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New PBS Documentary on Women Who Make America

Heidi Jo Fulk | 02.25.13


Last year I discovered a project from PBS and AOL called “Makers: Women Who Make America.” It was first introduced as a website with an extensive collection of videos interviewing groundbreaking and influential women. Tomorrow, PBS will air a documentary by the same name as a culmination of the project. 

As a woman seeking truth, particularly truth for women, I am compelled to respond.

The stated purpose of the documentary is to “tell the story of the women’s movement through the firsthand accounts of the leaders, opponents, and trailblazers who created a new America in the last half-century.”   

I believe another central, though unstated, purpose is to create a new definition of what it means to be a woman. 

I don’t deny that many of the women featured on Makers have made extraordinary achievements, overcome extreme obstacles, and contributed much good to our country and the world. But when I watch the trailer, I see core biblical truths about women, men, marriage, and family cast aside and mocked.

For example, the opening scene shows a 1950s husband asking his wife about the last time she baked a cake. Granted, cake baking isn’t your typical kitchen-table chat in the 21st century, but I think the comments that follow reveal what it’s really making light of:

“I was brought up in the Betty Crocker Era. You had to get married, and you had to have a child.”

“That’s what it was about. To meet the guy. To get married. To have babies. To be the president of the PTA. Blech!”

The “Betty Crocker Era” isn’t just about a woman in a dress and pearls answering her husband’s question about baking a cake. These comments reveal that it’s associated with a time when women focused on being married and having children—they even longed for it. And this is what seems to be at the heart of the documentary—to show how the feminist movement redefined a woman and her roles.

The point is not to look at this as a “working woman vs. homemaker” or “career mom vs. stay-at-home mom” battle. It is so much more than that. This is a collection of women and their stories that is being used to advance the idea of women without home, marriage, and family as their priority. It’s a redefinition that includes equality with men but does not seem to assign worth to differentiated roles or characteristics between the genders.     

Scripture does not contain this definition. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, wife or mom, have a job or stay at home—God has created women distinctively (Gen. 1:27), with core characteristics and purposes. Characteristics like humility, love, modesty, and intentional strength (1 Pet. 3:1–5) and a purpose that includes an orientation toward the home, family, marriage, and children (Tit. 2:3–5). The way we live those out will most certainly look different. Those differences are necessary and a striking picture of how God uses all things to work together in His will and for His glory. But this documentary seeks to belittle or deny differences between men and women—to cause the viewer to believe that equality cannot include different roles and positions. This is reflected in a statement toward the end of the trailer:

“We need to live in a world where men do half, women let them do half, and being a parent is not a full-time job for a woman and a part-time job for a man.”

So, to follow this logic, perhaps I should tell my husband when he comes home from work that he’s just a part-time dad because our roles and activities during the day are not exactly the same.

We cannot define our womanhood in these terms! We cannot be so self-seeking and self-promoting that we usurp the beauty of the complementary roles and characteristics that God has created and defined for men and women.

So if you watch this documentary, compare it with the truth of God’s Word so that you can learn about some amazing women, and yet, be able to identify the proposed beliefs and ideas that go against who God has created women to be. 

And, keep in mind, the target audience isn’t just you. It’s also your daughters. In the final scene of another video on the main website, a little girl riding a school bus is watching the Makers videos on her iPhone. Is that where our children will learn the definition of womanhood? Or will we be the teachers, mentors, and examples of the unique and purposed women God created us to be?

Topics: Relationship with God


  1. Wow - what clear, concise, and wise words.
    posted by Keri
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 9:40 am
  2. Very well written, Heidi Jo. Thank you. Your article is a call to pray for the women of our land, that they will understand God's beautiful design in who He made them to be, to fulfill His plan for their lives. May they get their definition of what it means to be a woman from God's word and not from the world.
    Oh, the heartache and confusion that could be avoided.

    posted by Arlene
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 9:41 am
  3. This trailer assumes that all men abuse all women...they aren't going to put up with men any more. It makes me sick to watch it. I think since women are now questioning the women's movement, they have to reinforce their message. Their fear of losing the abortion battle little by little and valuing life has to be part of what is driving this.
    If only men and women took their God-given roles seriously, these "movements" would not be necessary or glorified instead of the God who made us.
    posted by CJ
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am
  4. "AMEN!" to what Arlene said!
    As mothers, teachers of our children, wives, & sisters, we need to SHOW our love for being what God intended us to be, to our children & the children our lives touch, & to those who have bought into the worlds' view of Womanhood! Let the Word Of God SHINE forth in the roles we are in! We need to GLORY in the FEMINITY God gave us!!!!!!!!!!!! I say this because I know of women who push their feminine side away! Because of sin or because they have been hurt! As women of God, we NEED TO EMBRACE FEMINITY as God intended us to AND teach TRUE femininity to other women! After-all, if God intended us to be FEMININE, it HAS TO BE GOOD! He is our Creator & ONLY has GOOD FOR US!!!!!!!! :)
    posted by Becky Green
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 10:07 am
  5. I seldom watch these kinds of documentaries for, while they may highlight people who have made some significant contributions, they have also contributed to the demise of the family. My kids are grown, but when they were young was careful about what we saw. It starts out with just a "little bit" of info we don't want our kids to know and hope they won't absorb on the program. Or, even if we discuss it, the seed the sown from the documentary has already begun to take root. A recent story on GodVine illustrates: A father told his children they could not watch a certain movie. It only had little bits of swearing, or just a little bit of suggestive language or scenes, only one person is killed but it is justified, etc. The father stood his ground but his children were unhappy campers. Wanting to make a point, he went to the kitchen and baked up a batch of brownies, a favorite snack. He called his kids to come and partake, but told them he went exactly according to directions, but decided to add just a "little bit" of a new ingredient: dog poop. But it was only a little bit and probably wouldn't affect the taste or anything. Not one crumb of the brownies was consumed. Point made and taken.
    Our children can read about these people in the school books; and they are going to get exposed to them at some point. We can't, nor should we, put them in a bubble to protect them from all the liberal, ungodly world around them. But, it is our responsibility to monitor the doses with Godly wisdom.
    posted by Carolyn Putney
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm
  6. Thanks, Heidi for speaking truth.
    posted by Lucy
    on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm
  7. can i just say that Carolyn's comment was quite inspiring, me dealing with a preschooler who gets TOO much tv at Grandma's and I can't even monitor much of it. So now I'm putting my foot down about any tv at all. I know that's not everyone's choice, but I believe it's needed in our case. I love PBS, but it's not a Christian station by far!
    posted by Rose
    on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm
  8. I might be tempted to say there is dog poop in the brownies if I want the pan all to myself. Seriously If life were fair the documentary would mention the leaders of the true woman movement, they are the movers and shakers of many women. I am so blessed by the truth tellers, and my family has reaped benefit from my behavior changes. They are a direct result of mentoring through conferences, online blogs and messages and other true woman communication. for example, we now sit at the dinner table, I am not ashamed to make an orderly house, and I make the time to mentor others. Inspired by true woman I wrote a letter to a young woman and her husbandto reconcile and save their marriage, not knowing they had already contacted lawyers and were living apart. I was amazed that they listened and are now seeking counsel and living together again. Just as the "makers" in the feminist movement do not know who will be the victims of their satanic ideology, leaders like Mary Kassian and Nancy LDM do not know the families that they save through their obedience to teaching sound doctrine regarding women.
    posted by R.Sorenson
    on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm
  9. "Women Who Make America" are the "Women Who Made Millions off the Real Women Who Make America." Look at the women featured in the show: Gloria Steinem, Sheri Finkbine, Ellen Goodman, Pat Shroeder, Faye Wattleman, Nora Ephron, Hillary Clinton and more. Through their involvement in the abortion industry, the books they have written, the magazines they produce, the politics they espouse, they're all very wealthy. The real women of America are my mother, my daughter and myself: we are women who work, care for and raise children, and espouse the God-given right to life of unborn children. The show was slanted propaganda and PBS should be ashamed to have shown it.
    posted by Kathleen Richardson
    on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm
  10. There are many thoughts and emotions that come as I read these comments and watched the documentary last night. Many. But what stood out the most was this: We all need truth and purpose and we all need a Savior.
    I praise God that, like many of you, I have found truth and purpose through the Word and I have a Savior--Jesus Christ. But so many have found their own truth, their own purposes, and their own saviors in the wrong places.
    So my response to all I saw last night? I'll seek to live a life that reflects the Gospel. I'll love my husband and my children. I'll teach my children about God and His Word. I'll teach them to keep their "Bible glasses" on every moment of every day. I'll discern what is true and what is a lie or sin according to God and His Word. I'll serve with, encourage, and walk alongside other women who seek the same. I'll reach out to my neighbors to show Christ's love and truth through my home and family. I'll pray for and act on opportunities to talk about and demonstrate true womanhood to whomever God places in my life. I'll love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength.
    posted by Heidi Jo Fulk
    on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm
  11. I watched the entire documentary Tuesday night. It was very interesting. Here is my take away. The Women's movement had some "good things" that were addressed. Things we would all agree on: domestic abuse, sexual harassment. No one should ever have to endure these things. They are wrong and needed to be brought to light and dealt with. I have an elderly friend who was raped back in the 50's and the young men responsible were never prosecuted. This was wrong.

    But the premise that "men" are the problem is wrong. Sin is the problem. Feminism beats up on men when sin is the issue we are dealing with, and is the cause of the problems between men and women.

    I saw truth all mixed in with lies which is exactly what our enemy the devil likes to do. He wants to mix in just enough to truth so he can deceive us into believing his lies. Started with Eve and has been the father of lies ever since.

    That's why it is so important to study the Bible and be able to filter what the world says through the truth of God's Word.
    posted by Laura Green
    on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

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