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I have been looking at the rapid change in today's world's views and see that modern-day feminism is changing the way we all look at the proverbial family unit. I ask myself, if the Patriarchal Order is now dead. It seems as though, feminism is not in agreement of the way God has ordered the hierarchy of His kingdom. I find that some brothers whom have been endowed in the House of the Lord mistakenly have understood that the Patriarchal Order to be one of a dictatorship. This is far from the truth. However, feminism is not the antidote to chauvinistic male assertions of power. So, is the Patriarchal Oder Dead?
In a talk given to the Church Coordinating Council in 1993, Elder Boyd K. Packer identified three areas that pose a serious threat to the spiritual welfare to the members of the church. He said, “The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.” Of all the things he could warn us about, why did he choose these three things? I believe Elder Packer was warning us about an ideology, a belief system that is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ (not to mention American values). His warning has proven to be prophetic because each one of these issues (primarily feminism and gay marriage) is continually front and center in the media. Because there is too much to discuss with these topics, I have divided this post into two parts. The first will cover the feminism movement and its war against gender identity and the perceived threat of the patriarchal system. The second part will continue many of the themes in this post since all of them virtually share the same values and goals. Gender and the Patriarchal System In order to understand feminism, one must understand that the cornerstone of this movement is the belief that men and women, by nature are the same, and the only reason that gender roles exist is because of “social constructs.” That is where their belief that boys like guns and girls like dolls originates, because they are taught to. This reasoning explains why men are masculine, and women tend to be feminine, not because God made us this way, but because we are socially programmed to think this way. Their stance is that since these roles are learned, they can be unlearned. Feminists believe that the greatest perpetrator of these oppressive roles is the patriarchal system, where a man is the provider and protector, while the woman is the homemaker. Betty Friedan referred to the home as “a comfortable concentration camp.” “What better way to “re-educate” a generation than to do whatever is possible to destroy the traditional family? Jessica Valenti, an outspoken feminist, identified this as one of their objectives in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington post; “Feminism is a social justice movement with values and goals that benefit women. It’s a structural analysis of a world that oppresses women, an ideology based on the notion that patriarchy exists and that it needs to end.” Robin Morgan, another leading feminist said, “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” In essence, it is the patriarchal system that they see as an obstacle to women’s liberation. Once you understand this, you can begin to see why they have such contempt for the likes of Sarah Palin and Conservative Christians, and why Betty Friedan would refer to home makers as “feeble-minded.” One of the reasons that the feminist movement has been so active in the gay rights movement is that it undermines the “patriarchal system” and gender identities. What gay marriage is saying, in its essence, is that there are no gender distinctions, whether you have an actual mother and father, father and father or mother and mother, it doesn’t matter. Gay marriage only furthered the agenda of the feminists to remove any gender distinctions. So important is the removal of gender distinctions to this movement that Susan Okin, an academic theorist, envisioned a time when “one’s sex would have no more relevance than one’s eye color or the length of one’s toes.” No assumptions would be made about “male and “female” roles. It would be a future in which men and women participated in more or less equal numbers in every sphere of life, from infant care to different kinds of paid work to high-level politics.” If you think this is an example cherry picked from the fringe of this movement, here are but a few examples (I can provide many more); The Vancouver public now allows student to choose gender-neutral pronouns such as, “Xe,” “Xem” and “Xyr.”California is in the process of allowing gay men to list themselves as “mother” (how adorable) on their child’s birth certificate.NPR ran a story last year, called “Young People Push Back against Gender Categories,” I quote from the report, “They refuse to be limited by notions like male and female. ‘I want you to call me Tractor and use pronouns like zee, zim and zer.” Tracker? You can’t make this stuff up.What Does This Mean For Latter-day Saints? The Proclamation on the Family makes it clear “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” With indisputable evidence, not to mention, common sense, one has to “will” themselves to believe otherwise. In essence, Feminism is a rebellion against nature, against what is true. That is why it can be accurately called an ideology, a religion. One of the worst things about this ideology is how it contaminates ones thinking. It leads a person to perceive threats where none exists. It becomes easy, almost natural to think of oneself as a victim. This may be the reason Kate Kelly perception that the church is an “institution that is fundamentally unequal, oppressive,” and demonstrates classic symptoms of a “very aggressive serial abuser.” There will come a time when we will need to make a choice of which way we face, because it is impossible to adhere to values thatare in-congruent. For this very reason, Elder Packer warned us of their danger.
A few months ago, The New York Times Magazine discussed a study which found that couples who considered their relationship as “egalitarian” had less sex than couples who adhered to traditional gender roles. The results from this study surprised many. It was assumed that sex would improve as the marriage became more equal. Not so! This study found “that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex. Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming…then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car….The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.“ Women “do want their husbands to help out — just in gender-specific ways. Couples in which the husband did plenty of traditionally male chores reported a 17.5 percent higher frequency of sexual intercourse than those in which the husband did none.” The findings in this study comes as no surprise to those who work in the field of family therapy, “No matter how much sink-scrubbing and grocery-shopping the husband does, no matter how well husband and wife communicate with each other, no matter how sensitive they are to each other’s emotions and work schedules, the wife does not find her husband more sexually exciting, even if she feels both closer to and happier with him. For those who are LDS, consider these questions. What might the proclamation on the family say about the results of this study? Does the proclamation on the family encourage egalitarian marriages? Personally, I don’t think so, but a person who sees life through the lens of equality might interpret this document as advocating egalitarianism, when in fact The Proclamation on the Family emphasizes distinct gender roles between men and woman. I believe The Proclamation on the Family, if followed to the extent circumstances allow, will lead to happier marriages. I also believe it’s important to emphasize, when it comes to marriage there are no guarantees of living happily ever after. There have been many couples who have adhered to traditional gender roles and are now divorced. An important bit of fact to take from this study is that men and woman want different things, and it is those differences that attract us to each other. Most (99.9%) of people who are married understand how important physical and emotional intimacy is. How important? President Kimball, a Prophet of the Mormon Church taught that the number one cause of divorce is over the issue of sex. “If you study the divorces…you will find that there are [many] reasons. Generally sex is the first. They did not get along sexually. They may not say that in the court. They may not even tell that to their attorneys, but that is the reason.”(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 1982, p. 329) The Proclamation on the family lays out clear guidelines for man and woman to follow in their relationship. The roles defined in this document are considered sexist and bigoted by today’s society. I myself am thankful that this study was done, as it confirms the wisdom found in The Proclamation. It shows that men and woman are in fact different, and it is those differences that attract us to one another.
Hello all it has been a while. My wife is taking the missionary discussions for the first time since we met nearly 10 years ago. She actually seems interested in moving forward, but she has one hang up and it is a BIG on - in fact it is the same hang up I had (ok still have somewhat). When we go to church together ANY time the priesthood is mentioned with regard to it being only male, she gets irritated. If she hears it enough, she leaves in a blind fury. We often have talks later where she lets out all of her emotion on it then calms down. I think it is important to note that she doesn't find me contemptible or the members in this, but she feels this idea of men having the priesthood exclusively is fundamentally flawed. This wouldn't bother her so much except for the fact she WANTS to join the church now and WANTS to believe it, but is having a very difficult time rectifying affiliating herself with an entity (the church) who espouses a male-only priesthood. I too had a very difficult time with this when I was learning about the church. I still have a difficult time with it today. The only thing that made me leave it alone was the Spirit finally confirming to me the truth of the church despite my opposition to this one area. I went forward with joining the church hoping it would one day make sense. To date it hasn't completely to me, but I accept it and move on now. I wish I knew how to help her with this. She feels so strongly about it and I know it is only bothering her as much as it is because she wants to believe the church is true. Any ideas out there? Perhaps I'll see something I haven't tried or a perspective that might appeal to her.