So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27) He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. (Genesis 5:2)
The Fifth Wave
This post brings to a close our introduction of Erika Bachiochi as our newest PC Contributor. During the month of April we featured Erika in posts and social media as representative of a new wave of feminism, a Fifth Wave, that is quite good for American women (as well as men). It offers a forward and brave outlook addressing many national ills. She considers women and men together, and she calls husbands and male friends to be better people, too.
In her book The Rights of Women and in her interview with us, she offers a historical account of the feminist movement’s first Four Waves. They began during “modern” times in the 1700’s and have continued non-stop through today. To define our topic: A feminist is anyone who argues for women’s rights, usually with the intent to secure legal rights equal to men’s.
Well, perhaps such a definition is problematic. First, from my point of view, it’s hard for a man to be a feminist by today’s standards. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me. Second, in significant ways, women today might even have more rights than men. Still, female sexuality continues under all-out attack from postmodernist, Woke, and feminist elites. They seem to want women to adopt men’s worst habits (which are legion). But I digress.
Last year, we approached Erika after a thorough study of her work and the movement she is helping to lead. Her feminist movement is friendly to women’s true nature, to the traditional family, to the roles of women in the workplace and otherwise outside home—and, yes, to men and our true masculine nature as part of the Classical Judeo-Christian equation, where A really does = B.
Obviously, I am an advocate of the several thousand year tradition called natural law. I believe we can say certain things with confidence about human nature, the sexes, human society, the world, and even our relationship with God that have remained constant to date over all of known history. If we don’t honor our true nature, we cannot flourish and fulfill our purposes in life.
In a recent post, we cited a poll that detects increasing and accelerating unhappiness among the American population. The media is documenting the growing levels of depression and incidents of suicide, particularly among the young.
I submit one reason for this is we are following our cultural elites down a ridiculous pathway of false or virtual reality that has taken us very far from our fundamental natures as woman and man. As each virtue lies between two vices, the so-called progressive “the right side of history” has led us into an unbalanced state; indeed, an untenable and even immoral position.
Giving Erika Bachiochi’s work at the Wollstonecraft Project your full attention would go a long way to helping you, as applicable, and us right the ship. We can do this.
First Things Article: Sex-Realist Feminism
In their April 2023 edition, First Things journal published Erika’s article where she offers a detailed yet succinct overview of her approach to feminism. The article is entitled Sex-Realist Feminism, and it explains what she described to us in her January interview. It’s linked here, and I encourage you not only to read it, but to study it and watch her full Praxis Circle interview, linked here.
I do not present an article review here. Instead, let me say Erika is clear about what she is after, provides a good (and, I think, sympathetic) summary of the various feminist movements during modern times, is candid about what the feminist movements have done right and where they have gone wrong, and provides an overview of where she thinks most women in America would like to go. I think her thoughts apply even to women who’ve made work outside the home a first priority.
Here’s her introductory paragraph:
What is a woman’s place in society? . . . First, we are rational creatures ordered to excellence. Second, we are a species differentiated asymmetrically by sex. Third, we are unique individuals, each with our own peculiar gifts and personal agency. When one (or more) of these three aspects of human personhood is neglected or denied, the full flourishing of womanhood and men alike is threatened. . . . this provides the basis of a new sex-realist feminism. It’s an account worth fighting for. (pages 17-18)
As Erika explains in our interview, her personal journey from young adulthood was from a Left-wing, “progressive” feminism to a now Catholic feminism as a mother of seven.
In essence, as she describes in the last clip presented at bottom, Erika as a young woman developed a habit of appealing to God out of life’s necessity and, in the process, came to see that God does not view women as different from men, both created Imago Dei. It is consciousness and rationality that most distinguishes humans from other animals.
All human beings are called to excellence and virtue as unique children of God. There is no difference whatsoever between a man and a woman in this regard.
In the quote above, though, notice where the beef is: the hamburger sentence following “Second,” sandwiched between “First” and “Third.” Erika’s account seems to follow the biblical account cited at top in Genesis.
While men and women are equal in the eyes of God and called to the exact same standards of virtue and excellence, they are different by nature. Every human being is born as either male or female. Man cannot change these given biological designations, no matter what hormones or how many surgeries are administered. We can tamper with biology, but not change the sexual orientation or capabilities embedded in every cell. We all know nurture matters, but nature will not be fooled.
If we do not orient society toward these two basic natures, male and female, most individuals and society in general cannot be happy and fulfilled. Today, women are increasingly recognizing they can have equality in the work place (and I would argue have had it for all of my adult life), but are also realizing that they are or risk sacrificing their most basic natures as wives and moms in the process. Contributor Mary Eberstadt, a big fan of Erika’s, discusses her personal experience with this:
Pass the ammunition, now women are rising up to rectify the situation with a forward looking view best for all concerned, including men. We need to make the work place more family friendly, prioritizing home, for women and men.
Seahorses are Cool
Who doesn’t love seahorses? Beautiful, lovable, harmless, little sea creatures, though a bit goofy, if not confused—in a world of sharks and crabs.
Some time ago I was having dinner with a friend who has a similar interest in ancient Greek and Roman history and philosophy, and for a bit the conversation got weird. It was kind of like this famous scene from Wayne’s World, a conversation that could only be man-to-man.
I asked my friend, “Who do you think Helen of Troy looked like? What kind of a woman could have motivated a nation of Greek city-states to cross the sea, then spend ten years at war suffering death and severe deprivation, just to avenge her kidnapping?”
My friend then stared off into space and thought for an unusually long time. Eventually, he gave a most specific answer: “I think she looked like Megyn Kelly.” Without skipping a beat, he quickly added, “And I would have Megyn’s baby, too, if necessary.”
(As you would suspect, this was well before Megyn left Fox to enter the momentary Never-Never Land of the Bill O’Reilly’s and Tucker Carlson’s of the world.)
To the vast majority of humanity going approximately two standard deviations out on a graph of LGBTQ+++ human sexuality, our sex is perhaps the single most important determinant orienting our lives. It was true to ancient Israel and Greece, and it remains true today. Only in the last, maybe, 10 to 20 years have some developed an intent to erase sex as a social differential, while teaching perverse sexual conduct to our children.
In my opinion, evil stuff that.
Back to the point: In other words, for most men from earliest memory, women are the true focus of life in the here and now. Not that all would agree with me, of course, but that’s my opinion and my experience talking with average, ordinary men all my life. Women cause men to do the craziest things, for good as well as bad. Women are quite capable of bringing down empires no army could touch.
To many men though rarely articulated, it’s a god-like power.
As a result, it makes no sense to say, because nature gives us all kinds of imaginable variations, even animals like seahorses, where the male actually does give birth instead of the female, that our given sex as male or female is totally fungible, plastic, or not decisive to our human character.
Male seahorses take the eggs of female seahorses into their pouch, then fertilize them with male seahorse sperm—so, even with seahorses, females make eggs and males make sperm. That’s why male seahorses are male, etc. See PG-Rated Seahorse Sex at the link to the left.
The male seahorse can have many babies with each birth cycle, but my friend cannot have Megyn’s (and I doubt she would want that). While he was just being funny (and some trans women love to fantasize about giving birth), trans-womanhood will never happen, and it certainly shouldn’t. They can only pretend. We are gloriously stuck in our sex forever—and I wouldn’t have it any other way to preserve the better sex.
What is the point of life for the regular guy without women?
In sum on seahorses, I can say that I completely understood my friend’s point about Ms. Kelly and having her baby. I, too, would have gladly done anything—grabbed my hoplite gear, jumped into any sea-worthy or, in the alternative, un-seaworthy vessel, and followed Agamemnon, Achilles, Odysseus, and the rest to Troy—to free Megyn Kelly from those dastardly Trojans. To any Ancient Greek or American twenty-year-old, the danger or commitment involved would not matter.
Megyn must be rescued, or civilization will cease.
Fortunately for human men, we are not seahorses and have no problem distinguishing ourselves from elephants or any other creatures in God’s animal kingdom. That’s what human reason does. Most know maximum prudence is needed to navigate personal lives and govern ourselves together, the best case goal being equally with women.
Smart men have always recognized the essence of life is at home, serving God through family and friends.
Humans Beings with Duties and Rights
Just a couple more comments before closing.
First, it’s important to stress that, while Erika’s book on feminism is entitled The Rights of Women, she bases her feminism more on duties springing from normal family-based life, rather than rights. She expresses this clearly in the clip below. Of course, duties are the other side of the same coin as rights. Rights are necessary to fulfill duties. While we enjoy our rights, we seem to get more satisfaction in the long run by serving others and fulfilling our duties to them.
Which is a good lead in to my second and last point: Erica’s feminism is not about radical individuality, a negative freedom where each is free to do whatever she or he wants. Her feminism is based on the solidarity needed for our various communities that fulfill the common good principle of long-established Catholic Social Doctrine. We will turn to this doctrine in June when we introduce our next Contributor, George Weigel.
In parting, please enjoy this last clip from Erica’s interview and her final words from her First Things article. She reveals herself as a person here and explains how her journey from Left-to-Right led her to a communal, duty-based approach that she believes fits her own nature well as a woman. I suspect it has yielded joy in just sufficient quantity to have made her journey so far worthwhile and fulfilling. While it’s not for everyone, this Judeo-Christian approach draws help from others, and it’s the type that most men want to serve.
You go Helen, Megyn, and Erika! These women got game.
Men and women are sexually dimorphic manifestations of the same kind of being: a rational creature ordered to excellence. Each human being is an integrated and personal unity, distinct from every other individual who will ever live. Our law—if it is to govern us in all our multi-faceted nobility—must be fashioned to honor our shared humanity, recognize our sexual asymmetry, and provide room and scope for our irreducible individuality. (page 24)