It was once the case that women were expected to cultivate virtue. There was no single purpose in doing so. It might have been intended to benefit a woman's spiritual life. Or, perhaps, to help her become a better wife, mother or daughter. A woman might have cultivated virtue to overcome personal character flaws, or perhaps character flaws typical of her sex. Alternatively, the cultivation of virtue might have been aimed at fulfilling or realising the better parts of her nature as a woman (so that a part of her own essence was allied to the good).
And then liberalism entered the scene and said to women that there was no need to cultivate virtue. The liberal message was that you should simply do what you want, or be what you want, as long as you didn't restrict others from doing the same. If there were any ethical standards they were now aimed at "liberating" individuals from unchosen standards or identities, or else enforcing the "non-interference" rule (even if this itself became highly intrusive) via concepts like non-discrimination, equality, inclusiveness and so on.
Our society does not celebrate women being virtuous but being "empowered," which is to say, placed on a path of solo development, in which family relationships and biological sex are thought of as accidental to identity or life purposes.
This means that there has been a shift in what gives a measure of self-discipline to women's lives. The effort to succeed academically and the demands of workplace professionalism do require self-discipline from young women. But personal relationships less so. If personal relationships do not provide the social context in which virtue is practised, then they become a sphere in which fewer bounds are acknowledged, not even those imposed by nature.
There will never be a better culture of relationships when there is so little emphasis on virtue. If we men are dissatisfied with how things are, then we have to set things back on track - we have to steer the culture back the right way.
There will be women who will be on board. After I started writing this post, a young woman on Twitter made the following thread:
This young woman is helping to pave a way forward to something better, by identifying specifically feminine virtues to cultivate. She adds the following to her list:
Note the variety of traits that she is promoting. Some of them are virtues we typically associate with women; others are qualities that are rarer in women but of high value in relationships.
The last one is an overarching trait, in which feminine identity is connected to a transcendent good:
She has articulated all this exceptionally well. She has reconnected to virtue, to family and to womanhood and in doing so denied to liberalism a power over her own mind. The more who can do this, the stronger will be the pushback within the mainstream culture.
A note to Melbourne readers. If you are sympathetic to the ideas of this website, please visit the site of the Melbourne Traditionalists. It's important that traditionalists don't remain isolated from each other; our group provides a great opportunity for traditionalists to meet up and connect. Details at the website.