#ThrowbackThursday: Understanding International Women’s Day

This post was originally published in March of 2018 under the title, “Before You Give it a Like: Understanding International Women’s Day,” and has been updated for International Women’s Day in March 2019.

“Happy International Women’s Day!”

Tomorrow, your feed will be filled with celebratory posts acknowledging the women in our lives who are diligent and passionate, and accompanied by the hashtag #BalanceisBetter. And if you’re like me, you might think, “Woot! Women are such a blessing, balance is a good thing, and I know so many strong, intelligent and hard-working women worthy of celebration!” After all, I’m sure you can think of at least one woman in your life whose dedication, love, and energy for nurturing those around her has had a positive impact on you. And those women are definitely worth celebrating.

But before you hit the like button or even share a post of your own, it’s good to consider what International Women’s Day is actually about:

  • The first official International Women’s Day in the US, dating back to 1910, was an initiative of the Socialist Party of America.
  • It quickly gained attention around the world and became a global celebration in future years. It was instituted as a global holiday by the United Nations in 1975.
  • Feminism is the foundational philosophy that the modern Women’s Day and accompanying movements are rooted in.
  • The main “oppression” that women claim to be standing up to resist in the U.S. include the “pay gap” and what they perceive to be a system of “patriarchy.”
  • Just a few examples of modern women who represent the belief system of this movement are Gloria Steinem (feminist movement leader), Cecile Richards (director of Planned Parenthood), Elizabeth Warren (democratic senator), and Lena Dunham (actress).
  • Today this movement is rooted in a belief system that rejects the principle of women prioritizing the home and equates equality, not just with equality of opportunity, but with equality of outcome, believing that women will not be truly equal with men until they are represented in every sphere of work in comparable numbers. This is exemplified by the 2016’s theme, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality,” and 2017’s theme, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”

On its surface, the intention for International Women’s Day is a celebration of women around the globe and their achievements. However, IWD affirms that their purpose is to, “accelerate gender parity,” not simply the equal treatment and intrinsic value of men and women, but also the equal representation of women in every status and sphere of influence. The general language used to describe the purpose of this day is a guise for beliefs aligned with intersectional feminism and against biblical gender distinctions.

The oversimplified language that http://www.internationalwomensday.com (IWD) shares utilizes the propaganda technique of transfer or association. Transfer takes the positive or negative qualities of one person, idea or entity and projects them onto another to either qualify or discredit the second person, idea or entity. By making general statements about celebrating women’s achievements, IWD projects a positive association to those who support their cause. However, it leaves little to no room for disagreement on particular issues.

This presents a problem: if I don’t agree with a woman’s achievement that IWD celebrates, for example, Liliane Ploumen’s recognition for her international work in advocating for women’s right to abortion, do I then disqualify myself from celebrating International Women’s Day? Furthermore, by celebrating this day, am I inherently showing support for issues that I would not only disagree with but also would have clear biblical reasons to reject and oppose?

I believe the short answer is yes. Because of this logical fallacy of transfer, according to feminist ideology, if you support IWD, you love women. But if you don’t agree with everything about IWD, you hate women, or at the very least you’re taking things WAY too seriously. Even as you’ve read this article and considered your position, you might have thought, “it doesn’t make sense to throw the baby out with the bath water. I support women all around the globe, their health, security, and opportunities, and love the idea of celebrating the equal value of women, so what’s the big deal?” And this is the challenge of thinking critically about these issues, considering the ramifications of what you support, like or share.

As Christian women, we should be careful. With all the information available to us through the internet and social media, we should be cautious when liking or sharing about outspoken organizations or public achievements that simply seem positive or encouraging. We should think intentionally about how our support of these organizations aligns with biblical truth. With the ideologies behind IWD, we see that women are encouraged to deny biblical gender roles, as those are seen as oppressive and demeaning. Yet, the Bible teaches of God’s divine calling for all women, a design given by God to women for their greatest joy, peace, and accomplishment to be found in Him. In the church today, there is still much confusion about the role of women in the home and in ministry, and much of this is due to the influence of worldly, and not biblical, thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, we should absolutely value and rejoice in the way God has created women. Looking in scripture, we see that women are greatly esteemed and loved by God and His people. God formed Eve from Adam’s rib, providing a helper for Adam who would bless and partner with him in all God had called him to; with woman being the pinnacle of His creation, God literally saved the best of His work for last (cue here Frozone’s wife from The Incredibles, “I’m the greatest good you are ever gonna get.”). King Lemuel’s mother adjures him to treasure a woman of excellence, who is hard-working, intelligent, accomplished, and fears the Lord. Paul thanks God for and reminds Timothy of the sincere faith of his mother and grandmother, a faith and understanding of God that was diligently taught to Timothy. Jesus Christ did not ignore the many women He came across during His earthly ministry, but instead showed abundant grace to them though they were sinners. And we see that Christ, after resurrecting from the grave, appeared first to women.

So how do we reconcile our thinking? How should we approach days like IWD or the Women’s March? Should we criticize the women who advocate for these movements, some who might sit next to us in our pews on Sunday morning? Not at all! We do not condemn our fellow Christians who speak out on occasions like today, and even acknowledge that the majority do so while lacking information about the history and philosophies behind them.  Even so, we need to take personal responsibility for our own beliefs, and obey the call to action given to us in Titus 2: 1-10, to teach what accords with sound doctrine, so that the Word of God may not be reviled!

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

God invites us to learn sound doctrine, His will and His purposes for all of man and womankind, through His word. The word of God is sufficient for all things, for instruction and learning of any kind, including what God has called us to as women, and men, while here on earth (2 Timothy 3:16).

This post is not to shame you into going back through all your likes on Instagram, nor is it to force you to become a fierce opposer of women’s day. What I really want is for you (us) to think about and search the scriptures to know who God made you, as a woman, to be. I want you to pray for wisdom and discernment that aligns with God’s word so that the word of God would not be attacked or diminished, but instead gloriously upheld in your life to His glory. And I want you to engage your energies and passions in the things of Christ because in Him you are meant to find satisfaction and purpose. Remember sister, that in Christ, there is grace to be found for all, in all things – even our thinking and understanding, culture and upbringing!

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April Recommendations (Resources on Intersectionality)

Hey friends! We worked together to make a list of some of our favorite resources that have helped us in our study of intersectional theory. We hope these will be profitable aids to your own study as you desire to grow in your understanding of this worldview and learning how to respond to it from a biblical perspective!

Intersectional Feminism: What is It?
(Youtube Video)
In an ironic turn of events, the Factual Feminist (Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers) covers how intersectional feminism and identity politics actually is contradictory to fundamental feminism, creating a hierarchy that challenges the goal of women coming together for the good of all women.

Intersectionality May be at Odds with the Gospel
(Article)
Our pastor shared this article with me and I greatly appreciated the succinct way Denny Burk addresses some of the key flaws in intersectional theory. He gets right to the point, making it a great resource to share with someone who has little to no understanding about what intersectionality is. This article is based on a more in-depth article that I am sharing below.

First Church of Intersectionality
(Article)
This is the article that the aforementioned one is based upon. Elizabeth Corey attended an intersectional academic conference in which Patricia Collins spoke, and this piece is a thoughtful, articulate response that was born out of that experience. She is clearly an intelligent, well-read woman who thinks deeply and analytically about the world around her. This piece is the lengthiest read of all the articles we are recommending, but also may be the most worthwhile.

Intersectionality, the Dangerous Faith
(Article)
This article is a great introductory piece on intersectionality and explores the religious kind of zeal that is characteristic of intersectional movements.

An Open Letter to SBC and Dr. Russell Moore & A Second Open Letter to Leaders
(Articles)
Lorine Spratt, a member of the Southern Baptist Evangelical Church, shares an open letter about the necessity to preserve unity in the church, and how recent teachings from ERLC leadership (penned directly to Dr. Russell Moore & SBC Pastors) and is harming that unity. She recently penned a second letter to Beth Moore, Danny Akin, and “others who share their mindset.”

 

Shenvi Apologetics – Review on Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology
(Blog Post Series)
Dr. Niel Shenvi presents a succinct review of Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins’ work on Critical Theory, and presents an accurate view of what Critical theory is and why it is not compatible with Christianity.

Dear Thabiti by Doug Wilson (4/9)
The Racialist Lens Disrupts True Christian Unity: A Response to Thabiti Anyabwile by James White (4/9)
But, Thabiti by Doug Wilson (4/10)
(Blog Posts)
Thabiti Anyabwile, Doug Wilson, and James White engaged in an interesting public blog conversation last week regarding the way the church should be discussing, responding, and handling race issues today. Wilson and White express important concerns in articulate, gracious ways regarding a plethora of issues surrounding the MLK Gospel Conference put on by the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition and responded to some specific comments Anyabwile made on Twitter and then on his own blog.

An Intro to Intersectional Poison
(Sheologians Podcast)
In their typically hilarious and entertaining way, Summer White and Joy Tembe cover an overview of what intersectional thought and critical theory are, and address how identity politics and victim thinking have begun to pervade our understanding of the world around us.

Intersectional Poison and the Gospel Cure
(Sheologians Podcast)
The Sheologians team follows up their introduction by sharing how intersectional thought impacts the church and its unity, and how serious that actually is.