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    Criticize Harrison Butker all you want. Homemaking is back

    By Carrie Gress,

    25 days ago

    Harrison Butker touched a live wire in his recent commencement address at Benedictine College. The place kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs violated one of the strongest taboos in America. He used the H-word: homemaking.

    During the May 11 speech, Butker said he wanted to speak directly to the women “who have had the most diabolical lies told to you.” He continued: “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

    Shifting to his own wife, Isabelle, he said: “It cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

    Despite the local audience who gave Butker a standing ovation and the fact that his #7 jersey is selling like hotcakes, Butker’s remarks have not been well received by the cultural elite. The NFL has distanced itself from him, with Jonathan Beane, the NFL's senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, telling NPR, “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

    Jason Page at MSNBC had perhaps the most eyebrow-raising response. Page said that members of the political Right “sit idly by, or even worse, may applaud the ignorance of a kicker telling women to stay at home and pop out babies in a subservient manner while worshipping their husbands. The misogyny at play is staggering.”

    What is staggering is that anyone actually believes this anymore.

    What the intelligentsia doesn’t yet realize is that the winds have changed, and the blather about women popping out babies and worshiping their husbands just doesn’t land the way it did 50 or even 10 years ago. Feminism fatigue has set in: Women who have been groomed for three generations to crave power and control at the expense of family are now reprioritizing.

    The girlboss is out — she has been replaced with the likes of the “softgirl” or the “tradwife,” to name two of the latest trends. These new monikers reveal that '70s feminism is losing its grip. Women, particularly younger women, have lost their stomach for the corporate ladder grind and its requisite sacrificing of husbands and children.

    This Mother’s Day, Raina Raskin, an editorial assistant at the New York Times who would likely not call herself either a softgirl or a tradwife, praised her new role as a mother : “It was my daughter’s love that freed me from my delusions of grandeur. It liberated me from the tyranny of trying to prove myself. ... Whatever I was chasing before — and it really varied from moment to moment based on my social settings — seems to have evaporated.”

    Raskin says that after years of being selected among many for a job or by a mate, she finally found something much better in motherhood: a sense of belonging.

    The shift away from hostility to motherhood isn’t just in what women are saying but also in what women are doing. Every home art and craft has come back into vogue: sourdough starters, gardening, knitting, homesteading, sewing, and interior design. Americans spend billions of dollars on our homes not just so they can be beautiful, but in the little-recognized hope that they can become sanctuaries, places that nourish, comfort, and embrace those who live in them. But the physical home cannot do these things on its own. It needs a homemaker.

    Five decades of feminist disdain for homemaking have ushered in alarming realities. Women are not having children, and understandably so. It is hard to do it all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report shows the U.S. birth rate is at a historic low. The problem isn’t limited to the United States. What women aren’t being told by daytime TV, Hollywood, and pandering politicians is that every civilization needs babies. No civilization that fails to reproduce itself can survive.

    There are other reasons to respect the home and raising a family. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen recognized in 1948 in his profoundly prescient book, Communism and the Conscience of the West, the family is vital for a country to flourish.

    "It is the home which decides the nation,” he wrote. “What happens in the family will happen later in Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court. Every country gets the kind of government it deserves. As we live in the home, so shall the nation live."

    Sheen answers the questions that so many of us have about how our country has gotten so off-course. It started when we abandoned the home.


    The decision for a woman to stay home can often be challenging, particularly when the economy and culture pressure her to do otherwise. Regrettably, not every woman who wants to stay home can. But rather than twist this decision into a caricature or a source of scorn and disdain, we can do something better.

    We can, as in most of human history, recognize the incredible value and hidden benefits that come when we honor those who make a home that allows present and future generations to thrive. Many, like Butker and his wife, already have. The elites, meanwhile, will likely just keep lobbing Hail Marys in an attempt to save their ossified vision of women and family.

    Carrie Gress, Ph.D., is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a scholar at the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. She is the author of numerous books, including Theology of Home and The End of Woman (Regnery, August 2023).

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