Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How Becoming A Feminist Affected My Marriage

...In my searching, I found increasing common ground with the values of a movement that to this point, I’d viewed as unnecessarily loud, and frankly, unnecessary altogether. Feminism was for angry women in pointless marches and women who hated babies so much they wanted to legalize killing them.

And yet, I began to find kindred spirits among them, especially with pro-life feminists, who pursue solidarity among any who are marginalized or forgotten -- those who are sick, social minorities, disabled, poor, refugees, immigrants, unborn… In a country that values diversity, in a faith that values the dignity of every person, I saw strong people amplifying the voices of those who are weak in pro-life feminism.

In Salt of the Earth, Pope Benedict is asked by a reporter how many ways there are to God. “As many as there are people,” the pope responds.

As many as there are people. 

When I read Pope Benedict's response in light of the new feminism referenced by Pope John Paul II, I heard: my salvation is not dependent on how well I can force myself into the mold of another woman's success story as wife or mother. 

I need to pause, to give voice to the idea that this isn’t an exclusively feminist idea. Much of feminist thought is just common sense. Plenty of people who would never identify as “feminist” still experience the freedom and joy of living as their true selves in unique callings within a marriage relationship. 

For some, this could look like a working father with banker’s hours and a stay-at-home mom who takes full charge of house and children. 

For others, like St. Gianna, a mother might work outside the home. 

For others, like Sts. Louis and Zelie, a married couple might run a family business together, balancing home and family into that work. 

Some people’s choices might be limited by circumstance, like St. Helen, whose husband divorced her for a younger woman, or St. Gemma’s father, a failed businessman and widower forced to raise his children in poverty, alone, or St. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who was pressured by the politics of her day to choose between the death of her child, or allowing her child to be raised completely outside the sacred culture of her people by the Pharaoh's daughter.

For most, like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton -- who ran a society for the poor, while raising five kids and adopting six more, ran a boarding house to support her children after her husband died, went bankrupt with a failed school, and eventually joined a religious order, once her children were older -- roles and responsibilities will be as variable as the variable seasons of life. 

For me, it took months of eavesdropping online to Catholic feminist conversations to realize family roles are flexible, and furthermore, the Lord has not mandated, through scripture or any official Church teaching, one way for all families. 

This realization gave my husband and I peace in making choices that are best for each other and best for our family, no longer living under the pressure to achieve somebody else’s story.

Read the rest over at FemCatholic!

Adam Cuerden [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

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