“Feminism without femininity is a sham,” said the famed author and thinker Alice von Hildebrand. I doubt there is anything as concise and honest when articulating the problem with feminism.
It’s not to say that feminism is bereft of legitimate arguments. It’s not to say that the feminist movement didn’t set out to solve some valid societal issues. Instead, the problem is simple: if the task at hand is to liberate women, we need to ask what we are delivering them from– Oppression? Dehumanization? Or is it their womanhood?
“Ten thousand women marched through the streets shouting, ‘We will not be dictated to,’ and went off and became stenographers.” — G. K. Chesterton
If we attempt to liberate women from their very role as women, we are partaking in something insidious. We are adopting an ideology that claims to be pro-woman, but at its heart states there is something inherently wrong with being a woman. For this reason, the title “feminist” is often confusing and, at best, inadequate.
Let’s expound: most women assume the title feminist as an umbrella term for someone who supports equality and women’s “rights,” i.e., abortion/birth control, things that blatantly deny the vocation of a woman.
As John Paul II illustrates, a woman has four crucial attributes: generosity, sensitivity, receptivity, and maternity. In truth, the idea that women are maternal creatures has existed since the beginning of time. That’s right; we can see this vocation etched out in the book of Genesis, where Eve is named Mother of the Living. Eve’s story culminates in Mary, the New Eve, Mother to all.
If I were to use the title feminist to uphold womanhood, I would have to pause every time I set out to use it and clearly articulate what flavor of feminist I am.
If we can use the term to describe opposing beliefs, we have to ask ourselves what does feminism even mean today?
When I tell people, “I am Catholic,” the term has weight. It means something. There are certain things I believe, and those beliefs dictate my life. People may argue that there are different flavors of Catholicism, but this is false. We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church; we are not allowed to cherry-pick our beliefs — unless we wish to be heretics. It’s important to recall that there is no Deposit of Faith when it comes to Feminism.
If I use the term feminist, it could mean anything ranging from a fiery pro-abortionist with deeply anti-Catholic sentiments pushing for sexual license to someone who’s pro-life and pro-chastity.
Frequently, feminists use the term to embrace deeply anti-Catholic views; therefore, Catholic women should not use the word.
We have an obligation to speak the truth and to speak it well. If I adopt misleading jargon and assert it means whatever I wish it to mean, who am I helping?
What if, instead of forcing an ambiguous label on women, we encouraged women to be women.
In 2022, the mere term “woman” is up for debate, which only augments how distorted society has become. Misery abounds if women are utterly bereft of purpose or meaning in their very essence. We all crave purpose. We all crave meaning.
And the truth is: God created me as a woman. Not as a man. That has everything to do with who I am, my vocation, and my mission. Femininity isn’t something I put on, like a pair of slippers. It’s embedded into my soul — my very being.
My womanhood is buried deep into my DNA.
If I try to detach myself from my womanhood—my femininity— I am severing myself from who God created me to be and searching elsewhere for meaning and purpose. I am lying about who I am and inadvertently asserting there is something “wrong with being a woman.”
As Gloria Steinem said: “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry!” So, part of the liberation process means we need to be men? Talk about oppressive and degrading.
What’s Wrong With Being a Woman?
Modernity has manipulated women into believing that femininity is pathetic, and sexism is everywhere. Buying into traditional gender roles renders you helpless, useless, antiquated, and mousey. It’s just not how things are anymore; you do you. Essentially, this kind of relativism diminishes and attacks the goodness of men and women created by God.
However, women are the weaker sex, but that’s not evil. We are biologically weaker in the physical realm — study the male and female body. God created us for different roles. Men and women have over 6,000 differences. I can work out for months and am still out-matched by my husband. Quite frankly, I am okay with that.
My strength isn’t brute force; my strength is gentleness. My strength is being able to reveal God’s tenderness to humanity in a way that men are incapable of doing so. My strength lies in my sensitivity, receptivity, generosity, and most of all, my maternity.
As Fulton Sheen reminds us:
“Man cooperates with nature, but woman cooperates with God. Woman, to be happy, must be a co-worker to the Divine; she bears what God alone can give. As Leon Bloy has said: ‘The more a woman is holy, the more she is a woman.”
God made man in His image and likeness: He created them male and female.
We’ve all probably encountered this Genesis 1:27 verse hundreds of times. But how often do we dive in deeper and contemplate what is said?
God made man in His image and likeness. God has given man a unique dignity. Here we see the sacredness of human life etched out. And how did God make man? He made them male and female. He made two different sexes to reveal His goodness to the world. Men reveal something about God to the world that women cannot— and that is awesome!
Similarly, women reveal something about God that men cannot. These are complementary roles, not competitive roles. But when we encourage women to ignore their part, what’s left for them but to try and adopt a more masculine one?
Is that a woman’s strength–becoming a mini-man? If anything, that affirms males as superior beings and being prominent in dignity.
Once we encourage women to stop searching for meaning outside of themselves and see that their maternal-feminine calling is not only good but necessary, then we will genuinely liberate women.
Because the truth is, we need women. We need women who love being women– women who are ready to be the heart of society.
In this, women will be free to be who God created them to be, and that is how we set the world ablaze.
‘Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.’ — St. Catherine of Siena
“Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our hearts.”
Women who chose to embrace femininity and submit to God conquered and saved.
We should recall it was Esther, in her sweetness, who swayed the bold king and saved her people.
It was Joan of Arc who, without killing one individual, led an army of bold men to victory.
And it is our Blessed Mother, who said “do whatever HE tells you,” who will crush Satan’s head. She is the most powerful human to have ever lived, the ultimate Mother and Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Don’t let our twisted, cold world rob you of your feminine heart — a heart that can change our world.
It is time to be truly liberated, and we can only do that by being feminine.
Embrace it. Dear women, you are free to be a woman.