You may have noticed that the American Left of today is not the same as the American Left of the past.
There are some similarities between the old guard and the new, such as a radical commitment to environmentalism and abortion. But on the issues of sexuality, we’re seeing some pretty stark differences.
Feminism — including its more radical varieties — was a hallmark of left-wingers in the nineties. Today, transgenderism has become the sacred golden calf for the 21st-century Leftist.
Many left-wingers claim to support both transgenderism and feminism. But an argument can be made that feminism is not compatible with transgenderism. Here’s why.
Traditionally, feminism has taught that pretty much the only difference between men and women is biology.
Feminists react against what they consider to be the rigorous gender stereotypes of earlier ages. They believe that a woman can do anything a man can do — such as hunt, fish, work, and hit a ball. The only difference is that she’s still a woman with a woman’s body.
Of course, more radical strands of feminism take things further by downplaying the usual natural inclinations of men and women. Instead of simply acknowledging that a girl could be interested in, say, fishing or carpentry, some radical feminists wrongly insist she must get into these male pursuits to demonstrate her equality.
Despite some distortions, feminists have generally accepted the truth that there are real biological differences between men and women.
Contrary to traditional feminism, transgenderism teaches that the differences between men and women can encompass pretty much everything EXCEPT biology.
Transgenderism brings us back nearly full circle to the rigorous gender stereotypes of old. Whereas feminism said that girls could be tomboys while still remaining girls, transgender advocates will now try to convince these tomboys that they must “transition” into actual boys.
In other words, if a girl likes fishing, it must be because she’s really a boy! This reinforces the view that feminists have been fighting against for a long time: that certain activities are “only for men” or “only for women.”
The funny thing is that many Leftists say they support transgenderism and feminism, but they don’t see this inconsistency. But we’re starting to see a split between the two sides — for example, female athletes protesting the intrusion of biologically male “females” into women’s sports.
What’s a Catholic to think of all of this?
We believe that there are real biological and psychological differences between men and women. We hold that God created each with a different (yet complementary) vocation — men to physical or spiritual fatherhood, and women to physical or spiritual motherhood.
But we also reject some of the extreme stereotyping we’ve seen in the past. There’s nothing wrong with a girl who has a healthy interest in traditionally masculine pursuits so long as she values and embraces her feminine identity and mission. Same with men interested in growing flowers, interior design, or poetry.
We believe that God created us both male and female. But the female leaves room for both the princess and the tomboy, and among men there is space for both the warrior and the botanist.