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The New Feminism

Radical feminist propaganda cannot compete with the truth about the genius of woman

Gone are the 70s complete with bra burnings- young women these days don't get why the "liberated women" were so mad at men: the pay scale approaches their male counterparts, and the threat diminshes. Hey, maybe the unique differences aren't so bad after all...

By Colleen Carroll Campbell
Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2005
Into the Deep (Our Sunday Visitor)
Publication Date: August 28, 2005

America's radical feminists have a long list of worries these days. In addition to fretting about pro-life politicians, conservative judges and moral values voters, the aging vanguard of the abortion-rights movement is on the losing end of a generation gap.

Leaders of such groups as the National Organization for Women (NOW) and NARAL Pro-Choice America are concerned about statistics showing that today's young women are more pro-life than their middle-aged counterparts and far less likely to identify themselves as feminists.

Despite heavily funded marketing efforts and the unflinching support of America's media and entertainment elites, abortion-rights activists are struggling to sustain their political influence and attract the young.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that NOW's political donations have fallen sharply since 1992, and NARAL President Nancy Keenan has cited youth recruitment as crucial to her group's survival. "Years of progress on women's health, reproductive freedom and personal privacy are in peril," Keenan said last fall. "We need to . . . reunite a new generation of young women around preserving and protecting our hard-earned right of freedom of choice."

That may be easier said than done. Young women today are often repelled by the angry rhetoric, male-bashing and strident support for abortion rights that characterize feminist groups. They see a deep disconnect between the authentic feminist ideal of women's equality and the radical feminist obsession with power politics and sexual license. Where authentic feminism celebrates the dignity of women and the complementarity of the sexes, radical feminism refuses to acknowledge differences between men and women, idealizes androgyny and denigrates marriage and motherhood.

Most offensively to this new generation of egalitarian Americans, radical feminism defines women's equality as a woman's right to kill her unborn child. Rather than celebrating the fertility and maternity that women instinctively consider special gifts, radical feminism classifies them as curses and urges women to reject them.

As one educated young woman explained to me recently, while balancing her newborn baby girl on her hip, such a distorted view of equality holds no appeal for her. "It's like saying, 'You're free to amputate a part of yourself.' Why would I find that attractive?"

What is attracting young women like this one is the authentic feminism articulated by the late Pope John Paul II. This "new feminism" respects the equality of women as persons made in the image of God. It acknowledges their special gifts as well as their special calling to defend the weakest among us.

"The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way," the Pope wrote in 1988. ". . . [T]his entrusting concerns women in a special way – precisely by reason of their femininity – and this in a particular way determines their vocation."

"The genius of woman," as Pope John Paul called it, is her natural receptivity to life, which is revealed in the very structure of her body.

It's no wonder so many young women are attracted to this new feminism, which celebrates a woman's dignity while calling her to defend the dignity of every human person, including and especially the child within her womb.

—Colleen Carroll Campbell is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

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