What is the new feminism? And for heaven's sake, what in the world is the feminine genius and how do I get one?
It's no surprise that our culture does not support the mission of the woman – the mission to love, according to Catholic lecturer and author Alice von Hildebrand.
Our TV screens are lathered with society's brokenness.
The options seem bleak when it comes to embracing our feminine genius in today’s culture, but what we need are saints in the city, not sex in the city.
Although the once popular HBO TV series, “Sex in the City,” has ended, there are many more female characters, unfortunately, that have stepped into Carrie Bradshaw’s bad-girl stilettos.
Television shows such as MTV’s “Skins,” showcase uncensored and undignified behavior from teens. However the newest low in television has a working title of - brace yourselves - “Good Christian Bitches.” Yes, that’s right, it actually uses the “B” word. These are just a few of the many shows that seem to tear down all we are trying to build up in ourselves, our children, our friends, etc.
Many of the female TV characters today see themselves as free feminists; they change their stance on any issue as often as they change their shoes. There are no solid “truths,” all is interchangeable and adaptable to their lifestyle (and boyfriend) at the time.
This philosophy of life is modern day relativism.
These promiscuous and daring female TV characters are what Helen Alvare, Associate Professor of Law at George Mason University, refers to as “Old Feminism.” Alvare has written on this topic of old feminism versus new feminism referencing “Evangelium Vitae.” The old feminism embraced ideas of sexual freedom, the “all about me” mentality and anti-establishment concerning religion.
John Paul II states: "In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a 'new feminism' which rejects the temptation of imitating models of 'male domination,' in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation."
In the feminine genius, we of course, are not speaking of mere intelligence of the mind. The feminine genius lies within the heart and it is in there that man encounters God. Alvare states that “women's well-being is not pursued in isolation; rather, our well-being, dignity, and freedom are always related to the well-being, dignity, and freedom of others. Most importantly, a new feminism, a Christian feminism, remembers God.”
Luckily, we real women, not TV characters, do have a choice, to choose a new feminism that embraces a freedom that is life and service centered.
The new feminism is not a theory, an ideology to remain in print and left on a shelf, but this calling is a lifestyle that truly can change hearts. Even at the closing of Vatican II one of the last statements made was directed towards women. "The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling."
Women embracing their feminine genius, always remembering God and neighbor, will change this world and reshape the culture to be a culture of conscience.
Pope Benedict XVI tells us that “The world promises you comfort but you were not made for comfort – You were made for greatness”.
Our culture is short of brave women. Our culture has been tried and is found wanting of women who know their mission, who embrace their feminine genius, and act upon it. Our world is desperately in need of women who courageously love. Let us not be a waste, for greatness awaits us in our daily work, in our neighbor and within ourselves.