Harrison Butker's Speech: The Real Reason Women Raged Over It


As a longtime advocate for the value of homemaking, I watched in unsurprised awe as the rage-o-sphere melted down over NFL player Harrison Butker’s unapologetically conservative comments in a commencement speech last month at Benedictine College, a Catholic university.

And, as is often the case when women are offended on the internet, much of the discussion made little sense and had more to do with feelings than coherent logic (although a lack of coherent logic is hardly a female-specific problem on the internet these days).

The truth is, when we cut through the noise and consider the bigger picture, we see that Butker’s comments caused backlash because he maintained the truth that feminists have been trying to deny for decades. And he refused to apologize.

To begin with, here’s what Butker said that caused such a stir:

“For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” he told graduates of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, in May.

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“How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? 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.”

“I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother,”  he continued.

“I’m on the stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but 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.”

This was followed by lengthy emphatic applause from the clearly very pleased audience.

His point was simple: marriage and motherhood are infinitely more valuable than white-collar careers to women themselves, as well as the men and children they love.

Most women, even in the “liberated” West where they can pursue education and careers, continue to choose careers that accommodate family life and child-rearing. Why wouldn’t they? Women are quite literally designed for children and also largely bound to the bodily functions of being fertile female humans.

This is why, for the most part, women have remained at home. Dwellings are overwhelmingly important for the sake of women and children. It’s very basic biology as well as anthropology, and I would even go as far as to say morality.

Most women will be fertile throughout the better part of their adult lives, whether we like it or not. Our bodies were quite evidently designed to procreate and our psyches also obviously reflect a construction uniquely suited for bonding, relationships and loving, feminine care.

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This design isn’t very easily accommodated for or by the competitiveness of scaling the career ladder — let alone joining the working classes as millions of mothers have been forced to do since the Industrial Revolution.

Yet feminism, as it earnestly seeks to eliminate distinctions between men and women, has always taken direct aim at the social convention that women remain oriented around the home, when women’s distinct needs are the real reason why we’d ever expect her to.

This is precisely why feminist ideas only truly took root and became commonplace, as many have argued, at a time and in a culture where birth control and industrial advancements have made domestic tasks less labor-intensive.

What we call “traditional gender roles” are rooted in a coherent understanding of humanity and sex. That is, they are centered around the biological realities of men, women, and the conception and rearing of children.

The domestic sphere has been the powerhouse of womanly arts not to silence and oppress women — as the postmodernists would have you believe — but rather to provide an arena for both female needs and purposes in families and society.

Yet as apologist Carl R. Trueman explains in his book “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self,” the majority of Americans do not realize their worldview has been shaped by the radical mid-20th century fusion of Marxist and Freudian ideas. This fusion directly defied traditional, Christian social morals and rendered them as arbitrary social convention. Yet this is, indeed, exactly what has shaped your average pop culture consumer and voter today.

Mankind has, in a relatively short period of time, radically changed its view of many important things, not the least of which is its view of womankind and what defines her as such.

“The intuitive moral structure of our modern social imaginary prioritizes victimhood, sees selfhood in psychological terms, regards traditional sexual codes as oppressive and life denying, and places a premium on the individual’s right to define his or her own existence,” Trueman explained.

The infamous declaration of Simone de Beauvior that “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman,” resonates with the deliberately culturally subversive views of postmodernism at large, which intentionally resists a traditional view of humanity and the body.

Beauvoir, like several of her feminist peers, and Karl Marx before them, believed that woman would not be free until unshackled from their traditional role in the home.

Given this sinister foundation, feminism has ever since — to some degree or another — always sought to minimize the social distinctions between men and women. We now see in 2024 that for many this has met its full fruition in utter nonsense: Men claiming to be women, and women and men claiming to no longer know what a woman is.

What is most heartbreaking is that as fixed female roles and a fixed understanding of femininity become distorted and stigmatized, it is women who end up the most maligned and silenced.

Just look at the disparagement of women who share Butker’s views on homemaking (ask me how I know that we are gaslit and ignored every single day) or who refute the left’s gender ideology dogma (J.K. Rowling, anyone?).

You can’t profess to stand for women’s rights if you refuse to define what a woman is.

As Trueman’s peer Nancy R. Pearcey explains in her book “Love Thy Body,” “To protect women’s rights, we must be able to say what a woman is. If postmodernism is correct — that the body itself is a social construct — then it becomes impossible to argue for rights based on the sheer fact of being female. We cannot legally protect a category of people if we cannot identify that category.”

This is all the more true when it comes to the rights of women everywhere, especially our daughters, who deserve to know that being at home is more than enough.

That their biological needs and domestic desires are real, natural, wholesome and valid — and that it is beyond OK if they most look forward to marriage and motherhood.

Just as the ultimate victims of feminism have always themselves been female, the victims of this commencement speech fiasco are not Butker or even his wife. Rather, they are the young Catholic women among the graduates that day whose divinely-inspired dreams and aspirations to embark on the holy vocation of motherhood were so validated by his kind regard.

And so, I applaud him for speaking on behalf of women everywhere who are so often disregarded or disparaged by a society that tells us our bodies are calling us to oppress ourselves.

May we all the more boldly embrace our calling in Christ, our value in the home, and the inherent dignity and value as women just as we are — no artificial birth control, abortion or fancy career necessary to validate us as human beings.

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Isa is a homemaker, homeschooler, and writer who lives in the Ozarks with her husband and two children. After being raised with a progressive atheist worldview, she came to the Lord as a young woman and now has a heart to restore the classical Christian view of femininity.
Isa is a homemaker, homeschooler, and writer who lives in the Ozarks with her husband and two children. After being raised with a progressive atheist worldview, she came to the Lord as a young woman and now has a heart to restore the classical Christian view of femininity.