Why Women Feel “Betrayed” By Their Bodies

By Julie Roys
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Why would a woman feel “the oppressiveness of her biology” and “betrayed by (her) body” simply because she’s pregnant? Okay, I admit I rarely experienced morning sickness, so my perspective is probably somewhat skewed. But even so, I always delighted in my pregnant body. Sure, it had its challenges, but those were nothing compared to the joy and anticipation of new life.

But, times have changed and so has women’s view of themselves and their bodies. So, Rachel Willis, a guest writer for Christianity Today’s “Her-meneutics” blog, writes: “My first pregnancy made me feel gendered as a woman, trapped by my female body, in a way that I had never before experienced.  Until then, I always felt my body… never restricted me to any so-called woman’s role… I saw my education, my right to vote, my career opportunities, and my husband folding laundry, and I said, ‘It is good.’”

Decades ago, we delighted in our inherent femininity and embraced motherhood as a privilege. Now, we view these things as barriers to our self-actualization.

You see, one of the major tenets of feminism that most women have embraced – often uncritically – is this idea of role interchangeability. That is, that women can and should assume all the roles traditionally assigned to men. But, our bodies prove a major impediment to this goal. As Willis writes, morning sickness and pregnancy-induced back problems made it impossible to do her job competently. And, let’s be honest, after childbirth, these impediments only grow larger. Our babies and toddlers demand more and more of us. And, try though they may, daddies and nannies often prove poor substitutes for mom.

But, rather than embrace our natural functions, we fight them in an effort to gain control. This is why feminists demand abortion and contraception and label any restrictions on them a “war on women.” In reality, though, women are warring against themselves. Decades ago, we delighted in our inherent femininity and embraced motherhood as a privilege. Now, we view these things as barriers to our self-actualization.

Yet, I appreciate the honest question Willis asks at the end of her piece: “How does God want me to think of my body?” See, if we feel betrayed by our bodies when they’re simply performing their designed function, perhaps we’re the ones betraying our bodies – not to mention the One who designed them. True, sex roles don’t necessarily have to be as rigid as society once held, but they’re not fluid either.

Programming Note

We’ll be talking about contraception this Saturday on Up For Debate with popular Catholic theologian Christopher West, who opposes contraception – and Messiah College Professor,Dr. Janell Paris, who believes contraception is a legitimate option for Christian couples. Before making up your mind on this issue, I encourage you to listen to the interview above. Then, join me Saturday for what I know will be a fascinating discussion!




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2 thoughts on “Why Women Feel “Betrayed” By Their Bodies”

  1. Julie, I appreciate your viewpoint in this post. I am concerned that gender in our 21st century culture is viewed as a liability if it in any way points to a specific role to play. Yet our Creator designed us on purpose for a purpose, and I feel gender is one of the ways He has gifted each of us to fulfill that purpose. Thank you for participating in this very important discussion for Christian women.

  2. Even when I was young, I knew abortion was wrong. I just never thought about contraception. I accepted it without considering the matter at all. Later, reading C.S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength”, when I saw that a character who had come from the past was so outraged that a married woman had used it. I had to think that maybe there was more to the traditional Christian view than I had previously thought. Of course as a single never married woman I haven’t had to deal with the natural consequences of this rethink.

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