Brianna Heldt is a writer, speaker, and radio show host. She blogs at www.briannaheldt.com, has been a featured guest on BBC Radio, and her work can regularly be found in other online publications as well. A convert to the Catholic Church, Brianna explores topics ranging from faith and social issues to adoption and large family life. She and her husband make their home in Denver, along with their eight children.
I find myself wondering, again and again, what has happened to the women in our culture?
And yes, I am a woman. And no, I’m not blaming women for All of The Things. Not at all. But there is an ever-growing problem in our society, which is becoming increasingly evident, and I fear few are willing to discuss it.
Last Tuesday night I watched President Trump deliver the State of the Union address. My thoughts on the president, and on the contents of his speech, are mostly irrelevant here, though I will say that I thought all of his statements about abortion were on point.
Of course I expected little support for the president from the opposite side of the aisle, particularly when it came to the subject of abortion. But I admit I was pretty much blown away by the “women in white”, those women who have ascended to political power only to publicly defend what amounts to infanticide. As I watched them sit stoic and silent during the president’s remarks about abortion, I was struck by what a travesty it is that women, of all people, could support abortion in the first place — much less late-term abortion.
Ironically, they were supposedly wearing white to pay homage to women’s suffragists — who were themselves pro-life. Go figure.
Speaking as a woman, it is downright shameful to see most of our nation’s female leaders capitulating to the culture of death in this way. Satan has done some of his finest work in convincing pretty much everyone that women are not self-actualized unless they (a) use birth control, and (b) have the legal right to terminate a pregnancy, which of course is merely a fancy euphemism for paying a physician to kill a vulnerable baby. It is strange that women champion “women’s rights” on the one hand, yet want to essentially become like men (i.e., avoiding motherhood at all costs), on the other.
This may be one of the most serious cultural crises of our time. And no it doesn’t merely belong to our time, because problems don’t begin in a vacuum. Margaret Sanger may be every Catholic’s favorite scapegoat (and not without good reason), but the reality is that when she first opened her urban clinics from which to distribute contraception, the lines wrapped around the block. Women were already there, waiting, for they’d been eager for a solution to the problem of motherhood long before Sanger made the pill widely available.
(Also ironic is the fact that Sanger herself also spoke out against the evils of abortion. But I digress.)
Something we simply can’t afford to ignore any longer is the fact that women have, historically, been largely responsible for shaping the culture. We wield a tremendous amount of influence, and primarily within our own homes if we are married with children. It’s no accident that many a man has been inspired to better himself in order to win over the female object of his affections, and don’t let anyone try to convince you that mothers of young children are wasting their minds and talents by being at home. They aren’t primarily sitting around playing blocks, though they may do some of that, but are training up the hearts and minds of the next generation. And though it’s fun to blame men and their “toxic masculinity” for any and all of our modern social ills, the truth is that the influence of women cannot be underestimated. Women, and what they say and do, are quite powerful, it turns out.
What does it mean, then, when so many women have thrown off so much of what womanhood is? I know that when I see women en masse “shouting their abortions”--or justifying those who do--I find myself wishing that more of us women were comfortable in our own skin, willing to be the protectors and leaders that God made us to be. Those aren’t trite platitudes, by the way. Our vocation, whatever it is, means something. Our biology means something. Our actions mean something.
Suffice it to say that now, perhaps more than ever, we need women to stand up for what’s right. That may look different for each of us, yes, but don’t buy into the lie that you don’t have a role to play, or that it won’t matter. The work you do in your home, the refusal to go along with the crowd, the things you teach your kids or share with your coworkers, all of it is important. All of it contributes to the larger cultural conversation about men and women and family and marriage and, ultimately, what authentic human flourishing looks like.
What is beauty, what is truth, what is good?
And what does it mean to be a truly free and liberated woman? A lot of women were united together in wearing white Tuesday night, proclaiming their supposed freedom, but they weren’t standing up for the defense of the most vulnerable. They weren’t reflecting the truth about womanhood, and they weren’t infusing love and hope and grace into the culture, which is something we women are particularly poised to do.
Maybe it’s time for the real women to please stand up.