlguyed on Flickr via Creative Commons license.