A friend recently emailed me some questions on womanhood for a project she's completing, and I thought I'd share my answers here.
How do you feel to be a woman in today's society?
Being a woman in today's society is both a great challenge and a great opportunity. It is a challenge because our society has become a culture of death that does not understand what it means to be a woman. By attempting to eradicate (erase) the beautiful, God-given differences between man and woman, the movement of modern "feminism" fights not for womanhood, but against it. Our current society puts forth a very false image of womanhood, spreading around lots of lies and confusion. All this means that we have a most important call than ever to evangelize through our witness of authentic Christian, Catholic womanhood. As one adage so beautifully says, "The darker the night, the brighter shine the stars!".
What do you value most about being a woman?
I value most my call to bring beauty to the world by reflecting the perfect beauty of God, my creator and Father. And I value the feminine call to motherhood. As Pope John Paul so beautifully explains, we are granted special feminine gifts from God in order to fulfill this call to motherhood -- whether it be spiritual, biological, or both. I am grateful for the feminine capacity to love, to give and nurture life, and to respond to Divine initiation.
Do you have an ideal of what a woman should be like or is there a woman who is a model for you? Who?
When looking for the ideal woman, we of course need look no further than our Mother Mary. I often reflect on how perfectly she reflected the image of God. We are all created in His image, and are called to reflect it by purity and holiness. She did not merely reflect Him, however; she magnified Him! (Magnificat, Luke 1). She shows us what amazing things the Father can accomplish through us if we but surrender our lives and plans to Him. By giving all of herself as a joyful handmaiden, she became the Mother of the Messiah and of all mankind, co-Mediatrix of all graces, and the queen of Heaven and earth. Mother Teresa and St. Gianna Molla are also two big role models for me of beautiful, self-giving womanhood!
What do you think a woman can give to a man?
As women, we are able to give a great deal to man, both individually as a whole. I've learned from personal experience that if I am a real lady, it encourages men rise to the challenge of being real gentlemen. The creation account in Genesis so beautifully shows the Creator's mastery in creating woman as a helpmeet and partner for man. We are equal in dignity, but wonderfully different in design. Both man and woman have a unique call, special gifts, and the ability to complement and build up the other. We women have a "divine assignment": to give man a glimpse of the ultimate beauty and mystery of God through the beauty and mystery of our femininity.