Friday, March 5, 2010

I Am Not, It Turns Out



I just finished reading this
well-done post on how to come to the conclusion every modern woman asks herself: Am I a feminist or am I not a feminist?

Simply put, this post explains feminism in these terms:

If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

I am relieved I read this article. I am relieved it was so well written. It simply defined something most complicated. I can say until tonight--one hour ago--I was not educated enough to answer the question for myself.

But I think I can answer it now. Tonight. Hopefully.

I am not a feminist. Because I don't support, look fondly on, hope for and/or work towards equality. Equality, that is my hang-up.

Equality has never done any good for me. When I try to look at the world with my equalizer glasses it leaves me empty and upset. Equality presents a scale and binds you. And when I dissect my marriage, nothing makes me more anxious then the expectation that things are equal. It makes a measuring stick out of our relationship. And I don't want to spend an entire marriage judging the allowance of equality.

Speaking of my relationship, Chup will surely remind me that this is all semantics, so let me define equality (for me) : fairness.

And life is not fair. So how can it be equal?

But even if it could, I don't want to be equal to the males in my life. I just want to be me. If that means I am more, then I am more, if that means I am less, I am less. But most of the time I think I am more. And I think most women are too, but that is a post for another day.

On a personal note, I was raised with five brothers in a family where being a boy was a joy. A joy! The boys went on fishing excursions, deer hunts and summer trips to Dodger games in LA. And even though I'd rather chew on tinfoil then do any three of those chosen adventures, I often resented their opportunities. Because I was looking for "me" in all of that. Where was my adventure? Where was my harrowing experience on the ocean? My Dodger dog? (Was that a Freudian slip?)

It was the very search for equality that made me feel unimportant. I wish I would've been happy for them. Supported their celebration without hoping for reciprocal experiences. Besides, they didn't owe me their good times to make up for my losses. In the end, I didn't even have losses. I just had differences.

And I will always have differences. Even natural occurring differences. Comparing male and female body structure negates the occurrence of physical equality. He has more there, and I have a lot more there. (Talking about hair on our heads, of course.) But even more complicated than a human body are human emotions. How do you measure something immeasurable as feeling joy or heartache? How can those be equalized? A paycheck? The ability to vote? Or be hired? Yes. But the harmonious-yet-horrid hormonal experience of a monthly cycle? There is no way possible to divide those spoils evenly.

Equality to me is like elective plastic surgery. Sure you can get the desired results, but it won't guarantee certain happiness.

And days like today when a coughing fit in the final month of my pregnancy induced spontaneous vomiting which in turn released all contents of my bladder before I could make it anywhere near a toilet, I think two things:

Male and female will never be equal.

And,

I (me, personally, c jane as of right now, in my life) wouldn't want it any other way.

*photo taken by Jed Wells May 2009


On dear c jane:
Yummy, yummy newborn caps.





c jane's Guide to Provo:

Your Weekend Plans!
Hot off the press!

676 comments:

1 – 200 of 676   Newer›   Newest»
cari runia said...

love it. i love it so much, that I'm making a comment, which I rarely do... I'm up laaate with my sick snuggly daughter (is the Chief spoken for already? cuz...) and I don't see it as a coincidence that right before reading your post, I discovered and printed this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:

"You were not created to be the same as men. Your natural attributes, affections, and personalities are entirely different from these of a man. They consist of faithfulness, benevolence, kindness, and charity. They also balance the more aggressive and competitive nature of man. The business world is competitive and sometimes ruthless. We do not doubt that women have both the brain power and the skills to compete with men. But by competing they must of necessity, become aggressive and competitive. Thus their godly attributes are diminished and they acquire a quality of sameness with man. The conventional wisdom of the day would have you be equal with men. We say, we would not have you descend to that level."

Thanks for reminding us courtney!

Kris said...

I'm with you. I have never felt equal and I mostly feel more. Not very humble sounding, but how I feel. Thanks for saying this outloud. (Okay, writing it! You know what I mean.)

AzĂșcar said...

I think the trouble comes when men decide that "not equal" means worse than, less than, and value-less.

Different, not equal, is OK.

Worthless, not equal, is not OK.


And that's why I'm a feminist: because we're not less than.

AzĂșcar said...

And...I dislike being treated like I'm less than because I'm a woman. And I have been. I don't want girls growing up to think they're less than.

Then again, my dad brought all his kids on camping, adventures, and trips, because we're all worth the same. Different, but the same.

Angela said...

I love this post. It's everything I've been thinking the last few years.

I think we've been so wrapped up with equality that our differences have become negatives.

We need to accept the differences!

The Jones said...

c jane, this post was brilliant! It made me want to celebrate those things that make me (aka a very happy, modern woman) different! I am half of a team, (my husband being the other half) And our differences are what makes us so successful as a family...As a whole we are SO STRONG!

Loved every minute of this post, like always...
p.s. why are you and I up so late??? we need to go to bed!

Hallie said...

Amen. its the differences that make being a lady so awesome. i embrace the difficulties as well as the lovely fun parts!

Jennifer said...

I usually do not comment on the blogs of people I don't know personally, but I just want to say that I like your perspective on masculine/feminine differences. Thanks for sharing it.

Rachel said...

I'm going to check back later to see if this post ends up creating another comments war, but I was a fan.

Because men and women are so different I think I am a seeker of balance rather than equality. In our home we try to each have a number of responsibilities that we like, and ones we don't. And we each have some time to ourselves, and some time being the responsible parent of our children. But we aren't trying to make any of those responsibilities or chunks of time the same, we just try to give each other what we need. It works, and I would call it balance.

P.S. I think that photo is perfect for this post!

P.P.S. Sorry about your vomiting/peeing episode. I had a stomach bug once that did the same thing. I get the futility and the humilation involved, which can only be dealt with by laughing at it.

Mary said...

I agree with Azucar. As long as people understand that different does not equal less, then I am ok with it.

I am different than my husband and I do not seek to compete with him. I know the job he does everyday is not a "world" I would want to be part of-- but it is perfect for him. Just like my job is more suited to me. And once we have children, well then he can't even begin to compete with me :)

leigh said...

By not struggling to be more and simply being what you are...you have SO much more than any feminist is fighting for.

I like you CJane. The more that you show me, the more that it blossoms.

Want to be best friends?

{ Bethany } said...

I don't think you fully understand the scope of feminism. It is not just "equality" in the sense that in within a marriage, you and your husband wash the exact same number of dishes, loads of laundry, meals made, back rubs given, and time away with friends.

It is about the history of women being subjugated by men simply because they have a vagina instead of a penis. They were not allowed to own property, make decisions for themselves, go to college, VOTE, become President of the USA, wear PANTS, work outside the home, open a bank account...do I need to go on? In light of the history, I find it appalling and dazzling that any woman can say she is NOT a feminist.

I think your definition of the word has been tainted by extremist versions of "feminists" as they are usually seen as being bra-burning, hysterical, Godless, uptight, bitter, b*tches. (no doubt stereotypes fed by the same men who prefer to call women who enjoy sex "sluts", those who remain abstinent "c*ckteases" and women who are assertive as "b*tches")

And as a young woman growing up in the LDS church who longed for "adventures" of water skiing, camping, hiking and archery instead of making journal jars, dried flower potpourri and pudding pies, I find it even sadder still that you have justified the senseless boundaries given to you, simply because again, you have a vagina and not a penis.

I believe whole-heartedly that men and women have inherent differences, and that they should be celebrated. But that does not mean leaving little girls indoors to sew and knit while the boys get down and dirty in the mud.

The feminist movement is about CHOICES...the CHOICE to stay at home and raise children, or the CHOICE to become a lawyer, or the CHOICE to travel the world, or the CHOICE to never marry, etc.

You can be content and happy in a traditional marriage, in a traditional woman's role, doing traditional woman's hobbies and STILL be a feminist.

Any self-respecting woman AND man who cares about the world their little girls will grow up in should declare themselves PROUDLY as FEMINISTS.

Tanya and Colin said...

I totally agree!!!

Sage said...

Wonderful perspective, cjane! This is why I love that you represent what an LDS is to so many people.

Did anyone notice how in Pres. Benson's quote he said he didn't want us to come down to the level of men. So, Azucar, at least in the leadership of the LDS church women aren't seen as less (I'm sure there are some who don't know how to treat women in local leaderships somewhere, but I've been fortunate to work with men who respected our differences).

I don't consider myself a feminist either--because I don't like the bitter taste left in my mouth. I want union with my spouse, not equality.

Jennifer said...

I agree with Azucar and others who have noted that being less than is often what is implied by not being equal.

Given what's gone on on your blog recently, I'm trying to remember your comment that you don't want people to take you seriously.

For those of us out here supporting ourselves, working, taking care of our families and our husbands in this economy, being paid less for the same job is a pretty serious issue. I'm glad for you that you don't have to grapple with issues like that.

Sage said...

Bethany-I agree with the sentiment that women should be full participants in life according to their own choices. I abhor cultures where women are denied the freedoms that we as women have won in the last few decades, but the ultimate goal of many self-declared feminists feels wrong to me. So despite the fact I prefer using power tools to scrapbooking, I will still eschew the feminist label. I want better than that for my three daughters.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your post in many regards, but where I differ is with your definition of equality. Equality does not mean 'sameness'. Equality means opening the doors of opportunity long closed to women, and equal pay for equal work.

Men and women come to the table with different skill sets, and that should be celebrated. But through the lense of a feminist perspective, those skill sets, though different, are equally valuable to society.

Melissa

dot said...

Feminism is the ability to point out how entirely ridiculous it is that a family wouldn't take their daughters on those excursions too. What were your parents thinking, to divide things down gender lines like that? Can't you see how wrong it is to assume that girls wouldn't want to share in those experiences, that boys automatically would?

Why would you not want to give your sons and daughters the experiences that suit their personalities, NOT their genitals?

Molly said...

Sorry about the simultaneous urpage/ bladder loss. I feel you. 2 weeks to go over here.

I consider myself a feminist, but more in the work and political realm. I enjoyed this post, though, because as a SAHM, it gave me fresh perspective. And a desire to wear a pretty dress and clean my house.

Well, maybe I'll just work on the dress today. ;) And I'll tell my husband I felt cleaning the house was confining me to gender-based expectations - lol.

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

I am no feminist, but I feel differently equal. More than, less than, in the end, it's all about the same and it all doesn't really matter. As long as I walk along side. (and I do)

And the few that think I am less than (and I think that's rare) just because of my gender are stupid people and don't count anyways. :)

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

Bethany- the teen aged girls in my LDS ward are doing archery this summer.

Just sayin. :)

Mrs. Doctor Jackson said...

women will always struggle with the issue of equality with men. it is a centuries old mindset that has only succeeded because the majority of women believe it and men never question it.

BUT, what neither gender can argue with/negate/contradict is the fact that there IS equality in existence, because: men wouldn't be here without women; women wouldn't be here without men.

it takes two, baby.

Katie J. said...

I agree with Azucar. Even now, most of the world's population believes that women are less than men. I'm sure each one of us has, at some point, been made to feel less capable or intelligent than men. And the really sad part is that it is often other women that can make us feel that way.

Kate said...

I hear you. But I define feminism a bit differently. I once read a review of different forms of feminism, in which one (an old-fashioned version!) was described thusly: "What do women want? Ask them - one at a time."

Indeed. That's the kind of feminist I am.
I believe that women are different from men - physically, and therefore experientially. And oftentimes, those basic distinctions lead to a lot of other differences (motherhood, etc.)
Often, our culture values production but not reproduction. (Reproduction, inherently women's work, involves mess, emotions, connections to one's physical self, and the resultant childrearing is not quantifiable, billable, or otherwise consistent with a neat and orderly economic system.) Which is why I, having taken my fancy degree home with me while I bear and raise my kids, meet with such disapproval and confusion - why am I not doing something really valuable? Or really fulfilling? Feminism opened that fancy college up to women in 1969, but there are still lots of rules about what we should do once we leave there.

I am a feminist because I think that women are valuable the way we are - however we are. (Equality doesn't equal androgyny.) And if being female does not fit into the way our society would like to work, our society needs to make some adjustments. So that we can be NOT equal. So that we can be ourselves, one at a time.

Kim said...

I love what you said about being equal meaning you are constantly measuring and comparing. That is so true, and so unhealthy for a marriage! (says the single girl)

I think ultimately, people should be paid the same for jobs they do regardless of their sex, and I think both men and women should be allowed to pursue whatever avenue of employment they so desire. Beyond that, and especially within the confines of a marriage, I think those roles are between husband and wife. But I think when we are demanding so much and giving so little (as I've seen many a feminist wife do), it can quickly lead to destruction in a marriage. I guess what I am saying is that feminism/equality in the workplace is one thing, but one needs to be quite careful pursuing the "anything you can do I can do better" attitude in a marriage.

But again, so says the single girl.

Hannah Mudge said...

I have to say i agree with Bethany on this one. Courtney, you are a great woman but it's obvious that all your life you've had certain privileges (and i don't say this in a mean way) - i'm talking about the fact you're white, live in the USA, your family is obviously fairly affluent, you are able-bodied. You can talk about how men and women will never be 'the same' because of biological differences and possibly certain desires and priorities in life (and this is true) but to say you don't 'support' equality is astounding. I don't doubt that your marriage is an equal partnership and i know that it's unhealthy to focus on the absolutely equal division of stuff like money, housework etc etc at the expense of everything else. BUT saying equality has never done any good for you is incredibly short-sighted and dismisses the experiences of millions of women all over the globe who fight for 'equality' not because of matters of appearance but because they want an education, or the right to vote, or drive a car, or leave the house without a man accompanying them, or choose who to marry and when, or be able to leave their abusive husband who may well rape or murder them if they stay with him. They want the right to have a job AND be a mother. They want childcare. Support. Empowerment. The list goes on. When these things haven't affected you then sometimes it's easy to forget about them and believe that within your bubble, things are ok and you have all you want and need. I'm a middle-class university-educated married white woman too and discovering that privilege was a defining moment in my life.

You are free to be you. Even by saying this you admit that you have SO MUCH more freedom and choice than millions of women. You have benefited greatly from the gains put into place by feminists whether you realise that or not. You're happy with your life and i think a lot of people envy what you have. It's not the same for every woman.

Yes, you will always have naturally occuring differences to men. But having periods or wearing a bra does not mean that we can't be considered equal in worth, equal in value, given the respect we deserve by society and accorded freedoms.

You've posted before about the respect and esteem women are held in within your religion and no doubt this has had a hand in you coming to this conclusion. I know that even within your faith and within many other belief systems (including my own which as you know is mainstream Christian) women being treated with respect and love is a huge issue. There is no excuse for this.

If you don't want to call yourself a feminist then fair enough, no-one can change your mind. But i just ask you to consider all of this when you say that men and women will never be equal and look past it being a matter of biology. My husband is physically much bigger and stronger than i am. Does it mean i am of less equal worth because i am smaller and 'weaker'? No.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on this post, C-Jane. Thinking along these lines is what really hurts the "feminist" movement. It is not about being equal (and doesn't have as much to do about marriage) as it does about having a CHOICE.

I choose to get a doctorate. I choose to continue my education. I choose to take on a professional career where I can save the lives of men and women every single day. Were it not for the women who came before me, I would not have the ability to choose these things for myself. Were it not for my mother, grand mother and great grandmother struggling to choose to live their lives in a way that made them happy, traditional gender roles be damned, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish all that I can.

That isn't to say there is anything wrong with traditional roles. But understand that NOT EVERY WOMAN WANTS THAT. The feminist movement is about accepting that. It's about realizing that what works for one woman may not work for another. And allowing those women to direct their lives in such a way that they are happy.

Laura said...

wow! this is, by far, my favorite piece you've ever written.
I have no doubt you are going to rile up some angry feminists, but I hope that never deters you from sharing your thoughts - I greatly appreciate reading them!

thedomesticfringe said...

I am never have heard this 'talk' so well said.

You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself.

-FringeGirl

YES Gallery + Studio said...

LOVE you, Cjane, and understand you are looking at this issue through the lens of your own relationship, but have to agree with Bethany and Hannah. There's a much wider perspective that needs to be taken into consideration, perspective where women in other countries are forced into marriage at the age of 10, who are circumsized, who are killed if their husband is unfaithful and myriad other horrors. Feminists in our country have paved the way for women like us to choose not to call ourselves feminist. (I call myself a 'humanist,' personally.) How lucky we are!

HomeSpun Threads said...

I agree and not because it's your post and I maybe should agree in order to leave a comment but because that's how I feel and among friends sometimes I think I'm a minority on the matter.

I don't get the "feminist movement". Really? In the last 100 years or so, we've decided there needs to be a movement...do we really think women were SO bad off before? No! We were, for the most part, right were we wanted to be. Supposed to be! I don't believe my husband is my equal, I believe I am HIS helper but he treats me with respect, loves me and consults me on almost everything. On the things he doesn't, I can honestly say, I trust him! SO! I think it's a sad existence for women, if we don't have partners that we can trust to that extent. I respect him, his work, his money and he respects my desires, my efforts and my needs. I think if women as a whole step back and look at other women who really have got it all together and life is good for them, they have partners in their life that are this way. God never intended for us to be disrespected and belittled. He did however intend for us to be women of honor! To honor and be honored in order to better honor Him. :)

Kath said...

cjane, you are awesome! I love, love, love your writing style. You make me think and you crack me up! (The coughing fit followed by spontaneous vomitting and bladder emptying was hysterical!)

Sarah said...

I am a feminist. And I call myself so because I believe in equality of choice.

Courtney, I believe in your choice to say that you do not believe in feminism for yourself, that equality has not been good for you. That is your choice both as a person and as a woman. I might not agree with you, but I do respect you, precisely because you were able to make that choice.

My issue arises when the belief is extended outwards, to women in general. That because women (to extend the metaphor, not to suggest that this is exactly what you believe) have more there, and men have more there, those differences should translate into different treatment. To deny them the choice to go on fishing excursions, to be paid an equal wage for equal work, to vote, to open a bank account (I am well aware that you personally haven't advocated the last three, but this is the reality of the situation in the world when "equal but different" is peddled as political and religious policy). This is not freeing women, it stunts them, and as Amnesty International found in its report on the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, infantilises them. My issue is with other women believing that this is ok. It is not.

You are not a feminist, in that you do not believe that you and your husband are equal, in your relationship or your roles outside. I can respect that. You are not a feminist, in that you do not believe that men and women in general are not equal, not just within the realms of a relationship, but outside to. I can, with effort, respect that your are entitled to that opinion, but it saddens me.

I believe that women deserve more. More choice to fulfill their complete potential, in whatever direction those talents lie. I do not believe that to do so results in a loss of attributes or descent to the level or men. I believe that to provide women everywhere with that choice diminishes none, and raises up all

Hannah Mudge said...

HomeSpun Threads - i see what you're saying about good men and partnerships but the sad fact is, not all men are men who respect and honour women. Those of us who have partners who DO are really lucky, but we can't assume that everyone does and we can't put women having fulfilled and happy lives down to having a good man in their life. The sad fact is, many men are NOT like that.

KC Mom said...

Bravo!

Heidi G said...

I never heard it explained quite this way and applaude you for defining it so well. I am not a feminist either, nor do I ever hope to be one. Thanks for the great insight.

compulsive writer said...

love the photo!

i used to struggle with this same question. chup is right about the semantics. while i'm sure i digress from the path set by the feminist movement of old--i see feminism as more about equal rights (a number of legitimate sources define it as such) than about true equality.

one i support, the other? i agree with you: men and women are different--by design.

so, by my definition, i am comfortable in saying i am. but also that, as sister to four boys, daughter to one dad, wife of one husband, and mother to three boys-- i recognize and relish the differences.

and i can honestly tell you i'm not a bit conflicted about that.

Eliza said...

hmmmm...I have to disagree too. Normally I don't feel compelled to comment here but now I do.

One of the broadest definitions of feminism, as a few have said here, is the idea of choices. Everyone, black or white, male or female, etc., should have choices: to vote or not, to work in a certain field, to live in a certain area, to wear pants or have long hair or short.

I really have to agree with those who have pointed out the socioeconomic advantage of women who can afford not to be feminists. I am thinking in particular of Alice Walker's "womanism," which has also been called "black feminism" but I like to think of it as applying to all races: the idea that women can "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan," not least because sometimes they have to. As I heard it beautifully put once, a womanist "doesn't want to break through the glass ceiling--she just wants to get through the day." So maybe I don't personally want to rise to the top of some company. But I think women who want to, particularly those who may not have families at home (some feminists may not like that I said that) should be given the same choices as men.

Pres GB Hinckley, whom I consider a champion of women everywhere, called his wife his "equal" many times and I love another quote calling her "every bit his equal intellectually, socially, and spiritually." Marjorie Hinckley was blessed on earth to have a husband who "has always given [her] wings to fly."

I guess it really comes down to semantics--what is "equal" after all? to me, it doesn't translate directly to "the same," but to some it may--but I will say with pride that I am definitely a feminist!

Votes for women! :)

Jennette said...

There are plenty of feminists who aren't hung up on equality and recognize that it's a tricky concept. Women and men are different enough that "equality" is about semantics. You can call it something else (like equity) and still be a feminist.

I recommend the book, "The Mismeasure of Woman: Why Women are not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex" by Carol Tavris.

LDesque said...

First-time commenter, long-time reader.

I have to echo the opinions of Bethany, Hannah, and a few of the Anons here. Clearly you are free to deny the title of feminist if you'd like, but I wonder how much of the motivation to do so is from the negative stigma attached to the term. Even in the past few comments, one warns that you may "rile up some angry feminists". And as an LDS woman I can say I know the negative stigma associated with the term itself is thick and hard to ignore (as Boyd K. Packer classified feminists as one of the 3 great evils back in 1993 I believe).

I get that men and women are different. Psychologically, biologically, socially, and in many other ways, we're different. And that's fine, and as many have said, as long as different doesn't equal "less than", many of us are on board. I think the problem with that is that historically, the differences between men and women have always presented themselves as women being less than men.

And while I say historically, I can't ignore that currently women are being paid less for the same work a man does. Women can technically do what they want to do and pursue whatever field they want to pursue, but will often receive much less support (particularly in the LDS church) for pursuing exploits that might take away from her role as a mother than her husband would receive for the same exact exploit, with nobody thinking of him as less than as a father. Sure, we can technically do what we want, but socially there's not equal support and economically there's not equal pay.

Lastly, I want to echo Hannah's comments, that despite the work those "angry feminists" still have to do to gain equality for women, you and I are currently enjoying the byproducts of the feminist movement. Not all too long ago you wouldn't have a vote, a right to property, or the right to claim that your husband raped you because by virtue of being his wife, your consent was automatic. Similarly, in other countries to this day a man can divorce his wife by stating he wants to divorce her, whereas the wife has to take him to court and let a judge (male) decide.

Sure, there are many ways in which men are women are not equal, and that's fine. But when it comes to rights, pay, support, and all those wonderful things men have had automatically by virtue of being men, I will say we are most certainly not equal, and the belief that that is wrong makes me a proud [not-angry-or-riled] feminist.

Jena said...

okay- Please seriously answer this question...do you look that good EVERYDAY? Do you dress up in a dress everyday? Even when you aren't going anywhere?

Mary said...

Bethany said:

They were not allowed to own property, make decisions for themselves, go to college, VOTE, become President of the USA, wear PANTS, work outside the home, open a bank account...

But my thing is, in the US, we can now. I can do what ever I please, as long as it is deemed legal.

I think it is easy to skew the word "feminist" to fit your needs. Some say "Oh Cjane, YOU do not understand what feminist means!" But Cjane read the article, thought about it and decided that the feminist label just wasn't for her. Now, given that you preach "choices for women" isn't that Cjane's choice? Even if its not your choice, isn't ok that it is hers?

You can't say "well it is sad that you did not choose to stand up for women and call yourself a feminist" because then, well, you are being just like a man that is telling her what she should and should not believe or what roles she should or should not play. And well that is inherently just not fair.

Let us all remember that as women, we too possess the freedom of choice. And instead of downing other women for theirs we should be glad they have the right to do as they please.

Eliza said...

After reading your post through again, CJane, I can appreciate your points. (agree to disagree, but I still enjoy your blog.)

This whole getting-embroiled-in-the-comments thing is new to me. I'd better turn my computer off before I start reading every comment. :) Thanks for the food for thought today.

LDesque said...

Mary,

Of course Cjane can choose what she is and what she isn't. I feel like the comments (so far at least) are pretty respectfully either agreeing or disagreeing. Maybe I'm just reading too much good-nature into people's comments, but I don't see anyone downing her for her opinion.

Mary said...

LDesque, I am not saying people are being rude. I am simply stating that we should be glad we have the right to choose, regardless of whether or not it is the choice of others.

brandi said...

When my husband and I were still investigators (baptized Dec. 19th!) we were invited to a FHE at our Stake President's home. That night he said something so profound to me:

"Marriage is also like a holy trinity with Heavenly Father at the head, along with husband and wife who are equal."

Now, I've always had an issue with equality because what's EQUAL isn't always FAIR. For instance, I have 4 younger sisters and when I was a teenager, my youngest sister was still pretty small. When school time came around we were all given $100 to get new school clothes. I quickly realized that there was a HUGE difference in what I could get for $100, and what my sister could get for $100 at the same exact store. Because she was still in children's clothes, she was able to get about twice as many clothes as I was- which even though the money was EQUAL, it wasn't really FAIR.

Another example came when I was teaching, and studying Special Ed. This idea of equal isn't always fair was a huge lesson when considering supplementing students with disabilities. I was faced with students and parents claiming the fact that certain students had access to laptops and such as being unfair. I used to use the example of eyeglasses. Most of my students didn't wear them, so I would say tell them that they had to take off their glasses so it would be equal. And it only took minutes before someone would say, but that's not fair because I can't see. So, I guess what is equal, isn't always fair, right?

We are all different from each other. Different bodies, different gifts, different weaknesses, different desires. Even within each marriage, the way that all plays out is going to look different.

But in God's eyes, at the end of the day- He sees us as equal. That's all I need to know. I don't have to worry about what everyone else thinks, I don't have to worry about making it equal because it already is and eventhough it may not seem that way sometimes, that is fair.

Anonymous said...

Brandi said:

But in God's eyes, at the end of the day- He sees us as equal.


Amen, sista!

Angela said...

in the spirit of full disclosure, i haven't read all of the other comments or the referenced article.

But,

Equal in feminism is the opportunity to make decisions for yourself about yourself. And not to have a prescribed structure in which you, as a woman, have to fit.

I don't catch bugs in my house and prefer that my husband deal with trash and animals. I cook all meals and clean the bathroom. I am a feminist. This is the structure we have decided on because we both have likes/dislikes.

I think Azucar said it well. "Different,Equal is OK.
Worth less, not equal, not ok."

Feminist is NOT a bad word. It just means you respect your womanly mind as much (or MORE if you choose) than the men in your life.

But not less, we are not less.

Lisa said...

Loved the post!

I am a sister to two brothers, no sisters and I went to many a dodger game but there were activities that I didn't get to go to that I did feel excluded from. On the other hand my dad also took me to plays and other things that he didn't take my brothers too.

Was there a time as child that I resented it...a little. But now that I'm older I realize that it wasn't to exclude me, it was to have a bonding relationship with his sons. Of course I changed the dynamics of things, just how my brothers would have if we had taken them on the Daddy-daughter dates.

When I didn't go it wasn't to exclude me, it was to bond with my brothers and they have the right to do those things without me crying for fairness.

You are right-comparing gets us no where! One can spend all their focus on what they don't have and it will deny them the perspective of what they do have!

jen said...

Love this! I spent much of my teen years seeking that elusive "equality." Boys get campouts and trips and stuff. What do girls get? Backstabbing cheerleaders and the ugly stage.

Now that I'm an adult and have borne eight children, nursed, swaddled, snuggled, tended, loved them, I see reward for all those periods and cramping missed days of school.

I tell my 17-year-old son when he says he's glad he's not a girl that I wouldn't trade places with any man on the planet for anything.
And I mean it now.

Ashley said...

such an honest post. love it, i really do. thank you so much for sharing.

Pumpkin Head Baby Co said...

Love It! I am not a feminist either! Nor would I ever want to be one. I am happy in my role God has given me and if that means things are unequal then so be it.

MommyMert said...

Thanks so much for this article. I have been trying to get this point across for awhile now. I love that we have differences, and I believe thats what makes us unique and complimentary. :)

Westminster said...

I'm with Bethany, Hannah and Co. on this one. It's a much bigger issue than equality. And deep down, you probably know that too and just wish that you'd said it differently.

Ry and Kris Jones said...

Thank you so much for blogging! That's all I have to say :)

Krystal said...

I'm always surprised when women aren't identifying as feminists. Being a feminist doesn't mean that you are trying to be just like a man.

Equality to me doesn't mean the same, it means worth the same. The work you do in the home is just as important to your family as the work that your husband does outside of the home. There is a cultural idea that traditional women's work isn't as important as "real work", and that is a misogynist idea.

You touched on something when you mention the adventures and special opportunities that your brothers had. You are allowed to be upset at a system that rewards boys and men just for being boys and men. Girls should get fun and adventures, too!

Becki said...

Hear Hear!

jenj22 said...

Well said!

KB said...

Equal doesn't have to mean the same, though. We can be different and unique but retain our "equal" value.

Anna M said...

Sheesh! I thought I was up early reading and you've already received 58 comments. I thought of the EXACT SAME quote as "cari runia".. In fact I posted it on my blog this past Sunday:

http://ahhnna.blogspot.com/2010/02/sunday-meditation_28.html

I especially agree with the sentiment that you--cjane--wrote about "sometimes I am less, sometimes I am more." I think that sums up equality, marriage, and the battle of the sexes altogether!

Be A Saint said...

You know, I think a few things. One, who cares what other people outside your family and friends think about women. If YOU think you are not lesser because you are a woman then others will be more likely to treat you that way.
Two, someone stated that the difference between men and women are narrowed down to a penis and a vagina. It is because of our predisposed natures that caused these injustices of the past. And it was ignorant and mean men that believed these things. Good men did not treat their wives as inferior....ever. They protected their wives and valued their good judgement they could offer to the family and him.
Three, the idea of choice makes me crazy. I am thankful that I have so many choices available to me, but as we run around and go crazy about women being able to choose, what about the men. Do they get to choose? How often can a man get to choose to stay home? How often can they decide to work part time? We as women have so many more choices than the men in our society. We are the blessed ones. When we start to act like it and stop being angry about what injustice is being leveled against us we will be so much happier. We should respect BOTH sexes and values both contributions to society. We NEED them both to be successful.

Kait said...

I'm with Azucar - different, yes. Less than, absolutely not.

I want my daughters (and eventually sons) to grow up knowing that there are inherent differences between the sexes. There will never be sameness across the board. However, regardless of gender, everyone deserves the same opportunities and the same respect.

And all that being said, to my mind, being feminist means that I support the rights of women, most specifically the right to make any decision they choose. So if you want to forgo family and instead focus on having a career, I support that. If you want to be a stay at home wife/mom, like I am, I support that too.

Rochelleht said...

Brandi, you win best comment today! Congratulations.

Maybe it's cause I have two disabled children and I'm a little biased, but I thought that was a GREAT definition of equal.

heathermommy said...

Feminism is not about being the same it is about being of equal value. Here is a wonderful article about feminism and mormonism from BYU studies, if you have time to read it. http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=6384

I understand why some women don't want to refer to themselves as feminists for fear of being thought of "one of those feminists" who hates men, think abortion is awesome, or that motherhood is lame. But in reality feminism is not about that. It is about fighting against the oppression and discrimintaion against women that has existed since the beginning of time.

I often want to say to my women asociates who say they aren't feminist: "Do you like being able to vote, own property, get an education, testify in court, have the option to work and hopefully be paid according to your abilities (we're still working on that one.)? Do you like it that your husband changes diapers and helps with the housework? Because guess what? You have feminism to thank for that."

The Boob Nazi said...

I am equal to or better than most of the men I meet. I can do anything they can do.
I'm glad you've figured a way to be okay about not being equal to men. I can't be happy that way.

Anonymous said...

oh cjane,

surely you must understand that by "equality" most feminists mean equal opportunity, equal pay, equal access to making personal choices? feminists worked hard to make sure that today you have a right to vote. and the right to use birth control and to make reproductive choices. and the right to not be your husband's property.
of course men and women are physically different. i am a woman and i am also physically different from other women in many ways. some of us have big boobs and small boobs. some of us have pms and some don't. but regardless, we all deserve equal rights under the law and that is what feminism is about.
you know, have so much influence through this blog. so many women and girls read it and look to you for guidance. i don't want to be rude, but this post is so irresponsible.

Rachel C said...

Ok I got tired trying to read all those comments, so maybe somebody already said this, but one thing I've always remembered learning: "equal" means that everybody gets the same..."fair" means that everybody gets what they need.

Anonymous said...

Be A Saint:

Men do have choices. For example, my career means I will far, far out earn my husband. We can comfortably live and support our family on my salary. As such, my husband has decided to stay home full time with our children and take freelance work when he chooses to.

The issue isn't that men don't have choices. It's that society tends to look down upon and trivialize men who choose to do things outside of their prescribed gender role. Same for women.

brittani c. said...

Quite the hot topic, Cjane! I like that you aren't afraid to say that men and women are different. Why don't feminists acknowledge the obvious?

However, isn't there a way to be equal with one another despite our differences? Maybe I'm trying to invent a new definition of equal. Although a married man and woman each has a different ideal role (I say 'ideal' because somebody has to go out & make the money and somebody has to run the household and be there for the kids), I see equality through them. If a woman is single or has no kids to take care of, she should have every right to excel in a career of her choice.

Equality of men and women: They are of the same value, neither is above the other, they are harmonious, and they complete one another. That is how I see it.

Let's enjoy our differences, but realize that when our differences are combined, we are equal. Isn't that what a 'helpmeet' means?

Thanks for posting something that got my brain churning. I got into a passionate spiel...forgive me. Feel free to clarify what I'm missing.

sevenravens said...

I think it is so important that we remember that our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought tooth and nail to gain the basic rights that we enjoy every day. Without their willingness to be trampled, beaten, imprisoned and force-fed in the quest for equality (and, as several others have pointed out, being equal is not the same as being identical), you would not have the opportunity make a choice about whether or not you want to be a feminist. By pondering that choice, you are a feminist. By owning property, by having rights to your children, by being educated, and by voting in elections, you are claiming the rights that feminism has won you. I feel it is deeply disrespectful to the women who came before us to take that equality lightly at the same time that we are enjoying its benefits.

Amy said...

Absolutely interesting, thought-provoking and eloquent read! I enjoyed your viewpoint.

I too, am not. I rejoice in the differences, it is what makes us special and we should revere each other for the unique (and equally important) qualities we offer each other.

heathermommy said...

Anyone who thinks women didn't have it so bad 100 years ago, has not read their history. Anyone who thinks there are not women around the world today being oppressed are naive.

I am GirlFriday said...

I'm not agreeing with your definition of equal-mostly. I don't disagree that we should all be celebrated for our different strengths. I think the way you defined equal and fair in this post was by weight measure. I get this, he gets that, ect. I define equality is more have the same space of opportunities and an absence of barriers to those opportunities that are based on gender differences. To me feminism is working toward equality of the opportunity of the sexes.

Courtney, I've read a lot of your posts and I know that you would never want to be kept out of an opportunity just because you were a girl. If being a girl was the only reason you weren't allowed fishing or Dodger's games- then you should have been. I think maybe what you were saying is that your realized you didn't really want to do the boy trips, you just realized you wanted something special for yourself. Which is fine, but it doesn't make you not a feminist.

Emily Catherine said...

I love this post, first of all. Second, I am not a feminist because I believe it is an obsolete and ridiculous term/grouping. Choices and equality for all people is a human rights issue, not a "feminist" issue- so we should start calling it like it is. And some of the choices feminists care most about are sort of ridiculous ones. The right to have sex without getting pregnant for example. I'm pro-choice, but hey, science made sex create babies, not oppressive humans.

It's sort of a ridiculous term to rally behind when it pretends to encompass just about everyone on earth, is my main beef with it though.

Anonymous said...

The Family Proclamation does a beautiful job on this topic. It beautifully defines the divine roles of a mother and father, and then it says this: "In these sacred resposibilities, fathers and motheras are obligated to help one another as EQUAL partners." So, I agree with the others that have said, we are different. but definitely equal--and we are equal in God's eyes, and that is where it matters most.

Margaret said...

I love how beautifully you celebrate your life and family, it is a great joy (and perfectly "feminist," since it is what you've chosen.), but I must say that I am saddened to see such an intelligent woman and so many commenters turn "feminism" into a bad word? I am curious: why are some of you threatened by feminism? For example, Laura, why do you characterize feminism as "angry"? I simply see feminism as the proposition that each individual woman should chose the life that best suits her God-given gifts and that gives her (and those around her) joy.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but be disappointed in how you've oversimplified (almost to the point of ignorance) feminism.

But I'm glad to have the opportunity to be disappointed, just like I'm glad you have the opportunity to speak your mind.

Andrea in Minneapolis said...

Well I guess I am in the minority of your readers because...

I am a Feminist...

but i guess it's all in the how you define it...

My life is of equal value and importance to any MAN'S life.

I am as valuable as any MAN.

My contribution to the working world is the same as any MANS.

I demand the right that men have to make choice about my reproduction.

I deserve the opportunities that any MAN is afforded.

I was raised by a man who believed his daughters could do anything boys could do. And not only that he encouraged it.

As for those who say they feel "more than" well I guess you have never felt the sting and/or humiliation of losing out to a man BECAUSE you are a woman.

Where The Wilds Things Are said...

Great post. I just have to say that I am very grateful for feminists! Some reasons why: I can vote, I have options for birth control, I can be well educated, I HAVE MORE CHOICES. Yes, I am an LDS, stay at home mom and that is my dream. I agree with your thoughts on equality. I like the differences; however, I am so grateful women before me took a stand, because my life is great because of them.

starsgoblue said...

Here's the problem I have with feminists: if you do not think exactly the way they think, if you love men and don't think they are the enemy waiting around every corner to beat you down, rape you or take advantage of you in some way, then you are their enemy. The feminists I have known despise people like me who have stayed home to raise my children instead of rushing off to work 6 weeks after the baby is born. They do not stop to think that someone must be willing to raise our children. They demand respect for who they are and the choices they have made but they do not offer you that same respect in return. I have enormous respect for women who are able to balance work and family.

In short, I think women can do better at showing support for other women. I think we are sometimes our own worst enemies. I think women have been duped into believing they can have it all when YOU CANNOT and when you cannot you are left feeling angry and disillusioned. The men in my life have always been more supportive of me than the women, so that's the perspective I come from and I am not speaking for anyone but myself.

Caroline said...

I don't think I you understand what equality means. It doesn't mean the same.

And I think you need to stop thinking about how every issue impacts you, in your living room. Equal rights, ALL civil rights, means we have protection under the law that we will be treated fairly. If you go get a job at Costco and so does your brother, that you will not be paid less because of your sex.

Stop asking, "what's in it for me?"

Thank god the feminists fought for those who had less than them, who suffered more, who were treated unfairly. The earliest feminists often came for upper class homes who were supported by husbands, because they COULD. The people who were suffering under an unfair system, who could barely get food on the table, could not.

Julie Ann said...

Agreed! Well said!

Meredith said...

"It was the very search for equality that made me feel unimportant." This is my favorite line. Thanks CJane!

you're killing me said...

Wow.

Maybe it would be easier if you tell us what civil rights the Mormon church does believe in?

Civil Rights Act? Nope. ERA? Nope. Gay Rights? Nope.

Anonymous said...

hi cjane. i just started reading you and i've loved you:) so many people misunderstand the lds church and the ignorance is so sad to me. the church is about love and christ-like behavior. it is also about following the plan that god has for all of his children so that we can be eternally happy and live forever with those that we love. what i got from your post that i appreciate is that the obsessive fight for "equality" tends to be a selfish quest. i strive to place my husband above me and he strives to place me above him. i love him with all i have and he loves me with all he has. that is what christ (and the church) teaches. thanks:)

Anonymous said...

I don't know how any woman could NOT be a feminist. I have a daughter and I can not for the life of me every wish that she get paid less than her male counter part should she work. That she ever have any opportunity not given to her based on her gender. This is coming from a Mormon stay at home mom. I can see how someone can feel two very different genders can never truly be equal, I get that. I still think both can be equally treated fairly.

I am grateful that many women had the guts and the DIVINE knowledge to know that though not equal women deserved more. I am greatful to be able to work should I want or need to, and get paid fairly. That I can pick a career based on my desires, not on gender criteria. I am greatful I can vote, and I have a voice.

Not every women will end up with someone who will work while she stays at home. Not every woman will want one. Women should be able to experience equality in the work place. Women should be looked at as dynamic not just mothers, and care givers, and cooks. My mom is a successful engineer. She had experience so much judgment in the work force, and ever MORE from church members who for some reason feel it is their God given duty to guilt a person in to their ideas of what, and how a woman should be.

Also I would never stand on the same team as Dr Laura, the woman is a kook.

Jill said...

LDesque,

Elder Ballard gave a talk in 1995 where he mentioned feminism, never calling it one of the three evils. The talk was given at a fireside where he was discussing how our strengths can actually become our downfall. How "Satan can persuade some to drive a legitimate strength to such excess that it becomes a disabling weakness." Which I see all the time! Even with myself :)

He spoke on several different topics that apply to men and women-this one falling under "Neglect or Distortion of Family Duties"

To paraphrase, he said women's appropriate desires to grow, to develop, and to magnify their talents-desires strongly reinforced by feminism-also have their extreme manifestations like abandoning family responsibilities.

He's not saying feminism is bad just that at the time he gave his talk he's saying he sees that it's increased the desires of women to grow, to develop, and to magnify their talents.

Not personally knowing Elder Packard, but having studied many of things he has taught, I am almost positive that if he'd known it would come across as he was calling it evil, he wouldn't have mentioned it.

kwg said...

Here is why I think women should run the company. Look at these posts! I think all by women. And many disagree. But they are all respectful! All of them! Think about how much we could get done in the US gov't if the senate and house were majority women! We would all have pleasant discussions over tea and not tear each other to pieces. I am proud of all of these women. I really am.

I so wish cjane would rethink her decision to not align herself with feminism, but Bethany and Azucar (and others) gave reasons why that were far more eloquent than I could write. Bravo ladies. All of you.

kwg said...

ARGG! I meant to say "country" not "company".

Charlotte said...

I find your position so ... dated.

Feminism isn't about having everything being the same. It isn't about blurring all distinctions. It's got nothing to do with boys going fishing.

It's about equal protection under the law. Owning property. Initiating divorce proceedings. Voting.

You want those laws even if you dont' NEED them. Because other women do.

Sarah said...

starsgoblue, from reading the first sentence of your comment, you can not have read the article posted. Here is the motif from the article, just in case you missed it in Courtney's post.

"If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist."

Where is the view that all men are the enemy, or potential racists there? Feminists as a collective group do not consider men the enemy, or adopt a "your with us or against us" mentality. It is claims like yours that make feminism a dirty word, and the struggle for all women to have the freedoms we take for granted that much harder.

As an aside, Courtney, I appreciate the qualifications you have added to your post. It clarifies that, as ever, you are posting about your personal experience.

OMG said...

Ugh, the commenter who think feminists man-haters.

Really?


REALLY?


It makes me sad to read this ignorant, hateful talk from Christians in the 21st century.

Sarah said...

Wow. Just wow. I'm sorry, but I am of a different mindset- I watched my mother work her butt off my entire childhood to ensure I became independent. That I had the right to play sports in high school. To have equal rights in the workforce, although women still make 76 cents on the dollar compared to men. My mother fought for paid maternity leave at her work, and nursing/pumping rooms instead of dingy, creepy public restrooms.
Different? Yes. Equal? No, and that's not the way it should be. How can any woman, SAHM or professional mom, single woman, grandmother, any woman, not advocate for the rights of women everywhere?

Ronit said...

I am a feminist. I am a feminist, like Azucar, Bethany, Hannah, and other anons. Like some of them I am disappointed that your reading of the feminist blog post ignored the crucial modifiers in the dictionary definition: political, economic, and social {equality}.

As others have pointed out, the rights you have as a female citizen emerged because of proto-feminists and feminists. Just some examples:

*Women earned the right to vote less than 100 years ago. (After advocacy for over 100 years seeking the right to vote -- this suggests, contra one of your commenters, that women were not satisfied with their lot in the mythical nostalgic past).

*Women earned the right to credit in their own name less than 40 years ago. (My mother who was teaching when she married my dad, who was in law school, could not get a credit card even though she was the sole wage earner. And I heard that story for years before I even knew that the *law* prevented her from having a credit card account in her name).

*Women can go to college, to law school, to medical school, to graduate school. While there are limited examples from the past, this emerged after years, nay decades and centuries, of women showing that they are intellectually equal to men.

There is nothing in feminism that assert biological difference don't matter. But just as women and men may be different so too are women different from other women and men different from other men. There is no one way to be a woman and no one way to be a man. Why should any individual not have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams, no matter whether they fit gender, societal or other conventions. If a girl wants to play baseball and a boy wants to dance, why should we say no? If a woman wants to be an astronaut and a man wants to stay home with the kids, why should we say no? If a woman wants to run for office and a man wants to be a nurse, why should we say no?

Feminism is about equal opportunities for women and men -- opportunities that can be pursued by all women and all men with the same chances of success. That is, no structural obstacles preventing success. The individual can choose what to pursue, but every individual should be able to choose and should expect that the conditions will be the same. It shouldn't be harder for a woman to achieve a good salary than a man, or harder for a woman to become doctor than a man, or for a woman to raise a family in comfort than a man. There are places in the United States and around the world where this is not the standard. How this isn't a problem to you and others who claim not to be feminists but enjoy all the benefits feminists have fought for puzzles me.

You can believe what you want, but I hope you'll reconsider what feminism means writ large. Not sameness but equality politically, economically, and socially.

Tammy (Mom to this crazy bunch) said...

Yep! I absolutely agree...

Courtney said...

Well said!

Sparklebot said...

It is clear that you still don't understand what feminism is. It's not about our differences. Of course there are differences. It's about our legal and constitutional rights. We ARE NOT equal in rights to men. THAT is where the problem lies.

mosey said...

Well written post, and your opinion is very valid.

I don't quite agree with the definition of feminism given in the article, however. Equality for me (and for most of the women I know) is most definitely not a side-by-side comparison. Women are not men and vive la difference! For me, feminism is firstly about choice - that I as a woman have the opportunity to choose my lifestyle, home or career. And secondly that once that choice is made, I am given the same support that any other human is given to live out that choice. Whether that is emotional, spiritual or financial.

Because of the women who have gone before me, I can't call myself anything else *but* a feminist - I am able to be the woman I am because of those women.

But it's all just labels and language isn't it? Whether you or I call ourselves a feminist or not, we are equal because we are living the life we choose. No?

Malia said...

Amen, sista! LOVE it!

Fuentes Family said...

I don't know how you blog, like three times a day and then read all the comments (so I won't be surprised if you don't read this)BUT I wanted to tell you I love, love reading your blog, it is the only one I read consistently anymore (besides Stephanie's). But the point of this comment is that I have to laugh about all your third trimester trials...I am in the exact same place and it is so funny to hear you have the exact same experiences. like the coughing, throwing up, peeing episode. I am not alone!!!

Kristina P. said...

I too agree with Azucar. I believe it's not about being same, but being treated with fairness.

I also think that feminism entails supporting women in their decisions, whether that's being a SAHM, or having a career, and not tearing each other down or making judgements about each other and the way people live their lives.

Title IX said...

It was your position that my mother fought so hard to get past to pass Title IX, the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 1972.

Your church was one of its chief opponents. They threw a lot of money to get Title IX blocked.

Elder Packer, in 1977, five years after Title IX was passed, said (and I take this from the lds.org):

"If we are subjected to the same excesses as under Title IX, men and women would be subjected to precisely the same regulations of all kinds, at all times. (Many thoughtful wives haven’t the slightest desire to be reduced to equality with their husbands.)"

Excesses of Title IX. The excesses that fostered people like Mia Hamm and Sheryl Swoopes. In 1971, 300,000 high school girls played interscholastic sports. Today, nearly 3 million do.

THAT is what feminism can do.

And when, or when, will women stop falling for the INSULT of men saying, "now would you want to be stoop to my level"?

crystal b. said...

So well said. Loved this post.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

While I respect Cjane's view (and kindly thank her for allowing us to discuss our own views on her blog), I must say I disagree.

I have a different perception of equality as I think equality is very different from sameness. Men and women will never be the same, but we should be treated equally.

Let me explain:

My mother was a Marketing Executive in the late 70's and early 1980's. She worked ridiculously long hours and traveled the world over for her company, working just as hard as any man in her industry. She had to work very hard for equal treatment and equal pay and she was often treated unfairly. My mother is one of the many women who helped break that glass ceiling for us all.

Financially, my mother had no option but to work and to support our family. Unlike my mom, I have been afforded the opportunity to choose if I want to stay home or join the workforce. I have chosen to stay home with my three children and am thankful every single day of my life that I love it.

For my mother, equality wasn't something she could intellectualize. It was a complete necessity. She had to provide for our family, and if she was going to work just as many (if not more) hours than the men she worked with, she deserved equal treatment, equal pay and equal health insurance benefits. For our sake, she fought for those things.

My mother has since retired. She now knits prayer shawls, bakes cookies and serves tea with delicate crackers. Gone are the days of her "Power Suits" (remember those form the 80's?) She embraces being a woman in every since of the word---AND she is a feminist.

I am grateful to her for that and for the millions of women in this country who endured unfair treatment in the workforce so that their daughters would not have to.

Sarah said...

The type of feminism you describe is actually one of three types of feminism: liberal feminism, which seeks gender equality.

The second type of feminism, radical Marxist/social feminism basically says that women will only be equal to men when freed from reproductive responsibility and men share this equally through use of technology (good luck).

The third type of feminism, which I actually agree with, is cultural feminism and states that men and women are different and should not be treated equally; this feminist school of thought believes women should be treated better than men and deserve special attention because of the things they have to go through that men do not. Celebrates motherhood and that that IS the greatest thing a woman can do.

So to lump all of feminism into one type is not accurate; the three types do not agree with each other. Just to clear things up---I just did a dissertation question on this and can give you any sources you like on all of this. Not all feminism is “bad”……most people actually could identify with one school or another because they ARE so different and pretty opposite if they were informed about what “feminism” really is.

Ann said...

I LOVED this post.
Beautifully put.
This is one of your greatest posts ever, in my opinion.
Love the picture of your family moment too.

Elizabeth said...

I think it is a beautiful world that allows such different perspectives to exist and thrive.

But it does make me very sad to think that simply because you believe it to be so for you means that you are okay with the limits being opposed on very unwilling me.

I am a mother, a nurturer, the keeper of my home. And I am fiercely competative and aggressive to the equal of some men and the better of others.

I want my equality, and my God wants it for me. (I know, because He made a woman my bishop). And that makes you and me very very different.

Can we still be friends? Just like the men and women of your world who are so different can still be friends?

I sure hope so. But I would want us both to be able to choose, to follow our own Creator as we find Him, our own work our own way in freedom and the choice of equality.

Karen Anne said...

I love this! I didn't read all the comments, but I may get around to it.

You are so good at expressing your thoughts and opinions.
I want to be you when I grow up.

And I love your gold walls. Like, really love them.

Marilyn said...

Exactly how I feel. I haven't ever even considered that we as women are "less than" men. It's just never confronted me, and I am grateful for that. I have been surrounded by wonderful men who have made me feel "more than" good enough and women who helped me feel empowered.

Love this post, LOVE YOU!

Our little family said...

So strange that you would write this post today(although not really as I know God sends us support when we need it - and today I need it). I value the role of motherhood so much. I do not view women who stay at home to raise their children as "lazy individuals who don't want to work". I am not Mormon and one thing I love about reading your posts is the value that Mormons seem to place on a woman who stays at home. Among my peers (the men especially) value is not placed on that. Since I do not have the option to stay at home, I have tried to choose jobs that allow me the maximum amount of time with my girls. This is a point of strain between me and my husband and I constantly feel compared to the women that we know who make a lot of money. It's kind of the situation of "keeping up with the Jones's". We have a nice house and everything that we need but we can't necessarily do all the things our friends do and it aggravates him whereas I'm fine with it because I don't have any desire to work 60 hours a week and not be available to my family and I'm willing to have less in order to do that. Last night we got into a discussion about all that he wants to do but can't afford to (ie: finish our basement, landscape the yard, etc. etc. etc.) and then as we were discussing how to save to do those things he pointed out that his brother doesn't have to wait and save to do those things because his wife makes $80,000. It hurt to hear that because I try so hard to be a good wife and mother and do special things for my family and it will never measure up because in his eyes I hold us back because I don't make a huge salary. I just feel other things are more important. I wish he could feel happiness from the things that money can't buy. That is my prayer daily.

Bobbinoggin said...

This post is refreshing. I get so tired of women being scoffed at for rejecting the title "feminist". And I have much to respond to with regards that "everyone is equal" in God's eyes. But I'm going to wait until my words come with a bit more organization. Heck, this might even influence my own post on my blog.

To be continued!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "I can't help but be disappointed in how you've oversimplified (almost to the point of ignorance) feminism."

Exactly. The definition you provided is dangerous and misleading. I have been coming here for a year and a half and this post makes me question why.

Washington said...

Oh boy, when I saw the word "feminist" I knew this would bring many heated comments. Differences in interpretation can do that.
I have to say, I think this is one of your best pieces of work. Beautifully put. I loved it.

Erin L said...

I tried writing this very post a few weeks ago, but it didn't come out nearly so eloquent. This is exactly how I feel about it! Thank you for putting into words what I was trying to say.

Laurie said...

Yes. Actually you are.

You edited the referenced definition of feminism a little. It actually reads:

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

This matters. And whether you say so or not, you not only believe it, you espouse it.

So yes. You are.

Take a look, and I quote you:

“A paycheck? The ability to vote? Or be hired? Yes.” -March 5, 2010
Absolutely! All fundamental examples of “political, economic and social equality.”

“I know how that delivery felt for me (great! almost like nothing!) And this time around I thought, why not try something new? Which is the blessing I get for being alive when many options are available.” -February 17, 2010
Choices in childbirth are a very recent, feminist accomplishment! Yeah!

“The only real blogging I was able to do this evening was about SLABpizza for my Provo blog (cjaneprovo.com baby!). -February 5 2010
Good for you! You’ve created multiple highly regarded, monetized blogs. Before feminism, you opportunities create, run and own a business of your own would have been extremely limited. In fact, as you’re married, you wouldn’t legally own anything!


“My divorce was really quite simple to navigate compared to what life had in store for me after.” -January 28, 2010 Guest blog at agoodgrief.com
Thank heaven that recent strides in feminism have simplified the process by which women can extricate themselves, both economically and socially, from bad marriages.


“Then I thought about other women. How some have the same pleasure sitting in a board meeting. How some live to broker deals. How some can't wait to get to their desk job. And it occurred to me, should we all arrive at the same exhilaration, the point should be made: a hard working woman is a happy woman.” -January 19, 2010
Yes! Exactly! I love you! It is about choice for women! Thank heaven for the years and years of dedicated feminist effort to provide women access to these choices. Although many will tell you the work isn’t over, even in this country, let alone abroad…

So yes. You are. And good, no great, for you. Stand proud.

Miss Molly said...

C Jane, I like you, but I must say your take on "feminism" is not surpising. Your posts have never been very deep (entertaining, yes...deep, no), and as a few readers astutely pointed out, it's all about whatever works for you based on what some would consider an extremely narrow perspetive. After all, you live in a place where most of the people are just like you.

Well, you are lucky it works for you. But to say you're not a feminist is to say you disregard all the women before you who fought for the choices you have and that you deny that there are millions of women around the world still fighting for the most basic of human rights. Are men and women the same? No. Of course not. But we are equal in every way and no one should ever be denied any opportunity or right because they have female anatomy.

I hope that after you read the comments from some very enlightened women (many LDS SAHMs), you'll realize that your words don't accurately reflect how you really feel.

P.S. Read the book Half The Sky about the oppression, abuse and exploitation of women worldwide and then tell me you're not a feminist! Maybe I will send it to you!

P.P.S I'm sorry you didn't get to do all the fun things your brothers did growing up. As a teenrager, I remember the scouts going on camping trips while we girls were back in the cultural hall having an "eternal marriage" night where all the YW leaders wore their wedding dresses. I mean, seriously. What a travesty. They should have had a "college education" night and brought their diplomas. But that wouldn't have worked too well since most of them never went!

Jessalee said...

I've got so much to say, and I'm going to try to keep this from being a post on its own!

I just have to say I'm going to agree with the posters that disagree with your take. I honestly just wrote a blog that contained a portion about feminism (that and Kate Gosselin).

Feminism is about free agency, in my mind. It's about choice, the choice to be the housewife or to have the career. It's about the ability to buy your own property, sans a man.

Really, that's as simplified as I can make it. I've always felt the feminist movement was giving us our God-given agency. Prior to that movement, our foremothers were not allowed the same rights as human beings that men were automatically entitled to from birth.

We are born with distinct gender differences, as that is the way Heavenly Father intended. Defining that difference is limited by our scope of language. However, I know that I love being a woman, and I love that my husband is a man, and I revel in our differences and responsibilities (birthing children, feeding children, his priesthood, etc.).

With my God-given agency and my government-granted agency, I'm entitled to choose other life paths that were prohibited before.

As well, if you were ever put into the position that you didn't have your husband to rely on, you would have the right to go seek any type of work your heart desired to support your family instead of having your life dictated by an archaic sense of what you're capable of doing.

What it comes down to is I want the ability to make the decision how my family's dynamics play out with gender roles and equality. Government wise, rights wise, choices wise, there should be gender neutrality.

Is there such a thing when you get down and dirty with defining actual relationships? No. But how I choose to enhance and/or enjoy those differences is my own choice, my agency.

Sara D. said...

This is an AMAZING post, you totally hit the nail on the head. I've always known I wasn't a feminist...this post is EXACTLY the reason why, even if I couldn't voice it quite as eloquently! Thanks!

There is going to be backlash (I can already see). Problem is, I have spent most of my life fighting against the plan that God has always had for me. I want this, I want that, this choice looks better, this one pays better, this is what all the cool people do, this would be EASIER. But, I also choose to serve a Savior who was considered a lowly servant,plain, poor--well below his rich, godly worth. When I follow him, put my faith in him, I am CHOOSING his way. Of course, my human side wants EVERY door to open for me--but Jesus is constantly telling me that there is only one choice that I NEED. Him. If I am truly walking in faith, the choices don't matter, just his perfect path.

I know A LOT of that is ideal. It may not sound like reality. I struggle with the "reality" of choosing him every minute. But I still know that my desire, my purpose is not to have EVERY choice available, but only those he has ordained for me, from the beginning of time. He reveals, he provides. And if it's his will, it will be done!

Mary Elizabeth said...

This is why I read you! You are amazing at putting your true feelings to words. God Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Well said, c jane! It is that very inequality of male and female that balance each of us and actually bring us true joy. That is my belief and I'm happy to be on the female side of the balance.

Anonymous said...

Equal doesn't mean exactly the same. Equal means identical value. And even as a stay at home LDS mother who happily has made the choice to raise 4 children, clean and cook, I look forward to the day that my value is seen as identical to that of my attorney husband, because frankly, it is.

cori said...

I feel like the word feminist has negative connotations. I like the person who said they were a humanist. That's how I feel. I grew up with 5 sisters and one brother. My dad took us camping, hiking etc. We had to do all the "boy" chores like yard work. Everything he would have done with the boys. But we also took dance, learned to sew and cook, etc. My brother is Down syndrome. He is a registered republican, he votes, has very serious opinions. I'm grateful that not just women, but people like him are given rights as well now. That's what it is really about. Understanding that differences shouldn't keep us from enjoying the same opportunities.

ps. I am LDS, and I have always been encouraged to get an education, and enjoy lots of different activities, physical and otherwise. Mormon women don't just "sit in the kitchen." I have always felt so celebrated and encouraged as an LDS woman. My husband makes it possible for me to stay home and care for my kids, while completely supporting my desire to further my education, and someday be a writer. Likewise, I support his goals, and dreams. He wants me to come with him when he does outdoor stuff, and I enjoy it. I take him with me to the theater. I cook more than he does, but on Sundays, he makes banana bread. Give and take.

I do appreciate the women that came before me. Not the angry "men-demeaning" feminists, but the ones that fought for true equal opportunities. So I guess, I am a feminist.

Lindsay said...

Seems a bit like a reinterpretation of the idea of feminism. As others have said, feminism is not about being the same as men. Feminism is about equal value.

Equality (according to my dictionary): the state of being equal in status, rights and opportunity. I hope you can't disagree with that.

It saddens me to see LDS women (some of those commenting), who rightly fight against the stereotypes made about them, making hurtful stereotypes about feminists. Let us please think beyond our own assumptions.

lady lee said...

Love.

Jennifer Bowman said...

I love this post, possibly one of my favorites thus far!

Micha said...

I really like this post. Part of what I love about reading you is that you say what you feel regardless of the way people will receive it. I don't quite have that courage and as such my blog has sadly faded into oblivion.

But I digress: I think this was beautiful. Feminism seems to have become a weird culture rather than the ideal it once was. The reality is that women DON'T have to fight for opportunity very often (in our culture). Yes, there are some places that need work and some places that have gone too far, but as a whole women have all the opportunity in the world.

We are rapidly becoming more educated, more successful, more financially savvy than our male counterparts. While this fills others with gladness, it actually saddens me. As a single parent I am grateful GRATEFUL for the many opportunities to pursue education and career the "same as a man" unlike generations before. I am so very fortunate to have the ability to provide for myself and be self-sufficient in every capacity. But when it comes to companionship, this is not such a great thing.

Seems that "equal" is an impossibility despite the strides. As women progress, many men are halting, and now the curve has tipped the other way; many women are so much MORE than the men. This then makes me more particular with men and causes me to have "I can do it better" thoughts that lead to negativity and too much self-pride.

I think this striving to make things equal is a big part of the problem. My favorite (yet oft overlooked) idea in feminism is the recognition that women (all people actually) have a choice. The choice is what was once missing, not the ability.

Yes, I recognize that for many this choice is still missing, and that there are many cases where a little more equality ought to be sought after. All in all, I agree with you. We are different from one another and embracing those differences is not a sign of weakness but a sign of unity.

Courtney White said...

I so agree, and you are a fantastic writer to put it into just the right words!

I grew up with dodger dogs. They really are quite good. :)

alicia said...

nothing of any good comes without any negative effects. and the feminist movement is a biggie.
while it achieved a great deal in the beginning, it has gradually succeeded in turning women against each other. women are the ones who began to degrade others for their choices. if a woman chose to stay home, they were told that they had no ambition.
in our pursuit of equality in the workforce, we eradicated the ability to be a one-income family.
in our quest to be completely independent from men, we have put a nail in the coffin of marriage.
i certainly don't deny that the feminist movement was necessary (and appreciate the women who have paved the path i walk on), i just question how thoughtfully we have continued the "fight."
at times, we are our own worst enemies.

Ellison said...

This is the position many smart LDS women take to rationalize their inequality in the eyes of their church. You only have to study a little history of the church's involvement in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment to see that indeed, they do not see women as equal to men.

The role of the church in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment (which was defined as a guarantee that equal rights under any federal, state, or local law could not be denied on account of sex) was equivalent to their role in defeating Prop 8. And the tactic was the same: fear.

Here is what the first presidency said about the ERA: that it could indeed bring [women] far more restraints and repressions. "We fear it will even stifle many God-given feminine instincts," and would promote "an increase in the practice of homosexual and lesbian activities."

It would be funny if it wasn't so serious. How could a law that made it illegal to discriminate based on gender be repressive? Or promote lesbian activities?

Really, LDS church? Really?

Don't fall for it, Courtney. Use your broad platform to be a respectful dissenter against the indoctrination that's creeped into your mind. It doesn't mean leaving the church. But you can be your own woman. You can push the envelope. Deep down there is a feminist waiting to come out. I just know it.

Mona said...

Many great points and perspectives have been shared on both sides. For so many reasons, I'm glad that we as women can even have this conversation!

I just wanted to respond to Mary's comment: "But my thing is, in the US, we can now [own property, make decisions, vote, become president...]. I an do whatever I please, as long as it is deemed legal."

Yes, it is true that American women have been granted certain rights and privileges because of the women before us who fought for them. One of the many reasons I consider myself to be a feminist is because this is not the case for millions of women who live outside the US.

And thank you to Sarah for outlining the different types of feminism. Like most labels, I believe there is a continuum. It's not that black or while.

A book worth reading that details the oppression of women outside the US is "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas Kristof & Sherly WuDunn. Reading that book not only made me more grateful for the many opportunities I enjoy, but made me care greatly for making those opportunities available for all women.

johnny said...

"As a teenrager, I remember the scouts going on camping trips while we girls were back in the cultural hall having an "eternal marriage" night where all the YW leaders wore their wedding dresses. I mean, seriously. What a travesty."

OMFG

Pilar said...

Good thing you've never had to get out of a marriage. Otherwise, you'd get down on your knees and thank all the women who fought (against your church) for your right to do that.

Lindsay said...

I, too, recommend Half the Sky. Here's a link to a Christian blog post that also happened to come out today: http://blog.sojo.net/2010/03/05/why-did-god-create-women/

Holly said...

I love reading your blog. Thanks for posting. I also love the picture at the top of this blog. Congratulations to another very well written blog.

Carly Jane said...

I used to say I was feminist (knowing full well I wasn't in the traditional sense of the term)... but I've stopped. I'm just not all about "equality." I'm much, much more about women being women--fulfilling our divine and distinct roles. Which as I understand it has everything to do with motherhood. (I could elaborate).

Anyhow, thank you for always being willing to say it like it is, even when you know you're going to get a whole lot of comments that won't all be agreeable.

Brian and Tonya said...

Beautifully written. I used to believe that I was feminist because I believe that a man and woman doing the same job with the same experiance and background should recieve the same pay. But, I started to learn that feminism strives for so much more, like you said, equality in all things. I don't believe that men and women were ever meant to be the same (see, my semantics equate equality with sameness) but we were meant to be complements to each other. My strengths outweigh my husbands weeknesses and vice versa.
Thank you for another great post.

Johnny said...

Ellison,

I would love CJane to disagree with the church on this but she can't. She can be excommunicated for "Open, public, repeated opposition to the Church or its leaders"

Can you imagine. You can't disagree or they'll kick your arse out.

How convenient for them.

Sundance Kid said...

I am so glad you wrote this because I feel the same way and society today (especially here in CA) harshly frowns upon women who feel as you and I (and many others, I'm sure) feel.

So thank you for being honest and open on your platform. I have done so too on my blog. I feel that if feminists can shout from the rooftops, surely we can say what we think and feel too.

And for the record, I've nothing against feminists themselves, I just don't happen to be one. :)

Heather said...

Thank you so much Cjane. I too never want to be equal. I hold giving birth as the highest blessing and men will never be euqal to us in that respect. Men carry the priesthood, something I also never want to be equal to them with. I like the inequality. It creates balance. Balance and moderation in all things.

Anonymous said...

Carly Jane,

if it's got all to do with motherhood, where would courtney have been if she couldn't have had kids?

Anonymous said...

This makes me feel so alienated from my own people I can't stand it. You just lost a reader over this one.

I'm a mom too said...

I need to take this blog out my blog reader. I dont' know why I didn't months and months ago.

I'm so happy you're happy in your happy little world.

I'm so sad you don't realize all the pain and suffering there is in the world -- and how much of it is caused by women's unequal standing under the law. But I guess it doesn't affect you, right Courtney?

Rhiannon said...

I've been working on a paper about just this thing. And hearing another voice on it makes mine flow so much easier.

Rynell said...

I agree with Azucar.

Also, there are rights that women enjoy now that they didn't in the past. I can vote, I can choose any profession that I want. I have a different divine mission than my husband, but I am equal to him, not less than him.

Mak said...

I'm with Azucar- different is OK, less is not. That's why I'm a feminist. I work in a male-dominated field and get irritated that at times I'm taken less seriously or have to work extra hard to gain respect from my "different" male co-workers. The "woman as less" mentality still happens- it is just sometimes more subtle than pay and work load.

Mak said...

I'm with Azucar- different is OK, less is not. That's why I'm a feminist. I work in a male-dominated field and get irritated that at times I'm taken less seriously or have to work extra hard to gain respect from my "different" male co-workers. The "woman as less" mentality still happens- it is just sometimes more subtle than pay and work load.

Mak said...

I'm with Azucar- different is OK, less is not. That's why I'm a feminist. I work in a male-dominated field and get irritated that at times I'm taken less seriously or have to work extra hard to gain respect from my "different" male co-workers. The "woman as less" mentality still happens- it is just sometimes more subtle than pay and work load.

KatieJ said...

I think I see what you're getting at- I'm glad we live in a country where women are equal to men under the law- that is how God would have it. I have never really felt the "inequality" that many American women still percieve. We are simply different than men, no "more" or "less" than a man, simply women instead of men. I don't understand the constant need to "prove" that we can do anything a man can do. And while I too loathe the monthly hormonal ups and downs, I think I MUCH prefer that hormonal burden to the hormonal burden (sexual nature) men have to contend with. You should listen or watch some of Dennis Prager's videos, you'd love him: http://www.prageru.com/

Mak said...

whoa- sorry for the three dup comments- blame blogger! Apparently it still publishes even if you mess up the word verification!

cc said...

I've never commented before, but I really need to add my voice to the others that are saddened by your lack of a better understanding of what feminism can be and do and how much you have benefited from the feminists of the past.

I respect your right to believe what you wish and call yourself what you wish, but you DO have a strong influence over others on your blog and I agree that this post was somewhat irresponsible. If you read more than just that article about what the Feminist movement is TODAY, you may regret painting it in such a negative light and harming the progress that it is trying to make.

I am a proud mother and wife and Feminist and I am so glad that I will have the opportunity to go back to a career when my children are older. I am also a faithful member of the LDS church and I want others out there, members and non to know that the two are not incompatible. There ARE a lot of others like me and we are not men haters or priesthood seekers (for the time being). Equality does NOT mean same and I'm glad it doesn't. You don't have to believe EVERYthing that other Feminists believe to accept the label, and it is NOT a dirty word like some poeple in this discussion appear to still think of it as.

I've been a long time reader and admirer of your writing, but this post makes me sad and disappointed.

Corey said...

i have never commented before mostly because i dont think you will really read all your comments and you probably won't but i just had to say that I agree with this post 100%. I have always felt this way and it saddens me to see women trying to hard to be equal to men, especially in the job field. I love being a mother and believe that is where women need to be at home raising good children and then this world would be a better place!!!

BettyF said...

yes, why can't all women stay at home with children?

who do these women think they are?

Amanda j said...

BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT

Kerri said...

So funny that just yesterday I was labeling myself a feminist, and then I read this post and thought, Really? Someone who is thoughtful and lives in today's world is NOT a feminist?

So many comments have said it so much better than I will, but I must say that while I absolutely celebrate the blessings of differences between the sexes, and I'm so grateful to have different gifts than my husband does, I am ALSO very grateful that if he were to die or become disabled tomorrow or next month, I would be able to find a job that could support my family, that I have a couple of college degrees that my family and my community thought it was great for me to get, even though I was already married, and that others have fought a fight so that I have protections in the law. We sometimes take these battles for granted, but we are a blessed generation. We can choose to stay at home (if we have that opportunity) or to work, and both choices are acceptable.

If you want to say hooray for differences, I'm all for that, and I'll say hooray with you. But I'm STILL bitter that the YM went on horseback campouts, hikes to Havasupai, and river rafting trips while I went to girls camp in cabins and painted stencils on t-shirts. That's a difference I won't celebrate. :)

Talena said...

Well done and beautifully (is that a word) written. Good luck during your last month of pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

a week ago when my son and husband were leaving with all their snow gear for a Boy Scout snowcave-camping experience in the mountains, my 15 year old daughter muttered under her breath, "I am SO glad I'm not a boy."

Different is good.

LadyGaGa said...

Kerri. Now here's a Mormon I can relate to!

Ellison said...

To Corey:

What is "sad" about women trying to have equality in the workplace? Huh? If I work as hard as a man, don't I deserve the same rewards and recognition? If you poked your head up from time to time, you might see that not all women have children. I am not married. I don't have kids. And I'm not sitting around in a badly furnished apartment with four other 30-something women waiting to be married so I can take my rightful place in this world as a mother (since that is all you think I am capable of being). I am working my butt of running my own company and making loads of money. I also do philanthropic work and generally, enjoy life. So I'm not raising kids, but I'm certainly making a contribution.

Your comment was really insulting.

Katherine said...

Feminism, for me, is women trying to be males. They want male roles and male looks and male feelings and they look down on the wife and mother who fulfills her role "traditionally." I, for one, really enjoy all the girly parts of being a woman. I like depending on my husband for affection, I like that I can stay at home/work at home and take care of things there rather than getting burned out trying to support a career along with everything else if I want to. I like that I can look cute and enjoy chick flicks and be me. There's nothing degrading to me about any of it - so long as I'm getting the love and respect that I deserve for being a human being and a child of God. Love and respect are really the only things we should work towards for equality. It's just too much fun to complement the males in our lives to try to change all of that up and be the same!

Anonymous said...

I can not believe how narrow-minded this post is!

Do you think you are the only woman on the planet?

Do you realize that 100 years ago women couldn't VOTE?

This is how you thank the women who fought for your rights?

You aren't a feminist because you don't have to be!

You've been given everything on a silver platter!

amelia said...

how sad that a woman of your apparent intelligence and thoughtfulness would make the very common error of mis-taking equality for same-ness.

once you've figured out that little conundrum, perhaps you should rethink your horrible poorly conceived notion of "equality" and "feminism."

WendyLou said...

You said it, sista!! Your thoughts on this today have truly made me smile :) Thank you for giving words to the feelings that I have so, so often - that what I am doing here, at home, with my four babies + 2 on the way, is enough. Enough to make me a real, whole person - nothing need be added or achieved to prove that I am. I hope you gets many lovely, supportive comments on this one :)

Anonymous said...

Katherine,

Do you also believe that civil rights is about black people trying to act like white people?

itmayleadtoSIN! said...

When is the Mormon church going to get around to throwing a few million towards getting prohibition passed?

YOU don't drink and thus nobody should be allowed to by law, right?

The Bears said...

I've always defined Feminism as being pro feminine qualities. I was always confused by the "feminists" who seemed to look down on feminine things and want to be men.

Anonymous said...

WendyLou,

What if you couldn't have kids. Then what?

Cori said...

I completely agree with you! I don't want to be a man and I don't want my man to be a woman! Let's just help each other be our best selves and work it out together. It's more interesting (and fun) that way.

Anonymous said...

I've had to check out the sites of the many people here who are saying things like feminists hate men or are trying to be men or look like men, etc. And they're all Mormons.

Who is teaching you this? Teachers? Church leaders?

The more I read, the more I get scared. What a pack of lies.

Morgan -Ing said...

I do not believe in equality. It is not only improbable, it is unnecessary.

What I do believe in is EQUITY (as in the freedom from bias or favoritism). We can not, nor would we want to be "the same" as men. Women are divinely created to be WOMEN. But I will also not stand for people who want to put women "down" or "in their place" as many cultures in the world still believe.

I am for EQUITY. If that means I am a feminist than so be it. I love that I have choices and rights that allow me to work, to stay home, to vote, etc. And I use those rights to choose to stay at home, make bread, teach my children and let my man do the money-makin'. MY CHOICE.

For what it's worth, the definition of "feminism" is so utterly wonky these days, I'm surprised more people don't abhor the title. I believe in a feminism that allows for the beauty and power of women to shine forth.

It has nothing to do with man-hating, just the love of women.

My husband, identifies with this definition as well. So if you asked him, he'd tell you he's a feminist.

And we have a pretty dang traditional marriage. Which was my choice. :)

So, perhaps, CJane, you're more of a feminist than you thought, title aside. Equity is a beautiful thing. Life ain't fair. :)

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

Beautifully articulates the feelings I had not consciously grappled with.

Except I do take issue with one key point. Vomiting and loss of bladder control. I might choose to not embrace that completely.

But that may only be because I had my yearly exam yesterday and I can't stop crossing my legs today.

Feeling a little victimized by things not being fair. I'll be better tomorrow.

Morgan -Ing said...

Amen to Sarah who defined the different types of feminism perfectly. EVERYONE assumes that "feminism" is liberal feminism. Even some "feminists!" But I am a cultural feminist. And like I said, so is my husband.

Caitlin said...

What a fabulous post. What lovely insight. You are wonderful and make me think.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a feminist.

Kimberly said...

Love your blog but I don't get it. Lately you've written posts that cause such an uproar that you then have to write another post to address it and then you do it again? Why? Is offending people to the point that the comments in your blog are now nothing but negative and hurtful to yourself, each other or to mass groups of people entertaining? Or generating more readership or something? You had to know that the view positioned in this post was narrow and dismissing of those that still today suffer so much because they were born a woman. You must have known that it would cause yet another dramatic outbreak in the comments section. You knew that you would be offending people. So why do it? Why be hurtful? I too believe in traditionalism and I like that my husband is different from me BUT I am also very aware of the plight of women in this world who suffer greatly only because they were born a woman. I will forever feel I must fight for their cause because I too am a woman but just more fortunate because I was born in North America.
Awareness of how much women suffer in this world is a HUGE issue and by publishing stuff like this it only makes that issue worse.

madsta said...

this post was brilliant, im young but i've always had the view that whilst a man isnt better than a woman and vice versa they are so different you cant make the comparison, you should just know that you ought to be cherished and adored by whoever your with, and you should do the same, but i love the way you think of it ( and i am in loooovve with that giant clock, a dear cjane...?)

Alex said...

I am an LDS, college-educated, former member of the workforce turned stay at home mom of two. While I most definitely appreciate the work of women past to improve conditions of all women, I don't believe that this means I have to label myself a feminist in today's world. I am most grateful for the right to vote, the right to own property (I bought my first house when I was single and 23) and all other rights that we enjoy today. I don't wish for women in other parts of the world to be abused and repressed. But today's feminism in many ways, does not represent such basic and fundamental rights.

It has become defined by abortion and being equal in all things to men. Perhaps you will say that this is just the extreme part of the movement, but I do not see it that way. We hear a lot about equal pay for equal work, however there are a lot of issues that come into play, including women's personal choices both in family life and in career choices.

In a lot of ways, women who choose to stay home, be a mom and fulfill the "typical women stereotypes" are made to feel less than or not equal to women with a career and many outside interests. We are made to feel this way, not by men, but by other women.

I feel confident in saying that feminism does not represent who I am. I am grateful that I come from a religion who emphasizes the true nature of women. That teaches it's young women to uphold their virtue because they are worth MORE than the world tell them, certainly not less. I have a husband who values and respects me and does everything he can to make my life better.

I love being a woman.

{ Bethany } said...

Your post and so many of the comments that have followed are EXACTLY what that author was trying to fight against. Feminists are not "angry, men-hating, gender bending, motherhood destroyers".

I am a stay-at-home mom. I *love* my role in life. I *love* being a woman. I *love* being a mother. However, I believe that men and women have equal VALUE. (not equal genitalia, not equal traits, not equal roles, etc).

You (and so many of your readers) completely missed the point of the article you linked to. GIRLS...it is our culture and society and men that define feminists as being hateful and bitter! That is NOT what its about! That's what the men who didn't want women to be treated equally thought up to discolor their movement. Don't buy into the hype! :(

I also think its incredibly sad that so many women on here are so naive and willfully ignorant to the plights of women all over the world. And that they also treat the roles that women played in the last 200 years as a big pile of nothing.

You can be a sweet, feminine, "soft and pink" LDS motherhood tootin', home cookin', barefoot pregnant in the kitchen girly girl who cherishes her traditional role and divine nature and still be a feminist. THAT is the point of the article.

The Rookie said...

I am, it turns out.

Azucar summed up my sentiments so thoroughly, so precisely that I'll add a "ditto" to that.

And I might be worldly or prideful or committing sacrilege here, but that particular quote by President Benson at the top of these comments has always gotten under my skin. Not for the quote itself as much as how I feel it has been (mis)interpreted.

Anonymous said...

wow, you guys make us Catholics look good! and that is easy to do.

mo said...

In my home, in my community and in most of my country, I feel pretty good about the level of choices I have. I agree that the concept of "equality" can be muddy. I will say that it wasn't that long ago in this country where women did not have the same choices so I try to remember that. I think that as women, we need to look outside of our homes, communities and country and remember all of the women in the global community who do not have our choices. Who do not even have respect, let alone the idea of equality. I choose to think of myself as part of a larger community of sisters and I pray for fairness and opportunity for all of us. How many countries still exist where girls and women are denied an education? What about genital mutilation and the rape that occurs in war torn countries? These things are easy to forget when we are happy in our homes with our children and our choices. That may make me a feminist but we all need to think bigger picture.

hshamby said...

so you wouldn't qualify as a feminist, but you would fall under the category as being post-feminist, which is (arguably) more progressive than the former. old school feminism says that women should be equal to men -- so that means that men set the standards for what "it" or "life" should be like, and that women should live up to them in order to be equal. the post-feminist says to heck with the patriarchal standard, i'll be whoever god intends me to be and i DON'T have to fit anyone's standards but my own, or my family's. as a 20-something woman figuring out life, i find that MUCH more liberating than the idea that in order to be considered "a strong woman" i should be more like a man. i'd much rather be more like ME. whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

I..don't even know what to say to this post. Its so sad...Equality means we as women are given the same opportunities as men.
For example, I remember back in the day before Title 9 my options for participating in sports were nada... that's right nothing. The boys had tennis, cross country,track,basketball,baseball,football, wrestling and gymnastics.. But think of it Courtney, I was forbidden because of my sex from participating.

And what about movies for children? How many movies have there been with a positive lead female role model? Not many and certainly not equal.. The bottom line is that not every girl or woman wants to be a stay at home, baby maker, kept woman.
I know I will never be President of the United States nor will I see one elected in my lifetime if ever and its not because we don't have talented women who can lead our country.. Its because we are not equal.

Sue said...

I think the debate (albeit mostly a friendly one) taking place on this board is a moot point. Two women with identical beliefs about women and their value could easily differ on whether they call themselves "feminists" or not. It simply depends upon what connotation they attach to that word.

I do want to take issue with the woman who implied that cjane's post is influenced by a fear of being excommunicated from the LDS Church for espousing views of a so-called feminist nature. That's ridiculous, and I don't like comments where people make baseless digs at the Church in the guise of "helpful," "informative" comments and/or "explanations" of cjane's posts.

I am a product of the 60s and still consider myself a feminist in the pure sense, but not necessarily the connotative one. And I am willing to bet that Courtney believes in equal pay for equal work and the like as strongly as any self-proclaimed feminist out there.

Some people would insist that I can't be a feminist because I don't believe in a woman's right to choose. But no one feels a woman should have her rights more than I do. I am pretty militant about that. I just don't believe that anyone has the right to terminate a pregnancy. For me, the unborn child's right to develop and be born trumps the woman's right to be unencumbered by pregnancy if she so desires.

The point I'm making is that nothing about feminism is black and white, and there's a lot of gray area. Maybe that's why some people don't like to take the name on...because there's too much ambiguity attached to the meaning...because the appellation means different things to different people. In other words, why label yourself with a label whose definition is in the mind of the beholder?

Carolina said...

I have to admit I am disappointed in this post. I would have expected cjane to strip feminism of the negative connotations attached to it by my fellow Mormons and analyze it more carefully. I felt like I was reading anti-ERA propaganda.

Neither men nor women should feel constrained in their choices except by their own deeply-held beliefs and understanding of the world. Feminism has done more for that cause than anything else. It is feminism that allows women to work in traditionally male careers (although not quite yet for equal pay or with equal promotion); it is feminism that allows men to take parental leave when they become new fathers or to be stay-at-home fathers; it is feminism that allows individuals to leave a harmful spousal relationship without the fear that traditional gender stereotypes will make it impossible to get a fair divorce settlement (although I realize this still happens). In fact, it is feminism that raises the role of stay-at-home mom to a profession, a career, a craft in a way that our grandmothers could only dream of. That is because there is now a choice--women and men can (or should be able to) choose their life endeavors.

I believe cjane has a right to choose her life path and even celebrate her way of life, even though it is different from mine, but I hope she also allows room for other women (and men) to choose something else, even something that is equal (gasp!) or the same (double gasp!) as some man (or woman) might choose.

Anonymous said...

As an LDS mother of two I want everyone to know our church believes women to be equal to men. We each have defined roles but we are equal and taught to be respected as equals to work things out as equals and I LOVE that and I would never give that up. President Hinckley was a wonderful example as our Prophet who treated his dear wife as his equal. I am so grateful for the brave women who suffered to pave the way for our liberty and freedoms to be women and not just lesser creatures or helpers of men.

Whether you like it or not cjane you are indebted to feminists throughout history. Don't ignore what these women have suffered to give you, you are benefiting from the years or fighting to be recognised as an equal. Thats why you can blog today and draw readers who are men and women. You wouldn't have a voice today if it weren't for this wonderful women.

Anonymous said...

Bethany and Hannah Mudge nailed it here and I can't add much.

C Jane, I really cannot believe that you think "Equality has never done any good for me." YOUR MOM IS A COUNCILWOMAN! Without the equality movement and women's suffrage, she would never have had that opportunity! You wouldn't have been able to vote for your father's races. I completely believe that you are entitled to your opinion and I think that's a wonderful thing about the country we live in. But as a Iranian American woman, I can tell you that you are lucky for the equality and opportunities you have been given. So continue to write opinionated posts (that's why we keep coming back) but have a little sensitivity to the women who came before you, and the women who are fighting right NOW for equality and basic rights, in countries all over this world.

Mrs. Doctor Jackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie said...

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

-from The Family: A Proclamation to the World

That's scripture, folks.

KB said...

I say 'ideal' because somebody has to go out & make the money and somebody has to run the household and be there for the kids

Why can't both partners make money and run the household? My husband is my partner, 100%. This week, I traveled for work; he stayed home and cared for the kids, house, and animals. Next week, he'll be working, and I'll be home. We are both capable of running the house and raising the kids, and we are both capable of earning the money that keeps it all going. I have never felt that one of us was more or less than the other. I can't understand being comfortable with either side of that arrangement.

emalina49a said...

I have to say "Amen". Besides isn't fair a subjective term anyway?!

P.S. I am trying to remember if I have ever commented on your blog. I think about it a lot even if I don't do it. So thanks for the thoughts, yours and the ones you help spur for me. Because honestly, I don't always say "amen" and that is the best part!

Lindsay said...

So, having a house with a working mother and a stay at home dad is against your scripture? Wow.

Mrs. Doctor- many people in this world do not have the opportunity to choose life or death. Genocide. War. These are the real experiences of real people. A women in the DR Congo, once she has been raped and forced into squalor, might have to choose between food for herself or food for her children. Is that the kind of choice you're talking about? Is that choice equal to the types of choices you make on a day to day basis?

Anonymous said...

Wow. There was so much mind boggle with your post and some of the comments that I had say something. While many other posters have already said it (and in a much more eloquent way than I can), I'm also really disappointed by your post. You reach so many readers through your blog, and in one fell swoop, you discredited so many of them.

I am not ashamed to say I am a feminist. I own one pair of jeans, have my husband drive me to most places, and melt at the sight of things I consider "cute." But I am also an educated, strong woman who thinks it's total b.s. that I do a "man's job" at a "woman's pay." I can fix most things on my own. I am capable of taking care of myself AND taking care of my husband. Being a feminist means I accept both facets of myself and that I will defend the right for females to CHOOSE what types of lives they will lead, regardless of whether or not I agree with their choices. Being a feminist does not mean that I hate men, or stay at home mothers, or housewives, and I am so sad to see that so many of you attach this connotation to the term.

Maybe you don't consider yourself a feminist, but how can you make such sweeping, overgeneralizing statements when you got out of your first marriage? If you are so against feminism, why not stay in that marriage because it was your role?

You would be surprised to know how many "angry feminists" rooted for your getting out of that marriage and seeking happiness with a new man, even if your lifestyle wasn't for us.

lindsey v said...

I guess we all have different internal feelings when we hear the word "feminist".

I am definitely glad that I have the opportunity to vote if I choose to. I'm glad for job opportunities if I choose to work. But the term "feminist" in 2010 FOR ME means women who want to be so much like men that they become hard, unfeeling people. More like men. This is just from what I have seen from many outspoken "feminists". I don't want to be like that. I want to be a soft, emotional, nurturing woman.

Why is it okay for men to be belittled in every commercial and TV show - even in kids shows? They are shown as bumbling fathers who don't know how to do anything that the mother does. I believe that it is todays "feminists" who have made this okay and I worry about what our little boys are going to turn out to be like as they grow up seeing this.

I know that others have a different feeling about what the word feminist means. But this is what I feel.

Sylvia said...

YES! YES! YES!!

Joy. Finally someone willing to say what needs to be said about the yoking of patriarchy and matriarchy.


Rich post...I'm sure you've stirred the hive. Great job!!

Carolina said...

Mrs. Doctor: As to choice: what I am talking about is being allowed to choose to live by your own conscience without social, legal, or cultural oppression. Surely we as Mormons can understand that; the founders of Mormonism fought hard for that and lost their lives to that cause. Of course they still had choice--they could choose to be Mormons and die or deny their faith and live. It doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for the option being Mormon and living!!

cc said...

I just want to say in defense of the *term*, that it is what me make of it. Maybe someday there will be a new term to differentiate most of us from the militant "mannish" minority (which I have personally never encountered), but until then, we are the ones who decide what the world thinks "Feminism" is.

If we let others define it for us then ignorance will prevail.

rori said...

Yeah Cjane! Love it! Personally? I think i'm a humanist, not a feminist.

Anonymous said...

CJane, you said: "Equality has never done any good for me."

Okay then, let's just abolish it for everyone. Forget about Civil Liberties, slavery, genital mutilation, the Holocaust, Darfur, Haiti, Chile, and so on.

As long as equality has never done any good for you, why oh why should it matter for anyone else?

Forget the "meaning" of the word Feminist. Do you know the meaning of the word Narcissist?

Thanks for bringing the integrity of humanity down a notch today.

Jessalee said...

I commented earlier, but the comments to this post are just sticking with me and I am compelled to comment again.

Looking up the definition, feminism can be easily described in this short statement: a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women.

Rather than imposing the extremist view on the word and take away from the fight that our foremothers really worked for, it'd behoove us not to buy in or perpetrate these stereotypes but rather embrace the movement in its historical accuracy.

I'm kind of surprised that people in the LDS culture specifically choose to grasp the extremist, bra burning, man-hating vein because they're not really feminists either, instead seeming to espouse MORE rights for women than men, which is just counterproductive to the whole belief system anyway.

In our LDS culture we have our extremists that we mainstream members are often erroneously associated with by virtue of their choices to align and share the name LDS with us. It doesn't mean their definition is accurate, and it doesn't make you any less LDS.

I'm truly perplexed by those that are embracing the whole "down with feminism" ideal. It's equal RIGHTS for women. It's equity and choice. It's not equal gender roles that strip us of our femininity. That'd be impossible by the very nature of our ability to bear children. We ARE different. But we deserve equity and choice. THAT is feminism. That's why I am a feminist.

Nicole said...

Thank you cjane for writing this out so well. This was a rich and thoughtful post. I couldn't agree more with your conclusions. Blessings.

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