In this video Fr. Robert Gahl talks about Feminism and Gender Theory.
Today, many cheer feminism as women’s liberation while others ridicule the very idea by criticizing its radical, revolutionary and even totalitarian expressions. The history of feminism helps to clarify and discern the many strands as feminism today develops into postmodern versions of gender and even queer theory. In general, feminism may be distinguished according to its role within three successive political waves: universal suffrage, equal rights, and the many versions of feminism of difference. All three waves of feminism include strains influenced by Marxism. Indeed, Friedrich Engels is the father of the rejection of patriarchy central to much of radical feminism. If some currents in third wave feminism claim that women can be and do anything they want, gender theory pushes the envelope further by separating gender identity from biology’s sexual difference. Moreover, gender theory claims that equal rights can only be achieved when sexual difference is no longer determinative of personal identity. Patriarchy’s subjugation of woman is definitively subverted once the very concept of woman (and man) is overcome. Now, you can be whomever you want to be, at any time. Queer theory goes one step further by claiming that gender is a quaint concept of the past that once required one to choose a pre-established category for one’s subjective and social identity. According to queer theory, one’s personal identity is constantly subject to one’s perpetual self-creation. In response, Benedict XVI developed John Paul II’s anthropology of freedom as self-determination in accord with one’s nature and denounced the totalitarian impetus of those who reject the objective truths of nature that are matter of human freedom.
Fr. Robert Gahl is an Associate Professor of Ethics at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and a member of the Thomas International Board of Directors.