Monday, March 12, 2012

Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Religion - Part 2

Seriously!? As if a pound and
a half of shaved pressed beef
product isn't enough to make
you hit an Arby's Drive-Thru?
If there were only more than 24 hours in a day, I'd get these posts out quicker. Part 2 of my commentary on a post from a friend's blog: 

Does sexism still exist in society today? Sadly, yes. And I would tend to agree with her that society (both men and women) and the media are to blame. I would ask, "How does American companies' use of sex to advertise nearly EVERYTHING not tell viewers, especially impressionable children, that it's "ok" to view women as simply objects?" (please note the ridiculous Arby's ad to the left). It's definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, but where does free speech end and pornography begin? However, there are some feminists that exasperate the problem themselves. An example of this can be seen in an op-ed written by Soraya Chemaly for the Huffington Post. A refutation of which can be found in a blog post by Emily Stimpson. Chemaly's original op-ed is linked therein. My point being that everything done in or by society, or by a church, or even in advertising, is not done for the suppression of women. Is it really about control Soraya? Her presuppositions are based on a misguided feminism and an utter misunderstanding of Catholic teaching and practice.

What IS equality between the sexes? I think it is a mistake to define equality as "equality for a woman is that she is treated as if she were a man". There are some in the feminist movement that use this as a premise (I am by no means saying all). That is a mistake and in and of itself is a disservice to women. Now don't misunderstand my meaning, I am not in anyway saying woman are less valuable or less capable than men or should be dependent upon men. What I am saying is, to my mind, women don't have to "be men" to be equal, nor should they want to "be men". Should women be treated equally in the workforce? Of course, and as I stated earlier, it is sad that that equality does not yet exist in some areas.

However, what needs to be recognized is that the sexes are meant to be complimentary. THEY WERE CREATED THAT WAY. Any biology textbook can show you that. And that complementarity extends WAY BEYOND biology and is one of the foundations of the interpersonal communion between the sexes that IS marriage. What we are talking about here is the concept of integral gender complementarity. Hopefully you'll pardon my referencing Catholic works and writers, but it's there, I believe, we find that complementarity best explicated. Pope John Paul II expressed it well in Mulieris Dignitatem/On the Dignity & Vocation of Women as did Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in his Letter to the Bishops on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World. Additionally, Professor Janne Haaland Matlary of the University of Oslo, Norway wrote an excellent article based on the Ratzinger's letter in the January 12th, 2005 edition of L'Osservatore Romano expounding on feminism and a way to approach it that is truer to our nature. It is reproduced here.
Finally, in the Letter to the Bishops, Ratzinger partially outlines the problems of the feminist fight for equality:
"...In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning. In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary. The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels. This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality." (emphasis added)
The road that feminism has traveled in search of a solution to "sexism" has unfortunately, in many cases, spawned more societal issues than it has resolved. The differences between men and women should not be causes for strife, but properly viewed, the means to a deeper union. The problems spoken of in the quote above, I am afraid, are our segue to Part 3...a full reading of all material referenced here is advised.

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