The battle against feminism is better fought by women because the public has been convinced that men are not qualified to speak about issues that affect the fairer sex. Women understand and know how to express feminine problems for a female audience even though these matters invariably affect everyone. Even so, there is no guarantee that female critics of feminism will be treated any better than their male counterparts. The clash is inevitable since any lady who questions feminism is immediately denounced by feminists (male and female) as being anti-women. Having the ability to speak from the perspective of a woman is an advantage, but a solid argument will win the day. The latest book by Carrie Gress is a pleasure to read because her arguments are powerful and persuasive. The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity is forceful yet gracious, logical yet passionate. Gress takes on the nasty woman establishment. She returns the charges feminists use against their critics: They themselves are “anti-woman” and “toxic.” They are, writes Gress, anti-Mary.
A Battle of Archetypes
Her central thesis is simple. This is a battle of archetypes. An archetype is an ideal or model on which all things of the same type are based. People naturally look for archetypes as the highest models of what they should be or imitate.
Thus, history records two ideal models for women. The evil female archetypes are found in Scripture and literature in figures like Jezebel, Salome, or vile pagan goddesses.
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The other archetype is Mary, the Mother of God who possesses all virtues and grace. The book chronicles the battle between the two archetypes, Mary and anti-Mary.
The history of anti-Mary feminism is not pretty. Dr. Gress dubs the feminist movement as Anti-Mary, Inc. The reader is given a short history of the main feminist characters and their broken and immoral lives. The author shows how the liberal establishment—the Inc. part—promotes, finances, and spreads toxic feminist ideas in the media, academia, and the general culture.
Her approach is not just a presentation of disturbing facts about the feminist movement. Dr. Gress shows that feminism leads to dark ends. Divorce, contraception, and abortion are means found everywhere along its path.
Starting with the early twentieth century, she sees feminism from a Fatima perspective, namely, as one of “the errors of Russia” and part of the revolutionary process of communism. She then shows, perhaps with a bit too much detail, where the feminism of the Sexual Revolution leads. It leads to lesbianism and the destruction of “gender.” It leads to witchcraft and goddess worship. It will finally end up in Satanism.
Worst of all, feminism destroys and enslaves countless women who are unaware of both the process and the final goals until it is too late.
“The anti-Mary, then, is a sophisticated and aloof sort of slavery,” Dr. Gress claims, “where nothing is too evil or too bad to try, but also where every effort is made to erase the naturally imprinted icon of Our Lady stamped into the body and soul of every woman.”
The Mary Archetype
The Mary archetype could not be more contrary to Anti-Mary, Inc., which professes a hatred of virginity and motherhood. It also could not be more politically incorrect.
Our Lady, Virgin and Mother, is the antidote for toxic femininity. There is an “ache” in the feminine soul that yearns for something that the modern world cannot satisfy and only the Blessed Mother can provide. The author boldly claims that “women are all called, whether we know it or not, to imitate Mary.”
Feminists have gotten it all wrong. They fail to understand the powerful role women can play when working with their nature not against it.
Dr. Gress quotes a National Geographic article that called Mary the most powerful woman in the world due to so much devotion to her by the faithful. However, the power Our Lady wields is not the brutal control and empowerment so idolized by the liberal establishment and facilitated by technology.
“Our Lady’s virtues are the exact opposite of what the world has been promoting for decades,” Dr. Gress again boldly asserts. “Few are willing to tell women to be obedient, humble, submissive, and meek.”
Indeed, Our Lady’s power is found in her submissiveness to God especially when assenting to be the Mother of God. However, these virtues, which feminists portray as weak and characterless, manifest themselves in powerful, fruitful, beautiful, and dynamic ways.
These ideas are so radically different from those of the present culture that, if applied correctly, they have an immense attraction. Far from repelling women, they are ideas whose time has come. The feminist paradigm is exhausted: “After fifty years of watching the sterility of feminism destroy the culture, there is plenty of evidence that purity, virginity, and motherhood are important not just to women but to families and society.”
A Spiritual Battle
The author does not let the other side decide the field of battle. She affirms that this is a spiritual battle. It cannot be won using the rhetoric or tactics of the other side. Her ways to combat the anti-Mary involve highly spiritual exercises taught by the Church.
“The fruitfulness of the Rosary is hard to exaggerate,” she writes, “especially when looking at the history of the Church and the many ways in which Our Lady has helped those who have prayed it devotedly.”
The feminist revolution is only part of the crisis afflicting the modern world. This critique helps put it in the correct context of an archetypal, process-driven, cultural, and spiritual battle. Mary, the Gentle Lady, wins in the end.