” The major challenge the contemporary woman faces today is not equality but rather identity.”

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The following quote is one I read on facebook this morning…..

Cardinal Scola of Milan argues that the major challenge the contemporary woman faces today is not equality but rather identity. Women will always fall short of the mark if they only compare themselves to men’s essentially masculine achievements. Women will never realize what their own unique feminine contributions to family, society and Church may be if they continue to measure themselves only by the standards men have achieved. Women must look into their own minds, souls and bodies to discover what contributions that they, and they alone, can offer to society. Someone asked Napoleon who was the greatest woman in history. Bonaparte answered, “The one with the most babies.” The emperor might have given this answer with his tongue in his cheek but his response is absolutely correct. Motherhood is the unique female contribution to society, family and Church. Women must look first to those roles in world history that no man can ever fulfill. Others note that daughter, sister, wife and mother are clearly roles unique to women. Such roles must not be ignored even while women pursue wider careers. The alert daughter and the aware sister have gifts to offer a family and a neighborhood that sons and brothers cannot. The observant wife and attentive mother have talents not found in the best of husbands and fathers. Femininity, unique to womanhood, is a divinely instilled response to life that only a woman may discern. Feminism ignores womanhood, bent only on remaking women in the image of men, robbing females of their distinctive destiny that goes back to Eden.

In stressing equality over identity modern society manages to distract women from the ongoing attack on the very nature of womanhood, on the very essence of femininity. Abortion, contraception, sterilization, surrogacy are plainly attacks on motherhood. Divorce, cohabitation and single motherhood are obviously assaults on the dignity of woman as wife. Pornography certainly exploits women who are daughters and sisters. Women truly have to ask themselves what particular vocation, what special role in society, what exceptional contribution to the human race, can they make through their feminine gifts that no Boy Scout or male CEO or heavy-weight athlete could consider or achieve. The era when educated women could expect only to be school teachers, nurses, or secretaries is still within memory. Since then women’s contribution to science, medicine, technology, education, business and athletics has been greatly enhanced. But progress must not be at the expense of true womanhood. Scouting badges, social advancement, and vocational success must be achieved by a deeper appreciation of one’s true self not by the imitation of someone else’s accomplishments.

My thoughts –

There is nothing wrong with women pursuing traditionally masculine pursuits IF they are so inclined.  There always has been and always will be outliers and those on the fringe who live in a way that doesn’t conform to social norms.  BUT what we have today is a push to strongly encourage all girls and women to reject the gifts and talents that are uniquely feminine in favor of tradtional masculine pursuits and that must stop.  Young women shouldn’t feel ashamed to reveal their desire to marry and raise a family.  It used to be acknowledged that motherhood had tremendous influence in moving society in the right direction simply by raising children with well-defined character and values who grew up to be valuable, contributing members to society themselves.  Now, being a mother is denigrated by being “just a SAHM.”  It’s believed that the power to influence society is “out there” somewhere rather than in the home.   The real truth is that home life and family has tremendous power and influence for good if the task of upholding it is undertaken as the sacred duty that it surely is.   While women shouldn’t be relegated to the home by law, it should still be seen as THE most influential domain in terms of it’s value rather than the least.  It should be a mark of honor for women who choose to spend a portion of their life serving the family at home.

Image result for contemporary paintings of mother and familyIt will take both men and women to acknowledge that the uniquely feminine contributions are important or even MORE important in shaping the character of our nation and neighborhoods than what goes on in the wider world.  It is a much forgotten idea that government, business, education, science, technology and medicine are all meant to be at the service of the most fundamental unit of society, the family and the individuals that make it up.  Unfortunately, what  we see today is that the individual is seen as not a member of a family unit that must be protected but as a unit of production that is meant to serve industry as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.  Very little to no thought is given to that person’s responsibilites and obligations to the family in which they belong.  The individual is at the service of the state or corporation rather than the other way around.  We need more women and men who will speak out about the family being the center around which decisions and policy are made.  We need men and women to value family and to see that the work done there is of the utmost value to both the individual and society.  It is then that women will value their identity as women and all of society will operate in service of the family which always was and always will be women’s unique domain.

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Vincent Van Gogh Three Pairs. I like this painting because for me it depicts the idea that the wearers of these shoes were out working all day but at the end of that day, they return home to the place where the real service of their work was directed. The wearers of these service-worn boots should find a loving embrace, a hot-meal and a clean, comfortable bed, making the service they provided more than worth the effort.

The woman’s task is not easy–no task worth doing is easy–but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed. ” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

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4 thoughts on “” The major challenge the contemporary woman faces today is not equality but rather identity.”

  1. It’s believed that the power to influence society is “out there” somewhere rather than in the home.

    It eludes me to understand how people can’t see the connection a parent’s influence has on children, and how those children will grow up to participate in society. These things have to happen in the home– charity begins at home and the home is the center of family life.

    Like

    1. Maea,

      I think that those who came from deeply dysfunctional or broken homes will often have trouble understanding it’s importance. There’s too much hurt and sorrow oftentimes to see it objectively. Unfortunately, as society devalues and destroys the family, the connection between home and society may be lost altogether.

      Like

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