Naming it Matters

This is my third and final post for The Feminisms Fest. This is the most brilliant conversation I have ever been a part of and will be reading every single post here, here, and here. This week I also talked about my journey to feminism and how it isn’t just for girls.

It took me four years to find a doctor who could tell me what was wrong. From 13 to 17 my mom drove me to doctors offices where they poked, prodded, drew blood, ran tests, and eventually shrugged their shoulders. When enough people tell you they don’t know what is causing it, even you start to question whether or not your pain is real.

The day the doctor named what I had, was one of the most important days of my life. I cannot understate the importance of someone telling you that what you are feeling is real, that you are not the only one in the world who is experiencing this type of pain. By naming the pain that I was in, the doctor was also able to tell me for the very first time in his thick and beautiful Indian accent, “My dear, you are going to get much better.

This same validation I found in feminism. People think the hurting came after the label. That somehow calling myself a feminist created the injustice in the world, created the injustice in the ways of the church and the pain I feel when I am hurt by it. I was in pain before anyone told me the name of my muscle disorder. I was hurting because something was wrong.

These posts, this conversation has reminded me, I am not alone. I am not the only one who feels like the way I feel. I am not the only one hurting. I am, in fact, not crazy. We still need feminism, it still matters. It matters because something is wrong.  By naming that pain: patriarchy, misogyny, sexism, inequality, injustice, we are able to begin to try to heal.

The healing has already begun. The thing that has surprised me the most about the Feminisms Fest is the hope that is now spilling over in my heart.  I hear the Holy Spirit calling gently to me.

My dear, things are going to get much better.

I can smell it on the wind, the change is coming, the chains are breaking, one heart at a time. Last night a woman who once told me she would never want a marriage like mine because it was too equal and she wanted a clear leader, and wanted to clearly follow, wore the word feminist. She has been trying it on in the closet of her mind, but last night she decided it fit, looked good even, and wore the label feminist beside me in my kitchen.

And let me not forget that the person hosting this third day of the feminism fest, I started reading his work before he was one. He is embarrassed by the opinions his archives hold, but I seem them as a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit. When God calls me to shout I will shout, when He calls me to whisper, I will whisper, whether He calls me to stay or leave, I will go where I am called. But it is the job of the Holy Spirit to change hearts, and can I tell you? The Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit does change hearts and reverse opinions. I have seen it on the internet, I have seen it in my kitchen.

Come close, I want to say this next part to you, look into your eyes, put my hands on your shoulders and shake you a little with the importance of it.

Feminism does not give you permission to be who you are. With or without feminism, you are enough. The gifts that the Lord has given to you, in the body that God has chosen for you are not an accident. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  That is what God says; that is the truth. Feminism affirms that truth, encourages that truth, and (when necessary) angrily shouts that truth. But it is not the truth of feminism that makes you enough; it is the truth of God.

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3 thoughts on “Naming it Matters

  1. This is beautiful. I’ve been thoroughly bummed that the demands of my life just now have made it impossible to participate in this round of writing – all that I’ve seen has been superb – honest, open, insightful, gracious. Thanks for your contributions.

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