Reclaiming the F word

‘Mum, what are you doing?’

‘Writing a post for my blog.’

‘YOU HAVE A BLOG?  What is it about?’

‘Faith, Family and Feminism’

‘You’ve gotta loose that F word mum, no one will read it otherwise,’ he said laughing.

And I wondered… Was he right? No of course not, but he did have a point. Mention Feminism and people roll their eyes and assume that they know all about you. What you are going to say, what you think, what you believe, what your responses are.

Couple that with being a Christian and all sorts of land-mines go off in people’s heads. Other Christians, or more specifically other Catholics think that as a feminist I only want Ordination opened to women. Secularists, question why I remain part of one of the most anti female religions on the planet.

Neither will engage in dialogue. Yes they listen politely but they don’t really want to know what I think, what I bring to the conversation or any insights I might have. Because they already know. And they are too busy telling me why I am wrong.

Which is why I have put off this post since day 1. Maybe it is still too soon, it doesn’t read as well, it is more emotional, not as clear as I would like, but I have to get it out there and this is the beginning…

Feminism is  neuralgic issue. It polarises people.

For me I am a feminist precisely because I am a Christian. For me feminism goes hand in hand with Justice. It’s about God gifting each one of us regardless of our gender. God’s gifts are limitless not limiting. Feminism, like Christianity calls us to build a place where all can call home, where all are valued, where all are respected and where all have choice. And ‘all’ includes both female and male, for men are bound by sexism too.

Yes we have come a long way since our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought for and won the vote. But there is still along way to go before the Kingdom is a reality. We can not say we are building the Kingdom, or that we live by Gospel values if we turn a blind eye to oppression. And that includes oppression of women which includes oppression of men too.

Every time we allow comments such as ‘she was asking for it’, ‘what was she wearing?’ to go unchallenged we are colluding with sexism.

And we all need feminism.


Every time we allow the same traits to be described in positive ways for men and negative ways for women we collude with sexism

And we all need feminism.

Every time we work to end poverty but do not see that women make up the largest section of the poor we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow figures of speech which gender objects or situations negatively as female to go unchallenged we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow language, dress, actions to keep women (and men) in their place we collude with sexism.

And we need feminism.

Every time we do not hear that the story is being told from the standpoint of patriarchy we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

For me feminism is not about women being or seeing themselves as better than men. It is about not being humiliated, made to take the blame, being patronised because of gender, made to feel ashamed because I am a women. It is about equality, about having choices, about having the right to education, healthcare, of being valued because we are all born in the image and likeness of God, ‘female and male God created them’.

And I haven’t even started on the issues of gender and church…

But I will.


5 thoughts on “Reclaiming the F word

  1. Yes, the foundation for your argument FOR JUSTICE & EQUANIMITY for all and everyone to be proclaimed loud and clear is solid, godly & always much needed.
    Why must there be an ‘ism’ attatched to it? It’s for Love that’s enough.
    I speak out for the black man i am targeted by the racists. I speak out for religious ‘tradition’ I am targeted by the ‘progressive’. I speak out for the guy that knicks a loaf of bread from the bins ……….. et et .
    They lable me, let them. My F word is Freedom, to just Be Just. My choice of ism is ‘Justicism’!

    It’s done for Love, it don’t need another lable.

    Others will need to give you a lable but don’t accept it! Just Be Just.

    Give it a lable, it is then owned (ego rules) by the loudest biggest mouth that speaks for that lable, and anyone who cares to bask in the reflected ‘glory’ of the particular ‘ism’. That’s the basis for all dictators and fascists.

    Look at Jesus …… what was his ‘ism’ …… why and how has he got disciples of all persuasions and leanings for the last 2000yrs ………?
    Only Love does it! Only Love is Both& ……. transcending
    ……… and why can’t they agree amongst themselves …… ?
    We all claim that love as ‘our own’ for our own ‘persuasion’ ‘ism’ and create it in the image of an ‘ism’ … rather than just Being & Living it as best we can and gorwing in thhe likeness of it.

    Let rip (whatever ‘your issues’ for Justice & Truth are) but Let God retain ownership of it!
    Simply as LoveISM!

    Now you’ll never speak to me again, and lable me at best as just another misguided man, at worst a closet misoginist ……… and a very bqad speller but can’t be assed with the spell chk. L&P G.

  2. I work with people who consider me a feminist, I work with people who call me a sexist.

    I have a wife and two daughters who consider themselves feminists but they argue about it all the time.

    I think you’ve nailed the definition of feminism there, Ms O’Keeffe, we can all have our nuances on the subject but the core is there. Bravo!

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