Celebrating… Women?

Upon walking into a local bookstore I learned that March is “Women’s History Month.” I had never given much thought to the notion that there needed to be a month dedicated just to the awesome things women had done throughout the history of the world. Honestly, in today’s day and age, my first thought was to applaud the boldness of dedicating an entire month to the celebration of a specific gender, but perhaps I am just a bit cynical. 

The local bookstore was promoting books and articles primarily about radical feminists. Though I was pretty sure I knew what I would find, I glanced through a couple. What I found was not only saddening, it was disgusting. Books, photos, articles, all about making women into men. Some of these books should have been in an X rated store so children hoping to learn about “Women’s History Month” might not stumble upon such things. 

In today’s world there are so many beautiful ideas, symbols, and celebrations that have been thwarted to an un-virtuous, misconstrued meaning. The rainbow is not a sign of God’s love anymore, but rather a proud distortion of our God-given sexuality. Masculinity is no longer something to be proud of; it is a blemish, a curse, something to hide and apologize for. Femininity is no longer an elegant, sacrificial grace given by God to women for the betterment of society. Femininity makes you weak and is something every woman should strive to put behind her. Ironically, culture says that femininity, the very thing women ought to be ashamed of, gives you a right to anger, hate, and pathological immorality — things that will set you free from the bondage of your biology. 

Women today are faced with a choice: either catch up with the times and join your sisters in the third-wave feminist movement or hole up in a small house on a farm and do everything your husband says while bearing him countless children. At least, these are the options our culture, a culture governed by feminists and men with no backbone to stand up to these feminists, would like the girls of today to choose between. And, honestly, if these were the only two options, almost any girl would choose the former. If we’re honest with ourselves, the idea of living under a misogynistic roof as a baby machine is not very appealing. What girls are infrequently told or witnessed to are women who embrace their femininity and use it, not only to better their own lives and the lives of those around them, but for the greater glory of God. They don’t know there is another option.

We are told we ought to celebrate the changes women have brought and the changes men brought for women, specifically, reform in politics, family life, and dress. But should we really? At the risk of being accused of a “sack-cloth-nun-mother” attitude, let’s look into how some of these things came about. 

Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote. Today, it is a remarkable thing. But did you ever stop to wonder why? Most articles would tell that it was because the men of the Forever West state wanted equal rights for women, others say it was to entice more women to come to the vastly masculine territory so they could marry them. Still, others say it was because if black men were equal to white, and so could vote, then white women were at least equal to black men and so should also be able to vote. However, the history books say it is because Wyoming did not have enough people to join the union unless the women also voted. Without women, the men could do nothing. So they did the right thing, but not for the right reason. 

As for the women who reformed family life, little needs to be said. Just look at the degradation of society today to see how the altered view of family life has affected our country. Family life is in a sad state of affairs, and I believe women are to blame for the vast majority of the problems that have arisen in this area. But that is a topic for another day. 

Finally, how women have changed the way everyone dresses. I found an interesting piece about the old, red union suit. Did you know that before it was custom for lumberjacks and impressively handsome mountain men to where them it was first an alternative to corsets and lingerie? Aside from the virtuous suffragettes who did great things for women’s rights, the earliest feminists designed and wore union suits. The reason they did this was because they were tired of the limitations that corsets, stockings, and lingerie inflicted on their wearers. An article written in the New York Paper in 1857 stated, “Woman’s dress… how perfectly it describes her condition! Her tight waist and long, trailing skirts deprive her of all freedom of breath and motion. No wonder man prescribes her sphere. She needs his aid at every turn. He must help her up stairs and down, in the carriage and out, on the horse, up the hill, over the ditch and fence, and thus teach her the poetry of dependence.”* The union suit took a man’s flannel pair of pants and sewed them to a flannel shirt. There were buttons all around the waist so women could still attach a skirt and slits at each breast which unbuttoned to allow for nursing. Women could breath since there was nothing holding their chest tight to them. Women could turn at the waist better because there was nothing squeezing the waist. Women could run better because they did not have to wear long stockings held up by a stocking-clip belt under the skirt. But, better than any of that, their figure was more masculine to look at, which made them more equal to men. Once rooted in the mind of the early feminists, it spread. Sure, the spread was slow, but it was still effective. This idea permeated through much of the fashion industry until about ten years ago when tight clothes accentuating the feminine form became popular again, even if it is in a more sexual and less feminine way. 

So, is March really a month where we celebrate great women or is it a month where we celebrate women who made us more like men? After a look around at the others in the bookstore and my own men’s X-tra Tuff boots, Carhartt coat, and jeans, I’d argue the latter. But, I did take away one small grain of hope through the discovery of women’s history month: we are celebrating women. 

The idea that society still accepts that there is a gender, a sex, a group of people who all are actually women is a radical thing. In my brief look through the books on display I never found one that promoted transgender women. Sure there were books that spoke of the bravery of lesbian women and books that promoted the notion that women are just men with breasts, but all of them were about honest to goodness women, and that gave me hope. In the minds of these women there are two genders. You are either a woman or the other one.

The feminist movement has done more damage to our culture than almost any other movement in American history (I promise to back this up in a later article) but perhaps it is through the feminists, the people who recognize men as men and women as women, that our society can turn back towards what is right. 

So, pick up a book about Lucretia, St Rita, our Mother Mary, Harriett Tubman, or Rosa Parks. Let’s celebrate the great women of history!

* Smithsonianmag.org

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