Friday, January 25, 2008

New Feminism - Blog #1 by Stevie Bowling

Stevie Bowling
January 25, 2008
Joelle Ryan
WS 200 – Online
Blog #1

New feminism, which is a philosophy of those who are mostly Catholic, but one of the Judaism and Protestant faiths as well, is a philosophy where emphasis is placed on the fact that there should be no superiority that men hold over women or women hold over men. Instead, new feminism believes one should recognize and take into consideration others ideas about women and the role they play as well as their strengths and outlooks while considering the equal worth that both genders share. New feminism is also a form of difference feminism which stresses the fact that men and women are just different versions of the human being. Other controversial issues of new feminism include the protection of life. Since women are meant to be caregivers and protect all of those in need including the poor, sick and the weak, they found it simply unacceptable to even consider such things like abortion, stem cell research, infanticide and in-vitro fertilization.

The term new feminism was first used in the 1920’s as a way to distinguish this new type of feminism from the suffrage feminists that mainstreamed society. Pope John Paul II was the one in the Catholic community who preached that men and women out there were created by God to show their strengths and weaknesses as a reflection of their physical makeup. He supported the fact that women had a “feminine genius” as a mother and a primary caregiver.

New feminists believe that the human being is one who is made in the image and likeness of God, the father for union and communion purposes. (Wikipedia 1) They support the fact that there are very unique different ways that both men and women give themselves as God’s gifts through the breeding of their bodies. By doing so, these men and women are offering gifts like their missions and dignity and portraying the mysteries of God.

Other core beliefs of new feminism are that the different body structures that men and women have make way to the different experiences that they have had over their years. Also, with those physical features they believe that it makes way to the emotional, spiritual and intellectual aspects that they have to offer in life.

Becoming a mother also is a core belief that new feminists support. They feel that all women, regardless if they ever give birth or not have maternal love like no other no matter if they are the best mother or the worst mother out there. Supporters say that being a mother is what a woman is physically fit to develop life within their womb. This physical capacity to do so leads to the psychological as well as emotional and spiritual characteristics those women must have to be mothers.

Unlike other forms of feminism, new feminism supported protective legislation which was a controversial issue with other feminist groups at the time because they believed with protective legislation in place, women were not given the opportunity to get the higher paying jobs and better benefits. Instead, new feminists liked the idea of keeping the woman out of the workplace because her calling from God was to be a mother and act upon all of her care giving qualities to the best of her ability. New feminism was opposed by younger women like Winifred Holtby and Dorothy Evans who believed new feminism was creating separatism between men and women.

As a Catholic myself, I am very familiar with the issues that new feminists support. Take for example the belief that men and women were created by God as just simply different form of the human being by their physical characteristics that display their strengths, weaknesses and past experiences. I cannot say that I am a supporter of protective legislation in an effort to keep women out the running for higher paying jobs and the opportunity to work and have equal rights just like men, but I do believe that women were created to be the caregivers of the world. New feminism supports that even if a woman does not have a child she still has the characteristics to care for those who need it most like children, poor and the weak. Whether a woman decides to have a child or not I believe is her own opinion, but I also take a stand that she should display the characteristics that God has determined for her to be the best caregiver that she can.

I could say that I label myself as somewhat of a new feminist because I do frown upon abortion, stem cell research and other medical procedures that take away and tamper with the lives of those who deserve to be living. As a woman, I am meant to take care of those children and in no way would I ever see a positive in taking away an innocent life. I also believe that men and women do have their own physical ability to take on different roles and tasks to live the life that God wants for them. At the same time though, I do not know if I could be considered a new feminist because I am not a supporter of protective legislation. It is obvious that I believe women were made to be the primary caregivers, have children if they decide to and take of the role of being the maternal figure for those who need it most. But, I support the fact that the women can still be the best caregiver she could be and be given the opportunity to work and receive equal pay and benefits as men at the same time no matter if they are male or female and looked down upon because of their physical features or ability/strength to do something. In no way do I support the fact that with protective legislation, women are to stay at home or on premises with those who she must care for and never leave their sight. To me, women should be given the opportunity to work if they want and still be the best mother out there.

Where I stand with new feminism is still up in the air I could say, but I do recognize the issues I support and the issues I do not support. In the end, I guess I could call myself a “somewhat new feminist” because I do agree with some issues, but disagree with others as well.

Resources that I found the most helpful during my research were Wikipedia. ( This website offered a great background to new feminism and also outlined some of the major beliefs of the group. Also, while researching new feminism, I came across a leaflet to Pope John Paul II’s beliefs of new feminism at ( Articles on new feminism written by authors like Helen Alvaré and Justine Nicholas also offered some insight to where they stand with new feminism beliefs.

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