Until recently, only a few lone voices dared question whether feminism was really good for women, or society as a whole. That has changed. Unfortunately, some of the new critics are deeply misogynistic and unpleasant, such as much-discussed influencer Andrew Tate.
Christians with more traditional values need thoughtful social commentators to examine the issue. This book, written by devout Catholic Dr Carrie Gress, is deeply conservative and not designed to convince progressives, but it does raise questions about the spiritual roots of feminist thought.
It’s often argued that ‘first wave’ feminism – which brought women the vote – was a truly just cause, with only feminism’s more recent incarnations being more negative. Gress questions this, arguing that from the beginning, feminist ideas were associated with the occult and came from deeply troubled people. The author suggests that ever since Mary Wollstonecraft (dubbed the ‘first feminist’), many women in the movement have had bad experiences of men, which explains their rejection of traditional ideas of womanhood and the family.
Gress criticises feminism’s rejection of the female capacity to bear children and nurture them. She identifies its anti-motherhood narrative as a root cause of confusion over gender and social problems. While the author holds a PhD in philosophy, this book is more journalistic than scholarly. Some of her statements are overly sweeping but, nonetheless, in our troubled times the causes of the decline of the family deserve a thorough examination. This book is a useful starting point.