In recent months I have been hearing a lot about Feminism and Anti-Feminism, and Gender Equality. It seems every where I turn there are articles, photos, and hashtags relating to the subjects. There are memes all over the internet with titles such as “I don’t need feminism“, “We are What Feminists Look Like“, and of course much debate on the so-called “War on Women“.
I have got to be honest here, it’s all getting a little out of hand and I really do not like being labeled, on either side. Instead, I like my actions to speak for my worth. I believe respect is earned and is a two way street. We do not need to create animosity among us, or judge and attack each other for our individual beliefs. Each of us has a world view that was created from our own personal experiences. I understand these differences and like to keep an open mind about what personal experiences would lead a person and I respect that. Instead of fighting among each other, we should be working together, letting our character build the foundations for respectful relationships.
I am a strong, independent, self reliant, educated woman and I believe I deserve every right that a man does….but I do not identify with Feminism – instead I choose Virtue. My experiences and my world view have led me to choose Virtue over Feminism.
The definition of Virtue (according to Miriam-Webster Dictionary) is:
“morally good behavior or character; a good and moral quality; the good result that comes from something”
Even more descriptive in relating Virtue to Women, in Christian Scripture you can find a beautifully written verse about the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31.
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. and When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Proverbs 31 is by far my favorite description of what a woman is and should be. This is how I was raised and how I try to model my life; a Virtuous Woman.
The true definition of Feminism (according to Miriam-Webster Dictionary) is:
“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities; organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests”
However, in today’s world the word “Feminism” has taken on a derogatory connotation where women who identify themselves as such are seen as man-hating fanatics, devoting their lives to a fictitious war on women. That is not to say this is the truth.
I am so thankful to the women who went before me to fight for equal rights so that I have the opportunities for higher education, opportunities in the work force, and the right to vote~all human beings were created equally and deserve to have the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness regardless of gender or ethnicity. It is quite possible that in the early 1900’s I very well may have been a “Feminist” but today, I am not. Today, I am a “Virtuous Woman”. And as you can see, the Virtuous Woman is so much more than the belief in equal rights.
I’m sure many that don’t understand are reading the words above and envisioning an ancient submissive housewife, but I want to point out that that ideology couldn’t be further from the truth. Take the first line of the passage;
“Her husband has full confidence in her”–a virtuous woman has the respect of men, and in turn respects them as well. They have a mutual respect for each other, and husband and wife recognize that they are a partnership on equal ground, each one’s work no more important than the other but also both necessary for a successful family.
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.”—Have you ever considered the meaning of these words beyond their surface? I don’t know about you, but these days I’d call that a Supermom! A virtuous woman is productive, she is opportunistic, she seizes the day-taking opportunities where she sees them, not letting idle time be wasted. She puts her home, her family, and her community above her own wants and needs.
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy...She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.“–This woman is kind and caring. She lends a hand to those in need, instead of worrying about how she has been wronged, and setting her sights on solely selfish ventures.
“and When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen purple...She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen purple“–she is prepared and knowledgeable. She is far more than just a wife, just a woman. She contributes greatly to the partnership and to the family. Without her, they would undeniably be lost.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”–my favorite line in the passage. The Virtuous woman is clothed in strength and dignity. She is tough, and confident, and full of faith and conviction; so much so that she is able to laugh in the face of challenge. She is ready and willing to take on whatever life throws her way…because she lives a life of Virtue.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’“–I strive to be this woman. Everyday. And my family, and my community respect me.
I choose Virtue rather than Feminism, showing just how strong women are rather than crying out that the world is unfair. I choose to set an example to my daughters and other women around me in my actions and my words. To example and to teach kindness and empathy.
I know that I am not being cheated in the world, I am respected by men and women alike….because I choose Virtue.