Feminism not all it is cracked up to be?

This is an interesting but sad article by Marueen Dowd

Here are a few Excerpts.

Before it curdled into a collection of stereotypes, feminism had fleetingly held out a promise that there would be some precincts of womanly life that were not all about men. But it never quite materialized.

It took only a few decades to create a brazen new world where the highest ideal is to acknowledge your inner slut. I am woman; see me strip. Instead of peaceful havens of girl things and boy things, we have a society where women of all ages are striving to become self-actualized sex kittens. Hollywood actresses now work out by taking pole-dancing classes.

and the more one-night stands the girls on “Sex and the City” had, the grumpier they got.

A lot of women now want to be Maxim babes as much as men want Maxim babes. So women have moved from fighting objectification to seeking it. “I have been surprised,” Maxim’s editor, Ed Needham, confessed to me, “to find that a lot of women would want to be somehow validated as a Maxim girl type, that they’d like to be thought of as hot and would like their boyfriends to take pictures of them or make comments about them that mirror the Maxim representation of a woman, the Pamela Anderson sort of brand. That, to me, is kind of extraordinary.”

I was wrong. Forty years after the dawn of feminism, the ideal of feminine beauty is more rigid and unnatural than ever.

What Ms. Dowd doesn’t understand is that Feminism at its heart strove to make women just like men. It never sought to change peoples attitudes about what is feminine and show the true nobility of women. Rather radical feminism sought to say that women can do anything that men can do. In other words women can be just like men. Now they are surprised to find out that men are not attracted to it. Yet women have overcompensated once again and now wantonly objectify themselves for attention from men.

We had our Bible study today and it was on Gen 1-3. People commented on the the fig leaves and how God made new clothes for Adam and Eve. I told them yeah and many of our young people are trying to go back to the fig leaves. Many of today’s styles are meant to objectify the human body. Parents don’t put your daughters in bikini’s or things resembling them. Not at the beach, not at the pool, not at church, not in school. There is a reason most pin up calendars have women in bikini’s and you see very few one pieces. It isn’t to highlight the nobility of the feminine. If you want your daughters looked at like that then forget what I am saying here. Maybe you can take a few pictures for the guys at work and pass them around. After all if you let strangers ogle your daughter for their pleasure why not give your friends the pleasure as well.

If we want true equal rights then what we really must do is acknowledge the great dignity, beauty and nobility of the feminine. The solution is not to demean things traditionally feminine as the radical feminists do but rather to truly reverence them for the God given gifts that they are.

Let’s face it. Women have graces men don’t. When they embrace those graces there are few things more attractive. For example many women in London still dress quite elegantly. Hats, long wool coats, gloves and the whole nine yards. Talk about turning heads in our society. No one can put together an outfit quite like a woman and men do notice that. They can make a house into a home. You dress like a lady in today’s day and age and you will turn heads and guys will fall all over themselves to treat you as a gentlemen should. Raise the bar and guys will kill themselves to jump over it just to show that they can. There are countless graces that women have that are truly beautiful, noble and worthy of reverence. The two I mentioned are very minor graces compared to the great treasury of graces God has blessed them with. All of these graces are God given and beautiful. It is only our society that attaches a negative value to them.

Is it a surprise that if a woman attracts a man by dressing as a maxim babe that he will turn her in for a newer model when she stops looking like a maxim babe?

Isn’t it sad when women resort to surgery to hold the attention of the man who supposedly promised to be with her no matter what? Don’t even get me started on the fact that we have them injecting their faces with botulism toxin in order to be the maxim babe a bit longer. When did Botulism become good?

On the other hand: once a lady always a lady

… once, twice, three times a Lady…. (Lionel Richie.. who should have a serious sit down with his daughter Nicole)

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say I love you
Let me hold you in my arms forever more. (Kenny Rogers)

Isn’t it sad that I have to teach men at wedding rehearsals how to escort a woman and for many of them it is awkward because they have never offered their arm to a lady? Does a woman need my arm or need to be escorted? Absolutely not!! Does she deserve the reverence and honor it connotes? In my book every lady does. The things in our society that are most precious and honored tend to have escorts.

If a woman wants a dog then she should offer herself as a piece of meat.

If she wants to be treated cheaply then she should offer herself at a low rate to as many buyers as she can find.

If she wants a Knight, she should be Lady.

If she wants to be fought for then she should be worth dying for.

Ms. Dowd, you really do have all the power you need to get what you want.

The question is what do you truly want?

The choice is yours. Choose well.

13 Responses to “Feminism not all it is cracked up to be?”

  1. candace Says:

    “Women have graces men don’t.”

    To which graces would you be referring?

    What you’re suggesting here is an essentialist argument that genitalia causes behaviour. Given cultural, social, and geographical variance in behaviour this can hardly be taken as accurate.

    “Feminism at it’s heart strove to make women just like men.”

    I would have to disagree with this comment. Feminism’s goal was to replace heterosexist privilege stemming from patriarchy with a world free from bias, discrimination, and privilege. I live in Canada where a woman makes 65% of what men do in the same job, with the same education, experience, and qualifications. I don’t care about being “truly beautiful, noble and worthy of reverence” – I want fair.

    You also make an assumption that media = reality. Women are not all about attracting men. To reduce them to such is insulting.

  2. Englishleigh Says:

    Father Todd,
    I loved this entry in your blog. You are so right in everything you said. God created men and women differently and to compliment each other, and femininity is important to that complimentary relationship. It wasn’t an essay on equality or women bowing down to men in the workplace or as human beings. You were commenting on the natural, God-given difference between the sexes and how women can and should retain their muliebrity. I appreciate your comments and I heed them.


  3. Ignatius Says:

    Please, please, please get someone in the parish to teach you the basics of English grammar and spelling! Among the more annoying mistakes is your consistent misuse of “its” and “it’s” and “your” and “you’re.” Let me help: “its” = 3rd person nueter possessive; “it’s” = “it is;” “your” = 2nd person possessive; “you’re” = “you are.” Remember, the apostrophe indicates a missing letter. And please don’t give us this “I was in a rush and didn’t check” nonsense — you make these mistakes far too often for that to be the case. It is clear you simply do not have some basic grammar and spelling skills. And, as another aside, when writing the sentence about a man giving his arm to a lady, the verb for which you are looking is “connotes” not “connotates” (a word you simply made up). There are other grammatical errors as well. I set aside serious problems with content entirely.

  4. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Candace. Men and women are different. XX as opposed to XY. One of those graces is the grace to be a mother. I somehow get the impression though that not much will change your mind so we shall agree to disagree.

    Your right. I do have many typing errors and a lot are grammatical. I am sorry you don’t think it is due to time but in fact it is. In fact I did make one pass through and catch a few it’s although I seem to have missed one that you found. Also I didn’t find any examples in this post concerning the common typo switch for your. If I missed it please point it out. Thaks for the tip on connotes. If you would like to be my proofreader I would love that. I could use one. You are correct that I do need to brush up on grammar as well. I have Strunk and Whites as well as Grammar Smart on my shelves. Hopefully I will have time to read them one day.
    Problems with content? Let’s hear them. Yes ‘s as in let us hear them.

  5. Ignatius Says:

    Please tell me the initial “your” in your reply is meant to be witty.

  6. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    😉 You are correct sir!

  7. John Says:

    Fr. Todd – I must agree with Candance that the original intent of the feminist movement was to divorce the female from the male (so to speak).

    I must agree agree with you though in that along with the rise of feminism we suffered a decrease or loss of many other cultural traditions – chivalry not the least of them.

    Where I was born and raised (and not so long ago I might say) it was accepted that young men and young ladies would receive training in the social skills (ball room dancing, etiquette). Hoping not to sound as arrogant as your friend “Ignatius” I fear my hair practically raises every time I’m in public and am forced to watch others eat at table. If it weren’t for elbows the chins would be on the plates; otherwise beautiful young ladies with wads of gum so large they take on the mannerism of camels!

    Ignatius – calling others to task for their grammar and spelling can be done politely. Please, please get someone to give you a few lessons in the basics of etiquette.

  8. dilexitprior Says:

    Thank-you for this great post Father.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Women are different from men and the feminist movement needs to recognize that.

    It’s sad how the feminist movement has gone so far away from understanding the true dignity and nature of the feminine genius to such a degree that many women feel alienated from what society dictates is the role of their gender. I’m not a “feminist” yet I’m “feminine.” It’s really puzzling when you think about it. In fact, in light of the feminist movement, to be “feminine” is almost in essence to be “anti-feminist.”

    I took a philosophy course in contemporary ethical issues this past spring and when we were discussing feminism in the context of the course, the general conclusion was that feminism will not have succeeded in its mission until women are enabled to do all that men can do. I don’t think they could be further off the mark! True feminism is a recognition of what it means to be woman. We need only look to the Blessed Virgin for a perfect example.

    With regards to the social etiquette, I was having an interesting discussion about that with one of my male friends who was expressing his frustration at women and young ladies who get upset with him if he holds open the door. He pointed out that it’s not because he doesn’t think they’re capable of opening a door that he does it, but rather because he wants to honour them.

    Anyways, while we’re on the topic, I read a book by a Rhonda Chervin, a modern Catholic philosopher, called “Feminine, Free, and Faithful.” It’s definitely written from a women’s prespective and to a women’s prespective, but it gives insight into a feminism that is entirely faithful to the teachings of the Church on the dignity and role of women.

    My favourite excerpt from the book was the author’s response to the question of when do you feel most feminine, free, and faithful?
    “At daily Mass I feel feminine because I am in a yearning, surrendering interior posture. I feel free because I choose to center my soul on God in this manner. I am faithful because I give God the honor that is his due and receive Jesus into my person, as he so desires. I am taken up in awe of my Lord’s great gesture of love in sacrificing himself for me and entering my very body each day.”

    I can’t resist the opportunity to point out that this topic shows, once again, the need for knowledge and understanding of the Theology of the Body.

  9. candace Says:

    XY is not opposed to XX. To say this is to suggest that men and women are opposites to one another when in fact men and women have much more in common than in difference. Why focus on difference? What good does it do anyone except maintain domination and subordination? And what of other chromosomal combinations? Suggesting that every individual is either XX or XY is scientifically untrue.

    Sex and gender are both social constructions and as such any commonalities and differences are subject to change. You are confusing social construction of gender and essentialism.

    Just as a woman might choose to be a mother, a man might choose to be a father. These choices run parallel to each other but in themselves do not make either person feminine or masculine. This would mean that choosing not to become a parent is countrary to being feminine or masculine. This again is false. One cannot be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ without social context. And without this context these concepts do not exist.

    Regarding chilvalry and its cohorts – the nature of the gift is complex in such a way that no act is truly altruistic. Given freely from person to person there is a potential element of gift, but with any attachment of gender to offerer and offeree, the gift is gone.

    And still I ask, to which graces you were referring?

  10. dilexitprior Says:

    I agree, men and women are not complete opposites, but we are persons of complimentary nature. To come to a true recognition of the complimentary nature of men and women leads not to domination and subordination. For a healthy relationship between man and woman this recognition of how our intrinsically feminine and masculine natures compliment each other is essential and leads to mutual respect, honour, and profound authentic love in which both parties give of each other freely, fully, faithful, and fruitfully (cf. Humanae Vitae, Love and Responsibility, and Theology of the Body).

    Sex and gender are not social constructions, but rather are both spiritual and physical realities. The soul informs the body, which means that our physical bodies reflect the nature of our spiritual souls. We are soul-being persons. I have a woman’s body because my soul is feminine. Depending on your background, you may not agree with this, but this understanding of the relationship of the soul and body is what I know to be true through the teaching of the Church and revealed in nature.

    You stated that “Just as a woman might choose to be a mother, a man might choose to be a father. These choices run parallel to each other but in themselves do not make either person feminine or masculine.” While I agree that woman might choose to be a mother, or a man might choose to be a father, the maternal role of woman and the paternal role of man is not simply removed by choosing not to have biological children. The maternal attributes of nurturinig, affection, compassion, receptivity, sympathy, etc… are most often (and should be) reflected in the lives of women who choose not to have children (or are unable) in the manner by which they serve the Church and Society (whether it be as a married woman without children, a single woman, or a consecrated woman). The same can be said for men. Their paternal role is also played out in the lives of those men who choose not to be physical fathers (whether they be married without children, a single man, a religious or a priest). Fatherhood and motherhood in men and women is not simply negated by the choice not to have physical children.

    Finally, your last statement that “Given freely from person to person there is a potential element of gift, but with any attachment of gender to offerer and offeree, the gift is gone” is an explicit contradiction of the structure of love which we find perfected in the Trinity. The mystery of love is found in its perfection in the structure of the Trinity, since God Himself is love. This mystery, often referred to as the mystery of nuptiality, rests on three points:
    1. Otherness (another way of being other)
    2. Self givft in communion
    3. The fruitfulness of comunion.
    A person of the opposite gender provides for us the evidence of another way of being another person. The otherness is the very condition of communion through self-giving as we see in the Trinity that there is an irreducible otherness between the three persons of the Trinity.

    In other words, I’d rephrase your statement to say that “Given freely from person to person there is a potential element of gift, but without recognizing the otherness in the other, the love cannot be authentic.”

    I know that you probably disagree with what I’m saying, and I’m not trying to force you to accept what I believe, but I just want to help you understand my position (which has been formed based on the teachings of the Church, particularly in relation to the Theology of the Body).

    I’d encourage you (and anyone else reading this post) to take the time to read at least the two following encyclicals: Humanae Vitae and Mulieris Dignitatem (on the Dignity and Vocation of Women).

    Fundamentally, a true recognition of our differences between men and women leads to mutual respect and appreciation. Unfortunately, our modern society has twisted the beautiful mystery and truth of our complimentary nature so that this fundamental element of our relationship to one another is often difficult to recognize.

  11. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    I don’t think we share common definitions or presuppositions so we really can’t argue the conclusions.

    As to grace, I mean gifts from God. Do you even acknowledge a God?

    Men and women are different biologically as well as psychologically. Dilexitprior does a good job of relating some of the Catholic view of things. We reject that idea that sex and gender are merely social constructions and this brings me back to what I first said.

    Feminism at its roots I believe trys to say there are no differences between men and women other than anatomically. It seemed to want to erase what it viewed as cultural stereotypes. What was valued as traditionally male roles were now open to female roles and females were encouraged to take traditionally male roles in society because there “were no differences” other than culturally perceived ones. In this I believe feminism errored for more than one reason. Implicit in that reasoning is the acceptance of the idea that traditional female roles were somehow of less importance or had less dignity than traditional female roles. Thus the liberated woman was to cast these off and assume traditional male roles to show that they were equal. That is what I meant when I said it strove to make women like men.

    I believe that men and women are different physically, spiritually, and psychologically. That many of the “traditional” roles that have developed in our society have developed around those differences.

    What I believe society’s mistake, is that they undervalue women and traditional women’s roles. They do not see dignity, nobility, and beauty in what has traditionally been considered feminine or if they do they do not value it as highly as they do male roles.

    Some feminists would say that this argument is an attempt to keep women as second class citizens. In doing so they prove my point. They do not value the differences between men and women as something good but rather say again that women need to cast off traditionally female roles in favor of traditionally male ones.

  12. dilexitprior Says:

    As a woman, I feel that the agressive feminist movement seems to deny women the very right to be feminine. I find this offensive and frustrating. How dare the feminist movement speak on behalf of all women when the attempt to reject what makes us unique and special as women?

    Rather than focusing on the dignity of the human person and championing human rights, particularly protecting women from abuse, the feminist movement has turned its attention to developing a genderless society. Rather than enabling women to recognize their value and dignity, this sends a message that to be a woman is nothing special. The feminist movement seems to be dictating that society will not do justice to women until they are able to do everything men do in society. This is not a recognition of the dignity of women, but rather tells them that their feminity is not something to be treasured, but something to be rejected.

    In my opinion, the only valid feminist movement is one which promotes “equal dignity” between men and woman, not “equal roles.”

    Feminism ironically promotes the rejection of all that is feminine.

  13. Sheila Says:

    Hi Father Todd,

    First, thanks for this blog. It is very informative and enlightening. The world needs more priests and I am grateful that you have chosen this path and vocation. Thank you.

    Regarding the Maureen Dowd column:
    One thing that struck me about her column was that Ms Dowd was quick to put down all the women who worked very idealistically to further the cause of women’s rights in American society as being frumpy and plain. However, she has no problem reaping the benefits of their efforts.
    So Ms Dowd is content to let women who are hardworking but not concerned with looking like a maxim-babe to do her work in providing her with an opportunity to be a journalist, while she fusses about her ability to compete with oversexualized twenty-somethings. She is all style and no substance.

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