This turn of events in Canada brings to mind a recent interview for U.S. Catholic (which may not have produced my best answers, but got me thinking.) First the latest item:
The Conservative government is taking an axe to Status of Women Canada, closing three-quarters of its regional offices and outraging critics in the process. Heritage Minister Bev Oda revealed Wednesday that 12 of the federal agency's 16 regional offices will be shut down by April 1.
The blow is part of a cost-cutting program announced in September that will see the agency lose $5-million from it's $23-million annual budget over two years. Status of Women Canada works to advance women's economic equality and human rights and eliminate violence against women.
Of course feminists are outraged, blah, blah, blah.
Liberal MP Maria Minna called the move “reprehensible.”
“Canadian women are still only earning 71 cents to every dollar earned by their male counterparts, more and more women are living in poverty, and we are still waiting for the government to create child-care spaces,” she said. With the closure of these regional offices, the government is taking away one of the very few remaining resources for women.”
Well, there are ways to help women other than handing them enormous sums of money to patch their wounds using methods that ignore the foundation of their problems. Rape crisis centres, lawyers, and child-care facilities are stop-gap measures that only leave the root causes unaddressed.
Thus, back to the interview, one of the questions was, "Do you consider yourself a feminist?" The answer, after much thought, was No, for the following reasons:
- "Feminism" as a term is loaded with thirty years of baggage that is difficult to sort out in the short amount of time (or space) that we're usually offered to present our world view. Rather than staking a claim about its meaning, let it go and we'll use other terms.
- The concept of "feminism" is to promote women's causes and interests, which of course vary wildly from radical feminists opinions to those of radical Muslims to those of many back-woods "build-a-god[dess]" clans.
- Holy Mother Church never sees the advancement of human dignity as a zero-sum game. When men purify themselves and live virtue, the effects spill over to everyone. Likewise, when women are freed to live authentically feminine lives, men and children benefit, as does the entire Mystical Body of Christ. The complementarity of the sexes teaches us that in the nuptial reality in which we all live and move and have our being, one cannot be myopic. For the sake of an apostolate, one can focus on one piece in the puzzle in order to strengthen its ability to "become itself," but ultimately we must all must keep the universal mission of mankind in mind.
- Specifically, one dark side of feminism has been to pit women against children, women against men, and women against women who don't share the same world view. Women must be bridges of unity and transparent images of the bride, who points mankind to the Bridegroom.
Let's drop "feminism" -- even "Christian feminism" and promote authentic femininity as a service to the world at large.