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….
morninglight mama says
I’m curious about your comment that most of the people reading on this site would hesitate to label themselves feminist… followed by the statement that you knew nothing about the feminist movement before reading this book. So, while you admittedly knew nothing about a significant movement that has affected our society as a whole, you still associated a completely negative connotation to it. Hmmm.
Also, is there something that we readers should know about the affiliation of this site, that the assumption would be made that no one reading would be supportive of the feminist movement? While some individual writers’ profiles indicate a personal strong religious affiliation, I was not aware of a particular leaning by the site at large. Is this the conclusion that we readers are to make from your opening idea on this post?
Hi morninglight mama,
Thanks for your comment. You are so right; I never intended to convey an assumption about the readers of this site nor about the affiliation of the site as a whole. I spoke carelessly and I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my thoughts! I did not mean to associate a “completely negative connotation” about the feminist movement as a whole. I recognize that feminism has made great strides in advancing the cause of women; something Carolyn also addresses in her book. It has indeed affected our society as a whole, just as you said. I am certainly acquainted with feminism as a movement; it was its history I knew little about, which is probably true for many women!
To be clear, I think it is the radical, militant aspect of feminism that carries something of a negative connotation today–but that is merely my own observation! I certainly do not speak for Jennifer nor the other contributors.
And, by the way, to address your last few questions: There is nothing you need to know about us other than we love books and plan to keep bringing reviews of all kinds!