How Third Wave Feminism is Killing Marriage

My goal here at Living the Sweet Wife is to help marriages thrive. But something’s been making that a lot harder lately. You wanna know what that thing is? Feminism.

So I’m a marriage blogger, right? Not only that, but I’m a Christian one. But Christian or not, I know that a lot of the words I write can help a lot of people. I see marriages work and I see marriages fail. I see red flags, warnings signs, bad omens. But I also see couples and have just known that they’re going to “make it” and be ok. And then I see couples thrive.

And that’s my goal here at Living the Sweet Wife. I want to see marriages thrive.

But something’s been making that a lot harder lately. You wanna know what that thing is?

Feminism.

Oh, and not just any old feminism. Third Wave Feminism. But hold up for a second and take a deep breath before names like, “1950’s Housewife” start getting thrown around.

Did you know that I respect my husband, listen to him, and think feminism is important?

Feminism- at its core- is needed and important. Do I believe our society is male-dominant? Yes. Do I believe it should be? No. But I don’t think it should be female dominant either. Do I understand that our society has a long way to go to reach gender equality? Yes! Getting talked-down-to, mansplained, and brushed off by men is not a new thing for me. Feminism has helped me to recognize when it’s happening and because of my awareness- and how I’ve grown more confident in myself- I’m able to disregard misconceptions about women (especially ones directed at me), I can address it, and I can move past it. I say “helped” because I would be nowhere near the person I am today without Jesus Christ in my life. Because of Him, I know exactly who I am, that my value doesn’t change, and that I am created with the ability to be wise, intelligent, loving, and strong.

But, yes, I still think that we have a ways to go before we reach real gender equality. Here’s a story of something that happened to me recently:

I gave birth to my daughter (second child) three months ago. Since she’s been old enough (6 weeks) to attend the childcare at my gym, I’ve been trying to hit it 2-3 times a week just to stay fit and get a little bit of me-time in. So, in 2.5 months, I’ve had three men stop me at the gym to supposedly help me with my fitness routine. Unsolicited, they gave me advice on new routines to try, how I can improve my form (I have good form), and one complete stranger (almost the age of my dad) had the nerve to touch me while he was giving said advice. I had to ask my husband if I had a sign on my back that read, “Please interrupt. Need help.” Do you know how many women have stopped to give me advice? 0. Nunca. None. Are men just that much more helpful than women?? Were they truly, out of the selflessness of their hearts trying to help me improve for my own health’s sake? …. I don’t think so.  

And while nothing these men did was actually wrong per se (except arguably the touching), it was presumptuous to assume that I needed and was open to receiving advice. Even so, I didn’t- and don’t- feel the need to crucify all men because a few were arrogant. After these men approached me, I said thanks, ended the conversation there, and went on with my workout without skipping a beat.

So yes, we’re still growing as a society and learning to treat women as equally intelligent and capable as men.

That being said, here’s what I don’t like about third wave feminism.

Remember how I mentioned that I often get subtly written-off for being a woman? Well, we’ve begun to do that- full force- with men.

So much so, that I actually get backlash from “strong” feminist women for actually respecting my husband and- gasp!- listening to him. Oh, poor me. I’m so oppressed. Not! (Sorry, I usually don’t write this sarcastically. But really, guys, come on). Far beit from me to think that my husband is capable of leadership. So many women, because of third wave feminism, feel a huge need to “stick it to the man (see what I did there?). We feel like the only way we’ll feel validated is if we not only show men who’s boss, but leave them humiliated and emasculated!

I was scrolling through Pinterest yesterday and came across this post explaining how women are better entrepreneurs than men. It was actually a decent read and the content of the post made me feel more confident in myself as a freelancer. It highlighted the areas where women see and handle business differently and how this can give them an advantage in the business world. Long story short, the post explains that women are often more cautious and critical of their business endeavors, which actually helps them to make smart”er” business decisions. What throws me off is the title of the post and how they manipulate information to make it look like women are actually better than men at entrepreneurship. They try to convince the reader that, because of the different ways women see and handle their businesses, this makes them better entrepreneurs. The article highlights the strengths of women and the shortcomings of men. No statistics were given that show any strengths of men in the business world. Is that because there are none?? There was absolutely no mention of any strengths that are typically common for men. Only their weaknesses. And no highlighting women’s weaknesses (other than simply not believing in themselves), only their strengths.

And this is what third wave feminism does!

We highlight the weaknesses of men. Actually, we blast them out of the water. And then we propaganda the heck out of the strengths unique to women!

That’s not fair!

And don’t think I just got this notion from one blog post. Do you watch television? In any current show that depicts a modern family, the wife is almost always a wonder woman who can literally do it all while her husband is oafing around struggling to boil water. And if he attempts to show some form of leadership, the wife might be kind enough to humor him until he fails and realizes that she was right all along (cue eye roll). Silly man. Intelligence is for women.

What is it with us having to make men feel like idiots?

I know, I know. Some of us have definitely not been treated well or fairly by men (as I mentioned just one of my experiences above). We might even be a bit bitter. But do we have to put all men on blast to try to validate our competence and intelligence?

And I’ll be honest with you. I’ve actually struggled with doing this, myself, to my poor husband. I read another post the other day by a woman who I truly believe is a superwoman mom. This woman has 7 kids and balances them magically, (or so it seems from one blog post). But, even though she is a master multitasker, has amazingly efficient systems in place, and is extremely smart and sensitive, she gives way to the father of her children for his extremely significant role.

She says,

Dads speak a different language.

I spent years puzzling over what Dad was saying to those kids. Certainly I could teach him how to say/do that differently (right). Just pay attention to how I do it and then you’ll know.  But then something quite unexpected happened, the kids responded to him. Happy, productive responses. You mean that whole time he was making sense to them? Okay so I don’t speak Dad. Just because I don’t speak it, doesn’t mean it isn’t valid or doing its job.

[…]And speaking of Dads, wait for it.

Many moms make the giant mistake of marginalizing dads. In part because of [my last point] and in part because most dads are out of their depth with babies and toddlers. Moms start to exclude and marginalize at this point. Do Not Do This. By the time those kids are 13, they can’t really hear you anymore.You become sort of static. But guess who they can hear? That’s right, The Dad. Don’t marginalize. Keep that secret weapon at the ready and confident. You’re gonna need him.

So how can this woman, who clearly has no problem running a household her way (not to mention, writing a blog), respect her husband when he does things differently?

She realizes that although she has many strengths, her husband has different strengths and it would be a mistake to dismiss them. She understands that she would actually be doing herself and her family a disservice by dismissing her husband.

You know what really shows strength and character? Being confident and humble. (I seem to remember talking about that in another post, somewhere). Understanding your worth, your strengths, and also understanding and having no problem validating the strengths of others.

I’m more of an emotional person. I act on impulse and feel a lot. It makes me a great writer and great at connecting deeply with people but not naturally great at rational thinking. In walks my husband, the most rational, logical thinker I know. Which is great for obvious reasons, but doesn’t make him naturally great at dealing with emotions (especially those of an irrational 2-year-old) and communicating. And I used to resent him for it. And he used to resent me for not being more logical. Until we learned that each of our different strengths are valuable and they’re the most valuable when used together.

Because we’re so different from each other, we’ve actually learned a lot from each other. I’ve learned how to think critically and rationally and he’s learned empathy and how to see the world from other points of view, even if it doesn’t always originally make sense to him.

Once we learned how to utilize each other’s strengths, make up for each other’s weaknesses, and accept each other, our marriage began to thrive! Resentment began to fade away and respect and value began to grow.

To sum up, don’t show the world you’re a strong woman by making men out to be weak. Be a strong woman by improving yourself and being confident in yourself no matter what others think. If others put you down, remember who you are, and keep going. Learn how to like men and value them based on what they can bring to the table instead of acting like you can do it all. And try, just try, to live peaceably with others. There’s no need for more hate in the world. Third wave feminists, stop demanding change while you assume the condescending role of the people you hate.

My goal here at Living the Sweet Wife is to help marriages thrive. But something’s been making that a lot harder lately. You wanna know what that thing is? Feminism.

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    Comments

    Tami

    Yes, I love this post! 🙂 I’m all about girl-power, but there’s no need to hate on men – and women who disagree with you – in the name of feminism. That’s not true feminism. Feminism is about building women up, not tearing anyone down. <3

    Sue

    Super post! I agree with everything you wrote!! Such a necessary topic for today!!

    Charlene

    Yes! Yes yes yes! We are different, not better or worse! You really hit the nail on the head and I don’t have anything to add. Thank you so much for writing this! I respect my husband and strive every day to remember that we are different but that doesn’t mean my way is better than his. Often my gut reaction is to criticize and insist on my way but I always try to stop myself and watch the magic!

    Alli

    Excellent. I read the post title and had some hairs stand up on the back of my neck, as I was really worried about (exactly what you guessed) a 1950s housewife post. You’ll have to excuse me because I’m new to your blog and was nervous about where you were headed. But you know what? I entirely agree!

    I’m definitely a feminist. Feminist meaning that women should have the same rights and are equal to, and yet different from, men. I absolutely think men are amazing. My husband is the kindest, gentlest soul. Men and women should be partners and value one anothers strengths and your post captured that excellently!

    I’ve seen lots of shirts and paraphernalia on instagram lately that have sayings like “The future is WOMEN”. I’m going for my doctorate right now, I definitely feel empowered to get there. Yes, there are men who step down on us, but many don’t. And I don’t think men as wonderful as my husband or yours should be shot down because some individuals choose to act that way. Thank you for sharing! I especially like the comment about moms and dads doing things differently and how that can still make an even more effective team.

    Thanks and I’m looking forward to reading more!

    Michelle

    Completely, 100% agree with your sentiment that women can be equal to men without taking them down (just because we want more rights doesn’t mean they get less, it’s not pie) but you want to talk about MISLEADING TITLES. It’s because of women who denounce feminism as a whole that this term has such a hard time taking hold as a good thing, or even has the chance to be interpreted as exactly the way that you described it. Would you denounce Christianity as a whole because of the way that some people misinterpret it or take it to an extreme? NO. Feminism is about empowering women and unitedly expressing that we are equal to men. I think you need to take a long stroll through history and recognize how women have been treated all over the world for millions upon millions of years and that men are just starting to feel a tiny bit of that treatment. Please don’t hear me disagreeing with your main points, as I said I agree that we are equal but different but I cannot get on board with the overall denouncement of the word “feminism” that goes along with the rest of your post and am extremely disappointed to see this coming from a blogger who’s opinion I had come to truly respect as a voice for the modern, Christian woman.

      Chelsea

      Hi Michelle, I’m pretty sure I made it extremely clear that I was talking about 3rd wave feminism and not feminism as a whole.

      Like in the title of the post.

      And here: “Oh, and not just any old feminism. Third Wave Feminism. But hold up for a second and take a deep breath before names like, “1950’s Housewife” start getting thrown around.”

      And here: “Feminism- at its core- is needed and important. Do I believe our society is male-dominant? Yes. Do I believe it should be? No. But I don’t think it should be female dominant either. Do I understand that our society has a long way to go to reach gender equality? Yes!”

      And here: “Feminism has helped me…”

      And here: “That being said, here’s what I don’t like about third wave feminism.”

    Christi

    what you describe sounds more like misandry. as all feminists know, understanding exactly what the label means is important. Please check out the wiki for third-wave feminism. I’m not trying to be rude, im trying to be friendly and helpful (it can be hard to tell without facial expression and tone of voice).

    @chelsealeighdamon