Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feminist sexism and “therapeutic abortion”

Is the “war on women” really a war on men?

Yesterday on The Impractical Catholic I posted a reminder to myself that the sickness from which rape springs is still alive in our culture — marginalized, ostracized, yet still back-handedly justified in some instances by some people, and subtly encouraged by the pornography industry.  While I don’t think this justifies treating every stumbling, bumbling male faux pas as subconscious approval of rape, I do believe men need to be more openly, vocally condemnatory of rape, and less tolerant of any expression that seems to suggest rape is in any sense desirable or deserved.

However, by bringing the issue of aborting the children of forced sex into the foreground, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock have kicked over a rock in the American cultural landscape to reveal a reverse sexism among feminists … mostly among the pro-aborts but to a lesser extent even among those who are avidly, fervently pro-life.  You can find that reverse sexism wherever you find a variation of the words, “This just goes to show that men don’t understand.”

Lest you think I’m over-reacting to a generalization, let me point out that the “war on women” meme involves heavy reliance on the word misogynist to describe anyone who opposes any item on the feminist agenda, especially abortion and contraception.  A misogynist is by definition a man; “female misogynist” is as much an oxymoron as is “Jewish anti-Semite”.  Women opponents, to gender feminists, are merely blind tools and useful idiots; they haven’t had the “click experience” Kimberly Manning describes in her conversion story: “the exact moment of coming into full consciousness of one’s oppression”.  They don’t count; they’ll come around sooner or later.  But men oppose the agenda only to put women “back in their place”: subordinate, subservient and subdued.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The feminists’ road to self-marginalization

Reprinted by license.

Back in February, I wrote a post arguing that the “war on women” angle had more potential to damage Barack Obama’s re-election bid than it did to hurt the eventual Republican candidate.  What I didn’t explicitly say — what I should have said in just so many words — is that pushing the “war on women” meme would put radical feminists on the road to self-marginalization.

Why?  Because, inevitably, anyone who tries to argue the “war on women” seriously can’t help but present him/herself as a tinfoil-hat-wearing loon, a wild-eyed nutjob completely out of contact with reality.  Moreover, the people who would come to that conclusion would be not just men but women in the center.

For instance, at the DNC, Sandra Fluke, a liar almost as accomplished and egregious as Bill Clinton, found it well within her fertile — er, creative imagination to conjure up a dystopian female future worthy of a Richard Donner film should women be denied free contraception.  But where are the battalions of men waiting to shove shoeless women back into the kitchen?  Too many of them need their wives’ income too much to do that.  (Or perhaps I should say “their roommates’” or “their girlfriends’”; so far as there is a dystopian future for women — particularly black and Latino women — it’s coming as one result of the destruction of the traditional nuclear family.)  The idea that “the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills” is what led Peggy Noonan to characterize Fluke in the WSJ as “a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.” 

The Code Pink vulvas dancing outside in protest didn’t help, either.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Catechism and the Year of Faith

On Thursday, October 11, in his motu proprio Porta Fidei (“The Door of Faith”)[*], Pope Benedict XVI officially opened the Year of Faith.  Thursday was chosen because it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, and because “[it] also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II [Fidei Depositum, 1992], with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith” (Porta Fidei 4).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is itself a remarkable achievement.  Originally promulgated in French in 1992, when the English version hit the bookstands a couple of years later, it quickly rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and remained there for some weeks.  Revised once since then, it has become, as JP2 intended, the “sure norm for teaching the faith” (FD IV), the first reference of choice (outside of the Bible) for many Catholic writers. 

It’s also virtually become the ultimate “argument ender”, which is something of a misuse of its function. 

Certainly, the Catechism is an admirably comprehensive synthesis of two thousand years’ teaching and thought; it’s almost (but not quite) safe to say that “If’n it ain’t in the Catechism, the Church don’t teach it!”[†]  At the same time, though, Michael J. Wrenn and Kenneth D. Whitehead rightfully point out that the Catechism doesn’t distinguish between doctrines that are de fide (formally defined as part of the revelation) and those that are merely sententia communis (not formally defined but generally accepted).[1]  Indeed, for all its comprehensiveness and depth, the Catechism is by its nature only the beginning of one’s education in the faith, and constantly points outside itself to Scripture, patristics, conciliar documents and writings of the saints.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lady Godiva rides again

©2012 Battling BARE
Broken by battle
Wounded by war
My love is forever
To you this I swore
I will quiet your silent screams
Help heal your shattered soul
Until once again, my love
You are whole

This is the poem written on Ashley Wise’s back (see photo left).  It’s also the message written on the skin of every woman who participates in Battling BARE.

Battling BARE is the brainchild of Wise, whose husband Rob, an NCO (non-commissioned officer) of the 101st Airborne Division, suffered/still suffers(?) from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  “At the point in which the idea for our first BB pic came,” Wise writes on the group’s website, “soldier suicide was a weekly occurrence—a friend’s husband had actually just ended his own life a few weeks before, my husband had hit a wall after hearing about his former platoon mate snapping in Afghanistan …, a few weeks later he lost one of his own soldiers from overdose.”

Things came to a head when Sgt. Wise locked himself in a hotel room with a few weapons.  Ashley tried to get help from the Army’s Family Advocacy Program, but “In my instance, … words and intents were twisted,” and Sgt. Wise was jailed and charged with domestic assault, which could have led to a dishonorable discharge and the end of his career.  As she told Business Insider’s Robert Johnson, the Army was “preparing to make her and Rob the ‘civilian sector’s problem.’”  (Sergeant Wise now works with Ft. Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion as a staff member.)

Torn between the temptation to give up on her marriage and the obsession to get back the man she’d married, Ashley was briefly tempted to “streak” the Screaming Eagles’ command building to get the division commander’s attention.  Instead, she had the above picture taken, created a Facebook page, and got more of her friends at Ft. Campbell to join her quest.

The page went viral almost overnight.