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If you need a quick primer on the birds and the bees, on how a culture has been misled, and on why Carrie and her friends from yet another Sex and the City movie have had miserable, not-so-pretty lives, the woman once declared “Most Desired Woman” by Playboy can help you out.
The actress has written a book, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, which might just stand out on bookstore shelves. We need it to!
In an article that coincided with her book’s launch, she wrote: “Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth-control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.”
Wow. Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood have been mainstreamed — and federally funded — to such an extent that it is only the most pro-life members of Congress who tend to question our relationship with Sanger’s group and her dangerous, delusionally permissive, and eugenic legacy.
Further, what she writes knocks the glimmer off the rose of so-called “sexual freedom.” The concept, ushered in by the pill, she says, “has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.”
In an otherwise largely celebratory forum on the pill at CNN’s website, Republican strategist and book publisher Mary Matalin cleverly and jarringly wrote: “Packages of portable liberation ushered in a generation of women determined to break free from their inferior patriarchal oppressors. And how did they manifest their superiority? Their freedom? Thanks to The Pill, by casual, drive-by sex. Whoa. That really showed those stupid boys.”
The feminist movement has a lot to answer for when it comes to the open and enthusiastic embrace it gave the contraceptive mentality, which interferes with a woman’s relationship with her own body, never mind her relationships with men. Of course, many of the women of the “sexual revolution” generation paid the price in their own lives — they found that their best fertility days were gone by the time they realized they wanted to be women, not women suppressing that which makes them most creative.
Welch and Matalin’s message stood in contrast to the spin that was predominant this Mother’s Day, which happened to be the 50th anniversary of the contraceptive pill, in an ironic twist of the calendar. Among the pile-on parade of pill celebrations was an item from the AFP newswire that read like a press release from the memberless group “Catholics for a Free Choice,” known more for being successful at getting press attention than for representing anyone or any principled “Catholic” position. The AFP dispatch from the pill PR agency betrayed its ignorant agenda by making stale jokes about “the rhythm method” — a term that has been, for decades, used by no one but critics of the Catholic Church. It also slammed the late Pope Paul VI for not prioritizing suggestions made by an advisory panel over the teachings of the Church when writing his searingly prescient 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which warned about, basically, everything Raquel Welch regrets in our oversexed culture.
Janet E. Smith, editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right, among other books, and professor of life ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, tells me, “I keep hoping common sense might have some force with the secular world.” In the spirit of that hope, Welch’s comments are a welcome change. When the first Sex and the City movie came out a few years ago, I went to a depressing midnight showing on its opening night in New York. The reactions of the young audience members, in their Jimmy Choo knock-offs, suggested that a little talking-to from Janet and Raquel might do them a world of good.
Raquel Welch echoes another pope when she talks about sexual explicitness in the culture. In an interview, she asked: “Do we really have to go so far where nothing is happening unless we’re getting graphic? Can’t we use our imagination anymore?” Welch continued, “A woman is wonderful thing. We are a real prize to be won. It’s not an easy role to play, but a beautiful and powerful one.” The late John Paul II called it the “feminine genius.” She also talks about other “traditional” ideas that have been out of style in elite culture, the two-parent family and marriage — despite her own admitted failings on these fronts. She emphasizes the different roles of mothers and fathers and how they can truly make a formative difference in a child’s life.
I understand why many in the media worked overtime spinning the pill as a good for mankind this Mother’s Day. But the truth is that motherhood is at the heart of what it means to be a woman, and, for decades now, the pill has been trying to deny that reality. Mind you, you don’t have to have children to be in tune with that great gift to the world, but you do have to know it, acknowledge it, and not pop a pill the purpose of which is to treat fertility as if it were a disease rather than a tremendous power.
To groups that have for decades insisted that they represent so-called “women’s issues” and women’s interests, the truth behind Raquel Welch’s comments must be a bitter pill. So keep preaching it, Raquel! It’s a more liberating message — about the nature of life and love and men and women — than the feminist revolution ever offered.
– Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.