Sunday, June 15, 2014

A narrative of hate; or, unhappy Father's Day

Something sick and twisted has poisoned a segment of feminism. The picture to your left isn't representative of all feminists, or even necessarily a majority of feminists. But they're within the feminist camp, and their voices are getting louder.

I've never had a problem with feminism, so far as it has meant equal opportunity, equal pay and respect for women. I've thought that feminism went wrong in making women's equality dependent on their economic and political power; I believe women are intrinsically equal to men as created in the image of God (cf. Genesis 1:27). I've also believed that feminism went wrong in equating sexual license with empowerment. At one time, feminists and Christians were united against pornography as demeaning to, and exploitative of, women; that seems to have fallen by the wayside even as porn has become more explicitly degrading to women, to the point of catering to rape fantasies.

But this? These women's narrative of victimhood has become so paranoid and self-referential that they can't grant anything positive, anything to celebrate, about men let alone fathers. This goes way beyond the need to address sexual violence (and thanks again, George Will, for your obtuse, patronizing diminishment of the problem, you arrogant jackalope).

This. Is. HATE

But more than that ... as the British say, it's "'round the twist". Its reality is shaped by nothing more than the worst experiences of some women. Not all women; not even a majority of women; not even the majority of women who have been victimized by sexual violence at some point in their lives. I can't even call it "feminist", because it's no longer about the dignity and equality of women but rather about the evil, domineering brutality of MEN.

There's no reason in hate; by definition, hate is an emotion, not a reasoned conclusion. There can be no reasoning with those who hate because there's no such thing in reality as "a reason to hate"; it's an oxymoron. Hate and reason are incompatible. Hate isn't just unreasonable; it's Unreason Personified.

We do need to address the problem of sexual violence, and start doing so rapidly. But I'm reluctant to offer a plan myself, because I don't want to be guilty of "mansplaining" (and to some there's no way I can avoid it, simply because I have a Y chromosome). So I'll talk to my Catholic feminist friends and see if any of them will take it on.

But, while I'm not exactly afraid of how much influence this "narrative of hate" will wield on our politics and society, I do think the boil ought to be lanced. And the best way to do that is to build a culture in which sexual violence is given short shrift, and its causes addressed effectively. We need to build an authentic culture of respect for women, which means basing it on the intrinsic equality of women to men rather than on materialist number-crunching or a conflation of "equality" with "sameness".

In the meantime, please pray for these women, and for all victims of sexual violence, that they may find healing and happiness, and let go of their hate:

Dear God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:
You gave your only Son to save us by the Blood of His Cross.
Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
Join our anguishing souls to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in Body, Mind, and Spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.
Hear our cries as we agonize over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers, soothe restless hearts with hope, steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness, enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace, so that we may act with justice and find peace in you.
We ask this Healing through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.