By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Feminism is a strong word today, which can be associated with mixed messages. The term "feminist" is associated with supporting and encouraging women. Unfortunately, extreme feminists have altered the definition of feminism and created a liberal slur that drifts away from the true meaning of being a feminist. In basic terms and traditional teachings, being a pro-feminist is someone who is supportive of women, acknowledges their value, and treats them correctly.
In this article, we are going to answer the question: is Jesus a pro-feminist?
Jesus would be considered what we call a traditional pro-feminist. Jesus viewed women as having equal worth to men. He never belittled women nor did he downplay their worth. Rather than placing a negative view on women or an inferior view on their abilities, He saw them as what He created them to be—beautiful creations. When God created man and woman, He created them in His image (Genesis 1:27). This means that both man and woman are uniquely made in God's image so they are both equally valuable. God doesn't view men as being superior to women nor does he view women as being superior to men. Instead, he views and values men and women as equals.
Being a pro-feminist has different meanings and definitions in modern-day culture, but if we take feminism in its traditional form of being pro-women, then yes, we could say Jesus was a pro-feminist. However, we cannot be dogmatic in saying that Jesus would be a pro-feminist according to the standards and teaching of the word feminism as defined in the present-day 21st century. (Though the recent definition of feminism has been altered and distorted according to liberal slurs and politics, for the purpose of this article, we want to delve deeper into the answer to Jesus' view from the traditional definition of feminism.)
Positive View of Women
Jesus always had a positive view of women throughout His earthly life as well as now and into eternity. He has never and will never place a negative view on women. The negative view placed on women in the modern day is not due to God. Rather, the patriarchy of the modern-day is the result of sin being in the world and the view that men are superior to women. Sadly, many of these male supremacists misuse the Bible to push their incorrect views onto the world. As Christians, it is vital for us to understand the value and worth of women's lives and not undermine them. As a woman myself, I have been a victim of the patriarchy of the modern-day and the unequal rights that still saturate the world. As advanced as we should be in the modern-day, women still are not seen as equal to men nor are treated the same way as men are treated.
From the time that we are young, we are taught that girls and women are objects to be looked at or to be seen. With this mentality, we have been taught that women's worth and value are tied to their appearance. This is not the only negative teaching being taught to young minds concerning women as the culture teaches that women are incomplete without a man or somehow less than a person. A pro-feminist does not adhere to this teaching but rather opposes it. As Christians, we too need to oppose this mentality. Within Christian culture, pro-feminism is seen in a negative light, but when we interpret pro-feminism as being pro-women and pro-women rights, we can know the truth that Jesus is pro-women or, in this terminology, a pro-feminist.
There were many women Jesus healed of various ailments, such as the woman subject to bleeding for twelve long years (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus didn’t leave her in her infirmity, but rather healed her. Jesus said her great faith healed her because she said, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed" (Matthew 9:21b). She had faith that Jesus could heal her and He did. In fact, Jesus never turned away a woman who came to Him for healing. He healed all who came to Him, whether they were males or females. Jesus did not discriminate between men and women but rather valued them both equally.
In our own Christian life, we need to imitate Jesus' mentality and teachings. Men are not superior to women in any way despite the teachings of the patriarchy. Many of Jesus' followers were women, and the Bible tells us that the women were the ones who were supporting Jesus financially out of their own personal money (Luke 8:1-3). By these women following Jesus and supporting His ministry financially, it attests to the fact that the women knew they were valued by Jesus. A woman would not support a ministry if they felt like they were being put down or belittled.
Jesus was constantly showing throughout His ministry how much He valued women as individuals. He broke many cultural norms and cultural traditions by even associating with women. This is because these cultural norms and traditions were steeped in patriarchy and sin. Jesus showed through His ministry that He valued women and sought others to do the same. If there has ever been a person to be pro-women or pro-feminist, it was Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Application to Our Lives
In our own lives, we need to follow Jesus' example and see all lives as being equal. No matter if a person is a man or a woman, Jesus loves them the same and so should we. Both women and men are smart, valued, and worthy. Women have been downplayed and discriminated against throughout history, but we do have the power to change the narrative for the future. If we follow Jesus’ example of being pro-feminist, we will be able to cause a major change in the world. Sadly, many of the most patriarchal men are those within the church. This needs to change because the church needs to be the genesis of equality.
Women are not inferior to men in any way or in any fashion. If you are a man, stop and think about all that women have to go through that you don't personally have to experience. Women are strong creations of God, who don't need to be seen as inferior or "weak." Jesus placed a high value and worth on women and so should every person within the church and outside of the church. There is no excuse for discriminating against women because it all boils down to a sin problem. Jesus was a pro-feminist and taught the truth that women are valuable, worthy, and dearly loved.
Thus, if we define the term “pro-feminist” as meaning pro-women and pro-women’s rights, then yes, Jesus was a pro-feminist. In this sense, we all should be pro-feminists because we should all see women in a positive light. All women are dearly loved by the Lord, and as His followers, we should also love all people. Women and men are both equal in the eyes of God, and we should all be supportive of one another. As Christians, we should never view one gender as being superior to the other because it isn’t true. All people are equally loved by God whether man or woman because we are all His children.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/jacoblund
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.