Philosophy: the most dangerous subjects of study. With it, ideologies and cultural mentalities come to surface and spread.
I wrote an earlier article regarding this here. But what does this have to do with the feminist ideal? The philosophy of the 18th and 19th century known as the “Enlightenment” was one of the channels that led to the feminist mindset. The ‘natural rights’ of men became popular and through this, the ‘natural rights’ of women began to be explored. Natural rights led to idea of freedom which then led to toleration and equality. The French Revolution was a product of the Enlightenment as well as the United States Revolutionary War.
Today, Thomas Paine, is a well-known revolutionary during the War for Independence. His pamphlet title, Common Sense urged the public to become anti-authority and to revolt and it espoused views that were anti-religious in nature. Paine’s work was part of the foundation for the feminist movement. It has been said that because of the Revolutionary Way, feminism kicked off faster than it did in Europe—which makes sense.
In the minds of colonists, tyranny and people being oppressed was an injustice. These people believed they had a God-given right to rebel against the authority that was placed in the lives. The feminists believed the same thing.
These feminists believed that they were being oppressed by tyrannical men and they believed there was a God-given right to rebel. During this time frame, the feminist took exact words and phrases of the Declaration of Independence like, “men and women are equal and share the inalienable rights endowed by their Creator.” These individuals pushed for equality of the sexes—even back in the late 1700’s. Where the Evangelical feminism influence was mainly from the Quakers, the Enlightenment influence came from the Unitarians.
In 1848, there was a “Declaration of Independence” (pun intended, I believe) at Seneca Falls in New York where it is reported that the feminist movement began. While there were numerous men who were in favor of feminism, John Stuart Mill perhaps was a man who voiced a dangerous, bitter breeding phrase. He wrote that authority a man had over his wife was holding her under “domestic tyranny” like the power an absolute monarch had over his citizens and a slave master over his slaves. Many other feminists carried this treacherously charged language. Susan B. Anthony used words such as ‘tyranny’ as well.
There were a few groups of feminists. Some who advocated for women’s higher education and some who were for the independence of women from men. These groups fought over “duties” vs. “rights.” Some believed that woman’s duty was to her house and home, but they should be allowed education in order to fulfill their duties. The other feminists who believed that women had “rights” and equality as laid out by the Enlightenment philosophy believed that women should have the ability to be independent from man—to work, to be educated, to have a career, and to not choose a family in order to survive. These particular feminists were jealous of man’s status and wanted to compete with men on equal terms. Like Martha Thomas who wanted to, “show that women can learn, can reason, can compete with men.” The early feminists took the exception to the rule and ran with it. They said, “What about the women who will not get married due to the surplus of women versus the amount of marriageable men?” They advocated for women going and getting an education so they could be their own providers.
Now the question to the reader is this, “Doesn’t this sound a lot like today?” Our daughters are encouraged to go out and get a formal education and start a career in case she doesn’t get married later in life. Our daughters are cornered into believing that their value and worth is what they can bring to the table monetarily. This is coming straight from feminism. It is innate in most of our brains. It is second nature—even to those who claim to be conservative.
Instead of passing on to daughters the command of Titus 2:3-5, these feminists taught their daughters that in order to be something in this world you had to prove it. You had to go out and be formally educated; armed with the tools needed to have a career and be independent from men because men were most likely going to be tyrannical dictators. This movement bred jealousy, discontentment, and hatred of family. The Feminist ideal is in all our minds. How deep does that rabbit hole go? Do you look at a stay at home mom and wonder what she does all day? Do you think it is crazy that another mom married her high school sweetheart and has five kids at home? Is there discontentment if your heart when you see a dual income family have more physical treasures than you because of the responsibility you have at home? I pray if this is you that the Lord will convict and open your eyes to the joy and blessing it is to have a family. I pray that older women will teach younger women to love their families.
I myself am so blessed to have a man who will provide for me and will sacrifice the luxury of having a little bit more money so I can stay at home tending to my responsibilities. I pray that many more men and women will see how pervasively destructive feminism is to the family—which is the foundation of society and to bring back the God-honoring, rewarding, joy of the family heritage to the front of our minds.