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Barb Szyszkiewicz, sfo

Thanks for taking a stand!!


Would you please define masculinity and femininity? Which activities, sports, food, chores are appropriate for men and which for women? And please don't refer me to your book, I won't buy it. I want some conservative to provide the final and complete definition of what men and women are supposed to do.


It's not a list of his and her jobs. Those are stereotypes which are too confining. Think sex. According to God's plan, man and woman engage in intercourse: man plants seed; woman receives (both him and his seed) and nurtures life (often babies, but not always). Everything else works in concentric circles out from that. All of the "rules and regs" are simply to protect that union and its potential. Each does what needs to be done to provide a safe environment for their offspring.

If you start with that, Biology 101, then you'll see why women should choose men carefully and make sure they'll be around later. That's what chastity is about, what prudence is about, and what faithful marriage is about. Beyond that, it's up to the couple to decide who works, who milks the cow, who replaces the gutters and who goes down to see what that odd sound in the basement is. Most decisions are private and personal, but ultimately all of society has a vested interest in strong marriages -- for "all civilisation passes by way of the family" (JP2).

If you START with contraception, promiscuity, infidelity and lies, it's very hard to work backward, but only with the original set-up will each person be served with the dignity s/he deserves.

Please don't blow a gasket, but meditate on it carefully. This is what the "theology of the body" is all about: our peace is written in our DNA. You can run, you can hide, you can try to recreate the world, but it is what it is, because God ... simply ... is.


'The switch off' is something that I see many couples experience. While I may be in the traditional role at this point in time staying at home, many women with older school aged children have gone back to work while their husbands take something many considered low-profile. For instance my husband's boss, an engineer, works full time while her husband has his own small business of cleaning fish tanks and gets the kids where they need to go on the weekdays.

When my children speak of what they want to do when they grow up, I don't think 'equality' when my daughter speaks of being an engineer herself, I think employable skills (I wanted to be a ballerina). On a different note my preschool son said simply he wanted to be a dad.

I also notice this switch when one spouse becomes ill in old age, the other one simply picks up slack. Your husband forgets to bring the garbage to the curb, you do it yourself. If a wife overwhelmed with sick kids, a husband irons his own shirt without question. In the end, it's simply always being considerate of one another, whether one of you or both are having a bad day.


My husband and I long to have equal and identical roles. We want someone to give us a boatload of money so neither of us has to work, ever again, and we can both play and nap with our baby all day long.

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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