Themiscyra. The land of the amazons. In Greek mythology, it is a place where no man is allowed to set foot in. A place where the woman is free from the abusive clutches of patriarchy. A haven for women and by women. Such a world would appeal to the radical feminist.
Ever since feminism was birthed into the world, it kept evolving and becoming more drastic as the ages go by. Initially a response to chauvinism and gender inequality, women only wanted an equal chance for themselves. However, there are those who pushed it to the extreme. Thus, feminism has transformed into its most destructive form, radical feminism. Its mission is to destroy patriarchy and everything that is associated with it. Radical feminism’s favorite targets are the institution of marriage, the Church, as well as Christianity. A once, good and just act, feminism has been reformed into a damaging tool. And it has started hammering.
However, the researchers believe that knowledge about radical feminism would be the best defense against it. By exposing its harmful ways through the use of Church teachings and Sacred Scripture, one may be able to guard against it. The City of Themiscyra would never be established.
Statement of the Problem
The problem that we face with radical feminism is the lack of information of the negative ideologies that it subtly disseminates through media.
Today, media has become more relevant to many people’s lives. Feminism’s goal of pursuing equality through the empowerment of women blurs with radical feminism’s primary goal. Radical feminism basically campaigns their ideologies through different media. Radical feminism gives women the idea that they do not need a man to be completely human. The last statement is against what the Church taught men and women-to love each other as they love themselves.
That being said, the researchers have identified the problems to be:
The lack of information about radical feminism
how radical feminism subtly affects the people as main patrons of media
how radical feminism ideologies change people’s view on marriage
The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women defines feminism as: “A worldwide movement that seeks to raise women’s political, economic and social status and fights for gender equality in all aspects of life in all societies. The concepts underlying feminism continue to evolve according to the socioeconomic, political and cultural context in which the movement is taking place.”
There are many different kinds of feminism and writer Masilungan defines one kind of feminism: liberal feminism. It emphasizes social and legal reforms through policies designed to create equal opportunities. She claims that liberal feminism underpins mainstreaming efforts that lead to extensive changes in women’s legal rights and status.
According to her another type is cultural feminism. It contends that there are fundamental personality differences between women and men, that sexism can be overcome by celebrating women’s special qualities, women’s ways and women’s experiences. In line with this, cultural feminists believe that women’s ways are better, and that propagating these ways would make the world a better place. The explanation further goes on by mentioning that there would be no more wars if women were to rule nations because women have a gentler, kinder nature.
Ecofenimism is also another form of feminism. Ecofeminism rests on the basic principle that patriarchy is harmful to women, children and other living beings, and often draws from parallelism between a male-dominated society’s exploitative treatment of the environment and its resources, and its treatment of women.
These are some of the types of feminism but the focus of this paper is radical feminism which can be defined as a type of feminism which “looks at gender as the primary form of oppression and sees class and race as extensions of patriarchal domination. Most of its strategies are focused on reshaping consciousness and redefining social relations to create a woman-centered culture” (Masilungan 2003).
To compare with other types of feminism, radical feminism is a relatively new branch of feminism. Scalon claims that “radical feminism started out during the second wave of feminism which was in the 70s, around the late 60s to the mid-70s” (129). Before the second wave of feminism women’s lives were centered on their husbands and their roles as just mothers or wives (Hobbs 19). It is also a relatively new branch of feminism in the perspective that “radical feminism may be seen as a result of the inadequacy of its predecessor, liberal feminism. Compared to liberal feminism, radical feminism provides aims to restructure the society by abolishing patriarchy” (O’Connor 61).
Many tell-tale signs can be seen regarding the radical feminists ideologies. Allan Turner basically summarizes it by claiming that they are “Anti-Bible, Anti-God and Anti-Christ.” Being anti-Bible can be seen from American feminist and theologian, Rosmary Ruether’s speech marks; “Feminist theology must create a new textual base, a new canon…. Feminist theology cannot be done from the existing base of the Christian Bible.” It is also being Anti-God. Naomi Goldenberg, a professor at the University of Ottawa, claims that “God is going to changeaˆ¦We women are going to bring an end to Godaˆ¦We will be the end of Him.” Allan Turner’s claim that radical feminism is anti-Christ stems from the fact that radical feminists’ reject the idea of ‘Son of Man’ because it is too masculine. Their being ‘radical’ is also manifested on their views regarding sex. Murray, the author of Confessions of an Ex-Feminist, mentions in his interview with Olson that “for the radical feminists, sex is just another physical act that brings pleasure and nothing more. This is contrary to the religious view on marriage because sex should only be done between a man and a woman bonded together by marriage.”
Many research studies have proven the benefits of marriage. The research by Waite mentions that “the benefits of marriage include: better quality of the marriage relationship of the couple, brings in better health for the two because the relationship in itself allows the two people to grow with better resources and lesser costs of living” (3). He also claims that “marriage lessens depression and alcohol abuse–better psychological health for both husband and wife” (3). Moreover, the research shows that the benefits of marriage are not just limited to husband and wife but also to children. Children who grow up with their biological and intact families are well-off because the environment is most suitable for the children’s development (Parke 9). Acs and Nelson also clearly shows that the benefit of marriage by stressing that “children who are living with non-married parents fare worse than children living with their married parents” (1).
Many pivotal benefits of marriage have been proven by many researchers and yet, the radical feminists want to destroy the family tradition, a practice according to God’s creation. First of all, they want to destroy the traditional family structure which consists of father, mother and children because they see this condition as women being ‘subjugated’ by men – husbands (Snyder-Hall 257). They also pursue lesbianism and same-sex marriage in order to eliminate the subjugation of women. This would mean that they could practice liberation to its fullness (Snyder-Hall 255). Their attempts to destroy the traditional family are starting to grow as a political and social movement as well. According to Ubac’s news article, the prominent feminist party-list group in the Philippines, Gabriela, has re-filed their bill to legalize divorce. The news article further detailed the women’s party-list group’s other grounds for filing for divorce, for example, ‘irreparable’ marriages.
The media has also been a proprietor of radical feminism. Although subtle, some movies have themes regarding radical feminism. A recent film of Jennifer Aniston, The Switch, it touches on the idea of how women can live without men and how women can get pregnant without a husband or a man.
The radical feminists’ attempts to destroy the traditional form of marriage, however, are against the teaching of the Bible. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure” (New American Bible, Hebrews 13.4). The Bible’s view of marriage and sexuality is also very holy unlike radical feminists’ degrading view of these. “He who finds a wife finds happiness; it is a favor he receives from the LORD” (Proverbs 18.22). It is also shown by Mark who says “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10.6-9).
With respect to the teaching of the Bible, the church also stands against the radical feminists’ point of view and teaches otherwise. Mulieris Dignitatem 31 says that “therefore the Church gives thanks for each and every woman: for mothers, for sisters, for wives; for women consecrated to God in virginity; for women dedicated to the many human beings who await the gratuitous love of another person; for women who watch over the human persons in the family, which is the fundamental sign of the human community; for women who work professionally, and who at times are burdened by a great social responsibility…” It is also said in Paragraph 14 of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), “Therefore, the promotion of women within society must be understood and desired as a humanization accomplished through those values, rediscovered thanks to women. Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger: … Without prejudice to the advancement of women’s rights in society and the family, these observations seek to correct the perspective which views men as enemies to be overcome. The proper condition of the male-female relationship cannot be a kind of mistrustful and defensive opposition. Their relationship needs to be lived in peace and in the happiness of shared love.”
Objectives of the Project
Upon presenting the subject matter the group increased awareness about radical feminism as a modern type of thinking, shared what the Church’s stand about this radical type of thinking is and shared information on how radical feminists work their way through media to establish their stand against the traditional marriage.
In implementing the project the researchers collaborated with Rev. Ariel Jornales, the director of the Evangelical Theological College of the Philippines (ETCP). Rev. Jornales agreed to have us share our research with his students. Upon following up our schedule, he told the group that he announced to all students of ETCP to attend our talk if they are interested. The implementation happened at August 25, 2010 and the allotted time for the researchers to present was two hours, from 10 am to 12 noon. The implementation took place at Lot 1, Block 1, Birds of Paradise St. Valley Golf Subdivision. Cainta, Rizal. The audience consisted of professors, pastors and Theology students. The researchers took turns in presenting different parts of the subject matter. First, an icebreaker was initiated by the presenters. The audience was tasked to read some quotations from renowned radical feminists and provide feedback regarding a quotation. After this the researchers provided a short history about the subject matter. The presenters then moved into the meat of the matter and discussed the Sacred Scripture and Church’s stand on the issue. An open forum was conducted after the talk and further discussions with the audience was entertained. The group presented for an hour and the open forum lasted for thirty minutes. All in all, not more than 250 Php was spent for transportation and photocopying expenses.
Data Presentation and Analysis
Before presenting the project’s data, it is important to recall what this project’s objectives were and these were the following:
to increase awareness about radical feminism as a modern type of thinking;
to share what the Church’s stand about this radical type of thinking is; and
to share information on how radical feminists work their way through media to establish their stand against the traditional marriage.
These objectives are the basis of how well the implementation went, relative to the results. To present the data in a more organized manner, the group decided to divide the presentation of the data into two. This was because for numbers 1-5, the students were asked to answer a Likert scale, while for numbers 6-8, they were asked to answer questions in sentences.
For numbers 1-5, the researchers tallied the students’ answers for each item among the choices presented: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, and Strongly Agree, which we presented in the graph below. Additional information regarding the data presented are indicated below the graph.
Responses for questions 1 to 5
*Only 19 of the expected 35 attended the talk. For number 3, one person did not answer that particular item.
For numbers 6-8, we had to be particularly lenient with some of the items that may seem ambiguous, because several of the students expressed difficulty in answering in English, although they preferred to answer in English.
Responses for questions number 6 to 8
For 7.b, one person was unable to finish writing. However, her answer was counted under “Answered,” because the beginning of what she wrote (the word ANTI- with a line after the hyphen) would have been anti-Bible, which is a relevant answer to the question.
It is disconcerting that three people still think that all forms of feminism are anti-Christian after the talk. It is also unsettling that five people think that feminism is anti-patriarchal, two people disagree that radical feminism is incompatible with traditional marriage, three people strongly disagree that radical feminism believes in same-sex marriage and divorce, and one person strongly disagrees that Christianity promotes the rights and dignity of women.
It is possible that some of them simply did not read the evaluation form carefully, or answered in haste since they had a class to attend after.
It is also possible that not everyone understood the talk because the medium of instruction used was English. The majority of them might have been more comfortable with Filipino, as some of them expressed when they asked to speak in Filipino during the activity. Despite this, majority of the students not only answered the items, but they also answered them based on the presentation of the group.
Summary, Conclusions, Recommendations
Radical feminism is one kind of feminism, like its roots, is for women’s equality and freedom from subjugation. This goal might be a little positive but, the twist of the movement comes from their radical thought that patriarchy is the root of all the inequality that the people are experiencing and sought to be eradicated. They propose a total eradication of men. It seeps subtly through media, although not visible to a person with no knowledge of the movement there are shows and movies which basically support the movement’s ideologies.
The results of the implementation showed that there is not enough information about radical feminism. Radical feminism as a movement is also misunderstood. Also, it is relatively new to the group’s audience and is therefore considered to be good that they were able to share this new learning with them and although it was quite new, majority of the audience were able to have a basic understanding of the topic.
For groups that would do a further research and implementation on the topic, the recommendations of the group are as follows:
Provide a more ‘Filipino’ context for the researches. As what the group found out during the open forum that was held after the lecture, there is a significant amount of literature that could be referenced when putting radical feminism in the Filipino context.
Tackle more a bit on the difference of radical feminism and other forms of radical feminism. This could be more expounded on by future groups as this was briefly discussed by the researchers. Also, if the future group provides clarity on the different forms of feminism (other than radical feminism) the audience might be able to grasp more of what radical feminism is and what it is not.
Utilize a medium of language that is best for the audience. Based on the group’s evaluation forms and analysis of data, the content of the presentation might have been better if Filipino or Tagalog was used in explaining the group’s points.