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The Problems With Feminism

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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September 18, 2023 2:00 pm

The Problems With Feminism

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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September 18, 2023 2:00 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Dr. Carrie Gress, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of the new book The End of Woman: How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us, to discuss the damage that the feminist movement has done over the last two centuries. 

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Welcome to Family Policy Matters, an engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. Hi, this is John Rustin, president of NC Family, and we're grateful to have you with us for this week's program. It's our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged, and inspired by what you hear on Family Policy Matters, and that you will feel better, equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state, and nation. And now, here is our host of Family Policy Matters, Tracy Devitt Griggs. Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. Edith Stein once said, the world doesn't need what women have, it needs what women are.

Well, this statement seems even more poignant today. For 60 years, feminism has been the prevailing narrative for women in Western societies, but after more than a half century, the fruits of this philosophy are disappointing at best. Well, today's guest argues that feminism has in some ways even been responsible for erasing women. Dr. Carrie Gress is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

She's a scholar at the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and she's a homeschooling mother of five. And as a result of women, how smashing the patriarchy has destroyed us. Dr. Carrie Gress, welcome back to Family Policy Matters. Thanks so much.

It's great to be back. You've got a very serious allegation here in the title of that book. And I know among conservatives, feminism is often a bad word, but it hasn't always been the case, right? There are roots of feminism that were much different than we see now.

So talk a little bit about what good has been done, and how did it become what it has more or less morphed into today? No, I think that's the big question, the one that I really tried over to really make fertile soil for what happened with the second wave. But I think fundamentally, you know, going back to even the 1790s, when Mary Wollstonecraft is writing, and then her son in law, whom she never met, but Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein, that there was some major issues that were happening in first wave feminism that I think have been polished over largely. But the initial one is really the question that they asked, it wasn't how do we help women as women, it was how do we help make women like men, because they saw that men had much easier, they believe much easier lives than women did.

And so that was really the goal. So when you start looking at feminism as a whole, with that question in mind, that I think it really makes sense to sort of start piecing together what's happened in the first wave that few people know about, but then in the second wave, and then of course, now with the whole trans issue is this real change in what it means to be a woman. What have women have made since feminism began? Well, I think absolutely, you know, the feminist movement has done things like promotes voting. It's also helped women with issues like custody. I mean, this is one of the tragedies of reading through older material about women and seeing just how difficult women's lives were largely because of their fertility, or because you had a bad husband, he was the one that maintained custody of children. So these are obviously tragic things, and many of them have been corrected. Of course, we even, you know, look at the workplace, and I work and I have an advanced degree.

I'm incredibly grateful for those opportunities. But I think on the whole, feminism itself as a movement is really an ideology that in many respects, has undermined itself and has undermined women and has done a lot more damage than good. If you look at certainly the statistics that we see on women now in terms of women's happiness, I think even of course, the abortion issue is a huge one. We would not see in any way, shape or form the kinds of numbers that we have on abortion that we see today, if women were not told over and over again by feminism, that children and husbands are an obstacle to having this. So really, this idea of this myth of this independent woman who could have this amazing life without any kind of family, that actually goes back to the early 1810s.

And it was first formulated by Percy Shelley, the English poet, and this character named Cissna. So it's really interesting when you start really digging into it and seeing all these patterns that emerge. And it definitely begs the question, did we really have to destroy Western civilization, and what we're seeing so much of today in terms of decadence in order for these things to happen. And I think that's really interesting.

things to happen. And I think the answer is no, we didn't need feminism in the form that came down to us to see these great advancements for women. So you suggest that feminism has made male lives the norm for everyone devalue the typical attributes and virtues and strengths of women.

So talk more about how that looks. I first started really digging into this question years and years ago, when my probably three or four year old daughter asked me what was better about being a woman, and I I just didn't have an answer. And I was really disappointed myself, because I loved being a mom, I would stay at home mom at that point.

And I just didn't feel like I had a good answer. And so again, when you start digging into the research and into this question of what has happened with women, you really see certainly, I mean, obviously, I'm trying to give a very superficial read on this, that the details are so much more rich, obviously, in the book. But when you look at what communism specifically has done to women, to Marxism, Marxism has tried to make women into great workers. And initially, feminism didn't see could work with the movement. And then later on, certainly the work at Betty Friedan, we see this major transition happened where Friedan is trying to get women out of their homes, which he called concentration camps and into the workplace doing productive work. There, she was absolutely a communist. And that was, I think, one of the areas of research that was really the most interesting, because she always said that she was just a housewife and wasn't really interested in women's issues until the 50s. And her biography obviously tells a very different story of real involvement with a communist. So what's happened is this idea of making women into workers, but also, you know, the free love aspect of the movement has been there really, almost from the very beginning, this idea that women should be able to have sexual relationships the way that men do without that very long term consequences.

that come with pregnancy and raising children and whatnot. So that was the idea is the feminist ideology really embraced both this concept of getting women to work as a good Marxist and then also for this free love notion. And then finally, of course, there's this whole added layer of the occult that was brought into the movement and very much kind of a part of it over the years, you can see it sort of wane and wax in different ways, but certainly came to the fore in the 70s. And I think even now that we can see so much evidence, even TV shows, The Good Witch, and you know, this kind of concept that there could be a good, you know, astrology and horoscopes and all these kinds of different ways in which women are encouraged to dabble in things is absolutely part of what has been given to us through this ideology.

You have some shocking testimonies in your book. Yeah, the earliest ones were really from women that were on the receiving end of kind of this free love attitude that took place in the 1800s. Mary Shelley is one of them and her stepsister who had a relationship with Lord Byron. I mean, these are two women, Mary Shelley's obviously married to Percy Shelley. And so they both had children with these men who were very much involved in free love and breaking every kind of taboo that they could. And both of them, I mean, it's just heartbreaking to read about the number of children that died between them, that the stories of these young children dying from not being treated well, or being pushed to move to places that they shouldn't have gone when they were sick or, you know, things like that. And it's interesting because in the 1800s, you still have the feminist movement still talks about the beauty and the tender relationship between mother and child. That all changes in the 1900s.

It's very difficult to find a testimony of a feminist woman talking about this relationship between mother and child and the importance of it, the tenderness, it all turns to this one word drudgery, which is just used over and over and over again, you know, the drudgery of motherhood is all we hear about. So those are the early stages. And then of course, you move on to later stages. And I've got featured in the book, Stevie Nicks, who, of course, is well known for her being raised in Mac and whatnot. And just this interview that was done with her in the 90s.

And it's just amazing. She has had four abortions. And she didn't want to have these children because she believes that she had a responsibility to her job and the people that work for her and she just didn't want to give up working.

So to a one, I think it was four different abortions for different fathers, all of the relationships ended. And Stevie Nicks in this 90s interview actually looks like a little girl, like she talks to her house is very cutesy. And whenever she goes on tour, people have to go ahead of her to her hotel suites to make sure they have sort of this cute dollhouse appearance to them. And you know, it's just the kind of thing where you just realize, obviously, this woman has done a lot of drugs over the years, and I think was finally clean when that interview was done. But this is the psychological damage that was done on this woman is just unreal. And I think there's a lot more of that than we even realize in terms of mental illness, we know there's a lot of depression, all of these kinds of things can really be sourced back in many respects to abortion and to this rejection really, of what it means to mother someone else. And this has obviously been promoted so much by the culture and ideology. Why have we not heard a lot about this?

Several things going on. First of all, the women that would be aware of it, our academics and their careers could be in jeopardy. And that was the advantage I had is I don't have a 10 year position that I'm trying to protect. I'm largely a stay at home mom.

And that's really, you know, everything else went away, I would still be happy to stay at home mom. So I didn't feel threatened in that respect. The other thing is, is that I think the left has done an amazing job of both characterizing their own position as the correct position that women should take. But they've also characterized what they articulate as the position against them. So if you think about every time there's an abortion issue, who do you see? You see all those women in the red robes and the red bonnets, you know, the Margaret Atwood kind of Handmaid's Tale images, because what they're trying to communicate is that if you are not a feminist, then with them, then you you must be this kind of woman who's bought into a fertility cold, and might as well just go buy yourself a red robe right now, you know, so they they've been amazing and masterful in terms of defining the opposition. They've also been able to make us look like doormats, or we're ignorant or backwards or whatever. So most women, I think, don't really even have a sense that there could be something other than those two categories, because we don't really see it in the culture, we see one extreme or the other.

And we don't really have that sort of the mental hooks to really say, no, there's actually a healthy way in between both of those. And we need to start seeing it, we don't see it in the media, we don't see it in magazines, you know, anything like that. So I think that's why there's been just, first of all, a lot of reticence to try to articulate or to move against feminism, because it just feels like you're really putting yourself out there in this very unfashionable and weird world. But the other thing is, is that there's a lot of polish on these women in these histories. And you know, Elizabeth Cady Stanton is made out to look like she's this, you know, heroine. And when you really start looking at what Cady Stanton was up to, and the amount of mediums that she was using in seances, all of these scandals that ended up actually getting kicked out of the organization that she found it.

These are the kinds of tales that are not being told in our history classes or history books. I have a lot of other questions, but we're getting to the end of our interview. And I don't want to leave without giving you an opportunity to tell us what we can do. Are there some positive ways that we can address some of these very serious concerns that you're raising in this book? I think the first thing is we have to just really let go of the term feminism. I know so many of us have tried to find ways to really make it fit with Christianity. But when you know, the defining characteristics of it are the occult, free love, and smashing the patriarchy, there's just nothing compatible with it. You know, women do use the word, I think they have to be absolutely specific about what they mean by it, because the regnant belief is built into those three concepts from the very beginning, almost.

So I think that's huge. I think the other thing that we can do is just really start coming back to this idea of really understanding that our happiness is embedded in our families, that this is the sad story of so much of what I hear these days are women who have been living the feminist worldview, and they get to a certain point and say, Why did I do this, it's too late, I don't have a family, I don't have a husband, I may have a good bank account, but that's not going to get me through the rest of these years in a way in which I dreamed. So I think that that's the other aspect is really just start focusing on the gifts that we do have as women and the ways in which we can contribute, obviously, biologically as mothers. And I think this is a missing piece is recognizing that all women are made to be mothers, whether it's biologically, psychologically, or spiritually, and to really press into that and see, we have these incredible gifts that we can pass on to people, because what does the mother do? She, you know, nourishes, provides shelters, she tries to create a place in which people can grow into the people they're meant to be and the people that God made them to be. So I think that's a pretty exciting vocation when we start reframing it within that context. And instead of all this emphasis on ourselves, we start saying, How do I use my gifts to help others?

And of course, we know that fundamentally, the real key to happiness is that gift itself to others, not in a codependent sort of creepy way that the feminists have articulated, but in a real beautiful Christian way in which we use our gifts that God gave us to help bring out the gifts and others. All right, Carrie Gress, author of the new book, The End of Woman, How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us. Where can our listeners go to follow your work and learn more? The best place is my website, CarrieGress.com. We have a blog called theologyofhome.com. And the book can also be purchased if you want a signed copy from theologyofhome.com.

So those are the best places. All right, Dr. Carrie Gress, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters. You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week. To listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina, go to our website at ncfamily.org. That's ncfamily.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-27 13:47:35 / 2023-10-27 13:54:26 / 7

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