Sr. Helen Burns was commenting about 50 Shades, arguing that the book is bad because it is wrong; women don't want to be treated violently: "that's rape." I guess she has not read the book; according to an Amazon review, the S&M is of a very mild variety, light spanking. She also repeated the standard claim women want men to be gentle in bed.
Do we want those who are rather unfamiliar with sex to dictate what is a licit desire and what is not, beyond standard Catholic moral theology? Is there a pastoral problem with respect to scrupulosity? Given that in the marital embrace, the female principle is "acted upon" by the male principle, we should expect that the female body be adapted to this and that pleasure may be even linked to it! The emphasis on gentleness reminds me of the supposed anxiety of female virgins that intercourse will be painful - is there a link? Is there a tendency to identify female desire and certain aspects of the marital embrace as being "dirty" or beneath the "dignity" of women? If gentleness is claimed to be the ideal, what are women who find themselves desiring their husbands to be not so gentle supposed to think about themselves and their desires? Do we see the problem here? Some may argue that this is concupiscence or due to man's fallen nature, but how far do they want to take this line of argument? Do we risk tarring pleasure as something bad or "sinful," even if it accompanies acts that are morally licit? "If you are enjoying it, it must be wrong."
After all, what woman religious could refer to her own past experience in order to support or refute claims being made about female sexuality without having her reputation affected as a result? Perhaps it would be better for married Catholics to discuss this among themselves, if it is to be discussed at all, especially with regards to how women should (want to) show submission, so long as they have proper guidance on what is licit and what is not. Of course, from her words, Sister Helen seems to think like a social conservative as criticized by those in the androsphere - imputing to women a sort of moral purity given their very nature while simultaneously being ignorant of female sexuality and desire.
Conservative Catholic feminist Teresa Tomeo was also on the radio; in her program she was going to talk about women leaders in the Church. Was she referring to bureaucrats, lay women in "leadership" positions of Church organizations? Or was she talking about lay women in "civil society"? Is the self-esteem of Uhmerican Catholic women so low that we have to talk about how they are making progress in society, in accordance with masculine standards and notions of hierarchy? Did John Paul II fail to articulate a proper account of how women should participate in civil society? How do Catholic feminists not subscribing to the view that women need to prove themselves by succeeding in "a man's world"? The adoption of the "good parts" of the feminist mentality allows Catholics to be divided and conquered as women displace men and affect family formation and life.
She has a forthcoming book from Random House on happiness; I should complete my post on her book from Ignatius Press, Extreme Makeover. Given what she has written, I don't have high expectations that the book will be sufficiently rigorous - there is the potential for it to devolve into talk about passion (in the strict sense of being acted upon by God, if that, rather than identifying happiness with virtuous action.) She was also supposed to interview Meg Meeker, but I didn't listen to that show.
The Orthodox may be more aware of the problems accompanying feminism; do they have less of a pastoral problem? (How many Orthodox women fall away from Christianity because they have been turned by feminism?)