I know. We're not supposed to be. Our leaders speak out against feminism all the time. And while, for awhile, I thought "Ugh, the more those feminists talk the more they sound like they're projecting. There's no gender inequality. They don't see the value in being women so they have to fight for men's positions - they're just supporting the opposite view!"
I thought these women were only making womanhood seem that much less because they coveted traditionally male positions to prove a point. It's a fair assessment.
It wasn't until just a few years ago, though, that I started to see why some women feel shortchanged.
I've already talked about it a little bit. We're expected to pop out a dozen or so kids, and if we don't, we're considered selfish.
The words may not say "selfish" but the looks and tones say it.
We are to be good at keeping our home clean, teaching our children, cooking good and nutritious food. If we're extra good Mormon girls, we can even sew homemade clothing.
I am not a good Mormon girl. I admit it.
I wanted to be for so long. I loved the idea of taking care of my man, making him dinners and keeping the house just right and ensuring all was well in Zion, but after a while...a few things had gnawed at me just enough to start hurting:
"And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law...
"And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her..." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:54, 64)
Destroy her because she didn't necessarily like her husband taking on new girls. I don't know about you, but the tone in this just eats me up. For what is being asked of Emma, I'd expect something more compassionate. I'd hope for it, at least.
We say it's because the Lord wanted to raise up seed, but verse 51 says:
"Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice."
I know I'm really pushing the lines here, and I know some of you have expressed a comfort level with such a situation. I even get the "well, if you can't give up absolutely everything for God..." argument. But I can't read these verses and feel comfort. I'm not feeling the love. I don't see God threatening to destroy Joseph. The language concerning Joseph's part in all of this is comparatively soft.
It just adds to me feeling like nothing more than a baby machine.
Oh I know. We're always told about the divinity of motherhood, how women are vastly more spiritual than most men, that without us, men couldn't achieve the Celestial Kingdom anyway...
I understand that the Scriptures were written by men for men. But it bothers me, even still, even after hearing many attempts at explaining this:
"Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
(the Joseph Smith Translation does save itself a smidge in the final verse):
"Notwithstanding, they shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity, and holiness with sobriety."
- 1 Timothy 2:11-15
It just stings. Am I missing something? It's not as if teachers haven't tried to dull the pain - I have the notes in my scriptures right here, but I still don't understand it. And aren't we supposed to not pay for Adam's transgression, or is that a clever Article of Faith loophole because it didn't mention Eve?
Maybe my inability to understand is part my fault, maybe it's partly because...well, I won't say it.
I get that we're good for making sure our guys remember to do stuff. I get that we're good for making things look pretty (at least some of us). I even get that we're good at the service stuff. Hell, how often do we hear how the women VT stats are leaps and bounds better than the HT?
But mostly I've been feeling as if we're mere baby machines, husband/priesthood supporters who are expected to give up everything the minute we marry.
I didn't stop going to school just because I got married. There were other reasons for that. My problem lies in the fact that I'm getting the quizzical raised eyebrows when I say I'm planning on taking a few classes next semester.
I know the logic behind waiting until the kids are older. It's a lot like the logic that comes in waiting to graduate from school before marrying - but we're not exactly encouraged to do that.
I want my kids to know I'm more than just their mom. I want them to know I'm a person with hobbies and interests. I want them to know that I love me, too. I want them to grow up knowing they're more than just a husband or wife or mom. I want my daughter to know she's not just a mother-in-training, but a person, and that to be a good person she doesn't have to scrapbook, make cards, or know how to make damn good chocolate chip cookies (it's what I call them, haha). It's okay for her to want to be something when she grows up, and not just as a backup to "in case I don't get married," but because it's just good to know things, to be educated. It's important.
Yes, I think it's best to stay at home with the kids, but you won't see me judging a girl who doesn't. I honestly believe some women do better for their children when they can work a little (or a lot).
No, I don't think it's best to give up everything for them. Some sacrifice should be made; a girl ought to be able to have something to offer her children beyond the crafty Martha Stewart stuff.
Rebel Girls in a Boys Club Church
5 days ago