The Negative Effects Of Modern Feminism On The Family
Claire J.M. Halbur, Editor
The “Woman’s Suffrage” movement, and its primary founder, Susan B. Anthony, had a noble aim and achieved much to give women their proper political and social respect. What many don’t know is that these early feminists were actually very pro-life and pro-motherhood.
But as time progressed, feminism became more extreme and more angry, especially with the “Women’s Liberation” movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Women of this movement have the mindset of Margaret Sanger, who was the founder of Planned Parenthood. They believe, among other things, that sexual activity outside of marriage is fine, and even should be encouraged as a means of “liberation”. They hold that unlimited access to abortion and artificial birth control is a fundamental “right” and that women should be identical to men in every way.
Don’t get me wrong: I am completely in favor of treating all human beings with equal respect, no matter our gender, race, or color. I believe that it is right for a woman to vote, to be involved in politics, to hold positions of authority in the workplace, to choose her own husband, to be paid the same as a man doing the same job, etc. These are just common sense rules that must be met for justice to be upheld.
Although feminism began with noble goals, in its modern form, it is a dangerous and negative mindset. In reality, it scorns womanhood by implying that as a woman, I’m not good enough – I must become like a man in order to be equal to him. What a lie! The truth is that man and woman have equal dignity, but different design. Modern feminists have the attitude that they can be everything a man is, which is physiologically and biologically impossible. In pursuing things that men have characteristically done, they have gone too far and utterly shunned their innate qualities. They view the traditional woman as inferior to man, and the role of a stay-at-home mother as inferior. When a woman no longer understands herself and her unique role, the breakdown of the family results.
In marriage, husband and wife are partners in a sacred covenant, to help each other be everything God is calling them to be. Man is made to be the protector and leader, and woman to be the bearer and nurturer of life. These innate qualities complement each other so perfectly. Working together, husband and wife create a stable and loving environment. However, if one partner rejects his or her natural role, the marriage will begin to fall apart.
Thanks to the lies and confusions of modern feminism, women have been undermining our inherent role. Since the sexual revolution, many have clung to the ideals of Margaret Sanger, who advocated promiscuity, contraception, and abortion-on-demand. By accepting this anti-life mentality and lifestyle, a woman literally severs that special bond with her child. Consequently, if the man and woman are married, she weakens her relationship with her husband by deliberately killing a life that they created together.
Although the suppression of fertility through artificial contraception and the legalization of abortion are often touted as “victories” for women, in reality, they oppress women physically and emotionally. Studies have shown that both contraception and abortion significantly increase a women’s risk of breast cancer. Over 60% of women who have had abortions experience post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. In addition, some artificial contraceptives, such as “The Pill,” which contains estrogen and progestin, can cause micro-abortions. While the main objective of women on “The Pill” is to avoid pregnancy altogether, to truth is that a sexually active woman taking this will have one micro-abortion each year, if not more. This is because “The Pill” does not just suppress ovulation; it also makes the lining of the uterus hostile to an embryo and prevents implantation. When this happens, the tiny baby dies because he or she is unable to obtain vital nutrients.
As abortion and artificial contraception became more prevalent, promiscuity became more common and accepted because a woman did not have to be responsible with her actions. However, abortion and contraception also made it more convenient for men to use women in non-committal relationships. The gift of sexuality has been cheapened, leaving many people in unfulfilling and temporary relationships. Today, nearly half of American teenagers have lost their virginity by the age of 17. Because contraception does not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases, each year 3 million teens are infected. Young women are particularly vulnerable to STDs. The contraception mentality naturally leads to an abortion mentality. If “the problem” cannot be prevented, then the next easiest action is to “do away” with the tiny life that has just been created. It is the proverbial frog-in-the-boiling-water.
In addition, women began shunning marriage because it included promises to be faithful, personal responsibility, and obedience to their husbands. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005, unmarried households became the majority of all U.S. households. Over 50% of couples marrying today have lived together first. And in the U.S. today, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Many studies show a very real correlation between these statistics. Also, the use of artificial contraception has helped in pushing couples apart because it is objectifying and selfish. Using contraception says to one’s spouse, “I give you everything about myself, except my fertility.” The love is not life-giving. In contrast, couples using Natural Family Planning have only a 5% divorce rate.
Even after they marry, many of today’s women put their careers above children, or put off having a family for several years. They view marriage only as something pleasurable and not first for procreation. They see children as expensive bothers and don’t desire more than one or two, at most.
Immodesty has also played a major part of modern feminism. When women became more promiscuous, they had to be outwardly alluring. Skirts became shorter, shirts became tighter and low-cut, and female clothing in general lost its feminine mystique. The female body is exploited and objectified, exposed for all to see and for men to lust after. By immodesty, women invite men to show disrespect towards them, even within marriage – husbands then view their wives as mere pleasure objects, instead of as partners and helpmates.
The negative agenda of modern feminism harms not only the family, but the education system, the workplace, the government, the education system, the world of sports, and the military.
This does not mean I believe that women need to quit their outside-the-home jobs, political offices, or college learning. I myself have obtained a college degree, am working a full-time job, and becoming increasingly involved with politics. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as modern women are not neglecting their marriages, postponing pregnancy for illegitimate reasons, or neglecting their children and the high call of motherhood. Sometimes it is necessary, especially in these hard economic times, for the mother to work outside the home, and I don’t begrudge them that at all. However, there is plenty of evidence showing the benefits of stay-at-home moms for their children – whenever possible, this is the better option.
Pope John Paul II wrote extensively on the invaluable role of women in the family and in society. He also coined the term “New Feminism” to invite women to a more complete and authentic embracing of our identity. In his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, the Holy Father wrote: "In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place in thought and action which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a ‘new feminism’ which rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination,’ in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation."
Today more than ever, we need to reclaim our womanly dignity and authenticity. As human beings, we are equal to men. But as ladies, we do have different and beautiful qualities that we must embrace. As noted before, we have extraordinary power to affect men by our attitude and dress. We can either build up or tear down our families, depending on how we manage our God-given role.
We influence society strongly. Wise leaders and teachers have always known this, and it’s time for us to take heed! I close with a quote by the ancient Philosopher Confucius: “Where the woman is faithful, no evil can befall. The woman is the root and the man is the tree. The tree grows only as high as the root is strong.”