Friday, September 11, 2009

Women are not Men

It sounds like a silly title for a post. Of course, women are not men. That’s why we have books titled, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It's because we're different. Although I think now they should put out a sequel. Call it Men are from Mars, and Women are complaining that they don’t have Martian citizenship.

The latest push in Australia is for combat roles on the frontline to be open to women. The argument for it seems to be something along the lines of, ‘Why shouldn’t it be open to women, if they’re physically capable?’ Sure. And IVF should probably be open to any men who are capable of giving birth. And how long would it be before people start saying, ‘You’ve opened combat roles up to women. So why aren’t there any women on the frontline yet?’ And they’re probably not going to be satisfied with an answer that says, ‘None of them have proved physically capable.’

Now just to be clear, there’s a lot of things that feminism has done that I’m very thankful for. I’m extremely pleased that I can go to university. I’m glad that there are career options available to me that would have not have been there in the past. But at the same time, a lot of feminism seems to me to be devaluing women in their push for equal rights.

Because it’s often about women being like men. There’s a lot of talk about how women are just as capable as men of doing this, that or the other. It kind of leaves the impression that women have to be like men in order to have any value. Or that, for much of their existence, women lived of little worth because they were only women.

If gold had a voice, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t start campaigning for equal rights. It wouldn’t start demanding that it be given jobs as aluminum cans and computer parts and barbed wire fences. Why? Because one of the reasons it doesn’t do this job is because it’s valuable just the way it is. I wish some women would start realising that we have immense value as women. We don’t need to become like men to have any worth.

In our days of equal rights and feminism, what do we think of the women of the past? Do we consider them as having worthwhile jobs, contributing to society in a way that only women can? Or do we only admire the people like Queen Elizabeth, who stayed single and did a ‘man’s job’? And even she said she may be a woman, but she has the heart of a king. Why would she want to say that? Because she saw that one had to become like a man in order to rule a country? Or because she saw women as being somehow inferior? Maybe a bit of both.

We seem to have taken that saying to heart. We may be women, we say, but we have the heart and the physical capabilities of a man.

Well no, actually, we don’t. Our hearts tend to be more tender, more nurturing, more caring. That’s a good thing. Our bodies are softer, but they are capable of carrying babies, giving birth and breastfeeding. That’s a good thing too. Why would we want to become like men, when we are so special just the way we are?

In the 19th Century, Caroline Chisolm did a lot of work in bringing females to the Australian bush. She didn’t do this so they could get jobs as farm-hands. She did this because there was a lack of females, and Caroline Chisolm saw that the country was missing out on something very important because of that. She took females there not so that they could act like men, but because the bush needed women. They had a special role to play. It couldn’t happen nowadays. There’d be hundreds of feminists saying, ‘What about equal rights?’ And so an opportunity to recognise and benefit from the worth of women would be missed.

As an end note, do you want to know who had the most important job ever in history? It was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Mary, who carried Christ in her womb, gave birth to Him, and nurtured and cared for him in his childhood. Mary, who was a mother without any equal rights. Mary, who I’m pretty sure never ever thought, ‘Gee, I wish I could trade this job in for a combat role.’

(Image details: La vierge aux raisins by Pierre Mignard. Image is in the public domain. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)


  1. St Alphonsus de Ligouri talks about the dignity of the title Mother of God, and how Mary's greatness all rests in this. His book, The Glories of Mary is worth a read. I mean, apart from St Joseph, who apart from Mary, ever saved the Saviour of the world? Etc, etc, etc.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I have that book on my 'to be read' list. Although it's taking me a long time to get around to books on that list at the moment because I'm so caught up in reading things for uni. I'll get there eventually.

  3. This is a great reminder, men and women can do similar tasks and functions equally well; but it's our differences that makes us strong as partners in this life.

  4. Good to hear from you, Nevar. Any great team or great partnership isn't made by putting a whole heap of people together that have exactly the same strengths. It's created by getting people with different strengths that complement each other. I think God knew what he doing when he made males and females different.



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