How Women of Faith Are Redefining What it Means to Be a Feminist

In April 2016, CBN News published an article on their blog featuring Big Ocean Women. Check it out HERE!

 

When most people think about feminism, words like “pro-life” and “pro-family” don’t usually come to mind. Now a new group called “Big Ocean” is working to change that and create a new kind of feminism that stands for faith, family and motherhood.

In 2014, the word “feminist” topped Time Magazine’s  annual poll of words that people would like to ban. That move later caused an outcry. Time later apologized, saying the word should not have been included.

Critics argue, however, that modern day feminism has become less of a cause and more of a buzzword, especially for young people.

A Movement “Hijacked” 

How did feminism go from a movement about women winning the right to vote and own property in the 1920s, to being lumped in with causes like the 2012 push from the group Free the Nipple to make it legal for women to go topless in public?

“It (the feminist movement) was hijacked by the sexual revolution agenda,” said author Sue Ellen Browder.

Browder worked for Cosmopolitan in the 1970s, a job she took after being fired from another publication because she was pregnant.

“I kept it a secret that I had a child because I had already been fired. You just didn’t tell people that you had children if you wanted a job,” Browder explained.

Her book Subverted explains that while the second wave of feminism rallied for causes like workplace equality, it was infused with harmful sexual philosophies.

Confessions of a Former Cosmo Girl 

Browder says Cosmopolitan played a key role in this transition, and that many stories she wrote about the sexually liberated woman were completely “made up.”

“At Cosmopolitan the philosophy was that sex without kids will set you free,” recalled Browder

“Over time, as women were convinced more and more that that was the way to be glamorous and exciting, we had more and more women co-habiting with their boyfriends, having sex on the first date, second date, whatever — that’s how propaganda works,” she added.

Browder believes this mindset gave birth to a dangerous brand of feminism, one that told women anything goes and encouraged them to neglect motherhood.

“Left With Death”

“In the second wave of feminism there was this idea of matricide, of sort of killing this idea of mother, of nurturer, that that’s weak. Women are in the kitchen and they’re slaving — that this is just a mill stone around the neck of women,” explained Carolina Allen, founder of Big Ocean Women 

“In essence what that does is it kills your roots, and it kills your branches and what you’re left with is death,” she added.

As a young wife and mother, Allen felt this modern day feminism didn’t represent who she was as a woman, and left her with more questions than answers.

“For a long time I had been asking myself those questions, like ‘Where do I fit in in all of this? Where do I belong?'” she recalled.

The Power of Maternal Love 

Allen says God used an unlikely circumstance to give her the answers she was looking for – the death of her sister-in-law, Moana Allen, a woman who never had children but gave a mother’s love to everyone.

“It was like the entire city turned out for her (Moana’s) funeral. It was packed. Everyone was coming up to us (saying) ‘Did you know that Moana did this? and ‘Did you know that Moana did that?'” Allen recalled.

“They weren’t just small little acts. They were really a big deal,” she said. “Someone came up and asked me, ‘Did you know Moana talked me out of suicide?'”

“I said, ‘That’s true power; she’s powerful. That’s power, and that’s the feminism I want,'” Allen said.

How Rocks & Waves Led to a Movement 

The morning after her sister-in-law’s funeral Allen woke up early and went to the beach. Little did she know God would use the ocean to give her a landscape of a new kind of feminism.

“I found this big cluster of rocks and so I kind of walked on top of them and they were really rough on my feet. They were really barnacle encrusted and it was kind of rough to stand on them,” recalled Allen.

“I heard these tiny little small waves come in and just washing over part of the rock and I just got curious,” she continued. “And so I looked at this under part of the rock and I saw that it had all been smoothed over with time.”

That’s when the pieces came together for Allen. Seeing the change the waves made on the rock showed her type of change she could make as a woman.

“This small little wave shaped this rock and polished it and it was beautiful and it all kind of clicked in my mind – that’s what Moana did, ” she added.

Creating ‘Big Ocean’

That experience led her to start Big Ocean, a movement that celebrates mothers and supports pro-life and pro-family causes – a notion that is not just for moms. Members range from single women in their twenties to grandmothers in their nineties.

In just four years, Big Ocean has taken it’s message all the way to the U.N. to help women around the world.

“There is this element of serving worldwide, of serving locally, of serving in your home, however you can,” Allen told CBN News.

“Then there is the element of prayer,” she continued. “There are some issues in the world that are so big and so horrible and so dark that sometimes all you can do is prayer but prayer is enough.”

Not Without Opposition

Like any new movement, Big Ocean has faced it’s share of opposition.

“There are people who want to reject us as feminists, and there are also people who say you can’t possibly be a woman of God or embrace life if you are a feminist,” Allen said.

Allen and the members of Big Ocean hope to move from those negatives toward making a positive impact around the world and create a new definition of what it means to be a feminist.