In the world of women, something is stirring. Women are pushing back against modern feminism. Young women are engaging through social media to declare that they have no interest in the feminist movement. Many are using Tumblr.com (“a microblogging platform and social networking website”) to post pictures of themselves with handwritten signs expressing their anti-feminism rationale.
Some messages are unsophisticated: “I do not need feminism because my boyfriend treats me right.” Others address national/global issues: “Modern feminism in Western states looks pathetic when compared to misogynistic states, especially the Arab world. Women should not be fighting for superiority in the Western world; they should be fighting for equality where it is absent.”
For photos and messages see Women Against Feminism and Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.
Why might any woman be against feminism?
Before we attempt to answer, it is important to distinguish three waves of feminism. The postmodern feminism now making inroads in the 21st century is the third wave. The well-established modern feminism of the second half of the 20th century is the second. (I’ll get to the first wave shortly.)
Modern feminism was led by four women: Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique (1963); Germaine Greer, an academic and author of The Female Eunuch (1970); Patricia Ireland, President of the National Organization of Women; and Gloria Steinem, one of the founders of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s.
This movement based its understanding of feminism on secular humanism (read atheism), a meta-narrative of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern feminists centered life on self rather than others. Ironically, they promoted—subconsciously, no doubt—a male value system. They actually stood against a value system that supported the feminine and the female. Males were valued in their roles; females were not. To be equal to a man a woman must become like a man. Such thinking was evidenced in many ways (remember the 1997 action film, G.I. Jane?), but the ultimate marker was abortion. Why? Because, more than anything else, sex without consequences made females like males. Thus modern feminists were, and are, avidly pro-abortion.
Increasingly, the term “feminism” evokes the postmodern iteration of the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. This is third-wave feminism. It was driven by Michel Foucault, the French philosopher and social critic who wrote extensively on sexuality (including “queer theory”). Foucault promoted the idea that one’s sexuality and gender identity is a personal construct. He could be called the father of androgyny and established the foundations for postmodern sexuality.
If third-wave feminism prevails, one shudders to contemplate the outcome
Postmodern feminists deny any transcendent sexuality, obliterating even the biological reality of human sexual distinctive – male and female. Sexuality is a personal construct. This plays out in practical ways as the redefining of marriage, the gender-neutral toilet and laws allowing children to determine their sexual identity when they enter school.
In some jurisdictions, birth certificates are dropping “mother” and “father” in favor of “parent A” and “parent B.” Loosed from divine revelation and biological reality—both of which insist we are male and female—postmoderns construct their own identity out of fantasy. To elude the limitations of biology, Facebook has identified 51 separate gender options.
If third-wave feminism prevails, one shudders to contemplate the outcome. But, as mentioned at the beginning, something is stirring.
The truth is, many women are neither modern nor postmodern in their thinking. Perhaps a majority value female and feminine over the culture’s abandonment of the wonder and beauty of womanhood. Many women long to be valued in both their unique transcendence and sexuality.
Christian apologist, novelist, academic, and medievalist C. S. Lewis has written of the relationship between transcendent nature and human sexuality:
Gender is a reality and a more fundamental reality than sex. Sex is, in fact, merely the adoption to organic life of a fundamental polarity which divides all created beings … . The male and female of organic creatures are rather faint and blurred reflections of masculine and feminine ….
Psychologist Larry Crabb concurs with Lewis: “… a biblical view of masculinity and femininity reveals that gender isn’t moldable and plastic, but something hard-wired into each of us—something that goes beyond our bodies to our very souls.”
The sexual confusion of modern and postmodern culture is evidence that we have forgotten what the Bible teaches, and science recognizes: the form and function of living things reveal the purpose for which they were made.
They have revived first-wave feminism
Sexual confusion comes from separating creation from Creator, design from Designer. Thankfully, many women have not succumbed to sexual confusion. They have understood their design for the beautiful, vital, and fulfilling purpose of bearing and nurturing children. They want to shape the next generation of leaders in the society. These women celebrate feminine and female, marriage and motherhood.
Perhaps many of the “women against feminism” mentioned above are writing from this understanding. They consciously or intuitively understand their design, long to fulfill it, and have chosen to push back against a feminist culture that seeks to deny them a place in society.
In that sense, they are the true feminists. They have revived first-wave feminism, the domain of maternal feminists.
Yes, before postmodern feminists, before modern feminists, there were first-wave feminists – maternal feminists. These pioneers were led by women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the Grimke sisters: Sarah and Angelina.
Maternal feminists lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They functioned from a biblical worldview. Rather than fixating on their own narrow self-interests, they attended to the needs of others, especially their children and families, but also the larger community. First-wave feminists valued women (and men) in both their humanity and glorious function. They fought against the male value system and power structure rather than capitulating to it and joining it as second-wave feminists did.
One of the champions of maternal feminism was the American poet, hymn writer, and women’s activist Lydia Sigourney. In her popular book, Letters to Young Ladies, she writes of the sheer importance of the reign of women and mothers over their households:
For as surely as the safety and prosperity of a nation depend on the virtue of its people, they, who reign in the retreats where man turns for his comfort, who have power over the machinery which stamps on the infant mind its character of good or evil, are responsible, to a fearful extent, for that safety and prosperity.
As the first champions of feminism, maternal feminists recognized that the maternal reign over a healthy home was fundamental to a healthy and flourishing society. Women were made for a purpose: to nurture, to protect, to show compassion. These virtues, and the particular feminine leadership traits they create in the women who practice them, are absolute necessities for flourishing families, communities, and nations. Where these virtues are lacking or not appreciated in a society, women suffer. Men suffer. Families and nations suffer. (For more on this subject see my book Nurturing Nations. Go here for reviews.)
Perhaps this explains the movement of women against feminism.
– Darrow Miller
 Sigourney pg. 77