The assault on womanhood and femininity is one of the greatest evils of our time. It’s ironic to me that the very thing I decry as ludicrous in one context – women as Oppressed Class Of People™ historically or today – is profoundly true in another. It is false that society was set up by men to benefit men at the expense of women. I’m an antifeminist, not a “real feminist”. I wear the label without qualifier or shame. I criticize feminism constantly. Feminist patriarchy theory is delusional.
Women may not be hated. But femininity certainly is, and always has been.
The difference is that today that very hatred comes to us not only from Islamic barbarism, but under the banner of empowerment, sisterhood, and “women’s rights”. That, I would argue, is the more dangerous hatred. Islamic hatred of femininity could never exist without progressive hatred of femininity. If leftists didn’t hate women, Islam would have long ago found itself the reviled target of civilized ideas everywhere. We might not have destroyed it yet, but we wouldn’t be in this bizarre situation we find ourselves now, where to say “Islam is evil” is somehow to be breaking every unspoken rule in society.
Men who have hated women throughout history, and women who have hated women throughout history, hated us for reasons not commonly thought of. Was it because we were weak? Was it because we were seen as inferior? Was it because we were seen as stupid? I would argue that though these instances no doubt take place (and have since time immemorial), women who were hated were hated not for what they lacked, but for what they were.
Women were and are hated for portraying femininity, not for failing to portray masculinity. Femininity is a beautiful good, and things that are beautifully good are always loathed.
I find myself in a strange place as of late, with years behind me as a critic of feminism who found myself instead becoming a defender of the feminine. Like it was with my conversion to Catholicism, I learned first what I was fighting (Islam, in this case), and then learned what it was I was fighting for.
I can think of many other such examples of this patten of coming to understand various issues. Before I give you all the Annoying But Lovable Catholic Stefanie lecture, I’ll give you Edisons soundbite vis a vis inventing the lightbulb: “‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Edison may or may not have actually said this. Fun fact.)
I can call it a defect, call it something I have to work on (love, of course, should precede righteous anger, after all), but there is no doubt it is a pattern in my life. And I think I’m finally making sense of it.
In the Catholic Church, and in the Orthodox Church in which I was raised, we believe in patron saints who pray for us. I have one that was given to me by my parents, my namesake, Saint Stephen, the first martyr. But there are also other patron saints in our lives. Ones who find us, not the other way around.
When I was a little girl in church with my dad, listening to the Greek liturgy and not seeing the beauty I was told I should see, there was an icon that I pointed out every single time I noticed it. The icon of Saint George and The Dragon. It makes sense I would love it. It had a horse, and I loved horses. It had a dragon, and I loved dragons. It felt like a fairy tale, and I loved fairy tales.
Later, much later, back in January, after the unexpected trip to Texas where my entire life changed, I realized that those reasons were little to do with it. Those reasons were ways a saint would call to a little girl, a little girl he knew would be a woman someday.
I was given an icon of Saint George on that trip, and it blew my mind. This little piece of my childhood, an image as familiar as my mother’s smile, here again at a turning point in my life, a point where I realized that what I fought against was true evil to a level that required true good to hold onto if I had any hope of fighting it…there it was.
I talked to my dad about it, of course, because I knew he’d find it an odd coincidence that neither of us believe to be a coincidence at all.
When I turned self-deprecating as to why I loved this icon as a little girl, he actually chided me.
He told me that this saint chose me very clearly. And he chose me because, like Saint George, I have the heart of a warrior. A fighter. Someone who protects the innocent, who cannot stand by while injustice is done.
This feels right and wrong to me, all at once, and it brings me back to what I mean when I say I am in a strange state watching the war on femininity unfold. I watch it unfold on both sides of me, from the progressive left and from Islam, and I find a particular passion in fighting against both. I don’t believe it to be a coincidence that my first step to conservatism was unravelling feminism, or that my first step to Catholicism was unravelling Islam.
There is a story about Saint George that this famous image of him is based upon. Of course, this story is almost certainly historically false (and most unfortunately, the dragon part isn’t possible!), but it is true nonetheless. The basic tale is that there was a village, and they were sacrificing virgins to this evil dragon to appease it so that it wouldn’t kill everyone, and Saint George came in and killed it.
We see this archetypal tale unfolding in our world today. We see the sacrifice of young virgin girls in Britain to Muslim rapists, and we allow it, because we wouldn’t want to further rouse the Islamic dragon lest he devour us all. We see the sacrifice of women’s “virginity” in the West (not to mention the sacrifice of unborn children) as a perverse pushback against the worst elements of sexual control of women’s lives by religious institutions, because we wouldn’t want to further rouse the leftist dragon lest she devour us all.
And then we see me, and women like me. Unexpected warriors, forced to fight this, because most of the men have gone home.
In a way, who could blame them? The beautiful good of femininity is what ensures the beautiful good of masculinity. But then again, the reverse is also true. It’s almost like we need each other to survive, and the forces of evil drive us apart precisely because this is the case.
When I look at a picture of Saint George slaying the dragon, what I want to be is the princess being protected. Most of the women like me, the unexpected warriors, are the same way. We want to be women, we want to be feminine, and we in many facets of our lives are that way. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to have men in our lives who will be the warrior for us.
But that is not the broader world we live in. When it comes to fighting Islam, and fighting the left, I guess I’m Saint George on that white horse, stabbing a dragon in the throat and wiping off the blood with mild disinterest as he gurgles to death in the dirt. Onto the next.
Because what feminism doesn’t realize, and what Islam doesn’t realize, and what evil in general cannot realize, is that it is the unexpected warriors who are the most savage of all. It is the gentle mother who wants a man to take care of her who will rip your throat out if you come near something that matters to her enough.
Evil, take note. You have something to be terrified of: the beautiful good. And though in the physical sense, I’m the total opposite of a warrior, in other ways, I’ve come to realize that I do posses some virtues of use. The biggest of these? I tell the truth about evil things, and I don’t particularly give a damn if proponents of evil things find it uncomfortable. Best of all? I have thousands of women right there with me. A small army, perhaps, but it’ll be enough, especially since the more we find femininity, the more we find masculinity.
Good will triumph over evil.