An Empowered Womans Response to Harrison Butker

An Empowered Womans Response to Harrison Butker

I am a mother
an athlete
an artist
    I am a woman 
I am all of these things and yet so much more 
I am a dreamer
a seeker
an adventurer
    I am a woman 
What I do, I have done, and will do, defines me - only as I see fit
I am so much more than the labels that society has placed upon me
I rebuke all that they say I should be, and do
I will not succumb to misogynistic societal labels and expectations…
    I am a woman

I will not be told “diabolical lies” that my greatest accomplishment is to only be a mother, that I must “lean into my vocation as a wife and mother” and nothing else. I AM so much more…so much more than Harrison Butker could ever understand or appreciate, and so I am writing this response to empower other women to stand up and embrace your feminine power and not allow someone like Butker to influence and/or define who YOU are. Read his full commencement speech here.

Is being a mother infinitely rewarding and a great accomplishment – absolutely without question. But, is it my only great accomplishment, the only rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life that I can be proud of? A resounding NO.

I’ve achieved so much in my life that I am proud of, great accomplishments that I achieved right alongside being a mother. I received my masters degree in political science when my daughter turned five. Interestingly enough, my Masters Thesis was on gender equality, specifically about allowing women to make the choice of being a mother on their own terms, and what that looks like to each and every woman as they see fit, THAT is feminism – to have a CHOICE. I spent endless hours studying, attending classes and securing a 4.0 gpa for my efforts, all while working two part time jobs and single-handedly raising two children, basically on my own. Even though I had a “partner” I was living the life of a single mom. I became a high school teacher, a college journal editor, I was a licensed residential contractor, I built a successful art business, I was a competitive mountain biker, and now I solo travel the country in my self-converted van on epic adventures – and I did it all on my own. And yet – some man tells me all of those things are meaningless outside of being a mother.

So, when this man has the gall to tell me that my only great achievement, and vocation, is to be a mother, I absolutely take umbrage. Yes, Butker gave his commencement speech at a Catholic school where their beliefs are conservative based, but even the nuns affiliated with the school denounced his speech as not being in alignment with their teachings/beliefs.

"The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica do not believe that Harrison Butker's comments in his 2024 Benedictine College commencement address represent the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college that our founders envisioned and in which we have been so invested," the nuns wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. – “"Instead of promoting unity in our church, our nation, and the world, his comments seem to have fostered division," they wrote. "One of our concerns was the assertion that being a homemaker is the highest calling for a woman. We sisters have dedicated our lives to God and God's people, including the many women whom we have taught and influenced during the past 160 years. These women have made a tremendous difference in the world in their roles as wives and mothers and through their God-given gifts in leadership, scholarship, and their careers."

And, what of those women who do not want to have children (in which case they shouldn’t), or cannot have children – do we ostracize them and denounce every achievement in their lives simply because they were never a mother. Or what of women such as myself who’s children are grown, am I to just be a spinster and hide away now that my only “purpose” in life has passed? There are so many issues to be taken with Butkers speech and the harm it does to womens forward momentum in having the equal rights and choices already afforded to men.

I say all of this not from a place of anger, as we get the leaders we deserve. But this does make me reflect on staying in my lane and focusing on my own vocation and how I can be a better father and husband and live in the world but not be of it. Focusing on my vocation while praying and fasting for these men will do more for the Church than me complaining about her leaders - Being locked in with your vocation and staying in your lane is going to be the surest way for you to find true happiness and peace in this life. It is essential that we focus on our own state in life, whether that be as a layperson, a priest, or religious.” ~ He should have stayed in his lane – play ball and leave the womens “work” – to the women – we have so much work undoing the damage that men have created for us already, we don’t need someone like Butker adding to our burden.

I absolutely applaud any women who chooses to stay home with her children, or even more importantly, has that option. Yet, so many women simply do NOT have that choice available to them. It’s either stay at home and let their children starve in todays economy, or go and get a job and provide a safe home for their children. So, are we to guilt these women for making the choice to take care of their children the best they can, and vilify them for it because they don’t have a professional athlete to provide them financial stability to do so? And if a woman chooses to have children AND a career – good for her!  We CAN have it all, it’s just the controlling religious cults/factions governed by men that don’t want women to have a career or be successful outside the home, why – because the misogynists would lose control over women – their greatest fear, and heaven forbid that should happen!

To say that his wifes life began when she became a mother is just unfathomable to me - "I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother." And then THIS “Isabelle's dream of having a career might not have come true, but if you asked her today if she has any regrets on her decision, she would laugh out loud, without hesitation, and say, “Heck, No.”

I would actually like to hear HER state this and why she feels that way – coming second hand from a misogynist doesn’t cut it. But, it would appear he controls what she says and does, as she doesn’t speak to any of this at all. She had a dream of a career and had to give it up – was it because it was what he wanted? I guess we will never know unless she speaks up – we are waiting.

Why are all of her other achievements lessened simply to prop HIM up? “Isabelle earned degrees in computer science and Spanish when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis. Harrison meanwhile attended Georgia Tech where he kicked for the Yellow Jackets football team and majored in engineering”. And yet…her greatest achievement and only thing she is now allowed to be is a wife and mother, she gave up her DREAM of having a career, and that is when her life began – according to Butker that is.

“This absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation.” – And what of domestic violence that is prevalent in the home and perpetuated by men the majority of the time?  What of that violence? As a domestic abuse survivor his words are a slap in the face to myself and any woman who has ever suffered violence at the hands of their domestic “partner” whom we are supposed to submit to according to Butker - “I'm on the stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation.” A vocation that he expects all women to “lean into” – um, no thanks, I tried that and was abused in every possible way for being a good woman to my partner – and I’m not the only woman that has suffered at the hands of a male partner for “leaning into her vocation as a wife (partner) and mother”.

“Be unapologetic in your masculinity, fighting against the cultural emasculation of men.”  Feminism, or a woman making her own choices, does not equate with emasculation of men, only the men who are threatened by empowered, strong women are emasculated – threatened by the millions of us women who are also mothers and are empowered to speak our truths to feminism and our own self preservation to stand up and fight for our rights, and our daughters rights.

The hyprocisy abounds in his speech, case in point - “You might have a talent that you don't necessarily enjoy, but if it glorifies God, maybe you should lean into that over something that you might think suits you better.” Um, why is he a football player then? There is no glorifying God in a sport that glorifies these players as celebrities and touts them as “idols” in a culture that rewards celebrity athletes above all else, particularly football players. From the Catholic church itself - “The Church also condemns polytheism: “The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God” (CCC 2112).” (source: And yet, Butker is/was idolized by football fans…although, perhaps not so much anymore in light of his outdated, misogynistic rhetoric.

Of course he can have his opinion and share it, but that doesn’t protect him from the backlash that he has received by expressing these opinions and beliefs. Just as I am here sharing my viewpoint, he is more than welcome to share his, but putting something so devisive, and with such antiquated thinking out for the world to hear, will create controversy and he will, and has been, condemned for it, and rightfully so. In this day and age we have no room for a man who touts the belief that women should be only mothers and wives and that is our only true calling - the only vocation we should engage in. And speaking these beliefs to a room full of women college graduates - why then are women even going to college? Simply to have a dream of a career - but no not really, jokes on you, your only role in life is to be a wife and mother and submit to a man. Someone please make sense of this!

I must also add that while I was pursuing my dreams and careers, I raised my daughter to be a strong, empowered and independent woman, and I have always fully supported whatever choices she makes for her life – and she has far exceeded my expectations and dreams for her. She was a college athlete, going to a very prestigious school on a full-ride volleyball scholarship. She received her Bachelors degree in communication and has since built an extremely successful social media marketing agency to be one of the top agencies in Miami single-handedly. She is now engaged to a wonderful man and hopes to have children one day, but is that when her life begins – Absolutely NOT! She HAS been living her life, on her terms, realizing her dreams and goals and creating new ones as she continues to navigate through her chosen path in life. And she will continue to live her life as a career woman, a wife and a mother – on her terms.

THIS is the life I want for my daughter and every woman out there – YOU choose what is right for you, YOU choose the path you want to take in life, YOU choose your goals and dreams and vocations. And if you have a supportive man BESIDE you, great! But, being a wife and mother is not the only thing that defines you, you choose what defines you – you, and only you get to make that choice.

A woman 
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Thank you Nicholas!


Bravo! You speak truth.

Nicholas Berdeguez

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