I'm never sure to what extent discussions on Facebook between major blog personalities (at least, major in that small pond which is Catholic blogging) are considered acceptable fodder for public discussion. Those who make their blogs semi-professional publicity venues seem also to maintain thousands of Facebook "friends", and the comment threads on their statuses can run to hundreds of comments, so I tend to assume that their acceptably public. However, in this case, the discussion that got me thinking yesterday seems to have vanished along with its 100+ comments, so I'll keep things general since it's primarily the general line of thinking on which I wanted to comment.
A well known Catholic male blogger posts on a Catholic female blogger's wall: What do you and your readers think about [pro-life tactic]. I've had a number of pro-lifers tell me that anyone who opposes this tactic is not pro-life, but I can't imagine that any woman would support an idea which so clearly is based on humiliating women.
Leave the merits of this aside: So far as I could tell, most of the fuss in this particular situation (including the position of the male blogger) stemmed from people who didn't actually know much about the real-life details. What I think is interesting here is an assumption one too often gets, that women are a monolithic group of people who we can expect to all share the same insights into some given topic.
For instance, recall back at the height of the clerical abuse scandals when you would hear people going around saying, "If women had more leadership power in the Church, they never would have allowed the covering up of child abuse."
These kind of statements are made by people who think of themselves as standing up for the dignity of women. But in the process, they assume that women do not in fact have the variety of independent thought that men do: Oh sure, men might be for or against abuse, for or against some political position that I'm against, but surely no woman would support this!
Even if you think that a belief or practice is strongly anti-woman, it's almost certainly the case that at least some women support it, and indeed support it strongly. That's not because they're class traitor or hoodwinked by patriarchy -- it's because they're persons capable of forming their own beliefs and opinions -- even opinions you dislike. This doesn't mean that people can't argue that some belief or practice is "anti-woman" or "offensive to women" or some such, but don't expect that this means that no women will support the very thing you're opposing.
The Ruling of Prudence
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