When I was in university, I took a course about the history of women in Canada. I was a history major, and yes, this class interested me. It was a fascinating class largely because I could see how things had progressed to where I was. I did my university studies as a mother of young children, and I think that adds a different understanding than when one studies as a 21 year old who has not been married with children yet or even lived entirely independent from her family.
One of the things we studied, of course, was the first wave of feminism and how it influenced Canada, specifically in the women's suffrage movement and also in the Christian Women's Temperance Union, which exerted quite a bit of influence here. Famous women like Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby were involved with it. I saw very quickly that feminism affected my daily life quite a bit: the paid maternity leave benefits I received were a result of it; my right to vote; the fact that my name was on our mortgage. Any woman who thinks that feminism has not affected her hasn't thought about it long enough.
In the first chapter of her book God's Good Design, Claire Smith gives a brief history of the three waves of feminism, and she points out that we have all been influenced by it. She entitles her first chapter "The Fine Dust of Feminism," likening its effect to a fine dust settling on her home of Sydney in 2009. She goes on to point out, though, that feminism itself has been affected by other cultural changes, seen most notably in this recent, third wave of feminism which has been profoundly influenced by post modern thinking. She also points out the good things feminism has wrought, things which are consistent with biblical thinking.
She does, however, focus on the reality that feminism's infiltration into the church cannot go unnoticed by Christian women. It has had a profound influence. I liked her comment here:
Given the complex and all-pervasive nature of feminism, and the huge impact it has had on us all, it is little wonder that trying to understand and accept God's purposes for men and women requires some hard work. It is like trying to read a serious book when the TV is blaring. There is just too much noise going on for us to hear clearly what God is saying - noise which is often cultural and personal.
To complicate things even further, sometimes this noise comes from Christian brothers and sisters who at other times have been beloved and reliable teachers in their sermons and books.
While these issues concern women of all ages, younger women face some uncertain times. My daughter, although being raised in a Christian home where things like biblical roles for men and women were taught, works in a very feministic environment. It simply leaks out into everything she learns in a faculty where most professors are women and feminists. There are many issues I know she has not entirely worked out simply because she's surrounded by the noise.
I'm looking forward to this book. So far, I like Smith's writing style. She's clear, concise, and obviously has a lot of common sense. I'm hoping to summarize each chapter as I go, as time allows.