Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feminism at its finest

I remember as a teenager thinking that Utah was a misogynistic place because people objected to me taking woodshop instead of home ec. Growing up in Utah, it was hard to separate culture from religion. I am still somewhat annoyed by the attitude that girls should not develop some skills because of gender. However, many things said and done by LDS church leaders have shown that those men are among the finest feminists on earth and clearly promoting the good treatment, development and well-being of women.

The first action that really hit me as incredibly feminist was several years ago when the Church started digging wells in villages in developing nations. Their reasoning for doing so was not to provide safe water, but that in many developing countries, most of a woman's day is spent hauling water. They said that there are better things for women to do with their time and that women needed to develop themselves more than was possible when hauling water all day.

The second was when Pres. Hinckley repeatedly, advised, commanded, persuaded, nearly begged all women to get as much education as possible. I loved it. There were so many people telling me that I should stop going to school and get married. He put a stop to that. Hah!

The third, was when Pre. Hinckley told men that good husbands let their wives spread their wings and take flight.

Many things continue to impress me that Church leaders are feminists. Last Saturday, Pres. Eyring gave credit to generations of Mormon women in the Relief Society for creating some of the finest organizations spun out of the Church. The list included Church Hospitals (LDS Hospital is routinely brought up at international conferences for its excellence), the Church Welfare System (also famous, especially in developing nations), and the Humanitarian Aid System (famous everywhere and the right hand of FEMA in the US).

Even the sticky point that Mormon leaders emphasize the importance of motherhood (which frequently causes Mormons to be accused of misogyny), strikes me as a fine example of feminism. I remember learning in art history and ancient world history that the position of women in society usually degraded as war gods became more important than fertility goddesses. Well, that is certainly happening today as fewer children are being borne and so many nations are at war. I feel personally degraded and angry when people tell me that bearing children is wrong....that it overpopulates the earth and is irresponsible. I feel edified when that uniquely feminine ability is reverenced and praised.

1 comment:

Carroll said...

Here, Here, Well written. Excellent points!