In an entry titled, “Christian women: feminism is not your friend” published on his popular Matt Walsh Blog in April, the conservative Christian commentator concluded that Christian “women (and men)” needed to stop identifying with feminism because the movement is essentially all about abortion.
Embracing the stereotypical liberal definition of feminism as a movement dedicated to starting and waging the War on Women, Walsh discussed the feminist fight for equality:
This is a pretty convincing indication that feminism has, at the very least, outlived its good. There is nothing surprising about that, because feminism, unlike Christianity, is a human construct. It’s an ideology. It’s a political theory. It’s a label. It is not eternal, it is not perfect (there’s the understatement of the decade), and it is not indispensable.
Feminism, like ‘liberalism,’ like ‘conservativism,’ like the Republican Party, like the Democrat Party, is a finite thing that exists and serves a certain purpose in a certain set of circumstances. When the times change, and the circumstances change, it will either die or its purpose will change.
Walsh then dug into medieval history, noting that women were given “equal standing” in certain English trade guilds in the Middle Ages, contrary to the following:
“The fact that guilds seldom permitted women to become masters did in the end relegate them to the least-skilled and certainly least-remunerative aspects of the trade”. This statement shows that the fact that women were not openly admitted to the professional guilds led to the downfall of the woman’s status as a worker during this time period. Since “[m]ale masters displayed no eagerness to train young women, and with few or no women recognized as masters, the guilds did contribute to the narrowing opportunity for women”.
Along with neglecting these facts, Walsh also did not note that neither the Christian Church, nor political leaders who identified with Christianity, demanded that equal professional or political rights be given to women (let alone non-Christians) on either side of the Atlantic.
Addressing the Christian perspective on the Bible, Walsh writes, rather naively:
Christianity has always taught harmony and love between the sexes, while feminism preaches competition and exclusion. There is simply no way to reconcile feminism with Biblical notions of marriage, and even the early feminists knew it.
I’m no Susan B. Anthony biographer, but even I recognize this famous quote from the first lady of feminism:
“There is not the woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence, no matter whether it be from the hand of father, husband, or brother; for any one who does so eat her bread places herself in the power of the person from whom she takes it.”
Presumably, according to Walsh, Susan B. Anthony was unaware that the same Christian Church that failed to support a woman’s equal voice in both professional and political spectra somehow mystically advocated for a woman’s equal voice in the home, despite research detailing the exact opposite to be true.
Through his roughshod history of Christianity, Walsh proved his point that any human ideology is bound to “either die or its purpose will change.” The Christian Church – a human ideological construct that bases itself on Biblical text – has changed immensely in the face of impending cultural death. This, of course, is thanks, in part, to the feminist movement. Walsh’s Church now teaches “harmony and love between the sexes” because feminism forced Church leadership to re-think their attitude towards gender equality on multiple platforms.
Moreover, to deny the value of the feminist movement because of its pro-abortion wing would be as ridiculous as denying the value of the Christian Church because of the PCUSA’s radical anti-Israel stance. Walsh hasn’t successfully argued against feminism. Rather, he has proven that the Church needs feminism – a Biblical feminism- if only to force its members to question the human constructs of their religion so that they may pursue a deeper understanding of their Biblical faith.