Review-The Accidental Feminist by Courtney Reissig

If you are under 40 years old, feminism probably means something different to you than to those over 40.  You may think that as a Christian woman, you have very little in common with the feminist thinkers of the past and present.  After reading book, you will most likely be surprised by what you discover about feminism, God, and yourself.

The Accidental Feminist was an unexpected delight to read. Other books I’ve looked at with similar themes of feminism/biblical womanhood have been a mixed bag; they are either heavily egalitarian in their views or dry and scholarly in content. For most of us, neither is helpful, we are looking for God’s views on womanhood and we’d like to be able to stay awake while considering it. Courtney Reissing’s book is a balanced blend of the history of the women’s movement and the biblical design of women we need in a concise, personable style that keeps us engaged.

Right off the bat I appreciated that while Courtney is closer to my daughter’s age than my own, she keeps a very balanced perspective on the effect of feminist influence that isn’t defined by what decade you grew up in. This is important to you and me, regardless of age, in being able to relate and apply what she reveals in this book. She does this by first giving a brief history of feminism and why the definition of it is so hard to pin down. Within that history are three waves of feminist thought that has influenced all of us more than we realize. Looking at each one helps us to understand the difference between women’s rights and the distinct shift in the view of women’s identity that has occurred since the Suffragette movement.

Don’t get bored and think you don’t need to keep reading-you do. This ability to draw out and highlight contrast is something Courtney does well. As she moves on from this history lesson to the differences of God’s design from feminist thought, these distinctions point us firmly to a foundation built on God’s word.  You’ll see where you do and don’t think like a feminist, and what is influencing girls and women today that does anything but empower them. Best of all, we see how we glorify God when we embrace His plan for women.  It’s not a boring, restrictive plan but a wonderfully creative plan that enables every woman who embraces it the opportunity to have a great impact in her world.

All the hot-button topics are here: submission, body image, home life and women in the church. In addressing each one, there is a firm conviction of complementarian viewpoint with a lot of grace for how it works out in the life of an individual woman.  I really appreciated that, because I’ve personally felt like a failure as a Christian woman ever since I read a book that really hammered the rising-early-feeding-everybody-Proverbs 31 thing.  In the end, it’s all about our identity; as a person created as a woman and now, a woman who follows Jesus. She says this on the subject of what defines us:

“The issue lies in the fact that these things were never meant to fulfill us. Motherhood, while good and life-changing, is not our identity. Our home, while important and necessary, is not our identity. Our career, while fulfilling and challenging, does not define us. Our marital status, while enjoyable and rewarding, is not where we find our hope. What feminism failed to answer was this question of identity. Where should a woman find her sense of self-worth? Where should she put her hope? …it is to be found in Christ.”

Who will define, or rather, who has defined your identity? Are you sure? Not just informational, this book has the potential to be transformational. This is one I’d call a must-read to see if you, like me, might be an Accidental Feminist.