Several years ago, Carrie Gress and I had a brief but memorable conversation about feminism. She was working at that time on her book The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture From Toxic Femininity. I was writing a book (Sex and the Catholic Feminist) in which I hoped to spread the truth about how the “abortion right” got inserted into the women’s movement. I told her I thought that to get the pro-life message into the mainstream media, we as Catholics needed reclaim the “F-word”: feminism. As kindly as she could, Gress replied, “It can’t be done.”
Now that I have read Gress’ profoundly thoughtful new book, The End of Woman: How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us, I’m here to report she was right and I was wrong. Feminism (which has become an all-embracing, self-worshipping religion with Satanic overtones) is so rotten at its foundations that anyone who hopes to promote justice for women, save the family, and renew Christian worship must have nothing more to do with it.
In a sweeping overview of history, from the French Enlightenment in the 1700s to our modern world in America today, Gress points out the intellectual and spiritual chaos we witness all around us — from free sex and occult practices to transgenderism — has been centuries in the making.
Pointing out that the French Revolution represented an even more dramatic shift in culture than the American Revolution, Gress writes:
“America’s revolution was against British rule for the sake of freedom, but the French Revolution was an effort to recreate and reshape society in a world without God. It was an effort to erase the sacred from society and to hoist man and the state as the solution to all of humanity’s problems.”
Gress shows us how the fallen world’s unholy trinity of feminism, the occult and unrestrained sex have long gone hand in hand.
Further, Gress points out, “Today there is scarcely an institution left that hasn’t absorbed the feminist narrative in its entirety. Hollywood, politics, the fashion industry, book publishing, daytime television, magazines, academia, public schools, and now even Disney.” Even our elected Catholic representatives in the White House and Congress have been suckered in.
Gress carefully chronicles the stories of those she calls the “lost girls.” She shows that nearly all the leading feminists, from Mary Wollstonecraft (who published A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792) through Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, Shulamuth Firestone and Phyllis Chesler, were “broken” or wounded in some way — “broken either by parental abuse, sexual trauma, drug use and abuse or mental illness. So it’s not difficult to find the motivation for their thought.” Further, she adds, “Many of these women were surrounded by a remarkable number of awful men.” Among the brutes and cads in the leading feminists of their days’ lives were: poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Jean-Paul Sartre and Hugh Hefner.
Linking feminism with the current transgender movement, Gress points out that feminist thought has frequently focused on freeing women not for more beautiful marriages and more loving relationships, but from our human nature.
Citing feminist Simone de Beauvoir’s most famous line — “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” — Gress observes, “This separation of body and soul was the first step in opening the door to transgender theory” and led to “the feminist theory that male and female are simply social constructs,” not biological gifts from God.
The rapidly expanding transgender movement is now using technology coupled with highly emotional public-relations campaigns to erase all differences between women and men.
The new message of true freedom that women need to proclaim is that men and women are different, and only women can be mothers and only men can be fathers.
One of Gress’ most shocking revelations is that the word “patriarchy” (in the negative sense it’s so often used today) was coined by Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx’s closest friend and collaborator.
“The patriarchy, according to Engels, brought about ‘the world-historical defeat of the female sex. The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude; she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children.’”
Engels’ attacks on fatherhood and monogamy greatly influenced Betty Friedan (who belonged to a communist organization in her youth and launched the 1960s feminist movement with her book The Feminist Mystique).
As a mother of three and a grandmother of six, Friedan never set herself against the family. In fact, she frequently declared that it was far more important for feminists to rally around saving the family than around abortion. She and a few of her feminist colleagues even considered enlarging the definition of “choice” to include “the choice to have children.” Nevertheless, Friedan’s widely promoted solution to women’s problems — work will set you free — definitely had a communist ring and smacked of Engels’ philosophy.
Another Engels devotee and Marxist was Kate Millett, the Catholic-turned-atheist who wrote Sexual Politics. Millett, who became a lesbian and attempted suicide three times, made ample use of Engels’ understanding of the word “patriarchy” to vilify all men. When she appeared on its cover in 1970, Time magazine proclaimed Millett “The Mao Tse-tung of Women’s Liberation.”
Despite its thought-provoking content, the subtitle of Gress’ book, How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us, seems somewhat misleading. Although Gress doesn’t explicitly state this, her book makes it clear that our culture contains not one patriarchy, but two: the authentic and eternal patriarchy of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gives us peace, love and joy beyond all understanding vs. the “patriarchy” of hate, brutality and violence that feminism’s “lost girls” have been angrily fighting against and protesting for more than 200 years. This deceitful second patriarchy, constructed by the father of lies, is the one that needs to be smashed.
In the end, Gress asks, “How do we rebuild and restore what was lost?” Answering her own question, she replies, “What will restore what is lost is doing the opposite of what was done to tear us down.” In short, we need to restore monogamy, the family, the patriarchy, the home. We need to restore children to their parents and faith in one God.
Gress quotes sociologist Philip Rieff, author of My Life Among the Deathworks, who said that “the death of a culture begins when its normative institutions fail to communicate ideals in ways that remain inwardly compelling.”
Gress then adds, “This perhaps, more than anything discussed so far, is the solution to a collapsing culture — to do the hard work and to explain within our institutions why these ideals are compelling, finding new and fresh language to show that these institutions don’t exist for their own sake but for ours, and for the future of our civilization.”
That said, an old proverb goes, “A wise man changes his mind; a fool never does.” The positive things Judeo-Christian feminists fought for in the 20th century (the right to vote, access to higher education and better jobs, the right to serve on a jury) have long been achieved. The peace, joy and freedom God gives us is infinitely far above and beyond anything our humble human efforts can attain.
When we trust in God, we certainly don’t need a flawed human construct like feminism to set us free.
It’s time to move on.