I recently posted part one of my book report for Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle. I have now gone to the beginning of the book and am ready to do the part two installment.
I am to the part of the book that is going back into the history of feminism. It actually starts back in Jane Austen's time, with British women beginning to want sexual freedom outside of the norms of marriage. It then moves into women's right to vote in the USA, about a hundred years later. Then, strangely, feminism in the USA took a sharp turn to follow the sexual revolution of women that was started in Britain, with the banner that women should have the choice of children after sex, just as men have the choice to just walk away.
It is hard to put all of this into perspective without having you actually read what she says, but Merkle does an amazing job of showing how the idea that children are suppressive to women has been the link in the chain of feminism all along. Even women's suffrage, a baby I'm not willing to throw out with the bathwater of feminism, is tainted with this view in its leader's lives. Is the apparent bondage that children bring what's at the heart of feminism?
I am just starting to form these thoughts, but this book is helping me to see that when women do not view children and family as the highest vocational calling they could be given, they begin to believe the lie that they are selling out, and not living life to the fullest, if they choose motherhood rather than career development. As Merkle points out, this completely goes against Scriptures' teaching that by laying your life down for another you will find it. For some reason, it has become a hard pill to swallow that God made women as caretakers of the family, and therefore culture. We have been brainwashed, yes, even the Christian ladies out there, to believe that being a mother and wife is a lesser calling than being a career woman. It isn't as sexy, and it doesn't give us the freedom we might otherwise have. It doesn't require great schooling or degrees. It doesn't get recognized at the high school reunion as a great accomplishment. It doesn't bring in big paychecks to show that we've been doing something worthwhile. It makes us deny ourselves and put others first, which sounds very nice and religious, but in reality is not our first choice. Motherhood just seems like a ball and chain when viewed through these glasses, and really doesn't seem fair.
But Merkle destroys all of those arguments with this statement:
"A woman raising her children is not only shaping the next generation, she is also shaping little humans who are going to live forever. The souls she gave birth to are immortal. Immortal."
What could require more skill, integrity, and brains than shaping immortal souls? Now that's sexy (at least to our husbands, right?)! With such stakes, of course God would design and carve out a special place just for women to help the next generation thrive in. There's a lot hedging within those four walls that many see as suffocating a woman's true calling. What a tremendous calling we have as women to influence eternity! If only we'd start to see it as such.
On an end note, there's something deeper that this has also brought to my attention. I'm starting to think that our arguments against abortion might fall on more fallow soil when we prepare the ground first with our lives showing how much we value having children in them and shaping them. When women stop seeing children as life-stoppers, and start seeing them as the unusual road to "career fulfillment", maybe then the abortion industry might begin to fade out naturally. Of course, all of this only happens through God changing hearts, but what if our value of our families was the spark that lit the fire?