Thursday, March 25, 2010

Manifesto Female: What I Have Learned

My older sister Page once said to me,
"I don't know what it is, but giving birth to my daughters was an entirely different experience. It's almost as if they were made out of a different essence."

That is where I want to begin.

I am writing this essay with the essence I was birthed with, the spirit that fills my body, the soul that communes with divinity. This is the part of me where I am most comfortable, though I am not always good enough to be there. This isn't an official doctrine of my church, but it is influenced by what I have studied out in my mind and heart. It is me, essentially.

Every Sunday I stand with the young women in my church and repeat a bold statement called the Young Women Theme. It starts, I am a daughter of God, who loves me and I love him . . . (read the entire theme: here).

If I believe I am a daughter of God then I believe that every woman is a daughter of God.

Every woman who has, will and now exists has characteristics of heaven. This is not restricted to those baptized in my church, this is the genesis of all women. We came from a Heavenly Father who made our female spirits receptive to hearing inspiration and revelation from a Divine Source. These powers are written in the code of our biological make-up, as well as hidden in our spirit. We may know they are there, we may not. I believe they are there.

With these powers of innate wisdom and discernment--given from God, women are capable of anything. They can create. They can destroy. They can change. They can evolve. And because of this I believe in a woman's endless capabilities, that when paired with a God (also known as a sense of self) there is no end to what a woman can choose.

She can fight injustice. She can heal from injustice. She can help other women fight or heal from injustice. She can work. She can be satisfied in work. She can find confidence. She can capture truth and live it entirely. She can rise above. She can be aware. She can find intelligence placed inside of her that no force can destroy on this earth, no matter how hard it becomes. She can listen. She can hear. She can obey. She can develop her own rules, and obey those too. Woman is clever enough, resilient enough and strong enough to find paths that weren't always apparent.

She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man. She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others. When following the promptings inside of her soul to do whatever is important for her own life plan she simply has no equal.

But these powers are the most potent when used to love other women. To support. To carry. Lift. Encourage. Serve. Fight alongside. And in my experience, this is also the hardest part about being a woman. There are forces at work designed to turn woman against woman in an effort to completely destroy the massive amount of good we can do when united. But I also know that I feel the strongest as a woman, when I am helping another woman, or being helped by another woman--whether she is someone I know, or a someone who lives across the world. I'd be smart to unceasingly search for opportunities to serve. (Sometimes I regrettably forget this.)

I can't write for every woman, and every woman's unique circumstance. I am not aware of every tribal, local, religious, federal policy on women around the globe. I believe a woman's ultimate goal is happiness, but I can't begin to describe what that looks like for everyone. What I want to hear from other women, is what I will give in return: We can do it. Whatever it is. We can do it. We have done it before. We will do it again and again. We contain God-given endless abilities. We are here for each other. You teach me. I will teach you. God is with us. We can, I can, you can.

We can achieve our potential as wives, we can do it as mothers, we can do it with no title (or uterus) at all. If all we aim to do in this life is discover our eternal intelligence we'd still be fulfilled beyond human capacity. I will never feel sorry for a woman who seeks the best of what this life is offering, even if what she finds doesn't look like what I have found.

Our bodies are built to be strong in principal and natural femininity. Femininity looks different on every woman-- it is the essence that sets us apart from each other, and from man. Femininity isn't about dresses, make-up or shoes, it is about fulfilling our specific female identity. Only we know what that is, but it is encoded in our bodies. It looks good on us. And sadly, the sacredness of our bodies are the most exploited entity on this planet.

But we can change that too.

Women will seek out what feels inherently best to them--the simple life, the complicated life, the busy life, the communal life. I am learning to trust this as we all share the same birthright of being female. If women want labels, so be it. As for me, Daughter of God is all-encompassing. It is as practical as buying cleaning solvent from the door-to-door salesman, to leaving an unhealthy marriage. I know the women who came before me made sacrifices, fought battles and picked hard choices. I know they were led by the same inner voice I hear today, the voice of a loving God who champions his daughters, gives them hope in all things if they seek it, and looks after them even in the darkest of places. It is impossible to comprehend just how powerful he made us. Sometimes I get a glimpse, and it sends me reeling for days.

I've always like what Emma Lou Thayne said about writing as a Mormon woman, "The pillars of my faith are still intact, but the roof has blown blessedly off the structure to reveal a whole sky full of stars."

I am a happy woman and I owe it to my Father in Heaven.

This is my essence.


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DANIELLE said...

I loved it.

And I must say -- HOW do you do it?? Naysayers even with THIS post?! I thought you adequately addressed every issue posed in The Post -- it just takes a little more insight than some are willing to give, I suppose. Too many editors, in my opinion.

(And, I have to admit, I was totally thinking: "How could I make some of these lines into art for my house?")

From: A working professional, liberal, graduate student who TOTALLY believes in FEMININITY given from a loving Heavenly Father.


Kendall and Katy said...

After reading this, I was once again over come with the joy I feel in being a woman. What a divine roll we have. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Your thoughtful response is appreciated.

As you stated that you believe every woman is a child of God and that relationship is one of divine inspiration and personal revelation, it follows that God is not 'saying' the same thing to every woman. It is not our place to judge the choices and paths that another woman may take. We need to honor a woman's ability to choose.

If,indeed, "she" can do all of the things you wrote - we as a society need to make sure that those opportunities are there.

If our powers are most potent when used to support, love and encourage other women, then we need to work to diminish cultural limitations on what women can be.

If someone agrees with what you have written, I would hope that they would realize that feminism isn't to be reviled. Feminism defends choice, works to make those opportunities available to all women, and works to make a cultural framework in which young girls and women can have any dream, not just one that we may personally choose.

Like any movement or school of thought, feminism has had extremists, but it has also evolved. Before dismissing feminism, due to a misunderstood definition { equality = sameness, we hate men, etc.} I hope that other women come to understand what feminism is - the radical notion that women are as valuable as men and we deserve the same opportunity to be the best we can be.

A few people have commented in a few posts that feminists have called housewives 'parasites' and have degraded a woman's choice to stay home. Please don't let a rogue comment put you off. That is not what feminism is, anyone that makes a comment like that is not representing the movement.

Feminism supports women's choices - whether to stay home or work. They have championed mothers rights and worked for mandatory medical leave and the workplace rights of nursing mothers. Many feminists are stay at home moms!

Personally, I think the whole Working Mother vs. SAHM is fueled by insecurity on both sides, almost like the Hatfields and the McCoys. A long standing fued that is propelled by inertia of the past, rather than current discourse. Let's just respect each other.

Please know that feminism isn't a dirty word - I support your choices and I hope that you will support me in the same way - that's being a feminist.

c jane said...

LDS, F and F,

Re: Women who don't know.
I just re-read my post and feel confidant that I answered those questions to the best of my ability and inspiration afforded to me.

But what suggestions do you have for us? What can we do for those women? Give us practical advice. It never hurts.

And, I know I get called privileged, but I choose the word blessed. Because what I have today came from struggles of many forms before me--whether by women or men in my history. Privileged to me makes it sound like it was just given and it denotes a sense of ingratitude. But blessed means work was involved. And there was work. And there is still work.

Megan said...

Beautifully written, but I don't think your feminist readers had any doubt you believed women are divine, loved and created by God, and of a different essence. Your views align doctrinally with the Proclamation on the family, and pre-existence gender creation.

I was hoping to see more thoughts on how assigning gender roles can be harmful to those who don't conform or fit the mold, and the issues raised in the comments by feminist readers on Patriarchy. Do you honestly not feel uncomfortable or struggle with any of the Patriarchal doctrines as an LDS woman?
I often feel very alone in the church for believing polygamy is not a Godly principle, and my views that women should not be subordinate to men in the Patriarchal order. (i.e. temple covenants)

I was also hoping to see you address what the term/definition of feminist means to you now and if you would still not identify as one. Your post conveys why you would prefer to not put labels on women (I agree with that), but to deny I'm a "feminist" is spitting on the sacrifices those women made so I could have equal rights. So I could choose the man I married.
What should we call it when we fight for equal rights of women who are still oppressed in this world only based on their gender?

The post was beautiful and uplifting, even thought I wanted more. Thank you for sharing your introspection. :)

Alexa Mae said...

This post is beyond beautiful. Your words and outlook are endearing. I feel honored to know you, and honored to have read this. It is wonderful, with or without 'the post', with or without issues of feminism. It can be read anywhere, anytime and to anyone and still ring true. You are so wise and I am so blessed to learn from you. I love this part:

"With these powers of innate wisdom and discernment--given from God, women are capable of anything. They can create. They can destroy. They can change. They can evolve. And because of this I believe in a woman's endless capabilities, that when paired with a God (also known as a sense of self) there is no end to what a woman can choose."

I love this. And I love you. Thank you for sharing your feelings. You are a daughter of our Father in Heaven and I understand your relationship with Him and with the spirit is untouchable and encompassing.

Evie B. said...


If we all, feminist and non-feminist alike, could embrace and rejoyce in this kind of love and support for one another there is no limit to the things we could become and accomplish.

You made my day, thank you!

Julie P said...

Hey, CJ, I hope you don't mind my intrusion into the conversation between you and "LDS feminine feminist".

Lots of people read this blog because you're funny! But there's a line between funny and the sarcastic that attacks and your last comment (to LDS feminine and fmeinist) read like one feminine sister breaking down another. Not funny, not clever, and absolutely not building each other up like many have mentioned in the comments we should be doing (and are right).

Also, made me wonder if you turned on the snark to avoid the actual issue: a lot of people, myself included, do not feel like you addressed what you said you were going to, but totally avoided the issue, however eloquently. You left the issue of equality between genders up in the air, and seem totally unwilling to respond to the comments of people (my previous comment included) who bring that up.

Someone mentioned they hope you open your mind if you have a daughter. It's not about your (possible) daughter, who will grow up with parents and an extended family who loves her, privileged in a society where she is respected and treated well. It's about our sisters around the world - and in our own country - who do not have equal human rights or respect. You talk about the exploitation of womens bodies in this post. It is not only women who choose to do that, though there are some who do. Many have no choice.

You mentioned the comment LDS F&F said about women sitting in the bus. Fine, whatever. You have a point! But at one time, women could not vote. Women could not attend college. Women STILL earn less than men who have the same education, experience and talents. And yes - all in the US. We have blessed and wonderful foremothers who paved the way for us to be educated, voting, property owning, contributing members of society. And them we should honor to helping secure women today some equal rights as men.

If we are here for each other - as you said in your post - we really DO need to go back to the equality issue and be here for ALL of our sisters on earth. Not only the ones who lived blessed, privileged lives like we do.

You mention you feel strongest when you're helping other women. Maybe a good start would be helping women significantly less fortunate than we are, largely due to the inequalities they face from religious, social, cultural or political sources.

c jane said...

Yikes. I have a little time left before my computer time is over and there are so many insightful comments I'd like to respond to. At least I am grateful to have time to read them all (thanks to Megan).

To Anon Re: Feminism.

No I don't think Feminism is a dirty word. I do think it has a powerful meaning--depending on who is using it and for what reason.

And I think perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned in all of this is the it is ok for me to use spiritual terms to talk about women, were someone else would use feminist terms. I say Daughter of God, where someone might use Feminist. Or another person might feel comfortable inter-changing the two. I have to use the terms I am comfortable with, my language-- and this is it.

I believe the power of woman is real and can be applicable to anyone woman anywhere in any circumstance. I believe in the God given rights of women.

Megan yes I do. My belief in our church is in a very secure place. As I have written in this post, I am always learning what a Daughter of God means, what she is entitled to, what she can do here on this earth and what she is capable of doing forever. I think it is entirely powerful--and I am using these words meaningfully.

But whether or not you believe, is up to you. I never denied you or anyone feminism--I hope that is not what are saying.

"What should we call it when we fight for equal rights of women who are still oppressed in this world only based on their gender?"

I think it depends on how you (you Megan, or me c jane) choose to go into battle.

Thanks for the compliments.

Shannon said...

Women never had to sit in certain spots on buses. Blacks had to move to the back of the bus if a white man or woman wanted their seat.
The only things that bothered me about this post are the comments. Just a little heavy on the CJane worship.

raquelita said...

This was lovely. There were aspects from your previous post that I disagreed with. But some of it is because I think our definitions differ, something people tend to forget before they jump to conclusions.

I pride myself on being an independent woman. On being able to work, to create new things, to have a desire to learn history, photography, politics, crafts, etc. I am able to do whatever I set my mind to. And I realize the more I learn, the more I really don't know and the more I have to learn. I can be a wife, a mother. I can run a marathon (I will one day) and I can graduate from college in a study that provides me no wealth or acclaim and still absolutely love it.

I believe that I am a daughter of God and that does not lessen my ability to think for myself or to use rational thought or logic.

My self worth comes from within and is infinitely heightened by the knowledge that I have a divine nature.

I am LDS, feminine, a feminist and I agree with this post. It may not answer everyone's questions, but I think you made your points clearly and beautifully.

Julie said...

One more, cjane: I just read your latest comment you must've been typing while I was typing mine.

Re: blessed vs. privileged. Easily infers that our sisters around the world are not blessed. Even though they do not have equal rights does not mean they are not blessed in other ways. Infers that we are "more special" "more highly favored of the Lord". Does not infer work to me, to most. Infers a GIFT. You can still recognize, honor and be exceedingly grateful for that gift. I'm not saying that all I have is NOT a blessing. Oh, it is and oh do I give thanks for it so very often. But never would I deny that I - a SAHM of 3 in a nice home with everything I need - am not privileged. I am very privileged. And I wager that you are, too.

elizabeth said...

Dear C Jane,

I am needing to run out and get some things done. But will email you later today....I do have some things to say.

I really wish we could have a face to face converstaion with a group of women about this topic....

I think it would be insightful for all of us.

~LDS, Feminine and Feminist

Anonymous said...

It does feel like a sermon and it is situated in a place of privilege. I am not sure that CJane can overcome her place of privilege - she was obviously born into a large loving family with alot of maternal guidance and sisterly support. How can she separate herself from that position to truly appreciate a woman who does not have a mother or sisters or aunties who would care for her children in the event that she is does she separate herself from her reality to understand why a woman may not have the mental strength or courage to birth a baby? how does she understand what it is to be a woman alone in the world for whatever reason (no man, no mother, no grandmother, no sister and just a couple of kids to care for) and by virtue of her woman-ness she is less (she is paid less, she has to choose between caring for her children herself or working to feed them, she possibly feels menaced by abuse, perhaps she cannot undo the generations of abuse she has seen before her).
I do not want to offend anyone but truly supporting women is to support them in their daily struggles, realistically support them - not import some unreal reality to the life of a woman who does not have an amazing family surrounding her - we have to think of real world solutions for women and their children, for ALL women - women who may be relying only on government policies that protect her (because she has no other protection). I don't care if CJane thinks she is equal (or not) to a man - she does not need to be equal in her world (she has what she needs, she has the privilege of flouting equality). But there are other realities that woman live in that are not so safe and secure and protected - where their children are not safe and secure and protected. I hope those women find spiritual light and perhaps perceive themselves as daughters of God BUT first I hope their basic needs are met - food, clothing, shelter, freedom from violence, opportunity to learn, work that pays a meaningful wage, safe homes for their children.
God Bless CJane for opening up her life to us readers of her blog. I appreciate that I can view you and your family and how you take all of that love and support as a normal condition - I can see that it is awesome and I try to build it with my husband for my kids. I just know that alot of women do not have the privilege you take for granted (and even if you say you don't take your gifts for granted - how can separate yourself from your identity? I do not think that you can - you are white religious christian woman born into the richest most powerful nation in the world surrounded by a loving family - you are going to tell me that you know what it is to be other than that? if you truly had another understanding, it would be apparent - equalizing everyone as a child of God does not help those children of God who are physically beaten, sexually abused, underpaid, overworked, desperate, alone, ostracized because of color or sexuality or disability (and I am refering to women who do not have a safety net - of religion or family - women who are truly alone). It is for those women that the fight for support and policies and benefits and opportunities continues. it is for those women that I am a feminist. again, thank you CJane for sharing your beautiful family as much as you do - it is something to dream about and strive for, when you have not had it given to you.

Anonymous said...

merci, merci de tout mon coeur! This was such a wonderful reminder for me of the peace I find when I look to the right place for validation, and that place would not be the world...Thank you for digging so deep, and for taking the subject past the argumentation. I loved this post because you were able to express these things that I ve been feeling for a while now, that I came to learn through the most heartbreaking trials of my life, yet I am still unable to put them on paper.This essence is what kept me going when i was broken and had to keep going. The spirit does transpire through your words, and that s what makes it so comforting.
Hugs from Quebec,
Lucie Couture

Christa said...

I still hope your second baby is another boy...your religion seems much more damaging to girls/women.

momtoomany said...

Thank you. This came at such a perfect time for me.

The Jones said...

C Jane, thanks for this today, it makes me feel beautiful, powerful, and blessed! I miss saying the young womens theme every week, sunbeams dont afford me that luxury! (cute little kids) :)

And LDS, feminine and feminist...
What exactly are you doing to change those terrible situations in Africa and around the world where they still exist? Im not sure attacking cjane or any other woman is productive in your quest...Action is what would be needed to make changes. So I ask again, what are you doing?

Andrea in Minneapolis said...

Thanks for this Courtney.

Megan said...

CJane said:
"My older sister Page once said to me, "I don't know what it is, but giving birth to my daughters was an entirely different experience. It's almost as if they were made out of a different essence.

I am writing this essay with the essence I was birthed with, the spirit that fills my body, the soul that communes with divinity."

This comment made me really think.....
I have given birth to sons and daughters, and I honestly didn't notice anything different in spiritual essence between the sexes. I hope that doesn't make me look spiritually out of tune. I did feel the births were a sacred experience, a gift from God, but not that the essence/spirit of my baby had been pre-designed as a female.
Hormonally/biologically/ different, obviously yes. Designed as male and female mortals by God for the best survival of our species? Yes.
Not sure how our sexual organs/genders will be relevant for the after life when our bodies are no longer mortal, and we don't have blood or hormones.
It's one of those mysteries that as LDS we think we have the answers for (eternal procreation), but when the doctrine is analyzed I realize how much we don't know.

I think it makes me uncomfortable to view females as having a special essence apart from males because it goes along with the old adage in the church that females are naturally more righteous or spiritual than males.
(one I vehemently disagree with and find very degrading to men)
You made it clear that you were NOT saying that, but for some reason I came away from the post with that feeling.

Another thought I had...
How do the intersex individuals that don't feel any connection to a male or female spirit fit within your paradigm? (I'm not saying all hermaphrodites feel this way but many do) Or Asexuals?

I'm not saying I disagree with your thoughtful/insightful post, but would love your additional thoughts and clarification on the topic. :) I haven't come to any conclusions myself, and enjoy learning from others POV.

You are a talented writer, and a beautiful person.

Jesslyn said...

Very powerful and poignant post. I think many women will someday be surprised, probably in our next phase of life, at the unimaginable power their femininity and position as a daughter of God actually held in this life and time of testing. Beautifully written!

c jane said...

Thanks Elizabeth (LDS F and F) I will look forward to your email!

Perhaps I need to fine tuned my sense of humor, but there was no snark involved. I was enjoying our discussion quite a bit.

And I stand by what I said in this post, every woman everywhere is blessed by virtue of being a woman a Daughter of God--which is the ability to do those things that are for important herself and those she cares for.

We could converse about semantics for all day, nevertheless I've got to get back to that other life I call motherhood.

Thanks for calling me funny.

Love to all, and thanks for taking time to be here with me.

Helen Noel Robison Rich said...

Beautiful. I will read this again.

c jane said...

Megan, great question. Will you do the work on that one? I am exhausted.


Okay really, I've got to go.

amy said...

I understand you so much better this time round--thanks for giving it another go.

Heather said...

cjane, I read your blog religiously, I never comment. But today I can't help but say "amen." Thank you! That was beautifully written and carefully thought about. I love stopping by everyday to see what you have to say. Thanks for making the world a better place.

Anonymous said...

"And, I know I get called privileged, but I choose the word blessed. Because what I have today came from struggles of many forms before me--whether by women or men in my history. Privileged to me makes it sound like it was just given and it denotes a sense of ingratitude. But blessed means work was involved. And there was work. And there is still work."

It follows that the flip side of your notion of 'blessed' rather than privileged, is that women who aren't as blessed somehow don't have enough struggle behind them or haven't worked enough. If struggle, whether individually experienced or collectively experienced by our immediate community/faith/race etc. is the antecedent for favorable circumstances, for being blessed, wouldn't the world look very different than the way it does now? Maybe we should ask Native American tribes or the African American community about that.

The world is not a meritocracy - the people in Darfur, for instance, have probably suffered enough to earn any blessings that we have just by living where we do. I am grateful everyday for being born in this country - it is like hitting the jackpot for opportunity.

We can be grateful for all that we have but still be sensitive enough to acknowledge privilege.

Steve and Alli said...

Beautifully said. I wish everyone could see it this way. Thanks Courtney, this made my day!

Amie said...

well im glad im not the only one who thought that was a total cop out. and that is all i have to say about that.

Jess said...

Hi Cjane! Thanks for this post, it was very poetic. I full-heartedly agree that women are best and strongest when they stand together. Many feminists have commented that it is our division from each other, and this unnatural competition with each other that has been the biggest hurdle to women's happiness in recent history. Thank you for calling out to women to band together in this manifesto, I hope your leadership inspires.

I just wanted to respond to a couple of things about your thoughts on feminism. Let me preface this by saying who I am: I am a feminist philosopher, which means that I spend a lot of time studying the arguments around feminisms and applying them to various situations. I am currently writing my thesis on the way women are portrayed in video games, and the effect that has on men's and women's perception of what it means to be a woman, and considering whether this is harmful.

The original post that you read before determining that you are not a feminist specified that it referred to equality "with regard to" social, economic, and political aspects of life. However, in your own response, you only refer to equality writ large. I just wanted to clarify that equality only ever occurs in respect to something else. In the case of gender, it is both pointless and an oversimplification to say either that we are, or we ought to be, equal. Obviously there are important respects in which we are not equal- bearing children, for example. Feminism is concerned both with how we are and are not made and treated equally, in terms of gender. So it is interested to accomodate women's specific needs in terms of child leave, for example, in employment law.
It is only ever meaningful to say we are, or ought to be, equal in a given respect. This allows you to say things like "Men and women should be equal in respect to their treatment under the law, in terms of their oppotunities, rights, and freedoms". This is what feminisms say (plural, because there are many different feminisms. Feminists disagree, it is not one unified theory.)
In this post you are saying that women have an "essence" of womaness, and although you are not clear about what that essence entails. You also seem to say that we have an individual essence, that is distinct from anyone else. There are many feminists, as you have seen in these responses, who believe both in a feminine essence, and that women ought to be equal to men in some respects, such as social justice, opportunity, in the eyes of the law, and so on.

All this is just to say that nowhere are you in disagreement with feminisms, broadly construed, either in this post or in the last. You say both that women have important differences from other women, and from men. This is perfectly congruent with the belief that women ought to earn equal pay for equal work, or that we ought to be equal under the law. If you are trying to assert that you aren't a feminist, then you have provided no arguments for that claim here or in your previous post, so I am unsure what reasons you might have. Of course, you are not beholden to anyone to justify your assertion. I just wanted to point out the gap between what you were trying to claim, and the position that your argument actually supports. The position that your arguments are actually supporting is far more nuanced and sophisticated than you give it credit for in that phrase "I am not a feminist".

Cardalls said...

To Lil:
I am quite sure that the equality was given to us by a higher source who's crowning creation of this earth was WOMAN. That is where the feelings of divinity come from. Man made equality can never equal God given equality. Human beings created inequality and injustice, only God can resolve that.

Anonymous said...

Your post made me think of this--"If he tries anything" Lyrics by Ani DiFranco

I'm invincible
so are you
we do all the things
they say we can't do
we walk around
in the middle of the night
and if it's too far to walk
we just hitch a ride

we got rings of dirt
around our necks
we talk like auctioneers
and we bounce like checks
we smell like shit
still, when we walk down the street
all the boys line up
to throw themselves at our feet

I say I think he likes you
you say I think he do too
go and get him girl
before he gets you
I'll be watching you
from the wings
I will come to your rescue
if he tries anything

it's a long long road
it's a big big world
we are wise wise women
we are giggling girls
we both carry a smile
to show when we're pleased
we both carry a switchblade
in our sleeves

tell you one thing
I'm gonna make noise when I go down
for ten square blocks
they're gonna know I died
all the goddesses will come up
to the ripped screen door
and say,
what do you want, dear?
and I'll say,
I want inside

I say I think he likes you
you say I think he do too
go and get him girl
before he gets you
I'll be watching you
from the wings
I will come to your rescue
if he tries anything

Anonymous said...

I just want to put the comments I made above concerning CJane's privilege (or blessed) position. I am a Canadian woman, brought up in a Christian home. I am happily married and I have three children. I am a lawyer who works for the government in child apprehensions - I am responsible for advocating for children when they have been abused, I am part of the process that apprehends children from their parents, and moves them into foster care. Our foster care system is not perfect, either. There are many many many hurting, abused, and struggling children and they all have mothers - who need support. Again, I do not mean to offend anyone but my comments are about the reality of many poor women who do not have support (family, community, religion), the idea of being a Daughter of God is a truly remote luxury when you are a drug addicted, prostitute, transient, suffering in a violent relationship, pregnant, you have two other children that the state already apprehended and the government social worker will be at the hospital the day your baby is born to take the baby, just thinking...real world.

Jen Olson Brown said...

Wow. What a repertoire (in the best of ways). I was enlightened to have my identity as a woman both expounded and beautified! Well done C-Jane!

Brooke said...


Ellen Switzer said...

It will always be harder to stand for something that isn't accepted by the majority of society. Cjane is brave to say that women and men aren't equal or unequal, that they are different in many ways, and by being different, there are different personal and social expectations that go along with gender roles. To say that men and women should be equal in every social way is to say there are no defining features, no specialness belonging to either sex. No, women don't get paid as much as men, and Men cannot physically have children. And yet, I handle all the money in my family and my husband will probably a better parent than me. Is that equal? No. But it is working.

Megan said...

CJane said:
"Megan yes I do. My belief in our church is in a very secure place. As I have written in this post, I am always learning what a Daughter of God means, what she is entitled to, what she can do here on this earth and what she is capable of doing forever. I think it is entirely powerful--and I am using these words meaningfully.

But whether or not you believe, is up to you. I never denied you or anyone feminism--I hope that is not what are saying."

Can you clarify what you mean by "yes I do." and then "whether or not you believe is up to you?"
Is this in response to my question about polygamy? Are you saying you DO believe in the Patriarchal order/subordination/polygamy or that you do struggle with it? I want to make sure I didn't misunderstand.

And I want to clarify that I don't believe you are trying to deny anyone feminism. :) I actually believe you might be a feminist in your heart (the correct definition and not the extreme hijacked version of the term), but wonder if you choose to avoid the label because of the negative connotation it evokes, or avoiding labels entirely. Or do you base your rejection of the word from a different definition of feminist than us? These are still questions I had after reading your post.

Thank you for taking this issue seriously and responding to our questions. :)

Brooke said...

Bravo to this post!

I still don't get why the people who have "issues" with what you have to say bother reading your blog. Are they just looking for a debate forum? I think I am not alone with other cjane readers who would like to say, "Let us read in peace and take your debates elsewhere please!"

Kait said...

I love you so much for writing this. I want to print it out and put it in the journal I am writing to my daughters.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thank you for the words I needed to hear today.

Sarah said...

This was beautiful.

No matter what some commenters think this did respond to most if not all of the concerns from The Post. I didn't have any concerns to begin with. However I think people need to chill out. This is YOUR blog. Its YOUR opinion. Its how YOU feel. I wish people were not so dead set on pushing their knowledge and beliefs on other people such as YOU. They choose to continue to read your blog, knowing full well that you are an LDS SAHM. Sure they can call you "priviledged" and you can say "blessed". Whatever. It doesn't really matter, cause they'll argue with you till they are blue in the face.

The battles for womens slavery, abuse, poor treatment & just plain old crap that happens everywhere else cannot be what I think about every second of every day. Thinking about all the BAD things in this world, would drive us batty. There are bad things being done to men and women alike. Its all wrong. I do "Humanitarian Aide" when possible, as I'm sure you do too.

Honestly as a strong, powerful, LDS, 29 year old, mother of 3 girls & Daughter of God I appreciate what was done before my time and how I benefit from it. I appreciate being able to vote and do most of the things men can do. Heck I can even do things better than some men. Does that make me a feminist for thinking that? No. I appreciate what my daughters can and will be able to do in the future. If necessary I will step up and defend my or my daughters rights in the future. I have absolutely no problem with the Patriarchal order of things in the church. I've worn pants to church once (& actually to enter the temple once in Utah too)...does that make me a feminist, no. I love being a stay at home mom. I love cooking & cleaning. Does my husband sit on his butt and not do anything. NO! We each take part in household duties and parenting. I married a military man and did it all on my own while he was deployed, just like my grandma. I have a bank account all to myself. I can wear jeans OR skirts. I can homeschool my children. (gasp) I have an education. I've run a business. I wear a bra to support my ample chest. I wear make-up when I want to take the time. I like aprons. I wear heels when possible....but sandals more often. I breastfeed my babies.

I am NOT a feminist, but darn it I am feminine and strong. Just like YOU...but different!

LDesque said...


I looked forward to your response to "The Post" and I'm glad you've posted this manifesto as it expresses some great insights into femininity.

However, I understand why some have commented as feeling that this is lacking in connection to the previous post. Clearly, the 650 or so comments showed that your last post evoked some very strong, very real emotions in feminists and non-feminists alike.

Forgive me for now making the leap from what you say here to what I think many of us were hoping would be acknowledged.

When you speak of the capabilities of women to discern, create, destroy, heal, help other women, be satisfied, etc. I don't think anyone here would disagree that all women have within themselves the power to do those things. Where feminism comes into play is when social and cultural policies, patriarchy, and inherent "less than"ness is put upon women for simply being born female.

Feminism is not about rejecting femininity or any of these wonderful qualities you've shared about what it means to be a woman. It's not saying that you shouldn't stay home with your kids, you should throw out your make-up, skirts, and heels, or that you should fester up some penis envy. In fact, to me, feminism is much more about preserving these qualities you describe in detail and providing an unhindered opportunity for all women to realize and meet their God-given inherent potential.

Perhaps it makes more sense to say it this way: Feminism is about promoting the idea that society, culture, and politics do not yet recognize that the God-given worth of a female is no less than the God-given worth of a male.

You've done a wonderful job here of defending the Divine worth of a female. I think the connection to the last post that's lacking for some of us is to see that Feminism is about how the world at large must recognize that worth. Not that if they don't recognize it we become any less, but that laws, policies, and customs (including the famed wage-difference here in the U.S.) do not accurately reflect the inherent, God-given, unmeasurable equality in the sexes.

Mrs. Davis @ The Carolina Housewife said...

Loved it!

Erin said...

You make me more aware of the woman I am and the woman I can be.
You make me appreciate the women around me, and the fact that I am female.

You also make me want to get pregant again... just to see what the difference would be between potential baby #2 and my 20 month old son.

thank you again for all that you say, think and write.

2busy said...

This is truly beautiful writing. So heartfelt and true for you. I don't understand people who get upset. You are you, this is your blog, these are your thoughts and opinions. I love your open honesty.

Michelle said...

Thank you for summing up something so profound and beautiful! It makes my skin tingle with excitement, when I think of all I am capable of as a woman! You have inspired me today!

tharker said...

"She is her own entity, which becomes cheapened when compared to others."

YES, YES, AND YES!!! THIS is now my favorite post that you have written to date.

I love you! (even if I only pretend that I know you in the real life)

So glad you didn't go into labor before writing this ;) Now...go have that baby!

Sue said...

"She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others."

My thoughts exactly. I don't like the idea of attaching labels to myself. And for me, "daughter of God" isn't a label, it's a lineage.

Many of the naysayers on the previous post seem eager not only to define themselves in terms of the world, but to encourage others to do the same.

Women don't have to call themselves a "special name" to know that inequality exists on this earth...or to fight against that inequality. You don't have to label yourself a feminist to reach out to or make a difference for other women, whether that be in this country or third world countries; nor must you wear the label of "feminist" to appreciate and condemn the many atrocities perpetrated against women in various cultures and societies around the world.

The assumption by any woman that another must wear or at least accept a particular label ("feminist" or whatever else) in order to understand or care in any meaningful way about the conditions and treatment of other women in our nation and throughout the world is misguided at best, which is why some of your detractors' comments seem small-minded to me. And judgmental. And denigratory of women whose paradigm doesn't mesh exactly with their own. A broader paradigm can be a good thing! In fact, it's the first step to Thayne's image of blowing the roof "blessedly off the structure to reveal a whole sky full of stars."

In your previous "feminism post," one rather patronizing commenter asked, "What are you afraid of?" I can't help asking myself another, closely related question: "What are the label-driven, stuck-in-a-limited-and-limiting-paradigm women who attack your open, honest and quite unassuming reflections on this topic afraid of?"

Just my thoughts.

sillysiller said...


Anonymous said...

This is my favorite blog post of all time! Incredible, poignant, very well said. Thank you, CJane!!
Kim B.

Sparklebot said...

When you said yesterday that you were going to revisit this issue, I expected more. If you really believe all that you have written (and I assume that you do), then you cannot be content with the level of equality that women have today, even in the United States. In our country, there are STILL laws on the books that discriminate against women. There is STILL no constitutional amendment declaring that women are equal (in basic rights) to men.

Women have made many strides toward equality, but then they stopped. "Feminist" started carrying a negative connotation (thanks to, shockingly, men).

You may not remember me, but we went to high school together. We were in the same journalism class. I am now a lawyer who spends her days volunteering, working to help indigent women enforce the little rights they have. I think many people who are unfamiliar with the legal system don't realize how few rights women really have.

I am happy that you are comfortable with the level of equality/mutual respect you feel in your marriage. That's what I would wish for everyone. I have that too. But, that doesn't mean I can stop fighting for all women to have equality. It would be irresponsible, not to mention ungrateful to the women who worked so hard to get us to where we are today.

Anonymous said...

I loved it, thank you so much for this. It reminded me of one of my favorite talks from President Hinckley "The Women in Our Lives." I think if someone really understood the LDS faith, they'd know that the religion is NOT more damaging to girls/women.

PS - I think it's funny that some people have to leave not so nice comments. It's a blog for goodness sakes, you should feel free to write what you feel without having to defend your beliefs. :)

c jane said...

Thanks for what you do Spaarklebot. I support you, and if I can help let me know.

Kim said...

Holy Crap on the comments!!!

That's it girls! I am sending Wonder Woman, She-Ra and Gem. They can fix anything.

Anonymous said...

If I am asked to leave this blog because I do not agree than I think the idea that we are all Daughters of God becomes more fragile and the idea that you want to exist in a privileged bubble becomes more real.

Louise said...

To Anon who said:

my comments are about the reality of many poor women who do not have support (family, community, religion), the idea of being a Daughter of God is a truly remote luxury when you are a drug addicted, prostitute, transient, suffering in a violent, just thinking...real world

The fact that you are a litereal daughter of God does not change, even if you don't know it for yourself.

I don't also don't understand the argument about Cjane calling herself "blessed" - I did not take it to mean she was saying that other people were not blessed, just simply recognising the blessings in her life and the fact that she has freedoms other women do not have. I really did not think there was any reason to be offended by that.

Finally, of course there are women all over the world who need help, but all of us have different paths and different ways to help in that effort. CJane's point about following the promptings we receive for our individual life circumstances and how powerful we can be as a result should answer that point perfectly.

I loved this, thank you CJane.

Anonymous said...

I love it. Love love love it. Thank you for putting it all out there Courtney. I feel like I can never put my true ideas and thoughts about my divine role as a woman, and you hit the head on the nail. Our Heavenly Father loves us and we have been given a specific and divine calling as women to magnify.
Ignore the negative nellies that comment. They just haven't let the real light in their lives yet but hopefully they will someday.
You are a phenomenal wife, mother, and your unborn baby doesn't know how lucky he/she is.

Brandee said...


You write so beautifully. I hang on each word absorbing the message. Thank you for sharing.

I too recite the YW theme weekly with my YW and I so wish they understood the impact of those words.

Thank you! Keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

I don't have an opinion either way. I'm just someone going through a hard time and this helped remind me that I am strong and can do hard things. Thanks for lifting me up today and reminding me who I am!

Christine said...

I've been thinking about this post a lot today. I'm sure many people have been. Sometimes I feel sad that I can't relate with the nay-sayers and such. But I do stand by both posts you did and I agree with what you've said. I liked your analogy about equality (how you should have just been happy for your brothers).
I love who I am as a woman of the church. You posts reminded me of that talk in the 2007 General Relief Society Meeting by Sister Beck (
and also the Relief Society Declaration ( It is empowering. Thank you.
I think you were smart to do some research. Certainly we can't please or agree with everyone, but you put your point across well, I thought. As for me I do find joy in what I am - a stay-at-home LDS Mommy. I know that mold doesn't fit everybody, and that's ok. I'm glad others find joy in what they do, whether or not it's the same as what I do. But I am very grateful to be where I am.

Jess said...

Amen! That was absolutely wonderful. Thank you!!

Emily Catherine said...

In response to your last comment on here, C Jane (the sitting on the bus one)--

There are lots of things that we are decades beyond in this country with regards to womens' rights. Feminists of the past accomplished many wonderful things and I am so thankful for that, every day. But when I look around at my world and the wider American world in general, I see a place that is pretty darn great for women. I don't see anything that I would like to improve with regards to women's status, and I do not feel that my rights or the rights of my fellow women are being threatened (in this country). Therefore, while I appreciate the feminists of the past, I do not consider myself a feminist, because I am not working for women's rights-- I am just enjoying them. :)

I guess lots of people here believe that since I am thankful to have rights, I should consider myself a feminist for that reason alone. But I disagree. There are women out there who believe in their hearts that American women still face inequalities with regards to access to birth control, equal pay, etc. I look around-- not from a privileged view but from an honest assessment of all Americans-- and I do not see anything to be upset about or work to improve. Therefore, while I respect and appreciate today's feminists and their willingness to continue the fight, I do not give myself that title, because I don't see anything left to fight for.

I feel like you probably have similar feelings on the matter-- at least that's what I've gotten from your posts. Proud to be a woman, delighted to be feminine, and so grateful for the women of the past who made sure you'd have the respect that you deserve for that femininity today-- but in a position where, a further fight isn't important to you, and the title "feminist" isn't appropriate for your goals.

At least, that's how I feel about it. Your posts have made me do a lot of thinking and I've enjoyed reading both of them (and every post you make!)

Jan said...

To the Canadian anonymous, further up the page...who said
"the idea of being a Daughter of God is a truly remote luxury"

This is really and truly one of the saddest statements I've ever read. I hope in your comment that you were merely trying to identify that the brutal reality of these situations should call us all to action and aid, as opposed to trying to stifle the thought that there should be hope at all, even in the darkest places. I don't know if you are Christian or not, and that doesn't matter to me, I just want you to know that as a Christian myself, and as such believing in the teachings of Christ, I believe that Christ did not help, succor, heal, or reach out to those in a position of priviledge (unless it was to teach humility and service), he spent his time among the suffering, poor, abused, neglected... like the women you just described. ALL of us are children of God, and whether you choose to believe it or not, it's a shame that you appear to think that it's unrealistic for someone in a hopeless situation to want, need, or hope for something better. Maybe I misunderstood you?

Emily said...

Thank you. You will never know how much I needed that.

Katie H said...

loved this. love you. rock on.

the formidible mrs dean said...

I'm glad you addressed it again. I have posted a reply to you ten different times in the shower, in the car, when I'm alone. It affected me deeply, your post about not being a feminist. And this is why: I believe without the feminists in your, your specific, and my specific, past, you would not be able to even say how you feel. So many cultures, tribes, religions count women as lesser. Not different. But less. I understand. What you mean about being different. I am different than man. But I am proud that there are women before me who fought to bring some sort of difference that is closer to being not second to man, but beside man. We don't have that everywhere - and I feel it is the feminists before you and I that enabled the pendulum swing to be more fair. That is all i want in life, is a fair chance at being the best woman I can be. And, I felt you were not giving feminism a full understanding. It was essential. it was a vital movement. Its good to be the daughters of strong women - and not just strong in silence, but strong by SCREAMING it out, making us able. I like being ABLE. Thank you for contemplating on it more. I love to read you. I love being able to SPEAK that, too.

Brooke said...

holy crap cjane! since when did you turn into sheree-l-dew?

(i have always loved her. and you.)

Stopher and Nicolle said...

i think i liked your posts better when no one could comment. i like you... i don't like hearing that so many people have a problem with that. yeah, sometimes i don't get the post, but that does not mean i'm going to stop reading you. i like most of your posts, like this one... can we never go back to before? (hopefully you know what that references...)

Anonymous said...

Dear LDS feminine feminist,

We are very privileged to be in the USA with all the things GIVEN to us from the women before us. I am sure you heard many horrible stories while serving your mission in Africa- and what has been/is being done to those women is in no way correct or right. The question I have for you is this- why are you attacking cjane about that issue? Cjane lives here, in the USA, as do you, as do I. This is what WE have to deal with. We can 'help' women in Africa and other various places to a certain degree- but there is no way that cjane could write about her feminism and have it compared to the women you met on your mission. Life just isn't fair- it never has and never will be. And you can't waste your time making sure it is, because it won't ever be the way you wish it would be, or the way the rest of us wish it would be. I don't understand why you waste your breathe telling cjane that she has no idea what she's talking about because she hasn't met these women you speak of. You can only deal with so much, and she has clearly shown she has started with herself- and anyone else she can personally reach out to. I guess what I'm saying is this, because the women in africa aren't as privileged as we are- should we just throw away our own rights because not EVERYONE has them? Should cjane not express her own gratitude and OPINION because not everyone has what she has? No- we shouldn't. What did you learn on your mission? Many things I am sure- but one thing I hope you were able to learn more about is the atonement and the true love of Christ. Your comments to cjane and other readers in no way shows me you CARE about cjane- a woman, the same way you cared about those women on your mission. How does THAT make any of this right?


becca said...

this was beautiful! Well written and touched home for me. I think the main theme that I felt from reading this was that I don't need to try to be anyone else, I can be comfortable being me, and doing what I feel is best - for me. All based on my essence and that Still Small Voice that whispers right to me.

Thanks CJane.

dalene said...

I have felt very strongly much the same about both the sadness and tragedy of tearing apart/down women and the beauty and power of building up women. Well said.


Mrs JP Chaos said...

"She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man. She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others. When following the promptings inside of her soul to do whatever is important for her own life plan she simply has no equal."

THAT spoke to me in ways that I can't explain. That was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

It's almost mystical how you can put a bunch of "meaningless" words together and create such a beautiful, strong, and heartfelt message. I absolutely agree with you, women are amazing. Heavenly Father is amazing. Loved this.

Rachel said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and this is my first time commenting. Like many others, I appreciated this post. What courage it takes to share such an intensely personal and sacred belief with the world. You put it out there to be praised, mocked, and analyzed. I think understanding our identity as children of God allows us to see others as children of God with great worth. So much worth that he gave us the sacrifice of his Only Begotten. I wish more than anything that we could always see ourselves and others as the equal and beloved children of God that we are.

Syndee said...

Gorgeous! Poetic! Inspired!

Thank you so much for this!

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned the comments being a little heavy on the cjane worship. I agree. The ones that sat by their computers waiting for this post to appear...I don't know whether to call that terribly sad or just weird.

Patrina said...

Wow. I never comment, but just had to! I don't even know you, but I love reading all of your posts and love your pure testimony and of course, your own unique way you put pen to paper, so to speak and use the talents Heavenly Father has blessed you with. I am an LDS YSA woman and I just loved this post. Every word I just could feel the power of your testimony, and I'm sure it took much laboring over. Thank you so so much for writing this!! :) -Patrina, in San Antonio TX

Tiffany said...

This post was lovely, beautiful and well written. Thank you

Anonymous said...

UGH! I promised myself I wouldn't comment but I can't help myself:

Did I love this post? Yes, it's beautiful.

Am I
LDS? No, but I so admire cjane's faith.
Femininst? Yes, even though I don't find labels useful.
A CJ fan? YES!
Becoming weary of this debate? YES! (Especially the means parts on both sides.)

Do I
Wish CJ would turn Comments off? Sometimes (like now).
Want all of us to move on? YES!
Want to see/hear more about the new baby, The Chief, Chup, retro house, the other family members, shoes, clothes, etc.? YES, YES, YES! Because it brightens my day!

God bless you, cjane, in the coming days and always!

Megan said...

The Jones said:
"And LDS, feminine and feminist...
What exactly are you doing to change those terrible situations in Africa and around the world where they still exist? Im not sure attacking cjane or any other woman is productive in your quest...Action is what would be needed to make changes. So I ask again, what are you doing?"

Educating the women reading this blog who STILL do not understand what feminism is and has done for them, IS doing something for those horrific situations. Learning is action, and knowledge is power my friend.
Turning a blind eye and tearing down the feminists who are out there fighting for equal rights is NOT helping those situations.

I can't speak for all, but I spend a great deal of time and money devoted to helping oppressed women because I'm a feminist. Raising my girls and boys to understand that God loves and values each of them equally and to treat others the same is also helping these situations.

CJane has a very powerful voice, and she recognizes the responsibility that carries. My hope was that with her power she could remove some of the myths and negative views of feminism to the readers here. It is vital that we stand together in support of equal rights for these women in the world who are still treated as possessions of man.

It's comments like this one below (I've seen many others like this today) that are so disheartening to read, and make me realize how much work we have ahead of us in changing the very negative and erroneous views on feminists:

Anonymous said...
"You said exactly what needed to be said! It was beautiful and everything that I feel. How sad that the world today is so stuck on EQUAL...what that means and do YOU think women are equal to men. This post is about so much more. I felt strength through this post and it is so important every woman know the strength that she has alongside our Heavenly Father! Why compare the difference of woman and men? Why demand that we can stand up and pee just like men do? We are different and there is such strength in being different from one another. I don't believe men are smarter, should get more money or should sit in the front of the bus when I sit in the back. People there are differences. Why not look at the differences and celebrate them."

make. it. stop.

Sue O said...

Just a couple of things. After this post, I feel kind of sorry for men, who seem to get the short end of the stick nowadays anyway. Equality is an over-rated concept. Who can possibly measure it? And sometimes the naysayers sound as if they would be happier if everyone was equally miserable. Privilege and blessings happen, get over it. Don't judge others for not taking up your own pet causes, because you don't know their daily efforts, which may be greater than yours. Be grateful for those who fought to make the world a better place for women, and blacks, and Jews, and any other group of people who have experienced discrimination. Cjane, you're never going to appease everybody, so I wouldn't waste any sleep on it.

Likely said...

Here is something I don't get ---

All this talk about these underprivileged women ---these poor, unsupported, husbandless, family-less, beaten, sick, raped women.... Don't people think that reading something like this will HELP them?

I have always always hated the word privileged. To me it reeks of pride and snobbishness "I am privileged". Semantics again, I suppose. But blessed is a better word because you are right --- many have worked and fought for this!

I look at my own parents -- both of them came from terribly unstable homes, my mother's mother was a single mom, dirt poor, dancing in clubs and all of her children were from different fathers (five of them). But you know what? Other beautiful older women taught my mother in her teens that she is a daughter of God and could do something better for herself. and she did.

She and my father are the only couple in all of my extended family who are still married after all of these years. It has been very hard for them, not having examples in their own lives, but they have done it! All of their children (the four of us) are strong in our faith and knowledge that we are also children of God. We have done things our parents never did. Because of what they gave us.

I don't think that is privileged. I think that cheapens what my parents did. It has taken HARD WORK. We are incredibly blessed by their sacrifices and love. And I sincerely believe that these other women that many anons are speaking of can do it too. Overcome their situations. The more we say "POOR YOU POOR YOU!!!!" The worse it becomes. The more we tell them how powerful they are, the better off they will be.

And that is the true essence of this post. (I think)

Cjane, I have to say that the part I liked best was the cheapening by comparison point. Couldn't be more true. If we would only support instead of knock down. And stop comparing ourselves in every detail of our lives!

Megan said...

LDesque, Amen! My thoughts exactly. :) I'm saving this comment and several others I liked here for future discussion with my anti feminist friends.

"LDesque said:


I looked forward to your response to "The Post" and I'm glad you've posted this manifesto as it expresses some great insights into femininity.

However, I understand why some have commented as feeling that this is lacking in connection to the previous post. Clearly, the 650 or so comments showed that your last post evoked some very strong, very real emotions in feminists and non-feminists alike.

Forgive me for now making the leap from what you say here to what I think many of us were hoping would be acknowledged.

When you speak of the capabilities of women to discern, create, destroy, heal, help other women, be satisfied, etc. I don't think anyone here would disagree that all women have within themselves the power to do those things. Where feminism comes into play is when social and cultural policies, patriarchy, and inherent "less than"ness is put upon women for simply being born female.

Feminism is not about rejecting femininity or any of these wonderful qualities you've shared about what it means to be a woman. It's not saying that you shouldn't stay home with your kids, you should throw out your make-up, skirts, and heels, or that you should fester up some penis envy. In fact, to me, feminism is much more about preserving these qualities you describe in detail and providing an unhindered opportunity for all women to realize and meet their God-given inherent potential.

Perhaps it makes more sense to say it this way: Feminism is about promoting the idea that society, culture, and politics do not yet recognize that the God-given worth of a female is no less than the God-given worth of a male.

You've done a wonderful job here of defending the Divine worth of a female. I think the connection to the last post that's lacking for some of us is to see that Feminism is about how the world at large must recognize that worth. Not that if they don't recognize it we become any less, but that laws, policies, and customs (including the famed wage-difference here in the U.S.) do not accurately reflect the inherent, God-given, unmeasurable equality in the sexes."

Anonymous said...

I applaud your comments. My own inquiries about equality were answered through your amazing words. First, I am equal, regardless of my circumstances, because I am a daughter of God and I feel his love and acceptance. Second, I feel equality when I choose to stop wasting energy comparing women's individual choices or circumstances and I choose to serve and love instead. Third, I am equal to all the men in the world when I make choices that will complete me personally and make me happy. Finally, parents who encourage their daughters to be successful in their educational journeys, empower their daughters to feel equality in the world around them. Knowledge is the root to equality. As an LDS, 35 year old mother of three returning to college to enter the work force for pleasure... I applaud your LDS, Feminine and Feminist comments.

jules said...

C Jane,

With interest I read your post and found it to be insightful and eloquent. Great job.

Question: While I was reading I couldn't help but see the Nescafe ad. I am puzzled. Do you feel that receiving advertising dollars from a coffee company is incongruent with your LDS beliefs. Really, I am curious as to how you arrived at that place.

To me, it just feels kind of incompatible with your Mormon beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Hi CJane,

Beautifully said. One thing I keep in mind when thinking of equality is a line from A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeline L'Engle: "Equal and alike are two different things."

I may be like or unlike you, other women, or men, but I find equality is in my freedom to choose in what ways I want to be alike, and in what ways I choose to differ, and the freedom of others to make their own choices about such things.

In choosing ways that are true to my self, true to the person God made me to be.

Martha said...

so that's why i feel rejuvenated after something as simple as enrichment or a baby shower - women do feed off each other's positive energy, no? this was great! well stated.

Jen in NY said...

Very inspiring, Courtney! I loved reading this and I'm sure I will re-read it many times too. Thank you for such an eloquent thoughtful post (well, they all are, but this one especially!).

just curious said...

this is strange... are you filtering out negative comments? or is it so one-sided? could it be that you lost all of the folks who disagreed with you?

The Book Girl said...

Courtney, this was beautiful. Maybe my favorite post ever. I really didn't like The Post because I consider myself a feminist (albeit a very conservative and feminine one), and this post made so much sense and really clarified your position. Perfect.

You probably won't have time to read this but if you have a minute, I wrote about your post on my blog, and I thought you might enjoy it:

JCW said...

Your best post ever.

Anonymous said...

sorry c-jane, i don't have any wow's or "beautiful" accolades, because:

1) much of what you said is elementary RS stuff- however it seems you "wow"ed the 20 somethings and uplifted the 30 somethings. i'm pushing 40 and raising 3 tweens- so i was slightly underwhelmed but appreciate your testimony.

2) you didn't really answer many of the questions we were hoping you would answer with cjane style and confidence (ugh- quoting you, "i don't even know if it matters what i think")

3) you should get back to being cute and retro- because i enjoyed seeing that stuff for the entertainment value. these "sermons" are seriously overrated.

Cortney said...

I found this post to be very moving, poetic, and well written. I would agree with a few other comments that I'm unsure how to relate it back to The Post, and whether or not it answers some of the bigger questions sparked by The Post, but it is a wonderful post in and of itself.

Cortney said...

C-Jane, you said-

"And, I know I get called privileged, but I choose the word blessed. Because what I have today came from struggles of many forms before me--whether by women or men in my history. Privileged to me makes it sound like it was just given and it denotes a sense of ingratitude"

I agree with you on the one hand that you choose blessed to denote gratitude for the work that went before you, and that's honorable. But what many people mean by saying "privileged" is not that you're ungrateful, or heartless, or wrong, etc., it's just that you simply are privileged, by virtue of who you are. As a white, heterosexual woman you *do* have a certain amount of culturally apportioned, yes, unearned privilege, that is more than say a person of color or another historically marginalized group. I think that's more what the use of the term "privilege" was getting at. It isn't meant to be at all insulting, or at least, I don't mean it as an insult when I speak off privilege from a socio-economic view.

Again, really, really enjoyed this post, and I didn't say so before, but that last quote was very beautiful.

Cora Anne Designs said...

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan - I don't think you did misunderstand me about being a Daughter of God as a remote luxury. I almost stated to cry when you wrote to me because I do appreciate you trying to help me understand your perspective - and I do know that perspective - at times I have adhered to it (and it hurts to not be immersed in it). I have a Catholic background and my grandmother had seventeen children - it was a devout Catholicism that she lived and she had an important influence on me. My husband and I are Catholic but it is challenging to see your church struggling with stories of abuse at the highest levels of leadership. It leaves you longing for honesty from your leadership. And wondering if that is where you belong on Sunday.
In my work, I see so much violence and abuse of children and a cyclical intergenerational abuse - in Canada we had what were called residential schools - many indigenous people suffered abuse at the hands of religious people in institutions where they lived apart from their families. (the nineteenth century). That abuse continues to affect these people - profoundly affect them - the abuse goes on.
So - I have come to believe in something more tangible for these women and their children - freedom from violence, health care, food, housing, clothing, freedom from drug addiction, freedom from alcoholism....
Someone earlier quoted ANi Difrnco and I will do the same:
"...little boys are breaking bottles
along the sidewalk
the big boys, too
the girls are hanging out at the candy store
pumping quarters into the phone
'cause they don't want to go home

and I think,
what if no one's watching
what it when we're dead, we're just dead
what if it's just us down here
what if god ain't looking down
what if he's looking up instead..."

I know this perspective may hurt you and confuse you and maybe offend you but more ani difranco:

"you know I can't apologize
for everything I know
I mean you don't have to agree with me
but once you get me going
you better just let me go
we have to be able to criticize
what we love
say what we have to say
'cause if you're not trying to make something better
as far as I can tell
you're just in the way"

and I do thank you Jan because i did feel love in your post and I do feel that you believe. I think feeling that God truly loves you and trusting in that without fear is a luxury...and surely some poor people have this is just painful to see so much makes me want to work for women in a very real way - I am sure Jesus can and did heal. We need Jesus today. We need Jesus today.

marymary said...

Thank you Jane! You are wonderful and said your 'piece' beautifully! I am encouraging others to read this :)

Cindy said...

Okay, that was a beautiful post and all...

But what I find rather bizarre is that upon clicking on your post on the cleaner salesman and going back through my archives, I discovered you and I both wrote posts about door to door cleaner salesmen on the same exact day. And I hadn't even discovered your blog yet. Funny. :)

Doty Family said...

Beautifully written! I think this is the essence of most women. It is no wonder Satan works so hard to destroy the nature and essence of women. We truly are all beautiful!

c jane said...

And with all this c jane worship I intend to start my own church. YES!!!

(I've only had to delete two comments so far because they were simply creepy.)

Doty Family said...

Ha, ha, ha! I love the last comment Cjane. I wrote my comment after reading your post, I just barely took time to read through some of the comments. Honestly! Having an opinion is one thing, but being mean about it is totally uncalled for. Thank you Cjane for opening up and sharing your personal feelings. Nobody else is being asked to share these feelings. So please, respect Cjane and her beliefs as she respects ours. Kindness matters people!!

Anonymous said...

It must be nice to live in a white rich Mormon bubble.

Serena Cherry said...

I kind of like how your second "post" wasn't getting into the expansive and easily mis-interpertable (is it a word?) issue of what is equal and what isn't. Obviously, you think (and I think) comparing cheapens our roles.

My reaction after reading so, so many of these comments is that C Jane's response is so right on. Because we can't save the world so easily as leaving a comment on a blog, it all comes down to a general us (by "us" I mean each individual woman) loving ourselves for being women and to lift as many others around us.

I have seen a woman in her 80s sweeping a dirt floor with no teeth, no comforts, no air conditioning, no husband, no education, nothing that compares to a life lived as most women in the US. She was happy. She was so, so happy, it made me cry. I have seen another women who was given every "privilege" who later in life was miserable and dissatisfied with her life. She made everyone around her miserable. They were individuals. We can't prescribe what is best for every woman in the world, but we can prescribe an essence of being a woman and empower that feeling.

As a woman like C Jane described, we should all do our own very best to lift up those women and not spend all of this time trying to convince one another that we are the only ones who knows how to live! I don't know, but I do know that I love women of all countries and races and I hope that I can help! I try!

I don't want to define feminism, I just want to be. And I want to give every woman the power to be.

Some of our best heroes are born in difficult circumstances; it was the circumstances that catalyzed their greatness. Within each of us is that essence to rise above; and to find happiness...our greatest accomplishment.

Sometimes I feel bored by the feminist debate because we debate until we are blue in the face and nothing changes but feelings getting hurt and hardened. I am more inspired by those who act and have a positive influence.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Sarah who said:

"Sometimes, when my students are trying to fib their way through a test they didn't study for, they will write long complex answers that have nothing to do with the topic, and don't even answer the question."

Cjane has provided no answers here. Just waxing poetic. It really is a PITY what the Mormon church does to women, but Courtney is so deeply entrenched she can't even realize it.

dani said...

this made my night. thank you!

Vanessa505 said...

others, though fewer than in the last post, have already addressed most of my concerns, like the lack of connection and the admission that The Post jumped the gun and wasn't very thought out.

I just want to remind everyone that while this is a personal blog cjane earns money via this site, making it a public matter and creating responsibility for her. The Post was, while that may not have been the intention, degrading and giving wrong ideas about the concept of feminism. With such a large readership, I felt you, cjane, were not living up to your responsibility.

I appreciate you revisiting the subject. I love that you get so much support through the virtual world as well as your family. And I salute you for putting up with comments again, I think this is a wonderful forum for people to discuss and learn, so thanks for that.

But in the end, I as well would love if you went back to being a Mormon mommy blogger with the adorable kid and leave these debates where they belong. You don't handle straight and forward criticism well if at all (what with deleting comments on The Post), so don't give anyone a reason to criticize.

Lolee said...

I don't know. Maybe I am just one of those hyper critical people who takes something that is meant in the spirit of love and honesty and finds some way to tear it down..all I can say is that I have a hard time with these feminism posts because they come across to me as pretentious.

kwg said...

This made me proud to be a woman and proud to have you in my club of being women!

What a magnificent post. brava.

Katie Price said...

I don't even know you aside from your blog, but I'm insulted when I hear people saying you live in a bubble. Does everyone need to be reminded of the tragedy your family faced 18 months ago? Or of the fact that you selflessly took in your sister's children to raise? As someone who spent one measly week helping with my sister's kids while she was doing chemo, I am simply AMAZED by that. That is true unconditional love. Maybe you don't deal with rape or genital mutilation on a daily basis, but I REFUSE to believe that privilege and being born in the United States means that you are immune to tragedy. Sheesh, people.

And I would be willing to bet that a good chunk of people on here who want you to single handedly save the world, sit behind their computer and complain, and do NOTHING to fix the problems.

None of us could possibly jump up right now and save the world, or bring world peace. If we could we would have done it. But we can teach our children that all human beings are equal. We can teach our children and believe ourselves that prayer does make a difference, and that God answers our prayers. We can educate ourselves, and LOOK for ways to help others. We can also look down the corner at the neighbor or down the dinner table at the family member who is struggling, and help them. I believe that pleases my Heavenly Father, and He recognizes that I am doing all that I can. That if I get caught up in everything I'm NOT doing, and everything I can't do, that I will become overwhelmed and feel that the fight isn't worth fighting. There's no possible way I could help the people who are suffering in Africa right now, other than sending a check, but you know what I can do? Be grateful for all that I have. Look outside of myself and find people HERE who need me. Not place impossible expectations on myself or those around me.

And if I'm "naive" and "priveleged" for doing what I do and believe in God, then so be it.

I'd rather be that way than hateful and mean and looking for reasons to be offended in everything I see.

Bryn said...

Jess-working on your phd,
I found your thoughts very insightful and was intrigued by your study of the depiction of women in video games because it bothers me. I tried to link to your identity and it seemed a dead end. I would be really interested in your research findings. My e-mail is if you ever read this.

Mom4ever said...

Terrific, well thought-out post, CJane!

I’ve also loved many of the comments made here - that longer post from "Sue" some number of comments back, and one by “Emily Catherine”, a very good one from Jan, and similar. AGREED!

I think CJane's thoughts may make more sense when viewed with a sense of the "bigger picture" - not just global - eternal. Learning where we came from, why we're here, and what we can become, puts so many concerning issues into perspective. How can years of lessons learned be adequately expressed in one or two posts though – especially with the limitations of an imperfect language? (It's that whole parable of the ten virgins, and the symbolism of the oil.)
I would love to see all the injustices of the world righted...right NOW...but believe that will only happen when Jesus returns. It doesn't mean I/we don't actively, regularly work for that state now, but it means we also have to trust in Heavenly Father's perfect, just, loving plan for His children. (Faith is not ignorance; it is choosing to grow.) He allows unbelievable suffering for many reasons, and He knows exactly what we’re going through. It hurts to experience pain, or to watch others go through it, but we're told that EVERY trial we face can be turned to our good - and often the good of others.

What can we do for the good of humankind in our day? The opportunities are endless. Our capabilities differ according to our circumstances, but every contribution towards good is meaningful. Right now, I am a home-schooling SAHM to six children. I contribute by watching for issues I can vote on and going to the polls (yes I know...a benefit won by the hard work of others – and by the good grace of God), by giving what funds our family can to Humanitarian Aid efforts, by serving others in small ways locally, and most importantly, by praying frequently and teaching my children principles I believe to be right. I’ve been taught that the greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes but also that a [person] filled with the love of God is not content with blessing [their] family alone, but [seeks] to bless the whole human race.
I definitely don’t think we should discount the value of sharing knowledge and wisdom – on a blog or elsewhere. The Lord tells us, “By small and simple means are great things brought to pass.”

Emily said...

It is as it was and will ever be! Women have an awesome source of power that is indisputable. You are so intuitive and so in front of the curve, Court, you have made inroads that breach the boundaries of our faiths that are unbelievable! The LDS leadership should acknowledge this extraordinary service you have done. You have brought together so many women like me from different faith backgrounds to share a common mission and service. This is truly a mission through a source not accessible ever before. My friend, you are a true Pioneer in the modern age! God bless you!

Stacie said...


cc said...

While I must agree that this post is hard to disagree with or find fault in, I'm a bit unsatisfied as well. I have to echo the thoughts of Megan and Julie, mostly because I am still baffled by the catalyst for the first post. The "blog post" that was referenced (hardly a reliable source for perfect information) was NOT well written, or I don't think CJane would have used it to make the point she did, because clearly it wasn't as easy to understand as she said.

What bothers me, is that the only good part about that post (the inspiration for the last post) was the dictionary definition of Feminism, which became completely skewed by CJane and those that agreed with her. Hence the disagreements. I got what she was trying to say about not wanting to strive for sameness in everything, but the definition specifically mentioned political, social and economic equality. Who would say they don't want that?

So put me in the camp of those who are curious to know whether CJane really believes in equality in those areas.

As for what I am doing for the cause of Feminism and the plight of less privileged women world-wide? I am doing my part to spread education and change the definition of Feminism to something that we can unite under. Because not everyone is LDS that wants to give women their God-given rights and we need a way to make our individual voices stronger. That is a brand of activism that we can ALL participate in. We don't have to march and risk the negative label if we choose not to, but we shouldn't make it harder for those who are genuinely working to bring true equality (not sameness) to everyone. If we continue to believe and denounce the stereotypes, than we are doing more harm than good. And I'm talking more about certain commenters than CJane. I do think she gets it, but is a little bit afraid to say that she didn't understand before, because that would mean that everyone who supports the previous assertions so openly would be wrong to not try understanding better as well.

I do think you are a great writer with a good head for analyzing, CJane, and I hope you will continue to grow as a woman, mother, wife and daughter of God. Everything you said was indeed beautiful and shows commitment to understanding more. I hope you don't stop there, and I do wish you well with your upcoming new arrival.

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here in bed watching the new BBC version of Emma on DVD (thank you Amazon!)....anyway my thoughts are these....women are all that you say and more....when I see the character Emma on screen I see absolute loveliness and perfection. But we are all perfect. Men and women are perfect just the way they are. Why do so many of your readers get so bent out of shape about your posts. This blog is cjane. As in "see Jane's thoughts. I didn't ask you to agree with me...I am just sharing my personal and intimate thoughts with a few thousand people. Think of it like a journal, only I am an OPEN book. That doesn't mean you should throw stones. Just read my thoughts and decide amongst yourselves how my opinions fit into your line of thinking. When you watched (please tell me you know what I am talking about) "Deep thoughts by Jack Handy". On Saturday Night Live did you feel the need to tell "Jack". How wrong it was for him to take his children to a burned down house and tell them that Disneyland had burned down? Of course NOT! Because it was a "funny ( and hopefully untrue) thought. When CJane shares her thoughts with you that are not funny she is sharing with you her truth. She is an open book. Her thoughts and life ARE Sacred. She is a daughter of God. But she is also human. She doesn't need you to throw stones. Try throwing positive and meaningful dialogue instead. You don't have to agree with her. But she repects you and you CAN do the same. Let's all get along. Even when it's hard. :)

Jeannie said...

i appreciate a good back and forth debate/exchange of ideas; rarely does a post elicit such passionate points of view. let it run its course. these things always do. isn't it stimulating, on some level, to read the post, and all the comments - something that evokes strong feelings - why not? i just wish i hadn't started at 2:30am when I still have to wash my hair before sleeping AND an early morning call...

what a way to go out, girl, just before giving birth :-)

Mollie said...


Hmm. I think I was moderated. Well, I didn't mean to be "creepy" but perhaps I can edit slightly and try again. I'm even posting using my real name, so please, throw me a bone or something!

That was a beautiful, well-written sermon, and I'm sure that it put you squarely back where you want to be: basking in the glow of your (mostly) adoring readers. Phew. They love you...they still love you!

I think the title of your recent post is misleading. "What I have learned". There is nothing in there about what you have learned. It's all about what you believe. If you learned anything at all from those 600 comments, it certainly wasn't conveyed in this post. In particular, I'm disappointed you didn't address the carelss nature in which you wrote that first post and the way that it demeaned so many women around the world. I just wish you could say, "Hey. I was wrong. I didn't think it through. Thanks for calling me on it."

I am a humanist. To me, what you wrote today could be said about any human being. Our differences are not drawn on gender lines: they are drawn on the unique gifts and characteristics each one of us has as INDIVIDUALS. We all have a power (divine spark if you insist), that we can use to do great things (or not).

You quoted a friend as saying feminism is the ability to view the world from a woman's point of view. I love that, except it's missing something. Feminism is the ability to see the world from every woman's point of view and not just from our own lofty, privileged perch.

Hayley said...

(You may not remember me, but think cancer fighting shoes). Just wanted to say that this was lovely.


What a talent you have.

Keri said...

WOW!~ Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are so intelligent and in tune. I wish I was more in tune. I wish I could pray on a consistent basis. For some reason I don't. Not sure why. Laziness maybe.

Anonymous said...

I think it's strange that people are pushing you to explain your definition of "equality." It makes me think they already have their rebuttals typed up, ready to fire them at you in the "comments" section, no matter what your answer is. I agree with an earlier comment (don't remember the name) who said that "equality" depends on something specific that is being compared. And, like you said, we are cheapened by comparisons. So, for what it's worth, I don't think you need to share your opinion on what exactly equality is. Each of us needs to decide for ourselves (using inspiration) what equality means for us and then do all that we can to help those around us get what they need to be truly happy.

Also (and I'm sorry this is so long and that I'm rambling--it's late and I've just read every single comment, so my thoughts are bouncing around in my head), I believe you are doing what you can for women around the world, within your own sphere of influence. First, you are serving the people around you, especially your family (and you are the person who can serve them best). Second, you are writing posts about the divine nature of women, which gets the rest of us thinking about ways we can be better and help others. And finally, I do not doubt that you and your husband contribute to the welfare funds of the LDS Church. Many of your readers may not realize that the LDS Church provides help to thousands (if not millions) of people around the world on a daily basis. I feel good contributing to this fund, because I know that my money will be used to help those who are struggling (LDS or not) and who I would not be able to help otherwise. Maybe this sounds like a cop-out, but I simply do not have the ability to know the greatest needs around the world, so I give to an organization who can find those needs and fill them better than I could on my own. (For more about the Church's Humanitarian Services, see,19749,6208,00.html )

Okay, I think I'm done. I am a CJane fan, but I have to agree that the "cjane worship" is getting a little thick. So I'll end by saying thank you for this post and for reminding me of how great it is to be a woman. :) Good luck with your new baby!

Anonymous said...

Hmm... interesting thoughts. But for me, this post has nothing to do with the definition of equality from your link in the previous post. I'd love to know your thoughts on social and political equality and fairness.
And oh, thanks for a great blog!

Kara said...

your words gave me chills (in a good kind of way), thank you for sharing them. I think you were inspired!

Anonymous said...

This is the most pointless debate I have ever witnessed. Everyone agrees women are no better or worse than men and everyone acknowledges there are women around the world without the same support or opportunities as most have in the US. Cjane never claimed to speak for the masses of underprivileged women around the world because she isn't one and doesn't know any. Neither should she be goaded into becoming a global crusader for womens rights if it's not something already dear to her heart. If her focus is on family and having a popular blog, we should be happy that she is happy and lucky enough to have the gift of choice.

Cindy O said...

I think this lively discussion illustrates one of CJanes' best points: We are all passionate about the work we are involved in! Some have felt led to work in different areas, helping women throughout the world, and take a larger view. Some feel their work is more personal and intimate for now.
Why should we feel antagonistic towards one another when we are helping, loving, and serving others? Why not celebrate the overwhelming good which is being accomplished by each of us?
CJane's portion of the work we are all engaged in is to create a forum for her views, and to facilitate discussions which bless all of our lives.
Let's celebrate the good we can accomplish as powerful daughters of God, and share the love as we triumph over the challenges faced by women everywhere.

jaffa said...

I love C jane's writing, that's why I keep reading her blod despite not always agreeing with her outlook. It's good to look at different sides of an issue. What concerns me however is the retoric by many of the commentators who seem to think that those in opposition to Cjane's post are being nasty. Having an opposing veiw isn't being nasty, laying out the reasons why you disagree with something isn't wrong and asking further questions for clarification is not inappropriate. We all have things we can learn from each other, and disparaging people because they identify as a feminist is in poor taste.

Anonymous said...

love it. my thoughts exactly... very well spoken personal insight. if only we all applied a bit of this logic. sometimes it seems some of us women have become a bit overly women-centric. there are bad MEN and WOMEN in this world that harm innocent MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN. I can't help but think of the countless boys that are abused (mentally,physically, & sexually), men that are brutally killed and that sacrifice years of their lives for their countries. women that are leaving their families for for their own personal gain...lots of ugly things happen to all of humankind. i think a little womanly essence can go a long way.

Anonymous said...

I learned a lot about your faith from this post, Courtney, and I think you are so brave to revisit this on the eve of giving birth. I don't think I would have had that nerve.

But I do have to sit on the side of those who argue that this post doesn't actually answer the question. It provides an ethereal, lovely view of Woman but no practicalites.

I agree with the others: you are comfortable. That is the message. You are in an equitable marriage, you are not interested in having any authority in your church or in the workplace, and so you cannot envision that there is any work to be done there for anyone else, either.

You are privileged, and there are aspects of it that you did not work for. There are many women who have worked as hard as you -- some harder -- who have very much less. There are many women stuck in the marriage you walked away from because no one said to them, "We're here for you at the end." Those women are being hurt and their children are being hurt and they have very few options for getting out.

There are many women in this country -- to say nothing of the rest of the world -- who have no view of their divinity as you do -- and also have none of the legal protections that come from being equals. They are not cherished, they are battered and their children are battered and it continues because inequality in the eyes of the law and the culture continue.

I like Sparkedmama's comment best, and I liked your reply, too.

I think you are awesomely brave to continue this debate, to answer and be present in the comments, and to be willing to think hard on the criticism.

Go have that baby, now, and be well.

Kelly said...


It has taken me two days to read through all the comments. WOW. You are such a brave soul. I now have to give my two cents: (smile)

First, while we do not share exactly the same religion (I am a born-again Christian)...we serve the same God, we were created by the same God and we have the same Savior. I fully believe that. The only truth that anyone should care about is that there is one and only one TRUE God and ONE Savior, who is Jesus. "No one comes to the Father but by Me." Not by Allah, not through Budda, not through some other false religion. Does that make me an elitist? No. That makes me right. You don't have to believe it, it's true whether you accept it or not. You can choose "not to believe" in gravity, but the fact remains it is real. So that's my say on that. Next, God made man and woman in His image. But he did NOT make them equal. No matter what any of the feminist-or-bust commenters here say. We are NOT equal. Do I believe that women are inferior to men? NO!!!!! Neither does God, neither do most of the men I know. God says that a man is to love his wife LIKE CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH. That's an awful lot of love and respect. Am I fully aware that there are women who are oppressed and abused? Absolutely. Do I believe that they ought to have people rally for their freedom and safety? ABSOLUTELY. But, that does not change how I feel about my position and that does NOT make me feel like I should apologize for it. I, too, consider myself blessed. I know, however, that not everyone leads this lifestyle. This world is made up of many, many people in different walks of life. There are many different levels of ability, different cultures, various status classes, and that's the way it will be. Are you going to go around making everyone equal? Everyone making the same amount of money? Having the same things? The problem with making everyone and everything "equal" is you destroy individuality and the striving for one's betterment. I have and do participate in missions and organizations that help those less fortunate, or the tortured and oppressed in other countries, that they might be afforded the BASIC NEEDS that every person God made should have. But I don't think you can equalize everyone. In my belief, in my home, in my marriage, in my faith...I serve a mighty God. In that, I obey what his Word tells me...which includes submitting respectfully to those in authority. That does not mean I am "less than". It means that while I have a say and an opinion, that (yes, thankfully to some of the feminist movements I can now have) I still leave the heavy decisions and the FINAL decisions up to my husband, my church elders and pastor, and the others that I know have my best interest at heart and will treat me as Christ would. I realize that not every woman has this situation, but this is MY situation. Just like Cjane's situation is HER situation. So to those who are so vehemently Hell-bent on forcing Cjane to change her views or her opinions, or instead of spewing hatred for those who do not live as you do, why not embrace her for the woman she is....a feminine, God-fearing, uniquely gifted and very blessed Daughter of God. This is who I believe she is and I love her for it. If I didn't agree, or if I found her beliefs offensive, I wouldn't be here. And I don't think you should be either. If you don't like what you're reading, (like someone else said) simply 'change the channel' and move on. Do us all a favor. Cjane, keep on being you. You are amazing and I am glad to know you in "blogger land". I'd love to meet you in person in this life, but since those chances are slim I will just have to meet you in Heaven. Looking forward to it. :)

Love in Christ,

lynne said...

Brilliant. Thank you, so much. Much to ponder.

Motherboard said...

Women, in my opinion, are nurtures by nature. When we put aside our petty differences and unite together we are a powerful force for truth and righteousness.

Simply put: This post speaks truth.

Thank you, my friend.

Lisa said...

I think its funny that some people think that just because you are privileged you cant have an opinion.

I worked in an orphanage in Romania- does that give me the right to rip into anyone who talks about how great their parents are! We cant have mothers day because that's offensive to someone in the world...

Guess us privileged American women better be angry for all of our blessings. That will really change the world for the better!


Way to go C-Jane. Your attitude toward women will actually make a difference in this world and change people for the better.

c jane said...

Sometimes I think no matter what we are saying in this comment section it takes a whole lot of internet-style bravery, especially when using our real names.

So cheers to that.

This comment is for those who think I skirted the issue, copped out or avoided answering to wax poetic.

I wrote this post from a spiritual stand point. I said that from the beginning. There was no promise that I was going to do otherwise. I warned you. And yes, I used (YIKES!) spiritual (RS!) language, because it is my language. I'd use it if you were sitting on my couch. I can't make up some vocabulary that isn't native to me. I am not that smart, nor do I have enough time.

In that spirit, I did answer every question that is pertinent to this discussion.

I a, blessed/privileged (whatever your word choice) in ways other women are not. And I believe whole heartedly that other women are blessed ways in I can't even imagine. Poverty doesn't necessarily make people unhappy. For instance. Besides, writing "from the comfort of my own living room" certainly doesn't disqualify me to from forming opinions, ideas and respecting others issues.

That being said, I have to deal with the issues that directly confront me. As I stated in this post, I am not aware of every issue that affects women all over the world. I simply I can't know. So equality is a major issue for some women, I understand. What I am saying here is that I believe in woman enough to know that they will find away to confront those debates. I have to put my trust in their God-given capabilities and say to them "YOU CAN DO IT!" And I hope they'd afford me the same trust.

SO it doesn't matter what I think about equality because equality isn't on my plate. I don't even understand it from their point, I understand it from mine. And it works vice versa. But for those women who have it facing them, I say find your inspiration, because I believe it comes and let me know how I can help.

In that vein, I do use my blog to help women all the time, and it is one of the reasons why I am so DANG GRATEFUL to have a voice. I have used it to help women in their educational pursuits, I've helped raise awareness for fund raising, I continue to spread the word in anyway I can.

One post that raised a bunch of negative feedback was the one where I wrote about helping women in Kenya with their microloan business in making coconut lotion. People were angry with me for selling out. Selling out for a 12 bottle of pure coconut oil to help women in Kenya. Tell me how am I supposed to win?

So this is what I am asking, if you are here to complain about me, you are wasting your time. Instead, give me (and all of us) some practical suggestions on how we can help. As a commenter recently said I do pay regularly to my church's humanitarian aid fund, which is distributed throughout the world. What else?

And yes, yes yes I do think that telling women they are daughters of God is as practical is empowering. I said that in the post too. As it turns out, He has some great ideas. I can testify to that.

Kmarie said...

I have to agree with Jaffa.

I can't wait to move on and hear more of C Jane's usual witty, lighthearted posts. She is talented at that! I go to other's blogs (who have more substantially practical tips) for the issues at hand when I want to get serious.

C jane helps the world through her romanticism and her humour- let's let her have that. We need inspiration in various forms. I really hope we can let her go back to her previous posting habits. The post may not have addressed the issues or been incredibly practical but it WAS inspirational and idealistic. Thank God we have those. I love a good mix.

Kmarie said...

Oh and..

Four things you can do right now (pg 251);
1. Go to or and open a small account. I have done both and they are great ways of dipping your toes in to empower women.
2. Sponsor a woman or girl
3. Join Care Action Netwok at
4. Sign up for email updates on or

From my post
or another way is to do these ( things.I do not have tome to re- write this.

Amy A. said...

This gave me chills. :)

Jenni said...


Nicole said...

I'm always curious about anonymous comments about "what the Mormon church does to women". Because I'm a "Mormon woman" and I don't feel that anything has been "done to me." I find my religion very empowering as cjane has shared here and I've never felt anything but great worth. I can't speak for everyone, but that's my experience. Can I see how our doctrines and the order of our church leadership can be misunderstood? Absolutely. But I feel like I see it plain as day and it sits just fine with me.

I remember once when I was young and my siblings and I were being horribly lazy little jerks and averting helping with some household chores we'd been asked to do, so of course it all fell on my mom. My dad is a very even-tempered, chill-out kind of guy. I never remember him being angrier than he was that day. He lined us all up in the garage and paced back and forth. He never raised his voice, in fact he couldn't speak for some time. He was choking back emotion and when he was finally able to utter words he pointed his finger at us and said, " MY WIFE......and you will NOT treat her that way." There were a few more things said, but that will forever stick with me. My father's example taught me that a woman should be the most important thing to a man . (That statement will probably open up a can of worms). But I think my father's example that day is not unlike God's feelings toward women. Do I believe He has a woman at His side? Absolutely. Do I believe He treasures her beyond anything? Absolutely.

Cynthia said...

Hello CJane and fellow readers

Like many of you, I'm a long-time reader and first-time commenter. I read The Post, disagreed with most of it, but was fascinated by the discussion thread in the comments. (Thank you, CJane). I kept feeling, as I read, that the time is ripe for us to get together, to listen to each other, and ultimately, to act.

I am 30 years old. I am Argentine. I belong to the priviliged minority that, in my country, has access to Internet, has received an education, not to mention a roof over my head, clothes on my back, four square meals every day. I am blessed, and priviliged. Yet, these very blessings weigh upon me. I see the poverty, the abuse, the neglect, every day, but feel so lost as to where to begin. Reading your thoughts in this forum, I felt I am not alone. That many miles from here, you're thinking and feeling the same thoughts and feelings.

I would like to bring a few issues up in this discussion:

1. Can we get together? Can we keep on sharing and analyzing and searching for practical ways to end the injustice that women all over the world are still subject to? Set up an online community, join one that already exists...? Any ideas?

2. Can we be honest about our civil responsibilties? Is it possible that we need to wake up and act (I'm not exactly sure how)? Can we hold our different governments accountable for fostering these injustices? (all of these are just questions! not accusations, at all... but, sisters -let me call you that- are you aware of the policies that continuing US governments have sustained towards, say, Third World Countries? Do you know how misery and poverty are spread worldwide due to policies that WE, as women voters, ought to be aware of, in order to fight against? To make our voices heard? Changes are wrought through awarenes, and awareness leads to action. I find your voices inspiring because they've made me aware of shared ideals across a vast stretch of land.

3. Is it possible, with the utmost respect for all creeds and ideals, to open a mature, serious discussion about the sustaining beliefs that many of these creeds and cultures foster towards women? And other issues as well? Is it possible to dissent? To openly question our religions when we feel that they are sustaining injustice? CJane, I read your blog because I like you. So I say this with true respect and appreciation for you: many commenters have pointed out that, despite beautiful, and true, and luminous words, there are several practical issues that need to be discussed:

are our governments and Churches forbidding our fellow beings from accessing their rights? Are our Churches funding movements that will keep people in oppressive situations? Shouldn't this be questioned? Shouldn't the people who feel their Churches are unfair to women be listened to? Are our Churches encouraging women to stay quiet and be nice and ask no questions? Can we get together in a place where we feel safe and share our doubts without attacking each other?

We enjoy today unprecedented opportunities: we can have an international online discussion like this one, share, and learn. If the Internet did not exist, I could possibly go through my whole existence feeling resentful against First World citizens like yourselves, whose countries are responsible for so much suffering (along with our treacherous local authorities, of course). I don't. I read what you write and feel identified with your quests, your restlesness, you sensitivity. I feel that we can truly become an international community.

CJane, I believe in what you wrote. I believe in the power of women helping other women. Only we need to exercise our hard earned civil rights in order to bring about the changes we desire.

Thank you so much for reading, all of you. Thank you CJane for hosting this discussion.

Should this lead to an online discussion site/community, consider me suscribed.

Love from Buenos Aires


Cynthia said...

Another thought that keeps bugging me and I would like to discuss with you:

Does privilige entail responsability?

Can we be priviliged and know it and leave it at that?

Could it be that *because* we are priviliged (educated, fed, clothed, free) we are in a position to act in behalf of our brothers and sisters who are not?

What are your thoughts about this?

Jessika said...

Beautiful words Courtney. Thank you for penning the words that describe so perfectly how so many of us feel (at least I do). I just gave birth to my first child this week (a son) and never in my life have I felt so strong in my womanhood and so blessed to be a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and the wife of an amazing man. Everything you wrote here speaks to and for me. This is my essence as well.

L.B. said...

As a woman who has been raped, betrayed, abused and even was the victim of attempted murder- I want to say THANK YOU for this beautiful post. Many would look at my life and say I have not been blessed because of the horrific experiences I have endured, but I am privileged, I am blessed, and I am a HAPPY person. And it is because I know I am a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven. Yes, the "man upstairs with the beard" (taken from a previous comment)gets all of the credit from me! He is the reason I am alive. Because I shouldn't be. He is the reason I have hope for justice someday.

Some of these commenters imply that you should not be happy for the privileges you have because there are others who suffer. Having some experience of suffering, I have always been happy for those who do not have to suffer the horrific experiences I have. I do not know you personally, but I can tell you are a woman of compassion and love towards others. That's what the world needs.

Thank you again for this beautiful post. There is no doubt that women are precious in the sight of God.
Thank You.

peterfam said...

Thank you for helping us to understand the power of women. I feel I have a deeper understanding of the benefit of Relief Society after this great post. I am going to need to re-read this one a few times. How touching! Thank you thank you!

Mollie said...


Here's a suggestion that many have made (including myself in some other comments on some other blog)...Read Half the Sky. How about a C Jane book review and then an online discussion? Half The Sky is full of powerful, inspirational stories about women around the world, and it provides lots of practical advice as to how to get involved. I would love to have the opportunity to discuss the book "virtually" with a diverse group of women.

What do you say?? Will anyone else commit to reading it? Because you are does all come down to action. You can believe what ever you want, but if you don't behave accordingly, what good are those beliefs? Sounds like your readers are some pretty passionate folks. Imagine what we could do if we harnessed all this energy!!

Diane said...

Well done you! I enjoyed this post tremendously, and it is obvious how much thought and effort you put into it. Thank you.

Megan said...

Nobody is trying to force others into adopting feminist principles or the label. What we are trying to do is correct the erroneous definition upon which the majority of women here are basing
their rejection of the term. When people educate themselves as to WHY little girls are being forced into marriage, having their genitals mutilated, beaten and murdered by their own family for losing their virginity, and any of the horrific acts done in the name of Patriarchy/religion, only then can we begin to understand those who are frustrated with how blithely the majority of readers here dismiss feminism and distort the movement.

Start with the book "Infidel" and read the autobiography of a girl who left the Muslim faith. She recounts the day she and her siblings were held down and forced by their own Grandmother to have their genitals mutilated and sewn shut.

If we don't educate ourselves to the injustices happening to females in the world, how can anything change?

Martin Luther King said: "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance....."

I have many friends who refuse to read anything on the aforementioned issues because it doesn't affect them here and they feel powerless to do anything.
But we are not powerless! :)
Education empowers us, and moves us to action. Hence, the women like me here who are respectfully sharing our differing view. Please readers, don't equate that with attacking, forcing, hating, or any of the other unfair accusations.

I don't expect anyone to donate and serve in the same causes I am passionate about. :) The only reason donating to charities was raised (that I saw) came from "The Jones" who made a very snide remark about feminists here. She asked those who disagreed with CJane's post what we were doing to help the women in Africa and I responded to her. We are all drawn to issues that have touched us in some way, and our situations may prevent us from serving how we desire. I've had times where all I can do is donate money to those working in the trenches, and even times where I had no extra money to help.

I disagree with those telling CJane to blog about nothing but fluff and to eliminate comments. As one of the most popular LDS blogs, she has a powerful voice and influence here.
Thank you CJane for allowing others to share their POV, and having an open mind. :)

The narrow minded women here who want nothing but an echo chamber are the ones who should stop commenting.

Megan said...

I understand why some don't like using the term "blessed" to describe women born in the LDS church, or this country. It implies that we are favored by God over another, and our position in life was rewarded for something that occurred in the pre-existence. I've always been troubled by people who believe this way. But a lot of people only use the term to describe the gratitude they feel. It's a tricky position for me because we are commanded to show gratitude to God in all things, and I thank Him in my prayers everyday for what I have. But at the same time I don't believe He blessed me with food over the starving child in Africa.

The way I view the term "blessed" now is, those who sacrificed for the freedoms and prosperity I enjoy did so because of the Godly virtues within them, or maybe inspiration from His Spirit. By showing gratitude to the men and women who gave me this "blessed" life, it is showing gratitude to God. I also believe God expects us to use our blessings to ease the suffering of those who are not born into prosperity. If we are truly grateful for what we have, the compassion for those with less comes naturally.

Mindy Gledhill said...

I'm in tears in the middle of the LAX Airport. Well done, Ceej.

Rebecca MacIntosh said...

beautifully written... I was expressing the same sentiment only a few days ago... how rich a woman's life can be when surrounded and covered in the love and support of other women. Thank you. (P.S. You look stunning preggers! xo)

Amie said...

"SO it doesn't matter what I think about equality because equality isn't on my plate. I don't even understand it from their point, I understand it from mine. And it works vice versa. But for those women who have it facing them, I say find your inspiration, because I believe it comes and let me know how I can help."

equality for women shouldn't/can't be an individual pursuit. it needs to be collective or else it would/will be totally futile.

Lauren said...

Admittedly, I’ve found it really difficult not to get caught up in the semantics of this discussion. It has been painful to see so many proclamations of those who are “definitely NOT feminists” despite all of the thoughtful commentary after The Post with explanations from what those of us who consider ourselves modern feminists believe, stand for, and act on in our feminisms – so much of which was echoed in this lovely, thoughtful post.

Though not LDS, I am spiritual, and everything you’ve stated, CJane, about believing in women’s endless capabilities, fighting injustice, acknowledging privilege and the responsibility that garners, celebrating our differences, and helping other women (in large and small capacities) deeply connects with my spirit – and it is a spirit I would identify as profoundly feminist. You and others might not call it that, but you know what? I’m becoming more and more ok with that. It’s time I got over the labels.

Getting caught up in the semantics and minutiae of boxing ourselves into definitions causes division among us – we’re “less than-ing” each other when we turn our brains and hearts off to those who label themselves differently or define things differently, and stifling opportunities for us to learn more about each other and how the world is operating around and through us (at least, I am guilty of doing so, particularly concerning The Post and this post). And I won’t do it anymore.

Because when I finally wrench myself away from the caviling, I can see how very much on the same page the vast majority of us are about what peterfam above references as the “power of women” – no matter what we’re calling ourselves when we believe, stand for, and act on regarding it. And THAT’S what’s important – not seeking out labels so it’s more convenient to judge one another in a way that renounces the density of our essences. I’m reminded her of Minnie Bruce Pratt, who said: “I try to say to myself – to acknowledge the complexity of another's existence is not to deny my own.”

So, thank you, CJane, for the bravery and honesty you show through your writing, and for allowing your readers to reflect on and learn about themselves AND you AND each other via your experiences and the thinking and discussion reading your posts promotes. Blogging and commenting is a powerful thing – especially when strong women are behind it.

And for those that are looking for ways to help, the video on this site inspired me to take tangible action: - it’s amazing what girls and women can do when allowed to participate in the improvement of their respective lives.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I've been reading some of the comments and must say how impressed I am (overall) at the dialogue here. I think the coolest thing about this post and most certainly the original is that it opened up an important conversation. It even made me realize many thoughts about this subject I never knew I had.

I also have tremendous respect for you Cjane, for re-visting this subject and then jumping in and adding comments, responding to critics and compliments alike. As a (however miniscule) blogger myself, I understand that it not only takes time to read and make comments, but it takes heart.

Stacey said...

Not going to lie, miss Lindsey's comment annoyed. There are many people who read your blog, who have university degrees, including myself. Whether or not people choose to enjoy and agree or not, has nothing to do with the amount of formal education (how belittling!) but on opinion and experience. I read both posts and really enjoyed them. My opinion is this post was a great reply or part deux to your last one.
Your first post on feminism was on the beauty about being a woman, not on societal standards or segregation, just puristic womanhood.
This post, on a more beautiful spiritual level spoke the same message. It is definitely one of your gifts to see things with an eternal perspective. Lucky. ;)

Anonymous said...

Before I say anything else, let me say that I am only 16 years old. I realize that, therefore, my opinions are naive - I haven't even experienced a quarter of my life yet! Maybe 20 years from now, I'll think back on what I said here and completely disagree with it. But for now, this is what I think about what "the Mormon church does to women".

Let me start with a small anecdote from my AP Chemistry class. In an attempt to de-stress us after our midterm, our teacher decided to show a few music videos, one of which depicted women in a blatantly objective, sexual way. Unwilling to watch such trash, I let my eyes wander freely around the room and was sickened to see the looks of enjoyment on the faces of most of the teenage boys in the room.

However, I as I looked at every Mormon boy in this room, I noticed something: they were all staring down at their desks, unwilling to watch the way women were being demeaned in the video. And I felt glad to know that the boys I hang out with, date, and will eventually marry, respect women in this way. Why do they have this respect for women? Because of the teachings of our church.

I have felt "less-than"ed because I am female, but not at church. I have felt this way at school, when my teacher makes fun of women's sports and implies that they are less capable at science. I have felt this way watching television. I have felt this way talking to my peers.

But every time I feel like this, I go to church, or I read my scriptures and pray. Each time, I feel the Spirit affirm to me that God loves me and treats me with the same infinite compassion as he treats his sons. I hear the Spirit whisper that I am of equal worth, equal intellectual capacity, and that I am equally loved.

THIS is what my church does to women. It helps them to feel loved. It helps them to feel valued. It helps them to be treated equitably by the males. It helps them to be happy.

c jane said...

I know, Retro c jane was so cute, I am telling you, even I like to go back and read my own archives.

But here is why posts like these are important to me as a blogger who writes personally: there is a tendency in the bloggersphere to over-grandiose to produce that which is shallow or catty. I need to be able to show the base of where I am coming from, the deeper parts of me.

If my readers want to question if I could really be that happy as a cleaning-vacuuming housewife, they can refer to the more self-examining posts and see where the source of my happiness comes from.

While readers may not agree with me, at least they know where my heart is at and who I am.

Anonymous said...

Saying that you are a feminist is powerful and takes bravery. You are acknowledging all the hard work of those who came before you and the fact that there is more work to be done. You are acknowledging that even in 2010 women are still not provided the same rights as men. You are acknowledging THAT THERE IS STILL A PROBLEM that is worth fighting for. If not for us, then for our daughters.

Your essay (while lovely) is about femininity and womanhood. You have chosen to ignore the issue, to pretend that gender inequality just doesn't exist. You think that if women just feel their God-given "essence" all will be well. Do you think these "feelings" can overcome long-term systematic and institutional gender inequality?

There have been other labels throughout history that have had negative connotations-abolitionist, suffragette, civil rights advocate, etc... But when you take on that label with pride you are (1)acknowledging that there is a problem and (2)suggesting that you will do something about it.

Clearly in your world cjane you see no reason to call yourself a feminist. You've created the life you want with few barriers to overcome. And you know, I'm privileged too, I can relate. But you are doing your sisters (of the world) a great disservice when you refuse to take a stand and SEE their suffering. And that is a damn shame. When you turn a blind eye YOU become part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Also, it seem like the SAHMs are feeling attacked here and that's not good. What is so interesting is that THEY are the very women who need feminists the most.

Who do you think fought for you to have a reasonable amount of maternity leave? Who fought the insurance companies so you are no longer pushed out of the hospital the same day you have your baby? Who is fighting for you to have equal pay should you choose or be forced to re-enter the workplace? Who is fighting for you to have safe and affordable childcare should you need it? Who is fighting to stop domestic violence so that you never have to feel "trapped"? Who fought for you to have the right to go to college? To have your intellect be deemed equal to that of a man's? Who fought to make sure you have the right to breastfeed in public and have changing tables in restrooms? Who is fighting to improve the conditions of women world-wide so that they are able to feel respected and loved?

You sit back behind your lace curtains feeling all warm and smug that you have a wonderful husband to support you. Well what happens if (god forbid) your husband dies or becomes disabled? What if he leaves you? What if he starts beating you?

You bet your lucky stars that if you ever have to go through any real trauma you will be thanking your feminist sisters who have always had your back. Even though in your ignorance you have scorned them.

Anonymous said...

For all the LDS women here who refuse to call themselves a feminist (especially you, cjane!), I ask that you check out this very enlightened and thoughtful website.

Anonymous said...

re: cjane's comments

"So equality is a major issue for some women, I understand. What I am saying here is that I believe in woman enough to know that they will find away to confront those debates. I have to put my trust in their God-given capabilities and say to them "YOU CAN DO IT!"

YES cjane, positive self-talk and believing that you are God's daughter are very powerful things. But that alone will not fight chronic systematic, institutionalized gender inequality.

A young woman in Africa may feel as though she is a daughter of God but when she if forced to have a genital mutilation it doesn't do her much good now does it? A feminist wants to fight for that woman so that she never has to go through such a horrific experience. There has to be ACTIONS to go along with WORDS.

Please tell me you are getting the connection here, I know you are a very intelligent person. Your refusal to see the truth here disappoints me because I look up to you both as a woman and a writer.

Anonymous said...

"So this is what I am asking, if you are here to complain about me, you are wasting your time. Instead, give me (and all of us) some practical suggestions on how we can help"

Cjane, the practical suggestion from many was to reconsider the erroneous definition of feminism that you had based your "I am not' proclamation on. Just as you would not like someone to characterize Mormonism upon false notions or misinformation, those that define themselves as feminist want the dialogue to, at the very least, define it correctly. With some of the reader's comments characterizing feminism as not being feminine, not liking men, not appreciating our differences, not valuing mothers...but at the same time saying they support equal pay and opportunity - there is obviously a misunderstanding about what feminism is. We can't all define it individually and then try to talk about the same thing.

Anonymous said...

{same anon}

Kelly, you said:

"The only truth that anyone should care about is that there is one and only one TRUE God and ONE Savior, who is Jesus. "No one comes to the Father but by Me." Not by Allah, not through Budda, not through some other false religion. Does that make me an elitist? No. That makes me right. You don't have to believe it, it's true whether you accept it or not. You can choose "not to believe" in gravity, but the fact remains it is real. So that's my say on that."

The problem with such a rigid, myopic view is that there are people all over the world thinking the same thing about their religion, their God. The atrocities that have been committed throughout history in defense of "Only-My-God" have, well, filled many a history book and today's newspaper. I find it shocking that your God would value and reward going through life with such a judgmental, spiritually-stingy view of fellow brothers and sisters.

Do you ever get the feeling that heaven will be compartmentalized, each religion having their own wing, as if in an airport? Kept sequestered from one another, because each religion's followers want to believe that they were/are the only ones to make it there.

Chiu said...

I must quibble on one point. The divine powers of women are not the most potent when used to love other women. They are at their greatest effect, both in efficiency of action and in raw power, when used to love a man.

I know it may seem self-serving to point this out, as I am (among many other things) a man. But I ask you to consider the point for yourself. I do not fully comprehend the divine sense of sexuality, but one thing is clear, love between the sexes is central to the design.

I have felt the love of good women for me, and it is an astonishing power. Of course, I can hardly claim to have felt the love of good women for each other, and shouldn't wish to imply that it is is, for one thing, far more abundant in practice. It may be precisely because of the peculiar focus a woman can bring to her love of a man that this love has such strength (I hate to disappoint you, but my observation is that men do not have the same capacity to love a woman with that same dedication).

Well, I have limited insight into the matter. Perhaps if you will be better able to discover the principles behind it than I am.

Mary said...

I find some of these comments interesting in light of the fact that you recently posted a bit of history about your first marriage. While you did not go into detail, it was clear from your post and Azucar's comment that your time with your first husband was less than ideal.

In fact, you may even have more understanding of what abused, under-privileged women go through than you were ready to publicly delve into. For others to dismiss this post by calling you privileged or implying that your life is perfect is disheartening. You clearly are in a position to have a certain amount of empathy for many women, and it's a shame that so many have completely ignored that aspect of your life experience.

No one's life is perfect. We can each only do the best we can, and that's all that God wants from us -- to do the best we can in the circumstances we were given.

If we are in a position to help out less-fortunate women, children, and even men, throughout the U.S. and the world, we should. That may be volunteering at a shelter, donating money or necessities, or being a mentor to a woman or girl who needs a beacon of hope.

If we cannot do any of these things, due to financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual limitations, then none of us should be made to feel less than who we are because we aren't doing what others think we should to help. We should all seriously evaluate what we can do, then do it.

The majority of us have experienced less than ideal situations in our lives. It is important that we remember our times of need and the great people who helped us during those times, in however small a way, and try to pay it forward whenever we are able to. If that is not today or tomorrow, so be it.

Even the Savior accepted the widow's mite.

As for those who ask more about Mormon doctrine regarding women -- it is simply this. We believe we have a Heavenly Mother -- and that she is so sacred, God never revealed her name to any person who ever lived on earth. The reason why is that he did not want her name to be defiled and abused as His has been through the centuries.

Heavenly Father values women. He has helped us, through outspoken, brave, and inspired women and men, to have better lives and circumstances throughout the generations. The period of time after the living prophets left the earth allowed evil, false and apostate people to dictate how women should be treated. As societal mores against women have fallen, it has been easier to accomplish this task, and progress has been made.

Progress will continue to be made. Just like eating an elephant, it can be done -- one bite at a time.

Katherine said...

Why do so many commenters feel the need to defend cjane from those who post something that challenges her thoughts?

She is certainly able to defend herself if she chooses to. She allows Anonymous comments. She knowingly throws out topics that are going to generate a response -- and not all positive. She has the unquestioned ability to delete anything that she finds offensive.

Plus, she gets paid to do this.

Sarah said...

Equality isn't on your plate?

Wow. :(

Mel said...

Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I am sad for the women who say that there is nothing they can do to change the world other than "write a check" and that we have to trust that God is letting people suffer for a reason and that it will all be resolved when Jesus comes.

Give me a break. Pick up a newspaper. Educate yourselves. There are about a gazillion things you can do besides write a check. And don't absolve yourself of responsibility because, according to you, God's got it covered. What a cop out. I know, I know. You are busy raising your kids and that's your most important calling. But you know what? I think God had more in mind for women than just being dutiful, nurturing wives and mothers.

And to the person who linked to Julie Beck's talk, that was hands down one of the most offensive, insensitive talks given by an LDS church leader. It completely disregarded women in the church who are single and/or childless and it pronounced judgment on women who choose to work (so take that all you ladies who said you'd been belittled and judged for your choice to stay home).

The message is clear: SAHM = obedient, righteous cherished daughter of God.

Katie Price said...


Thank you for your comment. I thought it was awesome.

Someone before mentioned sponsoring a woman or a girl, or donating money to know it goes directly to these women. Does anyone have a source for this? I would be interested but want to make sure I'm donating to a worthy cause, not some scam. Any info would be great.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who said:
"Again, I do not mean to offend anyone but my comments are about the reality of many poor women who do not have support (family, community, religion), the idea of being a Daughter of God is a truly remote luxury when you are a drug addicted, prostitute, transient, suffering in a violent relationship, pregnant, you have two other children that the state already apprehended and the government social worker will be at the hospital the day your baby is born to take the baby, just thinking...real world."

This comment has really been bothering me.
Mainly because I have been associated with individuals with many of those problems. And at one point in my life I was headed on that course.

I have to say this...I don't think understanding one's relationship with God is luxury..I think it is a necessity.

When I was 16 years old my father walked out on my family and my mother who had very little post high school education and no work experience was left to feed, shelter and clothe 3 kids.
It was hard for all of us..and quite frankly with a mother who was hurting and a father who was being selfish-I didn't have a lot of emotional support.

Sometime in that disaster I learned that I had a Father in Heaven who loved me and cared about what I was thinking.
There was peace when I spoke with him....

I think for those who are struggling..who are dealing with horrible is important to know that they are worth more than their circumstances and at times-even their decisions.

There is peace. He may not take away what we have to deal with...but he can make us strong enough to handle it.
If no one else is there to a daughter of God we can know that HE is there...waiting and wanting to. I just don't think that is a luxury.
At least.. in my own experience..I found it wasn't.

Knowing that is what helped me make more of my life than I could have if I hadn't.

Anonymous said...

I just commented to Anon who discussed it being a luxury for women in tough circumstances to believe they were a Daughter of God..may I say something else I thought of after I submitted that comment.

Those women you help do have a support, they do have someone to help them understand their worth.
That person is you.

mere/tay(xoxo) said...

this has been my favorite post from you. i am feminist because of what i have learned in the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. if all i had was the world telling me what i was, i would have a twisted view of myself. it is so interesting to me how anyone could think that the church minimizes the woman when god only praises and makes sacred the woman. i love my role as a woman alongside my sweet husband. i love you cjane and your sweet, shining spirit. much love xoxo

Jessica said...

This should be published. Well done. Really.

Anonymous said...

Thank YOU, Cjane! WOW! that was amazing!!! Such divine truth. Powerful!!!!

Jenny from KY!

Cathy said...

I didn't have the energy or time to read through all the comments, but I was interested enough to skim most of them and read your responses CJane. All I gotta say is rock on with your bad self CJane. You posted what you felt, and you inserted yourself in these comments and held your ground and didn't take any unnecessary crap. Whether I agree with you or not is irrelevant. I read your blog because I wanna. And I enjoy the light-hearted posts and the heavy posts and I move on with my life (most of the time). Maybe others should try and do the same.

{amy k.} said...

i feel like this should be published in the Ensign. Thank you for always so adequately expressing your feelings and saying so much of what my head is saying but my words wont form. I'm going through a divorce right now, and it is a hard road.... but I know because of other amazingly strong women and the love of my Heavenly Father I too can do it. Thanks for the courage.

McGee said...

Cjane...Quick thoughts-I have enjoyed your blog-I love your light stuff and your thought provoking stuff. I was raised mormon but chose a different spiritual route as an adult. I respect your opinion, I agree with most of it, I am blessed in life as well and could be considered "priveledged." Here's the thing...It's just your experience and your opinion-people really ought to be capable of taking what they like and leaving the rest. Thank you for sharing your inner feelings about being a woman-you said many things I relate to and a few that made me think a little deeper about how I felt. As a blogger myself I think that's what makes it a successful post. Thank you for sharing who you are and please let go of the naysayers-it's all good!

c jane said...

Chiu loved your comment. I wrote that line, thought about it over and over and decided to keep it. I think because for this simple reason: It is so easy for me to love a man. I don't feel like I am overcoming any huge personal conflicts when I do so. It comes naturally to me. But to loving women sometimes gets complicated.

But I think you are right, that line was written more from a personal stand point. Thanks Chiu.

I also want to say thanks to those who are giving suggestions here about helping out globally, I am excited to learn more.

And also any other SAHM want to start a lace curtain club?

elizabeth said...

Here is one way we can all help...

It provides "Fresh Start Kits" to women who have been raped. It may include a sewing machine (near and dear to my heart), a goat, or an amount of money for a girl to start her own business and be self-sufficient.

This donation is $100 but there are amounts of donation that start at even $10--to pay for HIV testing.

~LDS, F & F (I kind of like my new nickname)

Anonymous said...

It is a beautifully written post. But now it seems you're saying, I prefer to use a different word then feminist--before it was "I am not a feminist". Two different things really.
As to the privileged, blessed whatever you call it point. Of course you can only write from the perspective of who you are but I think we all have a responsibility to be make sure that we don't make statements with blinders on and aware that because we are privileged a lot comes easier for us and our opinions should recognize that.
Lisa in NY
From your blog, it is clear that your husband treats you wonderfully and respects your opinion. Whether you call that equal or not is really a semantical argument. But if you are not part of that type of relationship and are not treated with respect than having equal rights means a lot more.
I am curious as to whether you changed your opinion from your first post to your second. I think your first post was a bit vacuous, too breezy, and too fill of self satisfaction. Yet your second feels more humble and grateful with an eye toward others.

Lauren said...

Thank you for YOUR comment on my comment!

I think the reader you might be referencing is Kmarie above who mentioned a few websites, among them, which is a direct way to sponsor a woman or girl (or man, or family, or group of people!) and one that I’ve had wonderful experiences with.

Instead of making a donation that you can’t track, you actually make a loan to an entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs that you choose (there are pictures and detailed explanations of what they want to use the money for on the website), and then they pay you back as their business (or activity) expands. You can choose to receive updates on your loan reimbursement, and once it has been paid you can reinvest the amount, donate it to Kiva, or have them put it back into your bank account through Paypal. (More info on how it works here:

Last year for my birthday I asked friends and family members to use the money they would have spent on a present to instead give a loan to an entrepreneur through Kiva and then to send me the page links on my birthday of whomever they chose. I’ve never had so much fun “opening” birthday presents, and as far as I know, everyone got their investment back in full (and many went on to continue loaning their amounts).

Regarding the legitimacy of The Girl Effect, I know that it is sponsored by the NoVo Foundation (legit, as far as I can find by Google) and the Nike Foundation (which admittedly is a bit ugh, considering their exploitation history) AND it was mentioned by Oprah (or, if you’re a Tim Meadows/SNL fan: “The Oprah”)! (No, I'm not ACTUALLY posing the latter as evidence for legitimacy.)

But if you’re looking for uber-transparency for where your money is going, is the way to go. (I swear I’m not a Kiva representative, despite sounding like one.)


Karen said...

Can't wait until you write about 'equality'. That word seems to anger some, but I'm not sure why.

It must be very gratifying to write for an audience that agrees with you so strongly and is so supportive of you! I envy that.

Love your blog!

Ann-Michelle said...

I think where feminism misses the point is when it denies us the divine differences between sexes. Women are different (thank goodness) than men, and those differences are sacred, beautiful, necessary. Can feminism encompass both? I think it can. I don't think "equal" has to mean "same".

Lovely post,
The management

cc said...

I left a comment that got deleted but I'm not sure why.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that while I believe that the role of raising children is the first and foremost responsibility of a mother, that it doesn't need to preclude educating ourselves and finding ways to unite with other women in causes that will have far reaching benefits. Yes, there are seasons in our lives where we might be more or less able to do anything beyond mothering, but I think we need to keep in mind that when things slow down, there can be a work for us to do, just waiting for our unique abilities and influence as strong women to make a difference. And though it is tempting to accept that RS activities will fulfill that need, we need to remember how much a minority we really still are in the world and that SO many women outSIDE of our faith are suffering. I agree with those that have said that those women can't do it on their own, even if they are aware of their divine worth and are strong. They need our help.

In response to Cynthia's question, I DO think we have a responsibility from our position of privilege, and that we need to open our eyes to suffering in order to change it. It is not easy, and it would seem better to just focus on our own lives, but I think God wants us to do more. He wants us to SEE the women in bondage around the world, because in this day and age we CAN see them, and we are not powerless to help if we unite ourselves instead of dividing along the lines of definition. No, you don't have to be a Feminist to help women, but you do need to allow those who are doing the work of the movement for you to do it without such negativity aimed at what they stand for.

I still don't believe that just because something doesn't currently affect a person that it is removed from their sphere of responsibility in this world. If you have a voice, use it. If you have extra money, donate it. If you have time, learn more so that you can teach the next generation better.

The practical ideas presented by some are all great suggestions (Kiva loans are awesome and you can involve your family! - I also like programs that support girls education) but I really believe that going out and finding information and organizations that fit YOU is the best way to spread what we have in the forms of knowledge and freedom. There are so many out there and they really aren't hard to find, but as far as blogs go, be aware that the information they represent is ever changing based on different peoples opinions, which is good and bad (and is also why I think discussions like these should happen on forums that are better able to answer questions and handle the comments).

So, if you have any interest sparked here, do a quick search and take a look around at what you find. We CAN be connected to women half way across the world, and we can support them with much less effort than we may think. Plus, real change in the most horrific aspects of injustice won't happen until the women of privileged countries find a way to unite and send out our influence - and I happen to believe that a common label with an organization behind it will only help that cause.

maegs ''> said...

Wow, that was so beautifully written and all I can say is "Amen Sister!"

Veronica said...

Obviously I am not going to love every post you write. We do not come from the same place, world view, and the like. Although your prose was elegant and probably heartfelt, it did not "move" me the way it did for many women in the comments. Perhaps because I am not LDS and the aspect of being a daughter of god does not have the same affect or impact on me. What does disappoint me is the statement "equality is not on my plate." It just seems so dismissive and flippant of the struggles millions of women face around the world. It does not make me not want to continue reading your blog. And it does not make me dislike you. It just makes me sad.

joy said...

amazingly well put!!!! Love, Joy

Katie Price said...

I have to say thank you to all those who are giving us practical suggestions on how to help. Truly. And just saying "do all you can" and "educate yourself" really doesn't help me. I want to get out of my house and DO something more than write a check, I just have no idea where to start.

And let's all remember, that if we are sitting at computers, using the Internet, that we are considered privileged in many parts of the world. So don't go casting stones too fast.

And as a Mormon SAHM, I have to say that my "lace curtains" haven't protected me from heartache. And that my relationship with God is what sustains me through the hard times. It may not be genital mutilation, but it's been heart-breaking and devastating at the same time.

I actually don't even have curtains. Maybe that's my problem.

Katie Price said...


Is there a way you could email me? I'd like to know more. My email is listed on my profile.

And I have to say, that video on Girl Effect inspired me too:).

Kara said...

I love being a woman. God does love us and He gives us proof of that each day if we are willing to accept all the blessings He has for us. Thank you for this genuine post, I love truth, it speaks to me and this post "shouted" to me. Many thanks.

Olivia Berry said...

Thank you CJane for this great post. You are truly an inspiration. Not just as an extrodinary woman but a great writer. Its great to read this as a 14 year old young woman in the LDS church. As the designer Ellen Switzer's little sister, I say thank you and that I absolutley love reading your posts and what you have to say, and that it makes me look forward to the possibility of starting a blog of my own!

Carolyn said...

This was a nice post CJane, but I am not seeing exactly how it related to your other post. And, well, it seemed sort of like you were trying to please everyone by saying that a woman can just be whatver she thinks a woman needs to be.

Me, I believe that all the roles that a woman takes on are wonderful and fulfilling, but I also belive that the role of wife and mother is the MOST divine and fulfilling calling a woman can have--BUT! I ALSO think that the role of husband and father is the most divine role that a MAN can have--without wonderful fathers and mothers in this world, very few of those other wonderful things would be happening! Family is the bedrock of society, and wonderful families create wonderful civilizations--and women should be PROUD to call themselves mothers. Of course, many women do not have the oppportunity in this life to be a wife and mother--and some women don't even seek the opportunity--but, that doesn't change my opinion (and this is MY OPINION I am expressing) that being a wife and mother is the most wonderful role we can have. I will say that, and will continue to say it no matter what anyone else tells me.

I guess I was sort of hoping for you to give a more specific opinion on the role of women and talk more about the equality thing--you did sort of talk it up so it was anticipated.

However, it was a nice post to read taken out of context of the previous ones--thanks for the fun times on your blog!

Brian and Tonya said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is probably the best explanation of divine nature that I have ever read. If we were all to truly understand our own divine nature and the divine nature of every one around us, the world would be an amazing place. Thank you for helping me see that in myself and others a little bit better.

Donna said...

What you see, depends on how you look at it...

I can't remember who originally said that, I think it was Thoreau, but I have always loved it. We look at things differently depending on the lense we look through. As I photograph, i can see what my eye sees, then I can make the depth of field change-prioritize what I want in focus. Or with a different lense Ican compress the image and make things that are far apart appear closer. I can use a filter to take out reflections, or to make the sky appear more blue.

I view life differently now, than I did, say at 21. Time and experience provide, for me, different filters, and different images and outcomes. What I find beautiful and meaningful might not mean that much to anyone else. I don't make art, or do my life to please others.

I strive for happiness based on what I value and I work and pray for my heart to stay open to all that is around me.

So, whatever religion, or culture, or circumstance we find ourselves will always be different than someone elses. And our own world is ever changing because we are always learning.

I looked through the LDS lense for 37 years, and have been out of the church for 4. I am not sure that sharing my new insights here, is what is needed,

but what I do now understand, is this-on some deep level, we are all made of the same stuff. heart, brain, lungs, and more heart. That is why, although we all have a different take and belief on things, we should value and work to let other human beings have joy and happiness and equality in their lives.

In Mormon scripture, there is the covenant of standing with those who need...mourning with those who mourn..respecting and honoring each other.

ie, Unto the least of these my brethern...that is why the health care issues, the Prop8 issues, the issues of gender equality are so important...

we should not limit others when they desire good things for their lives. ...To live up to their potential and have happiness. There is no viewpoint, or moral advantage that we should have over each other.

However we see our world, it is an extension of ourselves and what we are looking for and how we are looking at it. There are times, when we might need to stop and take another look, another action, make a change.

Faith, Hope and Charity. These are irrevocably connected like links in a chain. Faith without love is dead. Where one link is weak the others are too. Hope infuses our keep loving, to shine through, to share our abundance.

A Lense of love and light.

Tiesha Nesbit said...

Can I just say, that you inspire me more than you will ever know.
I am going to print this out to remind myself of often.

I love how seriously you take your role of being a Daughter of God/Sister in Zion. You are blessing so many with your testimony of truth. Thanks!!!

The Miller's said...

I don't understand why people have to say such rude things here. If you don't like it, don't read it.

Anyways, this post touched, inspired, and generally made me feel good! I am also going to print it out and keep it, so that on those days when I feel down in the dumps, I can read these words and feel goodand inspired again!

Thanks SO much for writing. Every day when I read what you have to say I feel great!

Cara said...

Lovely post. I have enjoyed reading the comments. It makes me sad to see so many people who attach a bad connotation with the word "feminist." The fact that women feel that they have to distance themselves from the group and clearly say that they are not a feminist is sad to me. Feminists have fought diligently in this country to give us the right to own land, control our own finances, the right to vote, access to education, the right to choose whether or not we would like to work outside the home and when we do access to equal opportunities and pay. When we degrade the word feminist we degrade all the advantages they fought for that we enjoy daily. As others have pointed out the fight isn't over, so many countries still deny women these basic rights, we need to fight for them!

That being said I loved the the emphasis that you put on the fact that we don't have to try and emulate men, we can take pride in our differences. Men and Women are EQUAL and they should be, but that doesn't mean that we have to be the same. Let's celebrate our womanhood and those who fought cultural norms so that we can enjoy being a woman and a human.

Lily said...

here's another shout out forFMH. Maddening, at first, but ultimately paradigm expanding and life-changing.

The Jones said...

Thanks LDS F & F and ladies for the ideas that we can all incorporate into "action"! This is where I believe the help for our beautiful sisters aound the world can begin...

Karen said...

This is a beautifully written post -- thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings on such a deep and important subject!

Megan said...

A few women asked for information on how to get involved. The ones I support make it their mission to start with education, for males and females. We have to change the hearts of those who hold power in a Patriarchal society to make any real changes.
This charity was founded by
Ayaan Hirsi Ali,
the author I mentioned earlier of the book "Infidel." This book had a profound effect upon my life.
"The Foundation aims to combat several types of crimes against women, including the abridgment of the education of girls, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, honor violence, and honor killings" which are occurring here in the United States. Religion is the reason women don't advocate for equal rights, and are willing to hold their own daughters down while they are mutilated. (or you could insert any other violation of a woman's rights)

The Child Protection Project founded by Linda Walker helps underage girls and women escape polygamy and stop the child abuse found within the fundamentalist sects. The religious indoctrination is the root of the problem, so they do seek to change some LDS practices and doctrines since the converts to fundamentalism are coming from our church. Mormons might find themselves conflicted in supporting this charity because the doctrines of fundamentalists are so interwoven with our history and current doctrine in section 132. This charity not only helps girls, but also the underage boys who are expelled from the community when they are seen as competition to higher church leaders adding wives to their harem.
Read all about their organization here:
They are severely lacking support from LDS in Utah and Arizona, where it is vital to have members
get involved both politically and financially. Their silence is seen as support of the
abuse unfortunately.

Another inspiring book in my life was "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortensen. He founded "Pennies for Peace." Please watch the links and learn more about the power that one penny can have on a young child's life. Lack of education is one of the root causes for the poverty and abuse causing suffering to women in the world. This is an organization my kids are excited to help with.
You can visit

Do you know that a female dies every minute in this world from childbirth TODAY? That's an astounding number.
Their mission is purely medical, and we can help save the lives of girls who are victims of underage marriage. Due to extreme poverty, many girls are given away in marriage at ages that are too young for birthing children, and without the proper medical care for resulting complications. If they survive the childbirth (most do not), their bodies are left with fistulas. As a result they are often outcasts of their villages, and the husband leaves for a new wife. The Dr. who started this charity and is changing the lives of these women touched my heart. Read all about her here:

I also donate to LDS humanitarian work, and anyone can make a donation by visiting
One of the first steps in helping women is education, and I love the LDS perpetual education fund that is helping with some of those needs. The education provided will lead to improving the lives of these women in the world.
Because of the organization of Mormons in Ward families with stewards over each member (aka home teachers, visiting teachers), we are able to more efficiently relieve suffering in times of crisis.

And don't forget that supporting our troops :) is helping provide freedom to women in the middle east who have suffered for too long under Patriarchal rule in Islam.

KIVA loans were already mentioned, and I also recommend that foundation.

ec said...

this might have been my favourite post ever. EVER.

thank you for it.

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