Call Me (Old-Fashioned) a Feminist
A lot of people in society might call me old-fashioned. Why?
- I love Jesus Christ with my whole heart – or at least I try to; I know I fall short, but God gives me grace every day to at least try
- I believe in waiting to have sex and moving in together until marriage
- I married my husband at 22 and had my son at 25
- I practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) rather than use birth control
- I am pro-life – love, love, love all the sweet babes
- I believe families come first and am ok with putting my dreams to the side when needed to serve my family and through that, God
Ok, so the world probably thinks of me as old-fashioned: I believe in “religious propaganda” (yes – someone has told me this before on one of my Facebook posts); I settled down with one person “way too early in life;” I had a kid “WAY too early in life;” and broadly, I am just “not pushing hard enough” in my career because I put family first.
But how do I think of myself? I wholeheartedly consider myself a feminist – truly. Crazy with all of the above stuff I listed about myself, right? Let me explain.
I have always believed that women can do whatever men can. My husband would probably argue that I let him know many times over that women can – in fact – do more than men…not going to get into this argument in more detail, but you get the point! When I put my mind to something – after prayerfully discerning it, of course – I go after it. There is a reason I have the following quotes in my “Nevertheless, She Persisted” journal:
“Do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you. Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” ~Pope Francis
“Start the business.
Go to grad school.
Apply for the job.
Write the book.
Do what you’re called to do.
Whatever risk God is calling you to take today, take heart and take the risk.” ~ “The Catholic Woman” blog
In my life, going after risks and being the feminist that I am, have included tackling the following endeavors: being summa cum laude in undergrad, attending Yale for grad school, accepting my first job in Washington, DC, becoming a director at the age of 27, and working for a company where my CEO is an African American female. I push for raises and promotions and have not counted another graduate degree off the table.
But here is where society gets it wrong: feminism does not stop at your career. I am so sick of the “me, me, me” and the “my career” dialogue that is placed on a pedestal. Our nation’s recent response to Roe v. Wade being overturned shows how permeated this belief [feminism equates to career success] is throughout our society to the point where women think they have to do whatever it takes to succeed career wise – even killing an innocent life. If you go on LinkedIn right now, you will see story after story of women confessing their abortions and how it was right for them; it is utterly heartbreaking.
Because we are so much more than our careers, feminism is more than just how we tackle our professional endeavors – it’s how we celebrate and advocate for women in all aspects of life and ensuring society does what’s truly best for women.
- Loving Jesus Christ? AMAZING for women!
- Waiting to have sex and moving in together until marriage? Good for women! I recently read a secular CanaVox article about how sex is for marriage – this is not just a religious belief!
- Getting married and having children? Good for women! Living in communion with each other is what God intended, and I have found incredible joy from being a wife and mother.
- Natural Family Planning? Good for women! NFP is for women’s bodies and works naturally with the body – not against the body.
- The pro-life movement? Good for women! The pro-life movement believes in women; it tells women “you can,” not “you can’t.”
- Families first? Good for women! Jesus sacrificed his life for us on the cross and it’s ok for us to sacrifice our dreams at times for those we love. In sacrificing “our dreams,” we may just discover what God’s will is for our lives.
I 100 percent consider myself to be a feminist, and I will never settle for anything less than maximizing the gifts God has given me – in all aspects of my life. I am a feminist not just because of my career endeavors but also because I celebrate and embrace being a daughter of Christ, a wife, a mother; working with and not against my body; and believing women can.
The world views “old-fashioned” women and “feminist” women this way:
Old-fashioned: believes in marriage and families; is pro-life; puts her career dreams to the side to serve her family; loves Jesus with her whole heart
Feminist: advocates for women; pursues her career dreams; sets the world on fire
Can I propose the following:
Feminist: advocates for women; believes in marriage and families; is pro-life; pursues her career dreams but serves her family first; sets the world on fire with God’s love; loves Jesus with her whole heart
I am not old-fashioned; I am a true feminist who understands my innate worth from being a daughter of Christ and advocates for women in every way – not just professionally. So, I am going to argue that society has it wrong; Catholic women are not old-fashioned – we are feminists.
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Raquel was born in Indiana and lived in the Midwest for 22 years. She is an alumna of Saint Louis University, and after getting married the summer after undergrad, journeyed out of the Midwest to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Yale University. She now lives in DC with her husband Quintin, son Joseph, and dalmatian Lilo and works as a Member Insights Associate for a healthcare company.