Toxic Vs. True Feminism: International Women’s Day 2021

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International Women’s Day.

Here we go. Cue the self congratulatory Instagram posts and “fight the patriarchy” bullcrap.

Oh friends. Every year, this “I am woman, hear me roar!“- day comes around, and every time, I feel just completely put off and saddened by this glorification of toxic femininity that has seeped its way into every corner of society, poisoning our belief and thought systems, and negatively impacting the foundational fiber of our culture.

I’d like to pause here, because it is important to note that there is one aspect of IWD that I do appreciate and support wholeheartedly, and that is the collective celebration of important women in our lives: our moms, sisters, bosses, friends, leaders, daughters, co-workers; as well as the celebration of the contributions and achievements made by women to society. That’s great, and I think it’s important to give young girls positive role models in their lives. Fabulous.

However.

The undercurrent of toxic femininity that has overwritten this day…which paints women in a victim narrative to a dominant and oppressive patriarchy, whereby needing to #ChooseToChallenge (the 2021 theme) this fabricated gender bias that is “rampant” in such a “hostile” environment towards “female-identifying people”, frankly makes me want to throw up.

Not only is it completely unfounded, but it is the exact antithesis to what true femininity actually is.

These toxic feminist rabble-rousers might be blaring anti-men, pro-abortion, girl-boss battlecries, but all I can hear is the sound of desperate, domineering women who are pleading and lashing out, out of their brokenness.

That’s all I can see today: the writing on the wall.

The uncomfortable truth of the matter is this:

Women are broken.

Women have been lied to.

Women are hurting.

And it is all on display now, more than ever, on International Women’s Day.

But this brokenness is not because of some tyrannical patriarchy.

But rather, the brokenness that came from a fallen people, stemming all the way back to Eve in the Garden – The Fall that introduced feelings of inadequacy, competition, dissatisfaction, comparison, jealousy, distrust, disordered attachment, selfishness and vanity.

And believe me, I am guilty of every single one of those.

But we’ve lost sight of our true femininity ~ our feminine genius ~ and have instead internalized the lies whispered to us by the enemy: lies that we’re not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not successful enough. That we’re less than, lacking, and just plain, not good enough.

Satan has made us believe that who we are at our very coreat our womanhood… is flawed and incapable.

And it is that core of brokenness that has manifested into domineering, desperate, desolate spirits, that are out for blood, and out to “Challenge” whomever and whatever stands in their way.

It frankly makes me incredibly sad.

Because at our core, that’s not who God created women to be.

The exact opposite, actually. The feminine genius makes us uniquely equipped to bring our distinctly feminine qualities into whatever we do – from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the home, to the social gathering. Yes, it makes us different from men, and that is a good thing.

The Feminine Genius was coined by Pope John Paul II, as a reflection on the spiritual and moral strength of a woman, and the importance of women harnessing the four aspects of their feminine genius to battle evil and work for good, while upholding humanity: receptivity, sensitivity, generosity and maternity.

Traits that are different from men’s inherent aspects, and are equally important. God made men and women to compliment the other. Fitting – quite literally – perfectly together to produce life in all aspects.

We were created to go together. For partnership. For unison. For side-by-side teamwork. And feminine and masculine attributes can only be fully understood in relation to the other.

Receptivity is the core of the feminine genius and spans this meaning physically, emotionally and spiritually. And we can most clearly see it demonstrated through Mary, the Mother of God: when she says “yes” and carries Jesus in her womb. She welcomes life. She welcomes God. It is her gift of self. One that can play out in all areas of life. (Which compliments a man’s inherent nature to protect, and give of himself in that way.)

This receptivity bears sensitivity towards others and their needs, springing forth compassion and empathy, love and charity. And through her generosity, she acts on those needs — whether as a mother, in her family, community or profession. Culminating in maternity — which embraces the divine destiny of woman as bearer of life, and spans all aspects of motherhood: from biological, adoptive, cultural, or spiritual motherhood. There is “inestimable value “(- JPII) for the maternal instinct inside women to nurture, to love, to foster development and take personal investment into furthering society. (Which compliments a man’s inherent nature to provide.)

These are the qualities that make women uniquely feminine. Uniquely she. Designed and created by God as the Crown of Creation.

Why are we fighting to plateau all differences and make men and women exactly the same? The fact is, women are powerful, uniquely qualified individuals, without whom, there would be no human race. Without whom, the love and compassion and generosity and sensitivity, compassion and charity in this world would be greatly stinted.

Yes, of course women should have all the same opportunities and privileges as men…but newsflash, people: we do! Women account for 59% of college students. Women can do every job a man can do – including running for President, and being the Vice President of the greatest nation on earth.

Women can do anything they set their mind to. And adopting the feminine genius doesn’t mean that a woman should spend her life vacuuming the house in pearls and heels all day.

It means that whatever that woman sets out to do with her life – be it a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a CEO, an actress, a stay-at-home mom, a business executive – wherever that woman is called, she can bring her feminine genius with her, and implement those uniquely feminine traits, blessing those she encounters.

That is the power of woman. That is a true feminism.

#ChooseToChallenge? The only thing I want to challenge today is the toxic femininity that is snuffing out and suffocating those beautifully feminine qualities, in an effort to “be one of the boys” and overtake a so called “patriarchy,” that – if it was real – couldn’t exist without the life giving contributions of women.

So there you go. IWD, in my mind is now over and done with, in the rear view mirror. Until of course, next year, when we’ll have to revisit this mumbo jumbo once again.

Lord, have mercy.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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108 thoughts on “Toxic Vs. True Feminism: International Women’s Day 2021

  1. Way to go! My exact sentiments on this day the world has lowered us not elevated us. Bless you for speaking out.

    1. Thank you so much friend. I’m so glad it resonated with you and I appreciate your support. Hugs and love xox

  2. Some of your points apply to the BLM as well. If we actually lived in an ideal world, equality for all gender, race, religion and whatnot would be the norm. Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet. Stay blessed!

    1. Thank you Mackie for sharing your thoughts on this. Oh to live in that ideal world! Hugs and love xox

  3. This! Yes! Just, all of it. And it’s funny before I even got to the photo of Mother Theresa, somehow as I was reading she came to my mind!! I love being the woman God created me to be. I feel so honored in this role. It saddens me that because of blindness to truth, other women do not see/feel the same. Satan is doing a fine job perpetuating the lie that God can’t be trusted and we know better than him and his design. 🙁 just another reminder of how much we need to pray for the lost, broken and searching.

    Thank you for always writing so truthfully, courageously and with grace and compassion for others.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words of support! Amen to that!! We are beautifully and wonderfully made. And yes! Power in prayer! Hugs and love xox

  4. This is a wonderful article! I have had so many of the same concerns you spoke of here about toxic Feminism. I hope in time we find the balance and learn to value all people and life. Thank you again!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad it resonated with you! Me too! Praying for that! Hugs and love xox

  5. Hear, hear! Love these observations and your perspective on this vital matter. We need one another, don’t we!?!

    In union there is strength.

    We cannot sort out the many layers of misunderstanding on this topic if we do not begin with a deep and pervasive attitude of gratitude for one another and for the unique gifts that each brings, regardless of any differences, either perceived or real.You did a nice job at pointing out many qualities of the female principle for which we can be constantly thankful and accurately described the pitfalls of not doing so.

    The fall can be reversed; so too can its effects, but it will take a level of humble repentance, diligent care, and reverent respect that few have been willing to demonstrate since the early days. We cannot restore the body of humanity by railing against those things that are not fitting. The longstanding game of “what-a-mole” must end in us and between us if we are to be a part of the solution. Once we stop resisting evil, we cease its perpetuation.

    I’m in and it sounds like you are.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful response, Gregg! You’re so right – we need each other! I agree. And thank you for your support. It really means a lot. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much Todd, your support really means a lot. I was nervous to publish this, so thank you! Hugs and love xox

  6. It’s another “us against them” scenario that divides instead of uniting. It feels like women simply tolerate men just long enough to get what they want, from pregnancy to…??? Instead it needs to be the two-person team with assigned responsibilities that Paul wrote about in Ephesians 5:22-33. Will we ever learn to become cooperative instead of divisive, whether it’s about sex, race, or geography?

    Receptivity – I never thought of defining feminism that way, but after some thought, I see how well that works! JP II is my favorite pope!

    Love the new artwork for your cover page! Great pic of you and Steven! As always, I enjoy your articles. Blessings to you both!

    1. You’re so right Jeff – why amplify division?!! We should be building one another up. It is so discouraging. Cooperation, just like you said! Yes! Receptivity is central to femininity in so many ways. And thank you! One of my Instagram friends made it for me!! Thanks Jeff. I hope your week is off to a great start, and that Memphis is beginning to warm up! Hugs and love to you and your girls! Xox

  7. 15 years ago I moved to NYC and learned about International Women’s Day from my students. Actually, it was the students who had moved here from another country, who would bring me bouquets of flowers and thank me. It took me a couple of years to remember this date because it just… wasn’t. It wasn’t a day I had ever even heard of prior to that.
    20 years ago, when I was in college, I took so many women’s history/”feminist” courses that I practically minored in it.
    Today… sadly, I agree with your post. If my school was open today, the students would come in with their bouquets of flowers full of genuine appreciation for this day. However, like you mentioned, now that it has become more mainstreamed, it lost its meaning. Atleast in my eyes as well. Where once I considered myself a feminist, I no longer do, because I don’t side with what it is today, the toxicity as you called it.
    Women are absolutely amazing creatures and we so deserve to be celebrated… without an agenda.

    1. Thank you so much Amy for sharing your thoughts on this. Oh wow, what an experience. Thank you for sharing that. Yes – that show of appreciation is so needed, and the movement has veered so off course it’s unrecognizable. Amen to that. So glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you my sweet friend!!! So glad it struck a chord with you!! Grateful for you and your friendship! Love you! Xox

  8. I have a lovely bracelet given to me by a woman, whose two sons I taught. I think she gave them to me, because I offered to help teach her English. International woman’s Day is INTERNATIONAL. Many women worldwide do not have the privileges many of us enjoy.

    1. Oh wow that’s such a special story. You’re right – sadly, not all women from around the world have the same privileges that are enjoyed by many. Those are the women we should be specially lifting up and championing on this day. So glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  9. Politics aside, the war between the sexes paused still are there not real issues like #me too, equal pay, and that’s just among the elite. But women suffer for just being women to name a few instances. Women who are denied rights in the Mideast, Africa and Asia. Genital mutilation. An Indian judge recently told the rapist of a young girl that he could avoid prison if he would marry her. What about epidemic rape in India, South Africa, etc. How about men who believe women should be subservient to them. How about women who are reduced to sex objects. What about women who are daily beaten and killed because they are women — honor killings. I could go on and on. Being white and privileged isn’t the lot of most women in the world. Who stands for them. Shouldn’t international women’s day be a day we not only praise women but as the entitled rededicate ourselves to do what we can to change mens’ attitude about women.
    “The true republic: men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

    1. Thank Steven for sharing your thoughts on this. The plight of women in non westernized countries is truly tragic and needs rectifying. That is definitely a great point. Hugs and love xox

  10. Once again, thank you for sharing some much grace and honesty. Back in 2006, I read this essay published in the mid 1990s about the growing tribalism among the left. The author pretty much predicted what is going on today. At this point I am even sure if people even know how to define feminism and what it means to be a woman. The origin of all this is really the devil. Satan loves our dissension because he is the first misogynist. He knew the Savior Jesus would come from a woman and he is doing everything in his power to attack women. From body image to anti-patriarchy rhetoric, it all can be laid at our enemy’s feet.

    But by God’s grace, we can uphold women without tearing down men. There are so many godly Christian women today whom I admire that today is really about them . Keep preaching!

    1. Thank you so much friend. You’re so right – there’s so much of a spiritual attack on true womanhood, and this toxic feminist is just another offshoot of that. Thank you for this encouragement. Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much! Oh gosh, wow what a compliment. Us and God. Amen – God must be part of the relationship. He is paramount!!So glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  11. Great piece! The early Church grew because women saw how honored and respected they were in this new community. Christian men cherished their wives and daughters. No wonder pagan practices evaporated in the heat of true love. May our Church rediscover it’s roots.

    1. Thank you Gerry! You’re so right – women have always had a very special and sacred role in the Church, starting with Mary, and continuing through the Saints and nuns, and to the women in the pews. So inspiring. Thank you for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  12. Wow. Yeah. It’s exactly this. I couldn’t have said it any better. You really do a great job expressing what true feminism is compared to stuff that goes over the top. I wish I knew more strong women like you Caralyn. Kudos.

    1. thank you so much Derek, i’m glad this struck a chord with you! and gosh, i appreciate your generous words! i am so touched!! have a wonderful afternoon! Hugs and love xox

  13. A beautiful post. I especially loved the sections on womanhood, and the example of Our Mother Mary.
    However many women have been mistreated and abused by men. We cannot move forward without acknowledging that violence against women is a terrible problem, so I see this as part of the issue. Bitterness, anger and fear have taken a toll. Ultimately healing from God’s love is the answer.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I really appreciate you sharing your heart on this. You’re right – it is a terrible problem. And amen – God’s love is the answer! Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much Al! i appreciate your kind words. oh wow – 54 years! that’s so beautiful, and really something to celebrate!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

    1. Hi Jo! oh gosh, thank you so much. I’m glad this resonated with you 🙂 thanks for your kind words! have a wonderful afternoon! Hugs and love xox

  14. Thank you once again, this is an amazing post and as I was reading my mind starts to see all the women in the bible, Rehab, Deborah, Queen Esther, among the many and thank you for the different perspective to the world as we see it. 🙂

    1. thank you so much Hannah! 🙂 i’m so glad this struck a chord with you! yes! there are so many strong women in the Bible! we have some great role models in that list! Hugs and love xox

  15. I was just saying all of this to my husband when we were talking about the flood of posts about IWD. If only more young women understood the true meaning of feminism and the feminine genius.

    1. Hi Amy! you’re so right, the younger generations of women have really received a skewed definition and demonstration of what it means to be a strong woman, and the feminine genius. It’s so sad, because God created us as strong women! but just like all goodness, the enemy takes a good thing and distorts it into something destructive, as we’re seeing play out. thanks so much for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  16. There was an author I read a long time ago who noted, men and women are equal like apples and oranges, both valued, both delicious, and both worthy of being their best selves. They are NOT equal as in 2+2=4. God created us with unique capacities and innate differences so that we could maximize our delight in His creative genius.
    To hear a man say, “I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body” would have made my dad laugh! It had to be a joke.
    Now, to laugh at this will get one fined for a hate crime or at least labeled as a bigot.
    “Follow the science,” we are told . . . unless it involves looking in your pants to see if you are a man or woman.
    Sadly, the next step in our degenerating “culture” will be the abolition of the last constraints of morality against incest and pedophilia. Look for this beginning to happen with people claiming they were “born with this interest; there’s nothing I can do about my genetic inclinations; as long as I don’t force or ‘hurt’ someone, it’ll be okay.”

    1. thank you for sharing that. i love that analogy with the fruit! you bring up a lot of great points. we need to bring God back into the picture, culturally! Hugs and love xox

  17. It saddens men to watch women pulling the rug out from under the great progress they’ve made in becoming openly proud of and celebrating their womanhood. Frankly, we don’t get it.

    1. Thanks Rollie, for sharing your thoughts on this. I agree. We can celebrate womanhood without tearing men down. Hugs and love xox

  18. I love what you wrote about the true nature of women and the differences between men. If we take the toxic part of the feminist movement that you write about and look at it as part of the recovery process, with a wee bit of compassion and tolerance for the women’s movement against systemic patriarchal phenomenon then the process is revealed. But I am not proposing that it wallow in victimization for years or that women act like good ole boys.

    In the 1970s I thought that men would have seen the logic of feminism and would have embraced women’s liberation as men’s liberation too. I didn’t count on the false sense of power-over dynamics fueled by rage and testosterone.

    This is a long read about Men Rage and the current version of the patriarchy that has become toxic: https://psychesweather.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/men-anger-and-rage-in-the-toxic-patriarchy/

    1. thank you so much! i so agree – to take the toxicity out of the feminist movement would bring about a lot of good, because there is a lot of goodness to be had! Hugs and love xox

      1. Did you miss the part of applying tolerance and compassion to the process elements of recovery from victimization within the feminist movement from my first post?

  19. Ahh! Yes! You just put into words the thoughts that jumble around my head whenever the toxic feminism comes up in conversation! So, thank you for that 🙂 I usually dodge social media on IWD for those reasons as well. So refreshing!

    1. thank you Vera for your words of support. The toxicity is really harmful. i think i might take a page from your book on social media next year! Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much! i’m glad that my words resonated with you 🙂 i hope you have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  20. A foolish woman is clamorous (so loud or insistent as to compel attention; vociferous implies a vehement shouting or calling out. vociferous cries of protest and outrage clamorous may imply insistency as well as vociferousness in demanding or protesting-merriam-webster.com); she is simple, and knows nothing. Proverbs 9:13

    Keep up the good work lil sis, love you.

    1. Thank you Silvana for sharing your thoughts on this. THere is so much wisdom in the Bible. Yes! To be humble and reflective of God! Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much Jane! i’m glad you enjoyed it! have a wonderful night! Hugs and love xox

  21. Dear Caralyn
    I agree with you that women and men have different attributes. I share your pain at the loss of life in abortion.
    But there are some matters in your post with which I must disagree.
    First, it’s *International* Women’s Day. Whatever the position in the USA, there are many places in the world where our sisters are at risk purely because they are women. Did you know, for example, that in India every year about 8,000 women are murdered by their families because they do not bring the dowry expected, or they otherwise displease their in-laws. Most of these deaths are by burning and hence are referred to as bride burnings.
    Violence against women is prevalent in most countries. In the UK, for example, the percentage of reported rapes that end in conviction is tiny; speaking from memory it’s about 4%.
    Wherever you look you will find that the judicial system fails women who are the victims of male violence. What is that if not evidence of a patriarchy?
    If you haven’t experienced for yourself violence or discrimination purely because you’re a woman, then you’ve been lucky. It would be nice if you could acknowledge that in some ways our sinful world uniquely makes women the subject of violence and prejudice, and then use IWD to challenge those elements within your own culture.
    With love (and rather a lot of sadness)
    Penny

    1. Hi Penny, thank you so much for sharing your powerful perspective. You bring up a great point about the international nature of this day. There are so many countries in the world where women sadly dont enjoy the same freedoms we do, and it is those women we need to be lifting up and championing. Those are some very sad numbers. Thank you for opening my mind to these powerful points. Much love and hugs to you as well. xox

    1. thank you so much david – yes! those qualities are given to us from above, and match perfectly with men’s! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much! i’m so glad this resonated with you! amen to that! it is such a gift that we were given to bring life into this world, or foster life here!! Hugs and love xox

  22. yes, sadly it seems that groups feel the need to move the needle from where it may have been in the past to the extreme opposite rather than letting it rest in the middle where it will be in harmony… but like all things just stay with the truth, the bricks that make that path won’t move 🙂

    1. thank you David for sharing your thoughts on this. amen to that – gotta stay with the truth!! Hugs and love xox

  23. Well done. I don’t comment much, but this is one of my favorite posts you’ve written — keep writing and witnessing. Prayers and blessings!

  24. You make some valid points. I have not thought of IWD as an attempt to make men and women exactly the same, but rather to give women exactly what you say in the end of your post that you think women already have equal rights. I guess the rub is that a lot of women don’t feel they do have equality (equal pay for equal work, for instance). But, believe me, we’ve come a long way in the 82 years I have been on earth. No longer could a superintendent interview me (as he did back in 1961) and say, “Why do you want a job? You have a husband who makes a living wage. You should stay home and raise a family and provide a loving home for your family.” And in those days, elementary teachers received far lower wages than high school teachers because more men were in the high schools and the women’s wages were looked at as “unnecessary supplements to their husband’s wages.” When I applied in 1967 for a job as a principal, I was told I would have to be prepared to help repair the roof on the bus shed during spring break… could I do that? Oh Caralyn, don’t get me started. The “glass ceiling” was shattered by a lot of women’s blood, sweat and tears! We don’t want to be the same… but we want to equal respect – and equal opportunities. Right?

    1. Thank you Jan for sharing your heart on this topic! You’re right, we have come a longgggg way. Oh my gosh Yes! I am so grateful for the sacrifices and hard work women before me have put in to shatter that glass ceiling. Heck, without them, I’d have to be writing under a male pen name!!! Thanks again. Hugs and love xox

  25. Was kind of scared to read the comments but very happy to see that they are for Thur most part positive! I whole heartedly agree, we have lost sight of so many things in our society as of late. Just hoping its not too late. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much Becca Anne! yes, this is definitely a bit of a hot button issue, that’s for sure! i appreciate your support. same here! Hugs and love xox

  26. I love what you have to say! I feel like so much of toxic feminism is telling women they should be like men, like they should want the same things in the same way, act the same way, and throw off anything toxic feminism sees as “weak” and “feminine” instead of valuing women in their differentness and how beautiful and wonderful that is. At the same time it shames men for being men, it tells women to be more like men.
    A woman should be encouraged to be herself, her true self, and to grow into the best version of herself she can be, without pressuring her to fit into a certain feminist box, whether that is the box that says women shouldn’t get higher education or ever work outside the home (yes, I know a lot of people who actually believe that) or the box that says women are weak or “unenlightened” if they don’t look like the picture of “strong womanhood” that other people say they should be.
    Both are oppressive.

    1. Thank you so much Hope for sharing your thoughts on this! I agree – that is a truly strong woman! strong women come in many forms! Hugs and love xox

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