Dating Rules and a New Kind of Feminist

October 3, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

If you’re going to ignore your blog for a couple of weeks, the least you can do is come up with a catchy title when you come back.

Heidi had an interesting conversation with someone last week.  She’s a sociology major and has been taking a lot of classes in women’s studies.  She’s a feminist (such a broad term now that lots of people want to adopt and others want to destroy to the point that it is almost meaningless. Like evangelical or even Christian.  However, let’s pretend that we still know what that word means.) and was asking Heidi questions about how we are raising our daughters.

The inevitable questions about dating came up.  “Do we let Maylee date?” “Why not?”  (For some background on our thinking on this, click here.  The short answer is that we don’t let our girls date or even tell boys they “like” them.  You know, “like, like.”)  She was very intrigued by what we were doing.  She really connected with some of what Heidi was saying and was confused by other parts.  It was a very pleasant conversation.

As Heidi and I were talking about parts of it later, we discovered that we actually have a lot in common with parts of the modern feminist movement.  Two major things specifically.

1) The system (society, TV shows, movies, music, etc.) is set up in such a way that we are teaching young girls that there identity and fulfillment is found in a boy.  Changing your relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship” gets a bunch of “likes.”  Changing it back to single gets frowny face emoticons.  Girls NEED a boyfriend.  They are out of place without one, devastated when someone “breaks-up” with them.  This is not healthy.  This produces girls with unhealthy views of themselves and relationships.

2) The “end product” of raising a healthy girl is a strong, confident young lady.  She should have a healthy body image, be confident and secure in a relationship or out of a relationship.  She doesn’t NEED a man.  She is pursuing relationships that make sense and are healthy.

Where we (might) disagree is on the how.  We have technically restricted her freedom as a pre-teen and teenager to get to where we are going.  She cannot go out on dates.  She cannot declare to a boy that she likes him.  We don’t have boys over.  However, what I said in that post referenced above is that we believe that she has more freedom in the end.  She is free from boy-crazy drama, the issues that boys have (I struggled with that phrase there.  I had much more descriptive ways of saying that.  But we all know what “issues” teenage boys have, right?) and the unnatural heartbreak that comes from breaking up with a boy you were “going” with for 2 weeks, though you never went anywhere.

I am incredibly proud of both of our girls.  They are very confident young ladies.  They have a healthy view of themselves, dating and that God is the most important person in their lives.  I am hopefully confident or confidently hopeful that in the end we will be launching out confident, mature young women–a new kind of feminist.  They will be ladies who will gladly introduce healthy dating relationship when it makes sense and they are ready and when boys are worth dating.  They will confidently face life in or out of relationships.  They will depend on God, their family and their friends.  They will become whatever it is that God calls them to be.

That may not be a new kind of feminist, it may simply be what we all have wanted from the beginning, but we just weren’t sure how to get there.