Am I an ostrich, trampling my child?
Posted on March 18, 2013
According to Focus on the Family, feminist Christians make terrible mothers.
As quoted in Samantha’s article about a recent Focus interview, women’s minister Nancy Leigh DeMoss says: “Our feminist culture does not value children, and I’m talking about Christian feminists here . . . taking care of children isn’t really that important . . . but God has placed a nurturing heart in a woman. The mindset of women today is that of an ostrich that tramples their children . . . They don’t ask how to glorify God.”
That’s not the only inaccurate thing she said. Read the whole commentary for specific insights into how problematic and damaging her beliefs are.
I am floored by the idea that somehow a nurturing heart is at odds with Christian feminism, which is simply an acceptance of the fact that men and women have equal, intrinsic value in the eyes of God. I am appalled at the arrogance that claims to tell a certain group of women that they’re not capable of loving their children enough if they’re interested in more than just those children. Actually, I’m appalled that anyone would decide that because someone else reads the Bible differently than they do, or doesn’t believe the Bible, then somehow those people are “trampling” their children.
If I were a fundamentalist, I would love Ruthie just as much as I do now. I don’t think that because someone’s ideology is different from mine, they’re not capable of loving or nurturing their children.
When I read stuff like this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by discouraging feelings, but I am also reminded of something wonderful. As frustrating as it is to read this blatant misrepresentation of feminism and these attacks on feminists I know who are amazing parents, I am reassured that the more people like DeMoss talk, the more some people are going to realize that what they are saying is crap.
Of the things that helped me walk away from the fundamentalist evangelicalism of my youth was the fact that what I was hearing from my spiritual leaders wasn’t lining up with reality.
At some point in my daily life, the truth of my experience was not matching what my youth pastors, missions trip leaders, and respected evangelists were telling me.
I heard songs by gay men who were supposed to be disgusting and vile and obsessed with sex, and instead I heard love and heartbreak. I met people who didn’t believe in God, but who were good and kind and giving when they were supposed to be depressed and cynical lost. I listened to the stories of women who’d had abortions and they didn’t seem like the selfish, heartless women I’d been told they were. I watched movies that were supposed to be “bad,” and instead I felt alive when I watched them. I knew women who had jobs and children, and everyone in their family was happy and healthy. I found that I felt closer and more connected to God when I listened to good, beautiful, “secular” music than when I sang songs about God in church.
The louder my leadership shouted against “the world,” the more defensive I became of it, because I was realizing that the world is full of beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful things that reflect God’s beauty and truth.
The angrier people were in their words against “homosexuals,” the more I started to doubt what was being said.
The vitriol I heard hurled toward Democrats made me realize I wasn’t a Republican.
I worry about the people who buy into the painful, harmful things that people like DeMoss and company say about women, but I take reassurance from the fact that this is the very thing that led me to a new and better understanding of my faith. Over and over again, I had to hear things that weren’t true in order for me to recognize just how false they were.
When women like DeMoss announce that feminists value their jobs above their children, or are living selfishly and against God’s will by “trying to have it all,” at least some listeners are going to stop and go, “That doesn’t make sense!”
I am hopeful that when DeMoss offers her statements about these pitiful feminists, her listeners will think of all the women they know who don’t resemble this creation that fundamentalists have created of a selfish woman who puts everything on an equal level of priority in some misguided attempt to “have it all.” Perhaps her listeners will think of women who aren’t perfect, because no one is perfect, but who love their partners and their children. Mothers who spend their time making a difference through their work and by raising awesome little kids who grow up to respect women and fight injustice. Feminists who nurture their children’s distinct personalities, whether outgoing or quiet, curious or content, easygoing or endlessly difficult.
Being a feminist does not make me a child-trampling ostrich.
I am a kangaroo who pockets my child and carries her into the world. I am a chimpanzee who teaches her how to survive in that world. I am a bird who nudges her to flight.