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By Deborah Wallace Ruddy

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IOO Failing to take responsibility for their own lifechoices, women allow important decisions to be made by others. lUI For women, the focus on the sin of pride tends to be stifling, and, at worst, destructive insofar as it exacerbates women's moral struggles and hinders their selfidentity. Today, Elizabeth Johnson echoes this view: [f pride be the primary block on the path to God, then indeed decentering the rapacious self is the work of grace. But the situation is quite different when this language is applied to persons already relegated to the margins of significance and excluded from the exercise of self-definition.

The very phrase. 'selfless love' raises the specter of a woman without any needs. desires. or even personality of her own. 130 As the only critic who makes a clear distinction between true and false humility. Bondi expresses concern about women serving others at the expense of their true selves. They compromise their own talents and freedom in submitting to others. Bondi points to the 129 Though Torjesen does not mention it. industrialization has furthered the dichotomy between the private and public spheres of life and made the gap between the so-called male/female vinues even wider.

2. • 68. • 109. • 63. 36 subordinate position to the benefit of those who rule. . Analysis of women's experience is replete with the realization that within partriarchal systems women's primordial temptation is not to pride and self-assertion but rather to the lack of it. to diffuseness of personal center, overdependence on others for self-identity, drifting, and fear of recognizing one's own competence. 100 Though Plaskow is more intent on diagnosing a problem than proposing a detailed solution, she maintains that a woman needs a definite self in order to give authentically to God and others.

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