Things had been relatively easy for Christians under Philip the Arab but when Decius became the Roman emperor in the middle of the third century, severe persecution ensued. Eusebius relates a string of graphic tortures and hardships endured by the saints living in Alexandria.
And with them there were four women. Ammonarium, a holy virgin, the judge tortured relentlessly and excessively, because she declared from the first that she would utter none of those things which he commanded; and having kept her promise truly, she was dragged away. The others were Mercuria, a very remarkable old woman, and Dionysia, the mother of many children, who did not love her own children above the Lord. As the governor was ashamed of torturing thus ineffectually, and being always defeated by women, they were put to death by the sword, without the trial of tortures. - Eus. Ch. Hist 6.41.18And again, our enemy is put to shame when the "weaker sex" is the very one to defeat him. Eve was Satan's doorway into corrupting the human race but the new Eve was the doorway from whence would come his defeat. The old Adam sinned and effected Satan's plan but the new Adam effected God's forgiveness. But what is interesting to me here is the feminine victory.
I have mentioned before that it was by no accident that Tolkein had the humble hobbits defeating the colossal evil of Sauron and the princess defeating the witch-king who was said to be immortal. Tolkein isn't just being unrealistic and sentimental, he is enacting a profound truth.
It wasn't enough for God to ride in on the clouds in full glory and strike Satan down with lightning bolts (though he could have). He found greater pleasure in sending a peasant girl to give birth in a little hick-town no one had ever heard of.
Similarly in the case above recorded by Eusebius, it wasn't enough that the governor merely fail to convert the great Christian heroes, theologians and bishops (all men) - he had to be put to shame by the testimony of four peasant women. That is real power. We know it's powerful because it always moves us when we see it: the meek toppling the "strong". He (or rather she) who was weak in the world's eyes was in reality much stronger than the princes of evil who were aided by supernatural strength. We love to see humility defeating pride. Yes, it gives us the "warm fuzzies" but it gives us the "warm fuzzies" for a reason.
Now the sad irony is that feminism has taken the great triumph of the feminine and rejected it. Feminism saw victory not in the meek hobbits of middle earth nor in the four peasant martyrs who weren't bishops, priests or even theologians and least of all did it (not she) see victory in the perfectly humble virgin Mary. Feminism saw victory in the greed & the rage of men in middle Earth (this was the key to independence). Feminism saw victory in the sword that forged the Roman roads rather than the love that baptized the empire. Worst of all, feminism saw victory in rejecting the historic Mary for a prouder, more independent one. And if the woman is to have any victory at all, says feminism, she must do everything that man does (whether good or bad). You will notice, though personifying feminism, I dare not call it "her" for in doing so I would insult the feminine gender. Feminism isn't feminine just as chauvinism isn't masculine. Respectively, these neither belong to nor benefit the genders with which they are commonly associated. They bring as much harm to one as to the other.
Men have as much to learn from the "feminine victory" as women do. This reminds us, in case feminism would come to spread its lies, that the case of Christianity isn't a proud and conquering masculine hero (Jesus) with a quiet, reverent & obedient servant (Mary). Mary was humble and reverent and obedient and so was Christ. The Son of Man Himself came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (in the most humiliating way).
Let us look then to the heroes and heroines of our faith. Let us not remove the masculinity nor the femininity from Christianity and let us not pervert either with chauvinism, feminism, egalitarianism or any other modern error. All errors promise to help those to whom the evil is directed against. Gnosticism promised to enlighten Christians but instead, it rendered their reason useless. Egalitarianism promised to make everyone kings but instead made everyone slaves. Chauvinism promised to keep women in their place as loving helpmates but instead it bread bitterness and rightfully so. Feminism promised to give women a share in man's victory but instead it robbed them of their strongest weapon which has commonly proved them victors in more stunning fashion than their male counterparts.