By Tom Quiner
My buddy was over helping me replace some rotten siding on my garage. As my garage began to take shape, the conversation turned to religion, then to the issue of the day, bullying, and then to feminism.
My buddy laughed.
He told me his wife had a term for feminists. She called them “bullies with boobs.”
She felt the feminist movement had been hijacked by a small cadre of liberal women who subverted the notion of feminism. She said the feminist movement, as presented by the media and supported by liberal politicians, did not speak for her.
I was intrigued.
The next week, Quiner’s Diner approached a couple of intelligent and charming women, Mary Beth and Lisa, and asked them about the feminist movement. Both women are Catholic. Both are married with children. One home schools her children. They offered some sharp opinions about these “bullies with boobs.
QUINER’S DINER: What does liberal feminism have to do with femininity?
MARY BETH: I won’t pretend to be the first to observe this, but society’s current idea of liberal feminism has nothing to do with femininity. Instead, those formerly highly valued traits of grace, dignity, beauty (in the sense of elegance and radiance, not over- sexualization), compassion, and yes, maternal intuition have been debased in the name of feminISM.
The feminist movement proceeded to mock and degrade men, while it tried desperately to imitate masculinity, in the name of equality. Meanwhile, men are emasculated, and daughters and sons are confused. Artificial hormones used to manipulate the reproductive system were meant to “liberate” but instead, of course, obliterate. A society which searches for one “unisex” can never survive.
QUINER’S DINER: Lisa, what does the feminist movement mean to you?
LISA: Feminism has extremely negative connotations for me.
If it had noble intent at its roots, too bad, because it’s now not representative of anything authentic in terms of morals or femininity.
Men and women are different, complementary. They’re not in a contest for superiority.
I say this as one who has experienced sexual harassment on the part of a male supervisors more than once and physical abuse at the hands of a physically stronger male. I say this also as someone with an old-fashioned father who wasn’t quite ready to give women their due along with the rest of his generation, and as someone whose husband has always made more money than me, no matter our circumstances, despite my having a degree and his not having one, and even when we were employed at the same company doing the same job!
Feminism has failed.
QUINER’S DINER: Not according to liberal feminists. Isn’t their mantra that women can “have it all?”
LISA: The assertion that women can have it all is a fallacy, remaining so despite our having supposedly broken the glass ceiling.
Endeavoring to “have it all,” no matter our gender or circumstance is at best selfish. It is also unrealistic, and it flies in the face of what God even asks of us. At the end of our life, we won’t be asked to account for a tally of points racked up for supposed accomplishments. Rather, we’ll be asked how we responded to what we were dealt, how well we made use of the gifts God gave us, and whether we lived our lives for Him. Being only concerned with meeting as many personal needs as we can won’t even come close to meeting His desire for us to live our lives for him.
QUINER’S DINER: Hasn’t the liberal feminist movement increased respect for women?
MARY BETH: Instead of elevating the unique dignity and attributes of women, the feminist movement tried to bury them. What an illogical process if the goal was to increase respect for the female sex. Instead, we are now at a time in history when the objectification of women, through media and entertainment, is at an all time high.
LISA: The anger of feminism is something I cannot relate to. I get angry when I’m mistreated by anyone of any gender for any reason. But the anger toward men simply based on their gender is neither productive nor attractive, and it defies reason. This undermines any assertion on the part of feminists of being smart.
QUINER’S DINER: Okay, what about this: you’ve got to feel pretty good about the success of women’s increasing ability to get elected to public office. Right?
LISA: I was in college when Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro ran for president and vice president. I remember I was supposed to be excited for Ferraro as the first woman on a presidential ticket, and that I was supposed to support her for that reason. I was pretty young and clueless, but I knew that was ridiculous.
I read over and over that Bill Clinton got the majority of votes of women, because of his charm. No matter how many times I read that, I have to fight nausea first and then disgust second. Looks and attractiveness and their subjective nature aside, a shameless serial philanderer is the farthest thing from attractive. But much worse, to perpetrate that most women vote based on looks is beyond insulting.
Nancy Pelosi is purported to have broken the glass ceiling of Congress. Well she may have broken some things in Congress but barriers for women are not among them. Pelosi’s penchant for pashminas, her Left Coast values and politics, and her utterly bizarre and sick quasi-Catholicism are nothing I embrace.
QUINER’S DINER: Do you think liberal feminism has permanently altered the gender-construct in America?
MARY BETH: [Liberal feminism] is a terrible legacy to leave our daughters (and sons) – but the truth is, and always has been, that God’s intricate and perfect design cannot be destroyed. One has only to read Pope John Paul II’s beautiful apostolic letter: Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) to rest in the knowledge that, of course, our Heavenly Father created us, man and woman, unique and beautiful, equal and complementary.
And thanks to the Holy Spirit, the JPII generation gets it, and in increasing numbers, the women now in their twenties are reclaiming their place in the world, in their homes, and in their relationships. Thanks to the example of our Blessed Mother, and so many edifying women saints, they, and even we of the “baby Boom” generation, have a road map to get there.
QUINER’S DINER: How has liberal feminism affected the Catholic Church?
LISA: Feminism has done its damage in the Catholic Church as well. Men of courage and clarity are far too few in number among its ranks, whether in leadership or not, way too often eclipsed by those pushing women’s ordination and the otherwise liberal dissent crowd.
This coincides with an overall emasculation of men in society as a whole.
Getting women equal pay for equal work was a worthy cause, as is letting women do the job when they can do so adequately.
The angry anti-man, anti-motherhood, anti-family bra-burning mentality serves no purpose and does our sons and daughters no good.
[Thanks to Mary Beth and Lisa for sharing their thoughts on feminism.]