Feminism explained; achievements sung


Kathleen Sprows Cummings has written a very entertaining essay on the tensions and compatibilities between feminism and Catholicism (“Do Women Have Souls?” September 11). The only problem is that she neglected to tell us what she means by “feminism.” When somebody says, “I am a feminist,” and leaves it at that, what she (or he) means is anything but clear.

It is a word that needs specification, since there are at least four species of feminism: egalitarian feminism, which holds that all opportunities—occupational, educational, athletic, etc.—that are open to boys/men should also be open to girls/women; sexual libertarian feminism, which holds that women have a right to sexual freedom and abortion; antimale feminism, which holds that men have always been—and still are—the enemy of women, and that women should therefore adopt an attitude of reciprocal enmity toward men; finally, there is quasi-religious feminism, which, rejecting all traditional religions, draws from active membership in the feminist movement many of the moral and psychological satisfactions that most people draw from a traditional religion.

Since Cummings tells us that she is a Catholic as well as a feminist, I infer that she rejects the final three “feminisms” described above, because they are radically incompatible with Catholicism. She is, then, an egalitarian...

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