No, I don’t want an empowered daughter

By Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

My daughter has always held a very special place in my heart.  Within the walls of our house she is known by a variety of endearing nicknames. Today, she stands on the precipice between girlhood and womanhood. The transformation is both extremely exciting but also terrifying—for I am the guy who feels like age 55 would be too soon for her to start courting. As I told her recently in a letter, she will always be my baby girl—my little princess.

However, there is a crusade sweeping across our country that I believe threatens my little girl’s relationship with God.  And what’s even more troubling is many Christian young ladies are jumping onboard with it, not even really thinking about what it means in context of what Scripture teaches. Even some conservative women speakers in the church are helping to promote this concept. This movement is all about women being “empowered.”

Don’t believe me? Consider for just a moment the way Disney/Pixar films have changed. We’ve gone from Prince Charming leaning over and kissing Snow White to movies like Frozen and Brave—movies where the girl turns away from the kiss and is portrayed as strong and empowered.

Move over men, the women will take charge and make things better. There are songs, movements, protests, television shows, and even hashtags about being “empowered.” All the way back in 1971 Helen Reddy wrote a song titled, “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar.” Today, celebrities and those in high profile positions have cranked up the volume on this message to the point that it is almost deafening. (This may be part of why husbands are often painted in a negative light in sitcoms today.)

For instance, singer Beyoncé declared, “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.” Another pop artist, Rhianna observed, “There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer” (in the March 2017 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR). Even Margaret Thatcher got in on it commenting, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

I suspect some of you reading this have already mentally crossed your arms and chalked me up as a male chauvinist. Please understand that my angst against this empowered title goes for men as well. I don’t think “empowered” is a word the Bible uses to describe humble servants to Jesus Christ. This is not the attitude we should strive for. See, when I read Scripture I hear God telling mankind to be humble and kind. I read His inspired Word about having a quiet and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4). I don’t think Christians—male or female—are called to be “empowered.” I believe this is a lie from straight from the mouth of Satan. Instead, the Bible commands us to be humble servants. We are to look for ways to glorify God. We are to love.

The “empowered” movement is teaching our young girls that they should be bold and fight for whatever they want. It promotes the idea that this is their “right” and duty. It teaches my daughter to question the authority of her husband. It teaches my daughter to shun traits like being chaste, meek, humble, quiet, gentle, subjection, and godly. It paints a false picture in her mind of what is truly beautiful.

God’s Word leaves no question that men and women are equal in the sight of God when it comes to things like salvation (Galatians 3:28). But the Bible also gives specific roles for men and women. It is the man who will give an account how his family was trained, not the woman. God’s Word commands, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

No, my vision for my daughter is not about being empowered or having a strong voice. My hope is that my daughter will laugh at this secular notion of beauty, and instead embrace the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2). It’s my prayer that she will love men rather than seeing them as the opposition. It’s is also my prayer that she will discover she can do amazing things by being a godly woman and living her life by the Word of God.

Many will shake their heads and see me as a chauvinistic male trying to restrict my daughter’s own advancement. That’s not my intent at all. Instead I want to raise a daughter who seeks to please God rather than herself. I want a daughter who longs to do things God’s way and takes joy in that. God’s way still works today—and I want my daughter to experience the beauty of a Christian marriage and the joy of motherhood. Rather than fighting to be equal to man I want a daughter who will humble herself and be empowered by Almighty God.