But I have often felt ill at ease with feminism. Always a pro-life feminist, even when I was an atheist, I have never walked lock step with the feminists of my generation.
Much less so now that I am Catholic.
But like Saint John Paul II, I believe in women’s rights.
And I still consider myself a feminist.
This is why I am concerned at the silencing of feminists that has been going on in our brave new gender-confused world. Transgender politics, the gender-fluid underpinnings of which began in the feminist movement, has become a Trojan horse for feminism.
Some of you may have seen radical feminist Germaine Greer’s interview with the BBC (language warning, she is sassy) in which she insists that men who have undergone transgender medical procedures are not actually women. She has been pilloried in the news by many, including her fellow feminists, for stating a biological fact.
What is baffling to me is that feminists are falling in line to brutally silence Germaine Greer.
What does feminism even mean if we are forced by modern thought police to say that men can be women? What does feminism become? What do feminists become? Some have become irrational apologists for men who brutally beat women. Will women speak up?
I have a feeling that many will.
And we will make strange bedfellows.
Here’s the first strange association: myself, a former atheist turned nun; and self-described “Catholic atheist,” Germaine Greer.
A dictatorship of thought has become the new normal. People are not only required to permit that which they do not agree with, but they are now required to openly support and confess agreement with it, even if that agreement would be a lie. Even if agreement would, in Germaine Greer’s case, be in direct contradiction to a lifetime’s work of fighting for women’s rights.
As Carl Trueman at First Things puts it:
It has become unacceptable in today’s world to state the obvious: women are different than men. And a man, with surgeries or without, cannot be a woman.
When there is no reality out there, when history and biology count for little or nothing, then all things, from gender to ethics, become simply whatever the people with power and influence decide that they should be.
Melinda Selmys, over at Catholic Authenticity, might argue that I am simplifying something that is more complex. In a sense, she is right. But simplicity is on the other side of complexity. And complexity means nothing if it is not logical, rational and based in reality. One must have an underpinning in order to reach beyond.
I am a woman and my gender and femininity is deeply rooted in my body. My femininity is not something that can be colonized, manipulated, or stolen.
My femaleness has been given to me and I could not give it to the opposite gender, even if I wanted to.
This, perhaps, is the deep suffering at the root of being a transgender person, to desire something that is impossible. To have a thirst that can never truly be quenched. I ache for people who struggle with this. No one deserves to feel this kind of pain, or the abuse and mockery that goes along with it.
But I cannot lie and tell people they are what they are not, simply because it is what they desire to be true.
Compassion is not compassion without truth.
Other interesting pieces on this subject:
Gender Stereotyping is the Hot New Thing – Jennifer Fitz
Gender Heresy – Melinda Selmys
Who’s Afraid of Germaine Greer? – Aoife Assumpta Hart
Let Germaine Greer Speak – Simon Kelner