Oppression Begets Resentment
Women haven’t had it easy throughout history. Even today in the 21st century women in many countries and cultures, including our own in many households in the West, are seen as second-rate citizens unworthy of even the most basic of respect and dignity. Extreme sects of Islam require their women to be fully covered from head to toe and are an afterthought in daily life and affairs. Orthodox Judaism, as well, sees its women separately partitioned from men in the synagogues, unable to participate in some worship services besides sitting quietly and patiently while the men sing, dance, and celebrate. Here in the West, some men keep their women on a tight leash and deprive them of the concept of what it is to be a human being. This was especially prevalent in protestant societies that interpreted Scripture for themselves and resurrected the old Mosaic Law, upsetting the balance within the married life and reducing the role of the female to that of the Muslim afterthought – a thing.
As a result of the second-class citizen treatment women received through history, Feminism began to take shape and to form. Whereas it has been and continues to be persecuted and criminalized heavily in regions such as the Middle East, here in the West, it was tolerated enough that it made headway and grew into a relatively massive movement.
This article isn’t about the history of feminism or the history of treatment of women around the world, however; it is about the very war against women that occurs in our own society in our own culture by the very people that claim to be liberating women from oppression. In short, they are waging a war that not only targets the woman’s role in daily life, but erodes the very foundation on which our morals and our culture need to stand, grow, and flourish. Contrary to the rhetoric of these dividing forces, perfect femininity can be found in Christian Faith and Doctrine.
Scripture Elevates Women
The war waged on women finds its way at some point or another to Scripture, where the most controversial verses are highlighted and promoted as being proof of the sinister controlling nature of not only the Church but the entire Faith. Yet, ignored are the countless words of Jesus that do not apply to men alone but universally to all humanity. Even as far back as to the root of sin, the consumption of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, God does not punish Eve alone for transgression. God punishes both Adam and Eve equally by exiling them from paradise and thus inflicting upon all of their descendants (that is, all of us) the full consequence of their sin. Thus, we find ourselves in a shared position, as men and women, to live our lives in accordance with God’s laws, His instructions, and within His Church so as to exonerate ourselves of the sins that we ourselves commit and partake in His Divine Glory.
It’s a daunting task, but not an impossible one; but it is marred and made difficult by factions led by the devil that seek to divide us in our plight and make us hate one-another. Just as much as men believing themselves superior to females is contrary to holy progress, so too is the prideful idea that women do not need men in their lives and are thus capable of replacing the need for men by their own efforts. Humility is, therefore, the greatest tool and ally in fighting against the war on women.
All throughout the Gospel our Lord beseeches His followers to be humble.
Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. – Luke 14:11 (DRA)
Yet, the humility St. Paul implores of women in his Epistles is seen by many as oppressive, offensive, and an impediment to female progress (if not the root of the plight of women in the Christian West).
Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. – Ephesians 5:22-23 (DRA)
What is typically interpreted here and seen as negative is a result of a very, very self-centered and materialistic mentality when reading Scripture and understanding the Christian family. In all actuality, it is a call for obedience out of respect for Faith. The Man is obligated to be entirely subservient to God, which in and of itself is a very daunting task. The man must ensure guardianship and provision for his family, the same way a Priest cares for his congregation. An important distinction is made here: As Christ is the head of the Church, the husband is the head of the wife. This, then, parallels the role of the wife with Christ’s Church, which is not to fulfill worldly and materialistic aims, but to bring those under her care to partake in the Divine Grace of God. It is a cooperative responsibility, and not a competitive one.
Further elaboration on the purpose of submission is outlined in 1 Peter 3 (note: It is important to understand the definition of the word “conversation” in the context of the verse, meaning “living among” or “familiarity,” that is, by the wife’s example):
In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. – 1 Peter 3:1 (DRA)
…Ye husbands, likewise dwelling with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the female as to the weaker vessel, and as to the co-heirs of the grace of life: that your prayers be not hindered. And in fine, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble… – 1 Peter 3:7-8 (DRA)
St. Paul outlines the responsibility of the husband, again not as oppressor or competitor, but as cooperator and honorer to her nature and role as wife. Thus, we see already in Scripture the elevation of womanhood to greater than that of a mere thing to that of a child of God. Those passages that explicitly outline responsibilities for women do not do so to control, but to provide support parallel to the man (who has his share of responsibilities outlined throughout), which is to serve and glorify He Who Created.
God, being loving of all His creation, then gave perhaps the greatest of all gifts to a Nazarene woman, and in doing so elevated a woman to an even greater seat than all the Saints.
Mary, Mother of God
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. – Luke 1:28-31 (DRA)
So began the greatest story ever told; a story so true that it was unbelievable, and a story so unbelievable that it was true, and it all began with a simple, humble woman in Nazareth and a responsibility placed upon her by God; a responsibility that, for some reason, is downplayed, diminished, berated, and downright insulted. Websites that serve as hives of social counter-culture are chock full of plenty of disgusting material that I don’t care to re-post here (but can be found with a few simple Google searches), even if for sake of example. One common misconception regarding Mary is that she didn’t have a choice in the matter, leading to extremes such as the blasphemous and absurd claim that Mary was raped by God, an insinuation that could only come from Satan, for the very idea inflicts horror and fear. It turns God into a monster and Mary into a victim, as compared to being God the creator and lover of humanity and Mary the partaker of His divine Grace and Will.
Sam Guzman wrote a very good article in The Catholic Gentleman “Why the Devil Hates the Blessed Virgin So Much”. In it he goes over why Satan would fear, and would hate, Mary, but one passage from his article strikes me as important:
The devil hates, I mean he loathes the fact that his ultimate defeat will come at the hands of a lowly handmaiden. In a way, his proud heart could handle being defeated by God himself because he’s almighty and omnipotent. But being crushed by a little Lady from Nazareth? The thought is absolutely humiliating. It drives him crazy. For if there is one thing the most proud creature in all of creation hates, it is being humiliated.
The devil, like a schoolyard bully, failing in his blatant attacks on Jesus, could only then out of anger and pride stoop to such lows as to turn his insults to the very Mother of God.
Further reading in Luke Chapter 1 leads us to the following verse:
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. – Luke 1:38 (DRA)
Mary, of her own free will, accepted her role from God, not with sorrow but with joy; for we then read of her sharing this exciting news with Elizabeth:
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. – Luke 1:46-47 (DRA)
It’s important to take note here that God did not impose this responsibility on Mary. She was free to accept or reject it, our Heavenly Father taking great care to respect her freedom of choice (something I’ll talk more about later). Nothing was imposed. Her liberties were left intact.
By inheriting the responsibility as the Mother of God she was left to endure the trials that accompany motherhood and the sorrow and dread of watching her own son be scorned, shunned, whipped, beaten, and then crucified.
Protestants downplay this role with some calling her “Mother of Jesus” and others placing her into the role of an afterthought, barely even acknowledging her as Christ’s mother. The rhetoric ranges from decent and civil argument against her motherhood of the Divinity of Christ to full-fledged insults and tirades that dance on accusations of polytheism and pagan worship, or at least taking the focus off of Christ. Feminists equate her with misogyny and focus on her sexual status as a virgin and role as a poster child for quiet, obedient, clean, chaste, and pure femininity which stands contrary to the feminist ideals of whatever they believe to be the epitome of female evolution (loud, rebellious, dirty…? I digress).
Yet, a very important point is missed: Throughout Scripture we read of men who have throughout history been honored, respected, and venerated for their role in the Faith and fulfilling Divine Providence. In the New Testament we find God completely shattering the old faith of the Jews and making the new Israel His Church. Christ comes from the line of David, but not in the glorious fanfare that the Jews expect; and what’s most radical is that God places the role and responsibility of giving birth to, caring for, and raising the Messiah of all humanity, our very own God the Son, on a woman.
By fulfilling and willingly accepting her role as child-bearer, Mary assumes what is most defining and unique to the female gender: Motherhood. A holy, God-given responsibility that produces human life and continues the line of humanity that was founded by and created by God. Motherhood, therefore, doesn’t simply make a woman a woman, it can even make her holy.
Yet she shall be saved through childbearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety. – 1 Timothy 2:15
There are few things so awesome, so holy, so beautiful, and so glorious as the responsibility of bearing and raising children, and it is the mother, the woman, who is placed in the seat of honor and prime responsibility for her role; and feminism seeks to deprive the woman of her honor and glory before God. Modern feminism has done an exceptional job at convincing women that motherhood is detrimental to a woman’s life, that pregnancy is damaging to their careers, and that children are burdens.
If childbirth is a distinctly feminine ability, then what is feministic about eliminating it? Yes, birth control gives a woman perceived control over the process and over her own body, but it is done by interrupting and thwarting the natural processes that are to occur for reproductive purposes only, to be replaced with intrinsic materialistic pleasure. If we require synthetic or man made means to control an otherwise uncontrollable process, then should we not accept that we, as humans, were not meant to control it?
Birth control then renders the woman incapable of producing a child, that is, a modern inconvenience to many, which is viewed to hinder success, damage careers, cause scandal, and create a stinky, smelly, squirmy thing that is noisy, destructive, and downright unpleasant to think about. It takes the one trait, the one major capability that women hold that make them truly female, and eliminates it; thus making her a tool for pleasure, whether for herself or for her sexual partner, to provide an endless means of mutual masturbation for which there is no aim except that of self-centered lust masqueraded as love. The woman is no longer a woman – she is a living, breathing sex toy. An object. How, then, is that feministic?
Many argue for the merits of birth control and abortion. The church speaks volumes regarding matters of rape, incest, and genetic disorders, which are too lengthy to copy and paste here.
What about simply not being ready for kids, not affording kids, not wanting kids, and so on? Are we not human beings with human needs and desires? Such manner of thinking is absolutely primitive. If we are not ready for children, then we are not ready for sexual pleasure. We arrive at this mentality from our own entertaining of ourselves by the pleasure that results from our reproductive capacities. Like an alcoholic reaching for the bottle, we’ve invented in our minds from our own dependency (which typically begins at a young age) on pleasure the necessity of sex and masturbation whenever our brain tells us it wants it. By resisting alcohol, the alcoholic begins to find joy in life without it. By resisting sugar, the obese person begins to understand how to eat properly. So, too, by resisting and understanding how to control our passions, we find an entirely new way of enjoying our relationships with those we love, respect our own bodies, and most importantly, prevent from wasting our abilities and our resources that were meant for the continuity of the human race and creation of life, unhindered, and unimpeded by unnatural and devious methods that circumvent that which we were never intended to prevent: The creation of life.
The Great Deceiver
The Devil’s ultimate goal is to control humanity and make us subservient to his will and his desires by alienating us from God. God wants us to have the freedom to choose, the Devil does not want to give us a choice, because freedom of choice means freedom to choose God. The common theme that I find most often in feminist diatribes is that there should be no choice. Women should use birth control and terminate unwanted pregnancies. It’s not a matter of choice, it’s a matter of obligation; and that by succumbing to her role as child-bearer and mother she is submitting to the whims and will of men and making herself a tool of the so-called Patriarchy. Yet, through God, we have the choice to choose moral right and be united in His grace or moral wrong and distance ourselves from Him. The devil inflicts on us only one choice, that is, moral wrong under the illusion of moral right.
What, then, are we to do to resist this onslaught by the armies of Satan? Simple: By using our bodies for their naturally designed purposes and participating in the Sacraments. Get married. Have children. Get them baptized, raise them well and raise them in the Faith, and when the soldiers of the Devil try to convince you otherwise, pray for them and turn your back on them. Choose God. Christianity does not stand in opposition to the rights of women. It is the answer.
Modern feminism is counter-intuitive to female empowerment. It seeks to control and to not give the adherent freedom of choice. It seeks to deprive women of their rights and capabilities by stripping them of their own humanity and clothing them with a veil that stands in opposition to their God-given nature, the same way a Muslim extremist veils his wife; to live contrary to the Love of God.