Feminism supposedly has accomplished much, but apparently, still not enough. When/where does it end?
Most feminism, especially the radical, militant kind, seems to stem from places of anger, fear, and unrest. There is no peace to be found. These women are always waging battles, and more often than not, battle against themselves. There is a disconnect, because in the end, who wins? A woman who is fighting against her own essence isn’t an empowered woman. That kind of life, where one’s identity or purpose or end goal is always in question, doesn’t come across as particularly attractive or inspirational.
Yes, many women suffer deep mental, physical, psychological, and spiritual wounds, and often at the hands of men; healing is obviously needed in those situations. Prevention would be even better.
The whole woman, however, who has not been touched by abuse — rarely, if ever, has the need to be a feminist. When a woman is loved fully, she can be everything God has created her to be. She exercises her free will as it is meant to be exercised — for her own good and for the good of those around her.
Much has already been written about feminism, so this post isn’t scholarly or research-based — but I promise an honest look, even if mostly anecdotal and experiential.
My mom and I have been fathered by and are married to heroic men, men who aren’t afraid of self-sacrifice. I have many friends both online and off who are in happy, stable marriages. This is what I see: When women find themselves in a place where they are valued for everything they are and what they bring to the table, there is no need for power plays or mind games. There’s no need to tear each other down. I know it sounds simplistic (and given more space and time I’m sure I could expound 😉 ), but I’ve seen it happen too many times to deny that reality.
I have seen many terms thrown around when it comes to women’s rights, issues, empowerment, etc.: patriarchal, sexist, oppression, liberation. It isn’t possible to do a full treatment of all these in this post, but for what it’s worth:
It is not patriarchal to say that women are needed in the home. They are. Ask the numerous children who grew up without a mother. It goes without saying, fathers are needed too.
It is not sexist to say that women have a unique role that only women can play. It’s the truth. There’s a reason we have wombs. There’s a reason our hormones are the way they are. I can’t understand the logic of pro-choicers who say we have genitals because we’re meant to have sex. Well, sure, honey, but by your logic, I could also say, all women are meant to be mothers because they have wombs. I’m sure you won’t agree. But if we were to define ourselves by our sexuality as you want to do, you have to admit our wombs ARE an essential part of that sexuality.
A woman serving her husband and her family is not an oppressed woman. It’s all in the perspective. No, I didn’t say we exist solely to please men. That’s where the message gets skewed. But happy families make for happy children. Happy, of course, is shorthand for well-adjusted, positive contributors to their community, to society, to the world.
Liberation — from what? Is there greater freedom than being free from the fetters of contraception? From dependence on a combo of chemicals designed in a pharmaceutical laboratory, whose owners are more concerned about profit than they are about protecting your body from disease? And when the only way that they could sell it to you is to tell you that the natural function of your body — preparing for motherhood — is a MALFUNCTION that needs curing?
Empowerment is nonexistent where women are imprisoned by language that deceives.
Those of us who are able to embrace our womanhood, every single bit of it — the fact that we are often physically “the weaker sex”, the fact that we have wombs meant to carry babies, the fact that we think and feel and relate differently to people and situations — are happy because we don’t have to be anything other than our authentic selves. As St. Catherine of Siena puts it, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” That’s exactly what Mama Mary did. She was the ultimate pro-choicer AND pro-lifer! She chose to say YES to God’s proposal. She chose to carry, in her womb, God Incarnate! Feminists complain about not having influence and power. Well, what do they think of Mary, who probably taught Jesus to wash his hands after playing and to eat his veggies? They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. In a lot of ways, it’s true. We women are powerful in so many ways — but most of the focus has been on what’s visible, tangible and quantifiable. And that’s where we make the biggest mistakes. Empowering women means more than money, or recognition or any of the other “gods” that are held up these days for us to worship. Real empowerment of a woman means seeing her true worth as God’s creation, as a daughter of the King, as someone whose real home isn’t here on earth but in heaven.
I do have “references”, but they are quite basic:
Mulieris Dignitatem — which apparently is considered a hate document by many feminists,
and the collective wisdom and example of the moms at our homeschooling forum.
Often, I look to my mom’s example since she IS a happy woman.
And of course, more than anything or anyone I try to look at Mama Mary’s example, and through the years of learning from other Catholic wives and moms, I’ve learned to ask more and more when faced with decisions, “What Would Mary Do?”. There is one definite answer: she followed God’s will.