Wednesday, August 11, 2004

My response to someone's e-mail re: Vatican's statement

I'd like to thank you for expressing your own views on my previous post.It is true that we have to be critical of what we read. Nevertheless, we also have to be critical of our own views.

I firmly believe that the Church has indeed undermined feminism for opposing to its very ideologies without distinguishing which category those ideologies belong to. Radical feminism strongly attacks on issues of gender bias and inequality yet, I must admit that despite of its being extremist, their stance is usually the most fundamental.

Next,I believe that by coming up with such a statement, the Church has also taken part in promoting gender inequality by assuming gender roles within the family's structure. I agree that there are immediate roles for males and females but I do not think that these roles that come along with a person's sex are far-reaching. Differences between the sexes do not necessitate distinctions regarding the functions of males and females in the society. Feminists HAVE NEVER blurred the differences between the sexes. They just attempt to re-construct society's views and norms that pertain to one's sex.

And I do not see anything wrong about that.

Do you agree that child-rearing and home mgt are responsibilities that are identified with females? Does being a woman with a family/a mother immediately entitle you to being a housewife or a chief homemaker?

Mainstream feminists do not say that women should be completely taken away from the domestic sphere. They wish to re-construct existing patterns of thinking that limit women to the -arena of their own homes-.

The Church attacks on post-modernist attempts to deconstruct gender. I must say that little do the Church know that gender is being deconstructed continuously culturally over time by many other agents in the society aside from feminists alone. Changes in gender ideology take place not because of ideological movements but of material circumstances. In fact,it is those material circumstances that inspired the movement of several feminists (socialist feminists, I suppose) in the United States after World War II.

I appreciate the Church’s effort to call for the society to appreciate women’s unpaid work within their own homes and for women to balance their responsibilities at home and work. The Church recognizes the invaluable role of women as mothers and wives. It acknowledges the need for men and women to cooperate in achieving certain ends.

I think the Church represses our freedom to push for changes by not recognizing our capability to do so. We still need the Church for a deep-seated sense of morality in our society. But the Church has to be open or even be just respectful to the new issues that arise from our time.

Lastly, I’d like to say that I’ve read the actual text and I have not a single doubt that the Church’s main stance is anti-feminism. It does not seek to equalize the status of men and women. The Church assumes that biological sexual differences extends to the functions of males and females in the society.

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