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Category: Myths of Feminism Exploded
  1. Myth #1. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women who stay at home to serve their families (husbands, children, grandchildren and other extended family members) would be uneducated and essentially slaves to their households.
  2. Myth #2. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women wouldn’t be allowed to own property, earn or spend their own money.
  3. Myth #3. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
  4. Myth #4. The “differences” between the sexes are actually invented by society and culture and aren’t inborn.
  5. Myth #5. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women would be at the mercy of husbands who were abusing or neglecting them.
  6. Myth #6: Before the feminist movement, women were not allowed to make their own medical decisions and were deemed too ignorant to cope with serious illness. Feminism has given us the medical knowledge we need.



  1. Myth #1. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women who stay at home to serve their families (husbands, children, grandchildren and other extended family members) would be uneducated and essentially slaves to their households.
    Fact: Biblical Christianity does not deny women the right to be educated at all. The women of the Bible who are held up as models are wise, quick on their feet and able to manage property and business matters with great skill. (See Myth #2 for references and further discussion of the property and business issue.) It isn’t biblical Christianity which assigns women inferior intelligence status or denies them the right to a good education; rather, it is the misdirected and unbiblical thinking of the so-called “Enlightenment” that made women out as pretty dolls or ornaments to be admired -- never trusted with concrete household affairs or the management of lands and property. (The unfortunate results of the Enlightenment are discussed in ”The Woman’s Place” by R.J. Rushdoony.) A woman should develop her gifts as much as she is able to, and she can do it without neglecting her duties in the home or competing against the men in their God-given roles. A broad liberal arts education (covering literature, science mathematics, logic, fine arts, music, foreign and/or classical languages and writing) built upon a solid Christian worldview is a marvelous thing. It opens a world of enrichment and puts a wonderful range of tools at the woman’s command as she fulfills her God-given role as daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, mentor and more. The Bible doesn’t call for stupid, brainless women. It calls for wise women who can speak graciously (Proverbs 31:26), administer household duties with skill (Prov. 31:15, 27), manage properties (Prov. 31:16), deal diplomatically with others (I Samuel 25), train children (Prov. 1:8 and 6:20), teach other women (Titus 2:4,5) and practice the womanly arts with great ability and beauty (Prov. 31:13, 14).
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  2. Myth #2. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women wouldn’t be allowed to own property, earn or spend their own money.
    Fact: Women have owned property and run businesses throughout all of human history. This has not been the case through all times and all cultures, but it is most definitely a biblical concept. Under biblical (specifically Old Testament) law, a woman may own land (Numbers 27:7,8), purchase additional land or goods with her own money (Prov. 31:14, 16) and assure an inheritance for her children (Deut. 21:15-17). The dowry of biblical law was not the same as our modern concept of a dowry (in which a woman’s parents provide money directly to the groom upon the marriage). Instead, the man who wished to marry a woman had to endow her with the equivalent of at least a year’s wages (the “bride price”) or stuffs of equal value (Gen. 34:12; Ex. 22:17). The bride’s parents could also endow their daughter with money, lands or other goods (Gen. 31:14,16 – in this case, the father withheld the dowry and angered his daughters). This property belonged solely to the wife and could not be taken by the husband. This money was for the wife to use at her discretion—for the building up of her household (Ruth 4:11; Prov. 14:1), to finance a home business (Prov. 31:18,19, 24), to purchase additional land (Prov. 31:16), plant a crop or vineyard for harvest (Prov. 31:16), import goods from far-off places (Prov. 31:14), distribute to the poor (Prov. 31:20) and use for other means according to her wise discretion. In addition, inheritance laws did not automatically confer lands or goods upon sons. If there were no sons to inherit, the daughters could inherit their father’s estate (Num. 27:7,8; 36:8). If the eldest son in the family was a reprobate, the father could disinherit him and give his share to another relative -- including a daughter (Gen. 48:5,6; Num. 27:7,8). The Bible is filled with examples of women whose wisdom made them excellent helpmates for their husbands The biblical picture of the wife is that of co-regent who shares one vision with her husband and works within her sphere to make the household successful and the family strong. It was during the Enlightenment that non-Christian philosophers began to conceive of women as pretty ornaments unable to think deeply or help men in any truly worthy capacity. It was during this time that western laws shifted to take God-given land ownership from women and deny them their role as builders of the household (Prov. 14:1). Laws have been passed in the last century and a half to restore these rights, but they are not newly minted rights. They have existed since the beginning of time within God’s created order and in His Holy Word. Biblical law protects women and ensures they will be cared for and supported – and that they will have plenty to work with as they build their own small empires and societies within their homes and families.
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  3. Myth #3. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
    Fact: Single or widowed women in Colonial America who owned property were allowed to vote. During colonial times (1600-1776), the right to vote was linked directly to land ownership. Only those who had a legitimate stake in the government were allowed to vote (this meant that many men, including all indentured servants, did not have the right to vote along with the women who did not own property). This practice did not end until the 1820s, as Enlightenment philosophy began to creep into the notions of franchise. (The unfortunate results of the Enlightenment are discussed in ”The Woman’s Place” by R.J. Rushdoony.) The founders and lawmakers who didn’t give the vote to married women were not woman-haters out to suppress the opinions of half of the population. They had an entirely different view than we do today – a view built around landowning households rather than individuals. According to English Common Law, man and wife become one not only in the spiritual or Romantic sense, but in the legal sense. They are one force to be reckoned with legally rather than two individuals. Therefore the vote was given to the head of the household and not to each member residing within the household. The head represented his household when he went to the polls, much as our senators and congressmen represent us when they vote in the Senate or the House. This is one of the foundation stones of a Republic (and America is a Constitutional Republic; not a Democracy). Certain people are elected to represent others within their district. In this sense, the husband (or head of the landowning household) was “elected” to represent his household at the ballot box. If a husband was incapacitated or otherwise unable to exercise his right to vote, there were laws that allowed the wife to vote for the household. In this way, each landowning household was fairly represented at the ballot box. We have a completely different notion of franchise today, which is not based upon households but upon individuals within the household. Each eligible individual may vote his or her own opinion. In this way, a husband and a wife can completely cancel each other out at the ballot box. Many commentators in the 19th century (when women began demanding the vote) found such an idea absurd, since it went against the ideals of a Republic. But instead of appealing to the law or making rational discourse about the representation of households, most men who opposed votes for women did so on the grounds that women “weren’t smart enough” to vote or “shouldn’t be bothered with politics.” Those arguments proved weak and ineffective (as they should have). But the fact remains, regardless of whether or not you agree with women’s suffrage: women were allowed to vote before the 19th Amendment. Heads of households and landowning women could and did vote until well into the 1820s, when the “rationality” of the Enlightenment philosophers conferred upon woman a strictly ornamental status which was completely unbiblical.
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  4. Myth #4. The “differences” between the sexes are actually invented by society and culture and aren’t inborn.
    Fact: The Independent Women’s Forum has stated, “While environment and socialization do play a significant role in human life, a growing body of research in neuroscience, endocrinology, and psychology over the past 40 years suggests there is a biological basis for many sex differences in aptitudes and preferences. In general, males have better spatial reasoning skills; females better verbal skills. Males are greater risk takers; females are more nurturing.” These facts come up in study after study after study – no matter who is doing the study or what agenda he or she may have. The question really then becomes, “Why can’t we accept our differences and enjoy them?” Reporter John Stoessel did one of the best investigative studies of the differences between men and women for “20/20” back in 1994. The segment is fun to watch and shows that, no matter how we try to meld them, men and women are meant to be separate entities, as God intended them to be.
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  5. Myth #5. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, women would be at the mercy of husbands who were abusing or neglecting them.
    Fact: Feminist scholars have pointed over and over again to the infamous “rule of thumb,” which supposedly gave men the right to beat their wives as long as they used a rod no thicker than their thumbs. This alleged “law” is a complete myth that has been debunked by many historical and sociological scholars, including Christina Hoff-Sommers in her book, Who Stole Feminism?. The earliest colonial laws treated wife-beating as a crime and punished men by fining them or having them publicly whipped (the Massachusetts Bay Colony Edict of 1655 is a prime example of this). There were similar laws against abuse and neglect in every other colony. By 1870, every state in the union had laws against wife-beating and had abusers arrested and severely fined for breaking the law. So what is the “rule of thumb?” The phrase originated in the late 17th century and referred to the way some woodworkers could measure by the length of their thumbs rather than relying upon rulers (because they were so experienced in their trade). Scripture does not countenance wife-beating, either. St. Paul wrote, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Eph. 5:28,29).
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  6. Myth #6: Before the feminist movement, women were not allowed to make their own medical decisions and were deemed too ignorant to cope with serious illness. Feminism has given us the medical knowledge we need.
    I have a collection of over one hundred books from the 19th and early 20th centuries covering etiquette, health, exercise, childbearing, etc. -- the vast majority of them written by women for women. Although they are rife with misinformation (due to a lack of more advanced science than anything else), all of them advocate what we consider "modern innovations" in women's health. The Wisdom from Past Times section shows some illustrations from an 1860s woman's booklet on exercise. Women were urged over and over again to get out of the house to walk, climb, stretch, breathe, etc. They were also instructed to exercise regularly indoors, doing what look very much like today's "aerobics." There were many, many articles about the dangers of obesity and bad muscle tone. It is a complete myth that women were kept indoors in a "birdcage" atmosphere. From the period books and magazines I own, I see hundreds of examples of women swimming, bicycling, using handweights, doing situps and more.

    The feminist movement is not what advanced medicine -- continued scientific study and an increased understanding of the human anatomy through those studies advanced medicine. Marie Curie worked alongside her husband in their lab to discover many of the innovations we enjoy in medicine today -- and she wasn't a feminist, nor did she need to be one in order to exercise her God-given talents and gifts.

    While many of the medical practices of times past seem barbaric and incredibly short-sighted to us today, that is only because we have the advantage of hindsight. What routine medical practices today (including abortion, sterilization, etc.) will be looked back upon in a hundred years as "backward" or even "hysterical?" Current medical studies have already demonstrated that abortion causes breast cancer and that certain forms of birth control cause severe medical problems. Do we have the feminist movement to thank for these discoveries? Hardly. Instead, the radical feminists have sought for years to suppress the clear medical evidence against abortion and other medical practices they particularly favor. (Just ask lawyer Scott Somerville of Virginia, who spent ten years trying to get the abortion-breast cancer connection in the news and warn women about the medical side effects of contraceptives.)

    Thorough studies in medicine and science will continue to reveal how little we know about the complexity of human creation. Scoffing at the limited knowledge of our ancestors seems a bit foolish. Will not our grandchildren and great-grandchildren wonder about some of the routine procedures we undergo today?

    Women's health is a vitally important issue -- but it isn't one that belongs solely to the feminists.

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