Feminists around the world make headlines. They catch the attention of civil society and government on the various injustices committed against women.
Issues range from suffrage, physical abuse, and trafficking for prostitution to equal opportunities in jobs and career paths in public and private sectors.
The invention of the pill and fancy condoms (for birth control) in the ’50s widened the scope of feminist interest. A vociferous sexual liberation became media fodder in the United States, titillating Americans from glamorous cities to quiet suburbia.
Free sex without the responsibility and commitment imposed by marriage became a hidden agenda of some sexually liberated groups.
In New York, women’s libbers began to hit the streets, demanding equal opportunities in professional and household tasks with their befuddled husbands.
With pills and condoms available like chewing gum in kiosks and supermarkets, adulterers, fornicators and married couples avoided pregnancies. They were having their cakes and eating them, too. They acquired the freedom to pursue sex pleasures without guilt, stigma, commitment and responsibility.
Women’s libbers and their cousins, the swingers, became chic instead of being odd.
Currently in the Philippines, the feminist movement is led by Gabriela, and they make the headlines often. Their agenda advocates protection from physical abuse, sex slavery and trafficking, unfair labor practices, and gender biases in job recruitment and career promotions.
One of their headline-grabbing tasks is the promotion of gay rights to pursue their chosen lifestyle and gender identity without prejudice from both government, civil society and religious organization.
As a whole, the woman’s status and role in our society is historically and currently secure.
The Filipino woman has anchored her femininity, by instinct and by avocation, on two powerful and beautiful concepts—marriage and motherhood.
Her hopes and dreams, her fulfillment and rewards, from courtship to being a bride, from wife to mother, from mother to grandmother, are envisioned in the fulfillment and rewards she can accumulate during the various stages of womanhood.
The big reason is spiritual. It’s actually a Christian feminism. It is inspired by Christian virtues, gifted with grace (under pressure often) from God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
To appreciate and to fathom Filipino concurrence to Christian feminism, one has to only observe the massive public display of affection for the images representing the mother of God. The Mother of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Fatima, our Lady of Lourdes are part of our social fabric.
The robustness of our public display of devotion in our “pilgrimage” shrines—the Virgin of Antipolo, Virgin of Peñafrancia, Santisimo Rosario, Our Lady or Guadalupe—shows the passion we have for the divine motherhood.
Our acknowledgement of daughterhood and sonship of the Blessed Virgin is extremely humane. It’s for real, especially when we express our gratitude or when pouring out our loneliness to the Mother of God.
It’s a huge blessing that the Virgin Mary’s unique womanhood and motherhood of Jesus became the spiritual, physiological, mental and emotional features that women in the Philippines imbibe in establishing their identity as truly Christian feminists.
It is the same feminism of our grandmothers and mothers in the historical past and present times, that gave us the finest breed of men and women steeped in karangalan, delicadeza, palabra de honor, at malinis ang pangalan, maginoong makitungo.
The origin and source of our Christian feminism is impeccable and eternal—the Holy Scripture.
The greatest honor conferred exclusively by God to any human being was given to a woman.
God needed femininity as the sacred vessel to give life to nourish the mystery of the word incarnate, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
This act of God made humans God-like because the mother of the word incarnate was the Blessed Virgin, a simple girl from the small town of Nazareth.
Mary, in her puzzlement and wonderment, was seized by the virtue of humility. When the angels announced, “Hail Mary, full of grace,” her reply was, “Be it done according to thy word.”
Today it is this Christian feminism of Catholic women in the Philippines that constitutes respect and obedience to God’s law.
It is this Christian feminism that expresses repugnance on the attack and destruction of the idealism in marriage, an idealism based on optimism (not skepticism), valor (not egotism) and unwavering loyalty (not betrayal) between marriage partners.
It is also this same Christian feminism that’s deeply wounded and suffering due to the heartless act of pro-birth control (RH) lawmakers who prefer to kill the unborn to solve a poverty problem which they and their ilk in the government, in their systemic, incompetent and congenitally corrupt culture, have failed to solve.
How can they, in their good conscience, come up with a gory solution, prescribing that when the shoes are small, you must mutilate the feet?
A diabolical law or ethical government? Humane to the poor or inhuman to the fetuses?
To all the women imbued with Christian feminism, the choice is clear and compelling.