Thursday, March 13, 2014

Liberated From the Women's Movement

Years of praying, lighting candles, and asking for the intercession of any saint that would have me culminated on June 5th, 2005 when I married the love of my life. As the day was quickly approaching, many people were eager to share their words of wisdom, prayers, and good wishes. I have difficulty recalling much of what was said during the busyness of that time but there is one piece of advice that I don't think I will ever forget. Not because I drew inspiration from the words, but because the message was so disturbingly vacant.

A well-intentioned friend took me aside with two urgent pleas: she didn't want me to take my husband's name and she practically begged me to continue with a full-time career. She viewed this as the only way to ensure I wouldn't "lose" myself by "just" staying home to take care of my future children. She wanted me to keep growing as a individual and not allow a husband, and certainly not children, to define me. In her eyes, staying home to raise children was a complete dead end.

But how could that be? I knew many stay-at-home moms and some stay-at-home dads, too. They were all bright, well-educated people that had indeed put career goals on the back burner, slowed them down, or reshaped them a bit because they had discerned it was necessary, at least for a time, for the well-being of their children and their families. They didn't wither away, lose all intellect, or cease to grow as individuals.

The expression of these faulty attitudes was all too common. Throughout my college years, this same mantra emanated from the halls of the Women's Studies Department and from many of my so-called feminist advisors and professors. I may only have a B.A. in Criminology but I could have just as easily graduated with a Ph.D. in all things patriarchy. Conversations such as this one and my endless Woman's Studies courses always left me wondering: Why do modern feminists appear to hate their own biology?

One could argue that women most closely imitate Christ through mothering those who have been entrusted to their care, whether physically or spiritually, whether children, friends, or those in their communities. We make excellent attorneys, doctors, teachers, scientists, and CEOs but we were created for something more. In His divine and infinite wisdom God bestowed the gift of mothering upon women.

Women alone were designed to nurture a living soul within their very own bodies--a power not given to men. One would think that such a superpower would be recognized as the pinnacle of any truly authentic women's movement. Yet, in the face of this profound reality, modern feminists instead choose to celebrate a whiny Georgetown law student who arrogantly demands that everyone in society be forced to pay for her birth control.

What is wrong with this picture?

I came away from the conversation with my friend heart-broken, but not for me, for her. Here was a woman who had lived out much of her life dedicated to this kind of feminist philosophy and this was it. This was the best she had for me. She had unlocked her treasure chest of feminist female wisdom, opened the lid, and peeked inside in search of a treasure to give, only to hand me something worthless.

The urgency with which she spoke these words of fear and calls for self-protection seemed befitting of one about to be deployed to a war zone, rather than to a woman simply approaching her wedding date.

I have always been uncomfortable with the hostility that seems to surround the ideas of marriage, fertility, and mothering from a modern feminist perspective. It seems the only kind of marriage that gets their stamp of approval is one that has very little room, if any, for dedication to the needs of children, or one that demands a 50/50 kind of arrangement that carefully spells out all the lengthy terms and conditions. But, I didn't want to lease Matthew, I wanted to marry him and join my life with his.

Why wasn't this a choice worthy of celebration?

Modern feminism is a peculiar ideology. It professes to offer us, as women, all the choices in the world, to determine our own paths and not be hindered by the shackles of patriarchy. Yet, with all the exhortation for choice and empowerment for women, there is one choice that is like Kryptonite to these feminists--the choice of women to celebrate and honor their own nature.

When unwrapping this philosophy, it is impossible to escape the irony. The true enemy of the 1960s and 70s era Women's Movement is not patriarchy, but none other then Mother Nature herself.

Embedded deep within Modern feminist ideology is a fundamental flaw.
This brand of feminism views equality through the singular lens of sameness--completely unwilling to acknowledge our female biology and psychological and spiritual make-up. Instead of truly celebrating our diversity and uniqueness, it succeeds only in advocating an "equality" which extracts and then promptly discards everything that is most distinctly and most powerfully female.

You really start to wonder: Is this brand of feminism advocating for our advancement or our demise?

The Bible says "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16). Yet, in a very real way we know modern feminism because it refuses to produce any fruits. Our fertility is deemed a hindrance simply because it doesn't look like or act like a man's. In their quest to advance the cause of women, they have somehow managed to make male fertility the gold standard thereby deeming women's fertility defective; our biology becomes something we are encouraged to mutilate instead of embrace. It has truly become the fulfillment of Bl. John Paul II's warning in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) when he wrote, "There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not "reach fulfillment", but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness."

Unless women allow themselves to be defined by this rigid and confining notion of what it means to be a free and equal woman, completely ignore their biology and pretend to be less than they are, they will not find a seat at the table of modern feminism. It has indeed become the embodiment of that stifling patriarchy it fought so hard to overcome.

Kissing little cheeks, wiping little noses, washing little faces, bathing beautiful little bodies, nourishing hungry little tummies, and teaching vital life lessons in the daily interactions with children are more indicative of a meaningful life than the latest promotion, advanced degree, or year-end bonus. No president, no world leader, no CEO has more influence in shaping the world culture than those that commit themselves in the service of nurturing these little souls. There is no title on earth that comes with more power or prestige than that of "Mother".

Authentic Catholic feminism recognizes the beauty of our distinct nature and celebrates women in their entirety. It rejoices in the awesome power of creation that women have been given rather than apologizing for it. It acknowledges the nurturing aspects of our femininity, the importance that we place on relationships, and our centralness in the world family. We are truly raised up, mind, body and spirit as something beautiful and meaningful to behold.

I'll take that over burning my own bra any day.

During this month dedicated to women's history, let us remember and honor women that fought so our distinctly feminine voices could be heard without having to silence and disregard the voices of our husbands and children in the process. Although modern feminist leaders such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan worked to alleviate some terrible abuses and open doors that were previously closed to women, for which I am very grateful, their ideology remains woefully inadequate in truly advancing the cause and addressing the needs of women.

Try as they might, no self-congratulating documentary on PBS will ever be able to change that reality.

That day back in 2005 remains the happiest day of my life. I married a man who truly cherishes me--mind, body and soul--and I cannot wait to raise our children. Despite what I've been told by modern feminists, these desires are not in opposition to my self-fulfillment, but rather, its very foundation.

To my friend, I am well on my way to "losing" myself. If that is the case, then, please God, may I never be found.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gandhi's view on birth control

From the lips of Gandhi himself.  Even Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) couldn't change his mind.  Who knew that this man, best known for a life of non-violence, was actually waging a war on women? ;)  I can just hear Sandra Fluke now: " But Gandhi, poor female Georgetown Law students are being denied basic human rights".....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Contraception: A Cruel Master

I've grown quite weary of listening to Cecile Richards and Kathleen Sebelius drone on about their supposed concern for my "reproductive choices" and my "health care". Haven't you? They remind me of those little dolls I used to play with as a child--the dolls that came with a string attached that, when pulled, would play a recorded message like "feed me" or "I need a drink of water." The messages never changed and, after awhile, I lost interest and stopped pulling the string.

The big difference here is painfully obvious; these media dolls have the ability to pull their own strings.

It is a curious and frustrating thing that for two bright and well-educated women, in their overwhelming concern for women's "health care" and their tireless (and well paid) work on behalf of "women's issues", they appear incapable of envisioning a solution that doesn't revolve around abortion and contraception.

It's as if they have never met an abortion they couldn't profit from, nor a contraceptive they couldn't wait to peddle.

Equally frustrating are the endless (and ridiculous) birth control commercials. I have many friends who use various types of contraception. None of them, not one, wakes up in the morning like the images portrayed in the media. Far from jumping into pools with each other with cute little swimsuits on and singing stupid songs about the days of the week, the lives of actual women who use contraception look very different from those singing, robotic women on television.

Oh, I've seen them all: the patch, the shot, the pill, the diaphragm, the implants, the shield, the rings, etc. Enough already! If empowerment is realized by turning ourselves into nothing more than human rats for pharmaceutical companies, by conditioning women to become more excited about a proposed ring to stick up our vaginas than to put on our fingers, then ladies, we have been grievously betrayed.

Advertisements filled with giggly girls, running around in pink polka-dotted outfits and flowing skirts completely unable to hide their absolute joy and excitement at being tossed yet another contraption to stuff up themselves is nothing more than pharmaceutical porn. In reality, contraception is something women have been saddled with, not something they have been empowered by.

The women I've known are more likely to resemble the other birth control commercials, the sequels. These sequels are hard to miss and they usually start out something like this: "Have you or anyone you know used the drug 'Spaz' within the last 12 months? Do you suffer from strokes, blood clots, heart attacks? . . ." and then continue with a list of side effects a mile long, so terrible, that only a contraceptive for women would be deemed worthy of that kind of risk.

Class action lawsuits have a funny way of ripping the mask right off the "birth control as health care" mantra, exposing a very hideous face. Jumping into pools and skipping around on pink sidewalks is hardly possible when you're lying in a hospital bed suffering from a recent stroke, a "negative side-effect" from your "health care".

So many women I have known are hesitant to speak aloud what has only been expressed in the silence of their own hearts. The truth? Many would be happy to end their dependence on artificial birth control but are concerned that the men in their lives would become upset and it would have a ripple effect of negative consequences so daunting that it becomes too overwhelming to even consider.

With all our talk of empowerment, liberation, and advancement for women, we seem unable to free ourselves from the shackles of dangerous chemicals, implantation devices, and shots for our bodies filled with the latest batch of hormonal drugs. It is hard to fathom that in a day and age where women are at the top of every societal structure and status, we continue to value the integrity and health of our chickens' bodies more than we value the integrity and health of our own.

Thanks to organizations like Planned Parenthood, fertility has been likened to a disease and contraception and abortion are the cures. Under the banner of "reproductive choice", women put their bodies and their emotions through hell on a daily basis for precisely what they feel they do not have--a choice. Fertility and family planning have been successfully defined as a burden: a burden that has been placed squarely on the shoulders of women. It has been made ours, and ours alone to bear--or abort.

Welcome to your empowerment. It's hardly recognizable.

Sexual love speaks a beautiful language of unity and the vehicle for this expression of love is our bodies. When we invite contraception into the conversation, it's like talking to that annoying guy at the party; we will soon find ourselves being constantly interrupted.

Contraception screams a self-loathing message. It says to women that in our most natural and healthy state there is something wrong with us, so wrong that it should be withheld. Its abusive message conditions us to believe that we are undeserving of being loved in our fullness and are only desirable in parts.

I reject the attempts of those who slyly wrap this message in the cloak of liberation and empowerment for women while always with an eye toward Planned Parenthood's bottom line. I resent my body being used as a pawn for their agenda, their profits, and their politics and I am deeply insulted by the constant obsession of those in our government attempting to pass off harmful chemicals, devices, and drugs as "health care" for women when it would be unthinkable to pull this same kind of bait-and-switch stunt on men.

The inherent anti-woman message of contraception reeks of a familiar and deceptive stench.

The Catholic Church recognizes in women what their own boyfriends and husbands sometimes fail to see and it is pleased to have a message for women that Planned Parenthood never will; you are a gift, not just the convenient parts, not just the parts that make others happy or give others pleasure, but all of you. Your fertility is not a disease to be cured but was lovingly designed in the mind of God. You were created for love and when you give the gift of your body in that love, it is worthy of being received--in its entirety.

I won't use contraception because my body and my sexuality are gifts (and my husband's are pretty nice too). I won't use contraception because when I give myself to my husband in love, I want it to be a total giving and a total receiving, nothing withheld, nothing unworthy of being shared.

We use Natural Family Planning because love was designed to be expressed without interruption.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his Letter to Women, wrote beautifully about the "unity of the two" which "enables each to experience their interpersonal and reciprocal relationship as a gift." On this Valentine's Day, I hope your marital relationship is experienced as that true gift. The time has come to embrace a message of empowerment truly deserving of being repeated, and one we should never grow tired of hearing; we are worthy of being loved--in our entirety.

Friday, February 8, 2013



"In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a "new feminism" which rejects the temptation of imitating models of "male domination", in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.” JPII