Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Feminist Rebel

Believe it or not, I’m mentioned in the Bible. 
Here I am under Proverbs 11: 22: “Like a golden ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman with a rebellious disposition.”  
That’s right, Sister.  I was one of them gold ring feminists. I never indorsed abortion, (NO way!) but I did think women were equal to men, if not superior.  My terrific teachers were mostly female; there were intelligent women doctors and lawyers out there; our country was run by a saintly woman president and then there was Ariel, the cute (and may I just say—immodest) Disney Little Mermaid, who subliminally bolstered my belief with her singing “bright young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand!”
So it was a given (to me at least) that women deserve the same opportunities as men in the home, in the workplace, and in the world.   But while I sought to prove myself just as intelligent as the next woman, I forgot one little detail:  that if I was going to conquer the world, who was going to be staying home with my children to nurture their health, intelligence and talents, and help them find their place in the sun and in heaven?  These were my options: Daycare with it’s germs and viruses, nannies who would not be held accountable for the souls of my children and who would be earning a huge chunk of my salary, public school teachers who can’t say ‘Jesus’ for fear of losing their jobs and private school teachers who may or may not share the values we teach in our home and who would potentially bankrupt us if God wanted to give us more than the average two children.
Sister, I hear you. I hear you hushing me up and muttering:  “Oh no, please say you’re not going to write about tying women up to the kitchen sink. Please don’t go there.” 
You know I will.
But let me approach it this way.  I had a choice to pursue my career or to care for my children.   Some women, like my mother, didn’t and don’t.  They need to earn a living for their family’s survival and understanding that, I’m not laying out a blue-print for all sisterhood, just sharing my experience.  (After all, this is a blog, not a self-help book.)
 Mine was a choice between annual lavish vacations or affordable camp-outs, an up-to-date boutique wardrobe or hand-me-downs, 2 ½ children or a dozen, arguing with jack-mules in court or disciplining terrible twos.   So the choice, thank you feminist Sisters, was mine.  My husband never forced it on me.  I discerned God’s will, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance, reading the Bible that starred (ahem) me, and being inspired by mothers who took motherhood seriously.
During my discernment, I discovered that Ariel left out one serious fact from her repertoire:  Women and men are not the same.  Because no matter what you say Sister, male and female are different, as surely as birds and bees are anatomically diverse.
 That said, I must clarify that we are equal in dignity but our roles are not equal. Women as nurses, seamstresses, actresses and mothers are irreplaceable. Just as plumbing, logging, roofing and car repair, although can be ably performed by women, appeal to men. 
 Jesus himself showed us the very essence of the gender divide:  He chose priests from his male apostles.  In all His wisdom, seeing the beginning and end of the world, He did not call Martha or Mary to the priesthood.  Not even his Mother, the holiest of all creatures, was given the privilege.  So the obvious choice for me was to follow the woman in Jesus’ life, by never leaving her Son’s side.  In keeping my eyes fixed on Our Lady, my dignity as a stay-at-home mom was never an issue.

(Incidentally, Our Lady worked at home to help augment their income by sewing projects --according to Blessed Mary Agredu’s account in the Mystical City of God –and didn’t go on blathering about women’s rights to kill babies).
Genesis says that God “created them male and female” not androgynous (nor homosexual) human beings.  In the vocation of marriage, we are to function together as husband/father and wife/mother. Our family is the domestic church, the ecclesia domestica --to throw a fancy Latin word out there.  (Go on, grab the phrase and toss it around if you want to feel smart, Sister.) We are patterned after the structure of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  As a woman, I am the heart of the home.  My husband, the head. To usurp a role not intended for me would be detrimental to our family and in deliberate rebellion to the destiny God created me for.   Gold ring on a pig’s snout.
There is no question of whether I can carve wood faster or make tastier apple pies than my husband.  We are each thankful for our own gifts without having to compete for the prize of the bloated ego.  I know I can share my strong opinions, counsel him on important matters and pray for him to lead our family to heaven.   But the responsibility of leadership is his, not mine.  And he, being the chivalrous, spiritual leader of our home knows he must protect, provide, and naturally, put his woman and children’s interests first. 
First place not a bad place to be is it, Sister?  And honestly, could you ever respect a henpecked husband?

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