Tag Archives: feminism

An Open Letter to Matt Walsh

Dear Matt:

*Trigger warning: the post below discusses sensitive issues, including abortion & abuse.*

I read your response to the Women’s March that took place on Saturday. While I could respond to the myriad of inaccurate things you said–including thesuper cala fragile....png
assertion that the wage gap between men and women doesn’t exist, or how masculinity and femininity are defined, or how you missed the point that the mission of the protest(s) directly correlates with the fact that a man who has openly assaulted women, degraded minority groups, rejected Climate Change and mocked the disabled was just inaugurated as President of the United States of America–I
am not going to.

I am going to address one thing. Abortion. Since your perception seems to be that all women attending the event seek to kill their young, let’s talk about that. And remember, I am talking about it because YOU made it the big issue.

“It [feminism] rejects all that is inherently kind, giving, compassionate, sacrificial, and loving in womanhood, encouraging women to live only for themselves instead — even if blood must be shed in the process.” – Matt Walsh

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Matt: Where are all of the vagina-clad, genitalia-obsessed women here?

Before I continue, I should preface this post with a few things, as I am confident you may disagree with me, chalking my comments up to being a “liberal” or one of “those” women or [insert other label you’ve called  women that disagree with your position].

  • I am a follower of Jesus, maintaining that if more lives were modeled after his example of compassion, love, self-sacrifice, and holy discontent, we would be living in a very different world.
  • I fall in the pro-life camp, believing that life develops upon conception; however, I am not without compassion, and I reserve judgement, for individuals that have been faced with the decision to terminate a pregnancy.
  • I am a feminist, acknowledging that each of us as individuals possess unique skills and abilities. We–males and females–should be treated equally. And when I use the term “equal” I am referring to basic human decency, which includes being judged or examined by our merit not our gender. In a married relationship, for example, each partner contributes to making the relationship work by using his/her gifts, which may or may not align with what “traditional” marriage roles dictate. If a husband enjoys cooking and is better at it, then he should do the cooking. Or, if a wife is an accountant, it makes sense for her to manage the family finances. Do you see the difference? Meritocracy over gender.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way, let’s talk about your condescending, judgmental, divisive, and awe-inspiring post about [mostly] abortion. You see, while my preference is that an individual never feels the need for an abortion, history has shown us that people make tough decisions when they feel desperate.

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This image also seems to be void of the vagina costumes and the like. Based on the signs we can see clearly, I read: “HOPE”, “Truth & Science”, “Don’t Frack in Maryland”, “We Go High”, “Mother By Choice”, “Resist Hate”, “Real Men Aren’t Bullies”, “Love”, “Fight Ignorance” and “Build Bridges Not Walls”.

This leads me to one question:

Why do you think a woman goes to Planned Parenthood?

I am guessing you think it’s because she needs information about how-to conduct “baby murder”/ is looking for a place to “murder” her baby. Sound about right?

From my vantage point, women started seeking out organizations like Planned Parenthood because it provided them with a SAFE place and non-judgmental advice/support regarding sensitive issues like unplanned pregnancy, as well as receive cancer screenings (pap smears, breast exams…), discuss infertility options, or accept care for general health needs like anemia testing, screening for cholesterol or diabetes, and vaccinations. In the case of something like an unplanned pregnancy, I anticipate women were (are) looking for a place where they wouldn’t be ostracized or slut-shamed.

Personally, I know six people who have terminated pregnancies, and all were due to complicated situations–not because they celebrate “murder”.

  • The first woman was married to a horribly abusive man –literally, he tried to kill her– and she already had two children. Since she didn’t have an escape plan, and couldn’t fathom bringing another child into a horrific situation, she chose an abortion.
  • The next four women were all in high school, three of whom attended a Christian boarding school. Rather than be ostracized, rejected and talked about publicly, they chose to terminate their pregnancies privately.
  • The third situation involved a woman in college that was pursued by a married man, promising he’d leave his wife because he didn’t love her anymore. When she became pregnant, he refused to share the responsibility and insisted she have the abortion. He drove her to the clinic to have the procedure done.

Each of the aforementioned women found themselves in terrifying situations that would have required an enormous amount of support to make it through their pregnancies let alone actually raise a child. And, if non-judgmental support doesn’t exist, it’s not hard to see what choice a woman may be forced to make.

  • If a man is going to beat a woman senselessly because she got pregnant, it may seem most logical to her to save herself (and another person) from additional abuse, right?
  • If young women find themselves in positions where they may be excommunicated or seen as tainted, used and damaged, isn’t it possible that they simply want to avoid that, and it’s not that they hate children and seek to “murder” them, as you say?
  • If a hopeful young woman falls in love and gets pregnant by a selfish man who never planned to stay with her anyway, does it seem SO ridiculous that she would fear having a child that only ever reminded her of her greatest mistake?

I anticipate that you may say something like: “Those women should never have been in those situations to begin with. They shouldn’t have had sex…” Sure, abstinence is the only proven method to prevent pregnancy, but have you ever done something that equated to undesirable consequences?

My point is that many (of course, not all) women make the decision to terminate a pregnancy out of desperation, as society is not in a good position to support families–especially single mothers. If the government, the Church, commentators (that’s you), and society as a whole did more to tangibly support and love women in general–including women with unplanned pregnancies–then maybe we would see a decrease in the number of abortions? Maybe women wouldn’t feel like they HAVE to fight for their own rights and fight to be heard?

It should also be said that if I had known about the aforementioned situations while the women were grappling with what to do, I would have stepped up to help as best as I could, understanding that the decision was ultimately hers to make.

So here’s a tip: Instead of shaming and condemning women, and intentionally disregarding the heart of what they’re saying, why not offer productive alternatives to what you disagree with?

Hate Planned Parenthood? Okay, then offer some alternative safe places for women with unplanned pregnancies to go to.

Hate abortion? Provide information on adoption agencies, complete with statistics about how many people are awaiting to receive a child.

Finally, here’s what not do to: What you just did. Make sweeping generalizations about why between 3 and 4 million women AND men marched in the United States, and why thousands more across the globe marched in solidarity.

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Society’s notion on beauty is a complicated one. And as I attempt to live a life of integrity and authenticity within my roles as amother and an egalitarian, I find it too easy to be hypocritical about this issue of beauty. Since SO much of a woman’s importance is placed on how she presents herself, it’s a tricky balance to model a healthy antithesis to society’s encouragement of narcissism and ostentation.

I have had the fortune of being privy to many beauty-related conversations girlfriends of mine have had with their daughters, most of whom are under the age of 7. Usually the conversation is in the context of the mom encouraging her daughter, emphasizing that her daughter is beautiful (inside and out), and that she doesn’t need to change herself. She’s been created perfect just the way she is. Inevitably, the conversation turns when the daughter inquires about why her mom changes her appearance.

Why do you wear make-up?

Why do you dye your hair?

Needless to say, this is the junction where modelling the healthy antithesis to vanity and narcissism would come in handy. (Thankfully my daughter isn’t of age to ask me that today; otherwise, I would have to concede that I am a hypocrite and that I buy into – figuratively and literally – a billion dollar industry that tells me I’m not okay…). I’ve heard many women chime in about what they would say if their child asked, and typically, the response is something like this.

It’s fun, and I like to play with colours [of eye shadow and lipstick].

Really, ladies? Really!? The MAIN reason you wear make-up and colour your greying roots is because it’s fun? I beg to differ. My suspicion is that the MAIN reason you wear make-up or colour your hair is because you feel self-conscious. After all, we’ve been bread to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in our own skin UNLESS we do something to ‘fix’ it.

Don’t we do a disservice to our daughters (and sons) when we’re not honest about this? Don’t we do a disservice to ourselves? Our children are already being sold images and ideas about the expectations of genders, and for women, one of these expectations is to appear polished, presenting the ‘best’ physical version of yourself. Why can’t we tell them that? Why are we hesitant to be transparent with them about this reality? Perhaps if we talk openly about this, engaging in some hard conversations, (not to mention attempt to model what it’s like to truly be comfortable in our own skins), our daughters and sons will grow up with the ability to critically think about the images and ideas they’re being sold.

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And in the midst of those conversations, maybe we can move beyond the media’s depiction of beauty to talking about what it means to be whole and beautiful, not simply a shell and beautiful. We can talk about the beauty in:

  • Wisdom, sharing stories about our grandmothers.
  • A great sense of humour, and how laughter can brighten the darkest situations.
  • A genuine smile. One that reflects contentment and shines through your eyes, not simply your teeth.
  • A heart that is kind, choosing to see the best in people, even when they are at their worst.
  • Empathy and compassion, emphasizing that the world needs more examples of this.
  • The life Christ lived. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, observing His example and how he treated people encompasses all of the above points…

And maybe, just maybe, as we start having these conversations with our daughters and sons, we will think more critically too. We will remember that wisdom, humour, authenticity, kindness, empathy, compassion… are all more important than our shell. So while we still may choose to wear make-up or colour our hair, our value won’t be found in and through that.

Our antithesis will be the whole version of beautiful and how to share that with others.

Whole and Beautiful

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