By the tender age of thirteen, I was already an accidental feminist. I wasn’t reading Gloria Steinem or asking to join NOW rallies. In fact, growing up in a strong Christian family and gospel-preaching church, I had limited exposure to feminist ideology. But I do remember thinking that I wanted to do something more important than be a wife, mother, and homemaker. Those jobs were all right for some women, but they weren’t good enough for me. I was going to change the world.
Around this time, my mom decided to take me and my sisters through Elisabeth Elliot’s Let Me Be A Woman—letters to her own daughter on the biblical meaning of womanhood. Only recently, somewhat to my amusement, did I learn that this was for my benefit. My wise mother realized that I needed to anchor my developing convictions to God’s truths about womanhood. Her teaching me through that book changed my life.
In her new book, The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design, Courtney Reissig graciously confronts all of us with the feminist tendencies resident in every human heart:
“Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (1:9). Feminism, while it may seem like a new concept, is really an ideology of the oldest kind.”
“We have all asked the question, ‘Did God actually say…?’ Sound familiar? A lady named Eve thought the same thing (Genesis 3). If we are going to make any progress in understanding what it means to be a woman in this crazy world we live in, we must first understand that we come from the same stock. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we have been in a battle of the sexes, but—more importantly—we have been in a battle against our Creator.”
This age-old battle is exacerbated today by the pervasive influence of feminist ideology. “Like so much of the feminist movement,” writes Courtney, “the good that has come out of it is mixed with bad”:
“Feminism is in our bones now, and many of us do not even know it…Feminism is in the core of our hearts apart from the saving work of the shed blood of Christ….We are all feminists in need of recovery. We have all shaken our fists at God and wanted something different from his good design for us.”
The thrust of Courtney’s book is not merely to expose the accidental feminist in all of us, but to survey, once again, the beauty and glory of God’s gracious plan for women. She covers topics such as singleness, marriage, homemaking, modesty, motherhood, and a woman’s role in the church. She wants to point us past the mommy wars and the battle of the sexes to God’s inerrant Word:
“We are not part of a rebellion against a generation gone by. We aren’t thumbing our noses at the feminists of our mother’s generation. Rather, we desire full-fledged restoration to what God intended for us from the very beginning.”
“But to understand what it means to be a woman in God’s economy, we must first understand his design and plan for us. Then we will see that womanhood has nothing to do with our capabilities, and everything to do with what we were created for.”
Not only did I appreciate this book as a refreshing reminder of God’s gracious and exciting call on our lives as women, I’m tucking it away to use with my daughters someday soon. Because, like my mom before me, I want to raise young women who delight in God’s design for womanhood. I want to raise my daughters to change the world.