Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 24, 2009

On the Woes and Wonders of Womanhood

So today I came across two wonderful little articles...well, one is pretty wonderful, the other is just silly, but perhaps might spark some debate. The first article comes from Zenit -- an article reporting on the recent women's conference hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace this past weekend. This conference, entitles "Life, Family, Development: The Role of Women in the Promotion of Human Rights" was put on to promote a new feminism, one that would promote a culture of life. The Pontiff urges women to take the reins, put themselves out there, and claim control of society, especially as related to human rights and upholding the dignity of human life. Benedict XVI also encourages women to cultivate their genius to contribute to society in their unique way. I love the pope. Oh the wonders of being a woman!

The second article appeared in the Louisiana State University's daily newspaper. It's an article titled "Perfect Dystopia: Women Would Benefit from Returning to their Place at Home." Now, this article is just silly. Judging from the title, the author clearly believes that women returning to home would create a 'perfect dystopia.' The author makes ridiculous claims such as:
Having to balance school, work and social life is hazardous for a woman’s beauty. One needs only to look at the amount of rejuvenation products in stores to know premature aging is prevalent in the population. Companies like Olay work many hours to formulate compounds that repair a women’s face and restore her wasted, book-filled youth. Women as young as 25 are pulling out strands of gray hair from their golden locks to look their true age.
I got a great laugh from statements like this (mostly because I could relate -- I am 25 and pulling out a few grays now and then!)

But even though the article is meant to be satire, I think the author (who is a woman, by the way) makes some good points. One point is that women who choose to stay home tend to be looked down upon in today's society. Maybe this trend is changing. I think it is (or maybe that's just because I live in the south now -- not to buy into stereotypes or anything...) But seriously, here we have two articles, two views espousing ideas on what a woman's role in society should be. Here's the question I put to you: What does a new feminism entail for us? What should a woman's role in society be? Ah, the woes and wonders of womanhood...

Photo found here.

1 comment:

Julian said...

Wow...a post to blow the roof off of something. What is the new feminism? Do I have enough space to write?

I. just. don't. know.

I dearly love our pope, and I dearly love his predecessor and all that they had to say about the genius of women -- our gifts, our uniqueness, our special way to image God. But we never really get the straight answer to the question that we're asking: What are we to do?

While I remain unsatisfied with my disatsifaction, not having a straight answer IS the answer, no? The genius of women is in the sex, but it's also in the individual. The particular woman MATTERS. Each individual woman partakes in the feminine complementarity that the pope speaks about, but she also brings that to the world in a particular way...some to stay home and raise children, some to engage the world in the academy (possibly you, Edith?), some in the political sphere, some both at home and at work, some through volunteering, some in the cloistered life. I really believe that each woman is called to discern the manner in which she best fulfills her complementarity. And the world needs to respect and safeguard the woman's ability to do just that.

I wish I had an answer. Sometimes I wish women could "have it all." But that would be ridiculous! Woman can't do it all, nor can we serve everyone. That's Christ's job, so we might as well leave it to him. My spiritual director always says, "What is good for Julian? Because if Julian isn't doing that, then she is not going to be making anyone else happy."

Do you hear what I hear?

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