Sometimes I have time to sit and think. That happened this morning.
I was thinking about what it means to be pro-woman and pro-life, and how others view this.
There is a stigma attached to being pro-woman. Recently, I chatted with a man who was taken aback when I referred to myself as a feminist. The only self-proclaimed feminist he’d ever met was yelling, “We won’t go back!” and striking him in the head with a hanger. I assured him I was not that sort of feminist.
Being pro-life comes with its fair share of negative connotations as well. Here is the kind of pro-lifer I am not. But separating these people out from other pro-lifers in people’s perceptions is not easy.
ProWomanProLife comes across as an oxymoron to some. That means it is challenging some preconceived notions on what it means to be both pro-woman and pro-life. And maybe, just maybe, it will prompt some people to re-evaluate their own stance on issues of life and feminism.
Andrea adds: I personally avoid use of the word “feminist” altogether. Why? Because it means many different things to many different people, and is entirely meaningless to many more. This group is therefore not called “feminists for life” for a reason. It’s those 1960s feminists who are responsible for abortion on demand, claiming it is good for women. Early feminists, those fighting for the vote, recognized and knew abortion was bad for women, bad for the child, and would never have called sacrificing the unborn a victory in any way. So I stay away from the term altogether. After all, those 1960s feminists have done a lot of damage; damage we must all work to undo. I will say this for them: They were very successful: Just look at how “the right to choose” is accepted dogma. Time to re-evaluate, indeed.
Véronique adds: To me, being a feminist — and I don’t shy away from the word, how else can I redeem it? — is not so much a way of “doing” as a way of “thinking.”
Generally, I try to avoid equating feminism with certain principled conclusions such as “abortion is a human right” or “men are pigs.” It’s a little like “if you are pro-life, you must be a Conservative.” What does being pro-life has to do with it? Or if you believe in climate change, you’re a Liberal, if you don’t, you’re a Conservative. What does climatology has to do with political ideology? Same with feminism. What feminism is about is power struggles, inherent sexism, patterns of sex-based discrimination. You can advocate in favor of gender equity without ever mentioning abortion… in theory. In practice however, feminism is now associated with abortion as right. But I can point to power struggles, inherent sexism and patterns of sex-based discrimination in the abortion industry or abortion rhetoric any day of the week.
I’m proud to be a feminist. I’m just not sure feminists are proud to have me…
Andrea adds: Well right here we have what ProWomanProLife is all about. Different pro-life women expressing their views, unplugged. The words “I’m proud to be a feminist” have never–and will never–pass my lips. Because the way feminism looks to me, I’d rather, um, be a chauvenist.
Rebecca adds: I find it easier not to identify myself as a feminist, because for most people today it carries baggage I don’t want and connotations I actively reject. Lots of women I respect feel differently. I also generally subscribe to Christina Hoff Sommers’ distinction between “equity feminism” (which she considers to have realized its goals) that demands equality (same pay scales for men and women, women not needing their husbands’ permission to open a bank account, the franchise, etc) and “gender feminism”, which characterizes such lunacy as insisting that women be firefighters even if they can’t carry an average sized person, that women make up 50% of engineering students even if they don’t want to be engineers as much as men do, and getting Lawrence Summers publicly barbecued. Hoff Sommers also wrote the very important The War Against Boys, which all parents and teachers (of boys or girls) should read.