Society tries so hard to feed women lies about our self-worth. What makes it worse is that the comments directed to Catholic women aren’t just a stab at our womanhood, but the Faith we profess and strive to live each day. Oftentimes, I find myself in casual conversation with other Catholic women and how the message society sends to women is often demeaning to those who choose any path that’s different than what society has defined as “successful.” As a result, I find there to be varying levels and degrees of inadequacy that women may experience as a result. We have sometimes unknowingly bought the lie that any of the following must be true for us to fit the mold of that perfect female in society. Among the many women who I asked what lies they had heard over the years, it was refreshing to see a common thread that more and more women are catching on to those lies and seeing them for what they are. Here are just a few of those lies:
- Birth control will solve all your problems.
- Teen moms always fail. Teens can’t be good parents. Kids ruin your life. Your career and/or education is the most important thing in your life.
- You don’t need a man. Men are the enemy.
- Women’s issues translate to people touting free birth control or abortion access instead of issues we actually care about like jobs and security.
- Instead of focusing on why women are different and amazing creatures… we should be trying to constantly prove how we can do anything men can do
- Being a mom isn’t a job. That everything has to be perfect all of the time. That if you stay at home, your husband won’t respect you because you don’t bring in money. That all men are pigs. That all men only want one thing, and you should be ok with that because we are all “sexual beings” and it’s ok to experiment. That he won’t buy the cow if he hasn’t had the milk (lol). How much times have changed… we went from “if you have sex with him, he’ll never marry you”, to “if you don’t have sex with him, he won’t ever commit to you” – Good Lord, help us.
- Children don’t need fathers.
- Wanting to be a stay at home mom (or even a mom at all) is proof that you’re oppressed (and, usually, have “internalized” and accepted that oppression as normal).
- A “real woman” can “have it all” and successfully balance being a mom and having a full-time job. Thus proving that if you feel like a failure when you try to do both, that you’re just not good enough.
- Sex without commitment and consequences (and by extension, birth control and abortion) is good for women.
- Women are better than men.
- That your worth comes from achievements and productivity.
- If your toddler is attached to you, you have trouble letting your children grow up.
- Children are inconvenient.
- There’s nothing wrong with sleeping around if you aren’t going to get married. Virginity is a “waste”. Women can do anything men can do and vice versa.
- A Catholic woman’s stance on serving her husband is lowering the intelligence and worth of women because we should all be feminist who think men are objects or something, right?
- Children are super expensive. For us, children have been a bigger “line item” than we ever anticipated😉
The message then for me is that children are not *worth* the expense.
- Sort of the same line of thought, though not so much a message for/about women: kids don’t naturally like/welcome younger siblings, sibling rivalry is the natural way and you always need to go out of your way to prevent it and make them at least “okay” with being “replaced” as the youngest.
- It’s normal, acceptable, and good for men to look at porn and you are a horrible, controlling spouse/partner if you don’t want your SO to watch porn/go to strip clubs/masturbate.
- If you stay at home, you have it so easy. Everything should be done perfectly all the time. Homemade birthday cakes, clean house, obedient children. It’s not like you have an actual job.
- Oh, and you can’t spend money on yourself because you didn’t earn it. And you made this choice, so you’d better not complain or show signs of having difficulties with it.
- As a Catholic woman: There is only one way to be feminine. Whether it’s the traddie version of the Stepford wife or the Proverbs 31 superwoman, there is only one ideal. And you don’t even come close.
- Your beauty is external. I would add that, no matter your accomplishments as a woman, you are not good enough/less than/uninteresting unless you are sexually attractive. Your value comes from your external appeal.
- As Catholic woman we are oppressed, too. There is no place in the Church for women if we can’t be priests.
Do you recognize any of these?
Perhaps you have heard your own.
What do you wish society understood about you, a Catholic woman?