Feminism, rightly or wrongly, carries with it radical connotations. However, as author Carolyn McCulley explains in her book Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World, feminist thought has permeated, and influenced, nearly every sector of our culture. In the preface, Carolyn tells of her experience addressing a conference for college age women. In asking them what they knew of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Simone de Beauvoir, she realized that she was “talking to a generation living with the fallout of seismic cultural change, but the didn’t know what had happened!” She set aside her notes and, as she describes it:
I…began to address them with passion. I explained to them what previous generations had done to change the definition of being a woman. I talked to them about all they had inherited–both benefits and the detriments. I talked to them about what the Bible had to say on these matters. And then I challenged them to be different, to live as biblically savvy women in the modern world.
When it was over, many of them came forward to say this information was all brand-new to them. “Why hasn’t anyone ever told us this before?” they asked.
I must confess: while familiar with the feminist mindset, I knew little (okay, nothing) of Friedan or Steinem either and found the history of the feminist movement to be fascinating. This book is far more than a mere history lesson though. From the chapter titles alone, you can see that Carolyn is thorough in her treatment of feminist influence in our current culture: “Men Aren’t the Problem,” “Role Call,” “The Mommy Wars,” and “Raunch Culture Rip-Off,” just to name a few. The final chapter, “Feminine Faith,” explores the impact of feminism on the church. You may think there is no such thing as evangelical feminism, yet Carolyn would urge you to consider our rebellion against the word “submit” or our resistance to the authority role of men in the church.
Carolyn carefully and intentionally contrasts the story of feminism–what it got right and what it got wrong–with the Truth of the Word of God. God’s plan for women is the truly radical path and there lies Carolyn’s passion. In addition, each chapter concludes with a real life story of real life women who each “found God to be true to His Word.”
Certainly this is an explosive issue yet Carolyn writes with true humility and passion as she encourages her readers to embrace true femininity as defined by the Bible. As a regular reader of her blog, I found Carolyn’s book to be timely, relevant, intriguing and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it. If you’re interested in finding out more, Carolyn has posted a video trailer here.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….