Modern women proclaim the ‘feminine genius’ — and stand up for true freedom and happiness.
"Conservative" or "Catholic" Feminism? Not possible.
A vital “new feminism”— what many refer to as feminism’s “third wave” — is popping up everywhere across America, in university philosophy and theology departments, workplaces, hospitals and schools.
New feminists say they’re sick and tired of women at “second-wave” feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women and NARAL Pro-Choice America claiming to speak for them.
I doubt mainstream or academic third-wave feminists would admit "conservatives" or Catholics into their ranks. Wishful thinking on the part of either the author or the author's source.
A Manifesto for Third Wave Feminism
The End of Feminism's Third Wave
What next? Conservatives and Catholics identifying with fourth-wave feminism?
“The new feminism differs from the old feminism in the sense that it encourages women to be who they are,” said Terry Polakovic, executive director of Endow (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), which has chapters in more than 80 Catholic dioceses across the country.
“As John Paul II said when he described the ‘feminine genius,’ a woman has the capacity, just by her very biology, to make room for another,” Polakovic explained. “Not that everyone is Susie Homemaker. But whether or not she’s a stay-at-home mother, a woman, by nurturing others around her, helps create a life-giving environment. That’s just who she is.”
Veteran pro-life feminist and journalist Mary Meehan said the new feminism is “the legitimate descendant of the ‘first-wave’ feminist movement in this country in the 1840s and 1850s.”
Early suffragists, who lobbied for women’s right to vote — women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony — “were pro-lifers who opposed abortion as an exploitation of women,” said Serrin Foster, who heads Feminists for Life of America (FFL). “The same women who fought for the rights of slaves to be free and the rights of women to vote also fought for the unborn to be born,” said Foster, who invented the slogan, “Women Deserve Better Than Abortion.”
Laura Grace Robbins has a lot to say about how wrong first-wave feminism was.
“Contrary to popular belief (and old-guard Catholic feminism), following Church teachings on sex and marriage, in spite of the sometimes arduous difficulty of doing so, actually helps women to flourish — physically, emotionally, relationally and socially,” declares new-feminist author and attorney Erika Bachiochi in Women, Sex and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching.
Far from demeaning women and sexuality, Church teachings actually elevate “the meaning of sex at a time when our consumerist culture has debased sex, treating it as simply another form of entertainment,” Bachiochi says. She argues that ample evidence, scientific and anecdotal, reveals “that premarital sex, and especially casual sex, is inherently anti-woman.”
What the old guard failed to understand, this fresh new breed of feminists explains, is that a woman’s true self is found not in radically independent isolation, but in relationship — and most completely in a committed and lasting communion of love. “The old feminism really thought it could excise marriage and kids out of women’s lives, except on the terms they wanted them,” Alvare said. “It turns out these are elements you just can’t declare by fiat are no longer relevant to women’s freedom or happiness.”
Far from seeing women and men as enemies, third-wave feminists see the two sexes as collaborators.
Men and women may be collaborators or "complementary" but are they equals? Or is the husband the head of the family? That is part of Church teaching on marriage - will Catholic feminists admit this, even to a Catholic audience? Will they affirm that women should not be allowed to compete with men for work necessary to sustain a family?
The title is an assumption based on what has been left out - because they don't believe it? Or because they recognize that it is not palatable to their audience? When Catholic feminists start talking about the authority of the husband and the limits of women's participation in the "public sphere" (i.e. the collaboration of the brotherhood, of the men in a community), then I will believe they are not really feminists.