Educating for an Authentic Christian Womanhood

By Becker, Thomas Augustine | Ave Maria Law Review, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Educating for an Authentic Christian Womanhood


Becker, Thomas Augustine, Ave Maria Law Review


INTRODUCTION

In his 2006 commencement address at Hillsdale College, Professor Harvey C. Mansfield of Harvard University bravely trod where few men dare to go, speaking frankly about the defects of traditional feminism and the need for a new feminism. In the course of his remarks, he stated:

   [W]omen have shown themselves capable in careers formerly closed to
   them, but seem no longer to enjoy the pleasures of being a woman.
   They know how to imitate men but are confused about how to remain
   women while doing so. Having started from the rejection of
   femininity, women's identity necessarily becomes a search without a
   guide. To see confusion in action, all you have to do is watch the
   television show Desperate Housewives.

In speaking of the rejection of femininity, he was referring to a phenomenon created by the feminists of the twentieth century. He observed, "Whereas before women were held back from the careers they could have attained, now they are pushed further than they may want to go. In this new situation women ... need an identity...." (2)

The feminist movement has stolen an identity from several generations of women, and with it, not only the capacity to bring their feminine gifts to the world, but even the ability to "enjoy the pleasures of being a woman." (3) The theft took place in a sleight of hand that wiped away all of the markers on the board, using as a pretext the need to level the playing field for women. One writer referred to the alleged need for leveling the field as "the pretense that woman could make her best contribution toward human progress by being 'equal' to man, rather than being herself." (4) Rather than being herself, now she can be "just as good as a man," and we have a situation where it really has become each man for himself. Yet somehow, it has not worked out the way anyone had expected. No one is really happy with the results. On one hand, the feminists--and I use the term broadly because there are many variations--are not satisfied and insist that more work of the same kind needs to be done. (5) On the other hand, ordinary women, who are mostly concerned with living their lives and loving their families and friends, find that no one--including themselves--has quite captured an understanding of who they really are and what they really want and need, despite the undeniable progress that has been made by women in education, law, and politics. In a larger context too, there is the unavoidable sense that the increasing fragmentation and disintegration of modern culture is somehow related to this identity crisis at the core of what it means to be a woman.

At the root of the issue is the metaphysical question of the essence of womanhood. For centuries, the communication of that understanding took place from generation to generation through relationships among women--mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter, among sisters and girlfriends--woven into the fabric of daily life and social norms. When the fabric of daily life began to change, and with it social norms, so did the pattern of communicating the meaning of womanhood. At the same time, the focus of women's concerns shifted almost entirely to the externals of career and educational opportunities, and this changed the substance of the communication. The foundational, intangible, and spiritual essence of womanhood was submerged under the weight of these concerns. In a world consumed by materialism and empiricism, it is no surprise that the mystery of woman, which is not visible or quantifiable, cannot be acknowledged. (6) However, in order for the world to acknowledge the feminine gift, women must possess an awareness and understanding of their feminine vocation. As Gertrud von le Fort observes, penetrating to the core of the challenge and expressing succinctly the truth that cannot be avoided, "[The image of woman] as reflected in the creative work of man, whether in its exaltation or in its debasement, is the very image that she herself presents to him. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Educating for an Authentic Christian Womanhood
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.