She had been climbing the career ladder of science her entire adult life, but as 33-year-old Rachel Bock neared her goal of getting her Ph.D., her once confident strides began to buckle. The hairline fractures in her worldview really started to show.
“One more year,” her then-roommate said to her, looking up from her laptop as they sat at the kitchen table, both students working over breakfast. “I can't wait to start trying to have a baby, I can't wait to be done with this. I hate this.”
Ms. Bock had indeed heard correctly. The younger woman let it slip out, saying what many of her peers were thinking.
It wasn’t the first time Ms. Bock had heard the sequestered longings of her female cohorts—which, to some degree, she felt herself.
In private, hanging out together, the young women confided to each other, “I don't want to keep doing this, this is crazy!” or “I'll get my degree, but then I'm staying home.”
Ms. Bock distinctly remembers a friend telling her point blank, “I can't wait to leave so I can get on with my life and have a baby already!”
Nor had Ms. Bock failed to spot the sequestered tears of her female fellows who were new mothers, painfully separated from their babies at daycare.
All the young ladies at this level of university had something in common, Ms. Bock, now 39, told The Epoch Times. (Rachel Bock is a pseudonym, used for privacy.) They were all 30-somethings working for their Ph.Ds., as she was.
“That's when reality kind of hits,” she said. “It's not like in undergrad where everybody's 18 and 19 and you can just pretend that, like, ‘I'm going to have this crazy career, it's going to be great!’”
Ms. Bock had bought into the promises, as they had.
“The way they describe it to you your whole life is like, you'll slip on a banana peel and a baby will come out,” she said. “It just didn't seem like [a family] needed the planning that a career needed.”
“I don't feel like I was ever not a feminist,” she said. “Everybody seemed to be a feminist. It didn't have any bad connotation.”
She followed the feminist mantras faithfully: Don't get distracted by a man. School comes first.
“I had boyfriends, but they always came second to everything I was doing,” she said.
As she moved around the country pursuing her career, her actions spoke volumes: she was leaving and it was assumed that if he was supportive, he would come too.
Doubtlessly, over the course of her education Ms. Bock has garnered many stellar accomplishments. Her 12-page CV would wobble the knees of any freshman—and many graduates.
A top-rate scientist, she had been a team lead in professional lab settings; had garnered multiple publications; partook in a prestigious fellowship program at an R1 institution; and was awarded Most Outstanding Graduate Student in her class.
Until, in the second year of her Ph.D. program, her then-fiancé—the one she placed on the backburner—fell by the wayside, for good.
Ms. Bock came to grasp that a family also takes much planning: You have to meet somebody you want to have a family with. You must plan it out. Decide to get married. Then actually get pregnant.
Now, that ship had sailed, or so it seemed to Ms. Bock at that time.
As she checked her experiments at 3 a.m. in the lab during Christmas, she realized, “I don't have anything that's real. I don't have a family.
“It was heartbreaking.”
All but having completed her Ph.D., lacking only her dissertation, she left academia for good after the third and final year.
Pondering where things went wrong, Ms. Bock recalled hearing words as a young girl—the seeds of feminism being planted in her very early on, shaping a comprehensive worldview, guiding her decisions.
Those words targeted little girls holding their dolls:
You don't have to have a baby; you can do whatever you want one day. You're just as smart as the boys, and don't let them tell you you're not.
“Everything that I did was to prove I was better than [men] or beat them in something,” Ms. Bock told the newspaper, adding that she was always being “measured against them.”
It's fine for girls to pursue stereotypical boy things, she said, if it’s “because they find interest in it” or if they “think it's fun or want to pursue it.”
In her drive to climb the ladder—and shatter glass ceilings for all women—this constant competition with men became a complex.
She never asked: What if, in the end, you never really shatter any glass ceilings? What if that far distant shore is just a feminist fantasy?
“A career is a never-ending climb,” she told us, revealing her newfound wisdom. “You don't ever reach the top, it's just a never-ending list of goals.”
What many women are seeking is settledness, she adds. And “family is really the only place that I feel that happens.”
It seemed late in the game for Ms. Bock to have an epiphany. Yet the once career-driven feminist had a profound change of heart, and would come to call it “all part of God's plan.”
All of her woes and worldviews collided in 2017, after leaving the bubble of academia, the echo chamber where only feminist viewpoints dominated, and after she met her now-husband.
They met in her home state, at a grocery store, and hit it off. Now outside the narrow university perspective, they had conversations.
“I was really angry for a while, and then it turned into sadness,” she said. “It was just a painful breaking of my worldview.”
They shared their wants in life, their beliefs, and what they felt was missing.
“I was finally able for the first time to just talk about all the ways I had been misled,” she told us, adding that her disillusionment with feminism led her to explore alternative viewpoints, including those of Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff Sommers, a.k.a. the "Factual Feminist."
Setting her considerable research skills to seeking the truth, she found out scientifically how males and females have distinctly and inherently different traits.
Women are more nurturing, and it’s natural for them to desire a family to nurture.
Little girls look at their mother's faces for longer than little boys, she learned.
“Girls will draw more things related to people,” she said. “Boys draw projectiles, or things moving, or objects.”
The sexes are different, and that’s okay.
With this sensible new revelation, everything suddenly made sense and, moreover, it lifted off the maddening pressure. Girls don't have to compete to be like boys. It's all just a misnomer.
But it is actually much darker, she learned.
Amid her soul-searching, Ms. Bock attended a feminist march in 2017. Seeing how angry all of the women were with signs saying, “The future is female” and “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” it was nonsensical, she said. “I didn't feel like I was even part of the march even though I was there.”
In her quest to understand this disconnect and reconstruct her own worldview, Ms. Bock uncovered the cultural Marxist roots of feminism, that it was something more deliberate to begin with.
It was “designed to frame women against men and fracture the institution of the family,” she said. “They've been making me into a victim my whole life. … It's so handicapping.”
For her whole life, “everything was sexism, and you had to … convolute what was happening in order for it to be sexism,” she said. When she realized “there's just these inherent differences between men and women, everything just became so much simpler.”
After marrying her now-husband and moving to his home state of Colorado to pursue their shared dream of having a family, she had another, more spiritual, revelation.
Before their entire belief systems had been dashed into a million pieces, Ms. Bock and her husband had both been atheists.
But their deeply humbling experience of being duped had opened their minds to new spiritual possibilities, in addition to scientific, and one day she picked up the Bible to see what was inside.
That’s where she saw a passage, inquiring whether someone had been around when the rivers and mountains were built.
“Essentially, God's saying, ‘You don't know everything,’” she told The Epoch Times. “You weren't there when the world was created.”
Today, Ms. Bock and her husband are Orthodox Christians living rurally in the Centennial State. Now with their 1-year-old firstborn and “one on the way,” she said, “God willing, we’ll have two, at least.”