Monday, January 20, 2014

Will the Christian feminist please stand up?


the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I started this blog with the intention of chronicling my simultaneous journey to self publication and the residency interview trail which has surprisingly been tame bordering on boring. Maybe because this is my second time on the rodeo and I am quite laissez faire about the whole convoluted residency match  process. However,  I have these opinions apart from my book and medicine  in my head that I simply want to blog about.

 I decided to blog about feminism because a certain relatively known pop singer has put this topic on the fore front of pop culture. As a self proclaimed pop culture junkie,  I have been following the controversy with an open mind.  If someone asked a group of Christian women the question in my  blog title, I am ninety-five  positive that no Christian woman would out rightly identify herself as a feminist.  This is because the word feminist is a term that hasn’t been adequately defined. It is a loaded term with different connotations depending on cultural or social context and can be interpreted or misinterpreted in many ways.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in Beyonce’s song Flawless, defines a feminist as someone who believes in the political, social  and economic equality of women.  In the very same song  Beyonce proudly sings in the chorus “Bow down *itches. Pause.  Shouldn’t a fundamental part of feminism be women supporting women? Her fans argue  that she meant the word *itches  in a hip hop cultural context not literally. I disagree. Chimamanda’s  words and Beyonce’s lyrics are dichotomous.

Some define the  feminist as the” man hating man bashing alpha female type”.
A comment on a popular pop culture blog was and I quote “Feminism. Not being afraid to show one’s body,” end of quote. She was not joking.  Moving on

Then Beyonce who is known for her many scholarly pursuits (I kid, I kid) writes an essay in Maria Shriver’s  report  encouraging us women to fight for the rights of other women because we are paid seventy - seven cents for every dollar a man is paid. I don’t believe this is due to social injustice, its because, believe it or not women have wombs and sometimes make the choice to put their children and family first thereby taking a pay cut as we move up the career ladder. Apparently there’s a book called Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook that explains this phenomenon and encourages women to pursue their career. I haven’t read the book yet but I plan to .
While the controversy rages on I took it upon myself to educate myself before I formed an opinion.  I wondered why I really wasn’t overly concerned or moved by the hoopla. I believe it is because I have never felt in my life inferior to any man. I was raised to believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I have found out  that this is my singular experience and it may not be the same for everyone.  I wonder if it’s because the feminist’s perceived social inequality of everyday life is the accepted status quo to me. For instance, as a self proclaimed cheapotle ( someone who is always looking for cheap bargain),   I drove quite a distance from my house to a dry cleaners for a special, only to be told that dry cleaning women’s clothes is more expensive than men’s.  I was more bothered with the false advertising than the fact that women paid more for dry cleaning. I believe it’s because I have accepted that ( apart from the obvious differences)  women and men are fundamentally different. A woman is more likely to have a complicated garment that would be more labor intensive to dry clean than a man so it simply cost more.  I did not see social injustice, just life. I sometimes wonder if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to be so accepting of the way things are. If the women that so valiantly fought for suffrage had been so accepting, women would probably not have the right to vote. Would I  still be so accepting of the status quo ?

I believe my problem with the feminist argument is that it pits men against women and  down plays the fundamental differences between men and women.  This is not how God intended it to be, at least I don’t think so.  My other problem with it, is that there is an underlying tone of  redefining the biblical role of men and women .  

I cannot speak for everyone but I can speak on my singular experience,  while I cannot fully identify myself as a feminist, I do understand that the “movement” raises valid points. I have not fully defined where I stand yet and I have found that in the Christianity there is a spectrum. Some women believe women cannot be good leaders because we are emotional ( side eye to that I absolutely do not believe that)  while others believe women are more astute leaders. I honestly believe my  preceding statement is another blog post on its own.

I asked myself while thinking about this issue, What does God really say about the feminist movement.  Of course  I was unable to find direct references to feminism in the bible but I do know that according to Isaiah 1 vs 17   we are commanded to 17 17 learn to do right!

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless,
 plead the case of the widow.

There are some injustices in this world against women that are fundamentally wrong,  child sex slavery, child marriage and the denial of education for women (which I particularly feel strongly about.)  I believe these are issues both Christian men AND women should stand against and fight for. Aren’t we all (male and female) supposed to be our brothers keepers? Does the sex of the person who is persecuted really matter but the human element of love, of God imploring us to love one another? Isn’t love the most important?
 My question is.... cant we all just get along?

Monday, January 6, 2014

What I am reading-Tomorrow died yesterday.

I read this book based on  the recommendation of a friend and I throughly enjoyed it. Its based on the oil crisis in the niger delta in Nigeria, and the story is told  from the point of view  or four sometimes five characters. What struck me about the book was the writers unrestrained style. He switched point of view  and time period quickly without restraint yet engaged me( the reader) enough to keep up with the story. I m appreciated his creativity.

Maybe I am biased because his book is similar to my novel, Still ( shameless plug I know :) )  because bith have multiple POV's  but  his writing style proved to me that multiple characters can tell a story and readers are intelligent enough to keep up with the story.

What also struck me about this book was the subject matter. For the first time, we have someone from Niger Delta telling their story from their perspective. Its not the culturally skewed perspective of a white observer, and indifferent country man or any government propaganda machine. He just simplly tells the story through these characters eyes.  Prior to reading this book, when I thought of the Niger delta I thought of human right struggles and  kidnapping of oil workers. His book makes the situation in the Niger Delta personal and provides explanations if not justifications for the actions of the kidnappers, the government, the Niger Delta leadership and the poor people that are caught in the middle.  I do recommend this book because not only does he entertain you, he also makes you think, his job as a writer is done.
Well done Chimeka Garricks.