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.















422 comments:

1 – 200 of 422   Newer›   Newest»
Rachel said...

Yes! But I could never say it so well. Loved this.

K :) said...

When the truth is spoken or written it has power to pierce the heart and soul! Thank you for sharing so beautifully what I know to be true. Womanhood IS divine, we ARE daughters of a loving heavenly Father and if we stand as ONE we can move mountains.

{april kennedy} said...

I loved this. Thank you for being so brave to re-visit it and spend so much time contemplating it. It is everything I believe too but could have never done it justice, like you did, in an essay!

Cheryl said...

Wonderful!

Charlie's Chapter said...

Thank you!

Untypically Jia said...

There are no words to truly describe how I felt while reading this Courtney. I will admit that I stayed up and stared at my feed reader intently waiting for this post. I had loved 'The Post' so much that I was concerned that perhaps all the angry words (and I did not read all of the comments) would somehow turn this post into something different. I nearly had a panic attack waiting for it.

But while reading it I was overcome with such peace. These words are so beautiful and limitless that I wonder perhaps if you wake tomorrow you'll forget having ever written them, for to me, they seem a little beyond this world (or the veil as some of us might explain in our own way.)

I too am a proud Daughter of God, and I'm happy to have a similar (but not equal) essence to you and all other women on earth.

La TempĂȘte said...

So true :) I agree wholeheartedly, and carry it with my feminism, and my feminity. To me they are not separate. This really was a beautiful post of how you feel, thanks for sharing!

leigh said...

I love your essence!

Tonya said...

This is beautiful. You are beautiful. What you have written brought tears to my eyes because of the truthfulness of it. I am printing this out so I always have a hard copy to read. Thank you for re-visiting this "post."

Sage said...

Thanks, Courtney. I read all of the comments on your "not a feminist" post. (and hoped you didn't, because some of those daughters of God do not know themselves yet and were not kind). I also choose not to label myself as a feminist even though I've always walked my own path. I think as you so beautifully described- that we are spirit daughters of God--and that is more than a label.

Your strength and clarity in writing inspires me. Thanks!

clara bee said...

Dear C Jane
I don't agree with everything you say (my brothers & sisters know I love a good debate) but I believe you are a good woman at heart. My sisters and good friends who love and support and often disagree with me are a gift from God. You had lots to say in this post but if I was your editor I would publish just one sentence:

"She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man"

Clara Bee

Tracey said...

That was beautiful, Courtney. I felt powerful simply reading it.

Lee Anne and John said...

Simply beautiful. I am so glad that you spent endless hours pondering your thoughts on womanhood. I was eagerly awaiting this post and as usual you do not disappoint. Thank you Courtney.
Lee anne

likeschocolate said...

This is so beautiful. Thanks for reminding me that I AM A DAUGHTER OF HEAVENLY FATHER!

Ruth H. said...

Wow. This is a wonderful, wonderful expression of your divine nature, so beautifully written. Thank you for putting your thoughts to words in such a readable, understandable, way. You have just given me a better understanding of my own possibilities.

Karen said...

I am not a Mormon. I am not religious. I am the graduate of a women's college. I am a feminist of the school of Gloria Steinem.

And I feel powerful after reading this. I love the idea of women not being equal, but being powerful in their own right, in their own way, of their own essence - not needing to be equal, because they possess power of the spirit that exceeds equality. Now to see women realize the potential of their individual and collective power.

Nice work, cjane.

Anca (Real name but in many ways still anonymous) said...

Well... hmmm. This was surprising. I must say I was expecting, especially from the last post, a more personal take (real) and not so much of a sermon (ideal). I mean, not all women, for example, "can work" or "find satisfaction in work" unless you're talking metaphorically. The problem with speaking metaphorically is that meaning is loose, So, while I might hear a sermon on women and hear that women "should be able to work" others hear that they already "can work". But I suppose you hit a bigger audience by not fixing your meaning more tightly. Ugh, I sound preachy.

Well, you will get a lot of comments, I'm sure. I, for one, would have wanted a bit more of YOUR take not a series of platitudes. I really wanted to know how that day altered (or didn't) what you thought about the question/word feminism.

By the way, I know you say that that post was on equality, but the underlying elephant in the room (in the way that you wrote) was equity and by extension feminism.

So, what do you think of equality?

Kelly said...

One thing I have always found interesting about feminists is how they fight for a woman's right to choose and then criticize her choice to stay at home and raise her children. What gives?

Kim said...

Your thoughts and true self came screaming out in this post. I love it.

carole said...

Well said. And true.

Sarah said...

I have been a long time reader, but never commented. I have sat silently, taking in every post you write, only becasue I feel no need to add to the hundreds of comments you receive daily. I feel like I have always agreed with and been on the same page as you. That is why I feel the intense need to comment today. To say thank you. This post is incredible. More than that. Love it. Thank you for being.... you. You are amazing and inspiring. You go girl ;)

Anonymous said...

Inspired,
thank you :)

~j. said...

Very good.

KC Mom said...

Bravo. Worth the wait to read.

Anonymous said...

OMG. cjane, the spirit hits you and we all fall down! :)

I was one who commented along the lines of, "must be nice to be barefoot and blogging, but not all women are from your culture or your place of privilege..." Now, I feel that you've backed up to include all women and I am just touched and awed. And reassured. All those things.

What a great essay. And I love that quote you share about the roof blown off.

Monica said...

This is Monica, Jenny's sis-in-law, fellow Sunset worker.

I have read your blog for years now and I tend to just lurk, but today I felt like you deserve to hear lots and lots of positive comments so I'm giving one.

"If I am a happy woman [then] I owe it to my Father in Heaven." This was the best line in the whole thing. Thank you for being true to who you are. It's a pleasure to read. I am proud to have you represent a Mormon woman. We are not perfect but we do know who we are. I hope you can ignore the negativity you may receive from this and just know that the silent majority appreciates your honesty and loves you for it.

Eva McGann said...

Standing ovation!! Bravo!! You have encapsulated the essence of womanhood in the best way. Have you read about Sarah Granger Kimble? Wife of Heber C. Kimball? She was a suffragist and actually started the pre-cursor to Relief Society with the Female Society of Navoo (or something like that). She approache Joseph Smith about this and he suggested that this society be brought under the Priesthood. Sarah truly believed that woman's rights were brought to light because of the support of the Prophet at the time. If you haven't read up on her, you should. I think she would applaud your female manifesto and not be at all surprised at what we as woman have accomplished since her time.

Sufoot said...

Right now, after reading this, I feel the power of womanhood that I usually only feel when reading anything written by Sheri Dew.

...I'll be quoting you in my next Relief Society lesson.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Absolutely right on.

And my favorite part:

"But these powers are the most potent when used to love other women..."

Beautiful essay...just beautiful and it's clear that you wrote it with such a deep appreciation of all of your readers from differing backgrounds.

M said...

So say we all, C Jane, so say we all.

Well done!

dawnr232 said...

You are so inspiring, love it!

Trish and Greg said...

Courtney! I waited up until 2 am for this, you must have still been polishing it...luckily the dog got me up again at 6 am, haha.

You said it all. There will be many women who will get it, some will not, but thank you for distilling your thoughts into a powerful essay on the divinity of the daughters of God.

I concur.

Leslie said...

That was lovely. (I thought Part 1 was, too.) I say this as a Quaker/Episcopalian, but The Young Women theme is good stuff to live by. And, so often, so is what you write here.

cassey said...

Wow, this post is awesome and makes me proud of me...thanks :)

Jennifer said...

Wow!!! I'm sitting here stunned - ABSOLUTELY stunned! That was amazing!!!

I may as well tell you now that I'll be linking to it from my blog so that my (four) readers can read this as well.

Wow! Awesome job! Be proud for what you learned, and for the difficult task of putting it into words.

Although I check your blog every day, I will be back quite a few more times to reread this post and let it absorb.

Wow!

Andra said...

I recommend reading Half the Sky: Turning Opression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. In your current state of female celebration it might ring true to you too. Thanks for sharing.

The Boob Nazi said...

This was written beautifully. But I'm still a little confused as to how it's reconciled with the last post.

Celeste said...

could you run for president?

Aubstar said...

Oh, C Jane!

I think I cried a little bit when I read this. I think your insight into femininity is something that every woman should read!

I think I could benefit from finding a sister on earth to give service to/with/for.

Thank you!

vanessa said...

Perfection. I need to be better and opening up to "reveal a whole sky full of stars" It is scary but our strong voices as lds women need to be out there. Every day, every month, every year the need for us to stand and share our testimonies in the blog world is getting stronger. And sometimes it frightens me and excites me.

(I hope you are sleeping in)

-vanessa

Sharon said...

Love your blog -- gutsy, honest and so enjoyable -- so today I quit lurking to say thanks for being so open.

Molly said...

You rock.

Cheryl said...

Just beautiful.

jen said...

After your long essay yesterday I was expecting something controversial or wacky. Instead, you came through with this--a beautiful post.
The YW theme should be required for every woman on earth to not only recite but to believe. To know that He loves us is powerful beyond power, but to love Him back is a gift.
Thanks for this post.
Now, when are you gonna have that baby?

Kristen said...

Nicely done & well said. As a Mormon woman personally concerned with "women's rights" who feels very strongly about it, I often find it hard to explain why I choose the word "women's rights" instead of feminism. It is because of the many connotations feminism has.

However, to me the term women's rights has a more singular message--helping women, educating women, empowering women with education and skills, protecting women, giving women options-- and then letting women choose the path that makes them happiest.

A girl wants to learn that, work there, play that sport, use those tools?--Great! They want to do something else? Great!

I believe that for women who want to be mothers, the power of it is that they had another choice. They can say to their child, "I choose to have & raise you," rather than "I had no other options."
And for those women who choose another path, they should celebrate their choices but not demean the mothers for choosing a more traditional role. Because each choose the path they wanted--& if we decide what path anyone should freely take or say that a path freely chosen is "wrong" then we are stripping them of those rights as women we so freely celebrate.

The key as you so aptly described is not to compare, but find individually what makes our souls the happiest.

lauraelih said...

What a magnificently well-written post. Thank you for the beautiful endorsement of all that womanhood can be.

carblemarble said...

Wonderful. Thank you for writing this post.

TCeduc8 said...

So beautiful and incredibly inspiring. Thank you!!!

Jacqueline said...

Thank you, reading this made my heart really happy.

jeanine said...

Beautiful! It's what I feel... but never could have said so eloquently.

Kimberly said...

Thank you for this. After a rough start to my day I needed a little pick me up. This was it.
I learned the YW Values as a youth but I don't think I fully comprehended them then. Perhaps that is why they were instilled in me as a youth so I could understand them and draw from as I continued through life experiences.
The worth of souls is great, is it not?

Wendy said...

This is such a lovely post. I will be sending it to all the women that I love... I hope that is okay. I love to read your blog. It is my morning pick me up. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

The Jongejans said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for writing this. You captured my essence. I love being a woman!

Natalie said...

Brilliant!

Lil said...

Hmn. At least you seem to value feminity a bit more than in your previous post, and admitt the fights feminists have fought for you. But I would so much prefer your self-feminine-esteem came from within you or the amazing women around instead of from this hypothetic bearded MAN above... Naive I know !

Jessica said...

If only we could all remember this...imagine the world we would live in!

jack said...

Beautifully written (as always!)You do indeed seem like a very happy woman!

Rachel said...

Thank you, CJane.

Renee said...

Well done!

Connie said...

Beautiful.

Todd and Amyjoy said...

well thought out, well said!

dougandcheryl said...

Beautiful!

Allison said...

This is so, so true. I love it, thank you! I hope you don't mind, but I quoted you on my blog (with credit, of course) and linked it back here. (http://wearewomenproject.blogspot.com). Thank you for being such a powerful woman!

r said...

Courtney this is so powerful! I love it and I wish more women would think about this. You said it so well.

Rochelleht said...

Perfection.

Emily said...

Absolutely. Beautiful. Like Rachel, I couldn't have said it any better. Awesome.

Annie Harper said...

I really, really loved this. And I needed to hear it today. Thanks girl :)

Jenni said...

Beautiful CJane! Thank you, thank you!! You are a beautiful person and an inspired writer. I loved this post!

r said...

Oh, and here's something I think you'd like:

May we be beautiful women.
May we be women who acknowledge our power to change,
and grow, and be radically alive for God.
May we cherish children, embrace the elderly,
and empower the poor.
May we be strong and gentle leaders.
May we overflow with goodness, from the inside out, in the name of God and by the power of Jesus
And in that name, and by that power, may we change the world.
Dear God, please make us beautiful women.
Amen

We would say this every time we met for worship at my sorority's retreat last year.

Michelle said...

I am not LDS, I am Catholic. Every word of what you said touched my heart. It is beautifully written, and communicates your points so much better than the essay on feminism. I am going to reread it, because it is so universally true, to each and every woman. You nailed it CJane!

Trish said...

You said it just right!

Becky said...

Beautiful. Perfect. Thank you.

Chelsie said...

"She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others. When following promptings inside of her soul to do whatever is important for her own life plan she simply has no equal"

I really agree with this. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling. It is so nice to read it. And to know I believe it! Thank you again.

I just want to shout or something crazy!!!!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. That's all. Just brilliant.

Ashley said...

Wow. For those of us worried you weren't going to respond to our concerns and that you were going to leave us hanging, this was worth waiting for! It shows a lot about you that you thought so hard about this and took so long to carefully construct this amazing "manifesto". You articulated the power, strength, beauty, and sensitivity of woman. This is a great feminist post. :) Thank you, thank you!

Rachel H said...

Thank you C Jane. I needed to hear these words this morning. They have changed the course of my day and I am grateful. Thanks you.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I do find this post contradictory to the last(no I am not a feminist). Either your above labels, or your not, and in the last post you labeled yourself (not a feminist).

You have a good heart, and a great mind. I really loved this line the very most:

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.

... so true

bjahlstrom said...

I enjoyed this. It addresses the idea of feminism by viewing it from a broader perspective: femininity. I think it answers the smaller and more grating questions of feminism because it goes to the God-given source of issue.

Aly said...

oh, cjane. how i to be as eloquent as you. i love the young women's theme especially now, in relief society, we only get to say it once a month.

you are wonderful.

McEngland like the McCountry said...

Brilliant! Thank you!

Katie Robertson said...

Thank you for so eloquently stating how I feel! I am sharing this with everyone I know!

Sarah said...

I am glad you wrote this post. I disagreed with you the last time around, but this one is much better-- it shows true introspection and meditation. I am glad that you read the comments. As a person with an avid and diverse following, I feel you have the responsibility to advocate for everyone's self-actualization, whether or not it may be in tune with your own. The two of us may not want the same things, but we can help one another find happiness. Thank you for listening.

Rachel C. said...

I loved it, too. Thank you for sharing. I, too, am happy and owe it all to my Father.

Janet said...

That was beautiful; I wholeheartedly agree, for I too am "a daughter of God, who loves Him and He loves me . . "

We live in a Zoo! said...

Amen to that!
Thank you!

Tiff George said...

Wow. This post was so beautifully written, I feel it was so very inspired. I needed a pick-me-up today, and this just provided that for me. Thank you! I am woman, and even more so, I am a daughter of God!

ray-ray says said...

I love knowing that I am a Daughter of our Heavenly Father.

Anonymous said...

Lovely.

I think I read it - but still wonder for sure - are you saying that you do think men and women are equal after all? Would you say that you've amended your point of view?

Love, Sarah

Julie said...

Yes! And I agree with Page, too. We just are , through and through, female, creations of God. And I believe He delights in His daughters, a delight I see reflected in your own father's face, and on my husband's face, as they look at their girls. Your Mom also shines with her pleasure in her daughters. What a gift your parents have given you! It is this, more than anything else about your lovely family, which inspires and attracts people - the joy you have in each other as treasures from God. Thank you for sharing it.

Karen said...

wow, this sums up a lot of why I am no longer Mormon. But I'm happy that the 'mold' suits you well and fits who you are. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Smith said...

this is beautiful. i dare someone to leave a nasty comment

Charlie's Chapter said...

Thanks!

rookie cookie said...

Bravo. Amen. Well done.

When you talked about women's ability to build or destroy, I was reminded of my husband's cousins. Over last summer, one of my husband's cousins back over and killed her nephew, the son of her sister. He was 4 years old. He was killed instantly and was unrecognizable.

At the funeral, the mom of this little boy spoke. One thing she said was, "I love all of my sisters. They are my best friends. But I have always felt a special connection to Wendy (the sister who ran over her son). And that doesn't change. I still love her."

A tragedy like that has the ability to unite or divide and these women chose to unite. I really believe in the power of women uniting. Good things inevitably happen. While my husband's cousins have been healing from this tragedy, animosity hasn't been an issue because they chose to unite and love each other. It's quite powerful.

Bonnie said...

What a genius post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

great writing, but I have a question.

When I read what you say, the fact that you are woman doesn't make a difference (to me). You could be saying the same thing and saying human (or people or whatever the correct word would be in each instance) instead of woman.

I guess what I'm saying is that it seems like you're trying to make a comparison to men, like being a woman is all these great things. And I agree it is, but I also think that nothing you've said doesn't also apply to man (with some exceptions).

Not sure any of that made sense...

Megan said...

I am thankful that I could begin this day with such an inspired essay. Thank you Cjane.

Sunshine said...

Simply put...You are lovely. I am thankful for this post! Thank you for writing, empowering, encouraging, and teaching! What a great way to start my day :)

Kim said...

That was beautifully written. Thank you.

Laraine Eddington said...

Thank you. Those were lovely thoughts to start the day with. They rang true with me.

Christa said...

[eye roll]

Holly said...

Thank you!!!

sara said...

Just lovely.

Marilyn said...

Beautiful Courtney! Thank you.

Kimberly said...

It's hard to know how to respond to this post cjane. It is very raw in its truth. Beautiful, powerful, strong, intelligent, thought provoking - all words I would use to describe it. Well done.

Kaja said...

Perfect! Thank you so much for writing that...

our urban farmhouse ♥ said...

I came to this post not knowing what to expect. I left feeling powerful.

Thank you.

Lucy said...

Feeling beautiful, powerful, loved and wonderfully feminine. Thanks for the moment.

Anonymous said...

Oh this is your most beautiful post! Thank you for writing it for us and yourself! You make me proud to be a woman and inspired! THank you! :)

Cristi said...

Simply beautiful.

Jen said...

Beautiful. Well said. I'm linking you up. Spreading the word (as if you need any help!).

Alexandra said...

What a beautiful and powerful post. I really,really, really, needed to hear this today. Thank you!

Menner said...

Oh, thank you, Courtney, just thank you.

I am touched beyond words. Tears cloud my vision as my heart connects to yours in agreement. You have voiced what I know in my heart but desperately needed a reminder of.

Thank you for sharing who you are with me, a total stranger. I know you have no connection to me, but through reading your blog I have come to consider you a good friend, a sister, even.

It is a risky choice, to put your thoughts out there to an invisible but very opinionated audience.

You may be targeted with all sorts of diatribe and calumny, but today, (if I may be so bold to suggest it,) your courage to be the target and the associated pain and sacrifice that comes with it, has been paid back. In me.

This day you have served another woman. That strength you speak of, when women serve women, is a real tangible thing. May you enjoy its effects and know the blessing you are in my life.

A blog post may be a small thing, but when it reminds a woman of her divinity and calling, it is a powerful tool.

Have a beautiful day with The Chief. Fell well. Get Chup to paint your toenails. Eat chocolate. You deserve a fun day. I just wish I was there to make you lunch and chat with you over a bowl of my amazingly delicious (if I do say so myself) carrot soup and some crusty bread.

Thank you again.

Erin Bigler said...

My husband is a soldier who has been deployed to Iraq twice and is often away from home for months at a time between deployments for additional training. The thing that sustains and strengthens me when I feel most alone is knowing that throughout history other women, strong and faithful women, have accomplished great things even while their husbands were off fighting wars of their own. And yes, to be "led...by the voice of a loving God who champions his daughters" is a truly remarkable thing.

Lindsey J. said...

I really, really love this, Cjane. And I really love being a Daughter of God and a woman.

I am no feminist in the eyes of the feminists in the world, but I do have great reverence for womanhood and all things feminine.

Women and men are different. And it's a good thing they are. :)

Michelle said...

Absolutley beautiful! Thank you for sharing how I feel but I could never express it SO beautifully!!

perkiwindy said...

I hope women who read this also find that they can see in their lives that, "...the roof has blown blessedly off the structure to reveal a whole sky full of stars."

Well done...thank you from Arizona!

Wendy said...

Amen.

Geo said...

I remember years ago being given a stunning gift of a feeling that was so much bigger and more vivid than any I'd felt before on this subject. It was during a time of serious personal evolution, deliberate change, and a fresh dedicated focus of my energy on trying to "draw near" to that God you and I both love. I don't recall how far I actually got at that time in my transformation—I am a slow learner, truth be told—but I do know and still love to this day the remarkable and completely unexpected feeling that came over me.

The only word I could find then (and there's still no better now) that would describe it was: Feminine. This is where it becomes hard to find the words to describe the feeling, and I only wish I could give out samples so people could taste it for themselves. Never having been a very girly girl, nor one who was secure in my own skin growing up, it was a terrific surprise to find myself comprehending in what felt like every piece of my being, this incredible sense of femininity and connection to the divine, and it was delicious. It was strong. It was whole. It was irresistible, and I don't mean that in a thickly sensual way; I mean that it was everything bright and clear and grounded and powerful. It was absolutely me. And it was such a surprise.

This awareness stayed with me a long time, letting me get familiar with it, but like so many beautiful epiphanies and visions in life, it eventually slipped from my conscious mind, where I'd hoped to keep it always. But it's not gone. It's in the archives. It's there. It's there like the ground under my feet each morning when I wake up and climb out of bed—even when I don't think of it, it's holding me up.

What I wouldn't give to have that beautiful sense of being all the time! But I can give and I can have. It's the pursuit of a lifetime, to know that like and with God, I AM.

Momof5 said...

How passionately beautiful! God bless your every breath!

Joan said...

I am going to read this to my daughter. She may not understand it yet, but she needs to hear it. Now. And again, later. Thank you.

Shauna said...

I loved it too.

Arnett said...

Hi CJane! Long time reader, first time commenter. I started reading your blog like many others to keep up with your sister's story, but have stayed because your writing inspires me in so many ways.

This was beautiful. Favorite line: "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."

Thank you for sharing and best wishes with your new baby!

Katie said...

Perfect.

Sunny Girl said...

Wow, Cjane. Your posts always give me a lift, but this goes beyond! Thanks for sharing your insights on this most vital foundation of who each of us are. Yes, these truths are real for every woman! But can I share in the kindest way that I am especially grateful for the insights, honor, and detail provided to each of us as Daughters of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Without the teachings of a living prophet and apostles, I would not know who I am with the certainty I do, nor of my essential roles and ability to find joy beyond measure through carrying them out. I wish for all women this certainty, confidence, and joy.

Gretchy Girl said...

This is one of the most beautiful essays I have ever read on Women! I work with women, to help them discover their own sense of self and be the woman they were created to be...to believe in themself. I'm going to share your blog essay with them. I hope that's okay.

Thank you!

Mary said...

Wow. Thank you so much! That is just what I needed and will continue to need to hear! So powerful.

Shanon said...

My younger sister died last year at the age of 39 after a very long battle with breast cancer. A few months later we were talking about what we should have written on her tombstone. Some of the suggestions were wife and mother; daughter, wife, mother; beloved wife and mother. What we finally realized was that she was more than those. She was a daughter, wife, mother, sister, granddaughter, niece, friend, etc. Then my mom suggested "beloved daughter of God" and we all knew that was perfect. I hope that everyone that reads this blog post will know that they, too, are beloved daughters of God and that He loves each one of His daughters. Thank you so much for the reminder.

Alisa said...

Wow! Well said my dear, well said.
You're an amazing young women with incredible insight. Thank you for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused as to how this is related to your last post....


can't you be LDS, feminine and a feminist?

'cause I am.

Beth said...

thank you for this post. It is beautiful, inspired/inspiring and powerful.

Zona Bosted said...

As a mother of four daughters I have always felt and believe very strongly, that if I can only instill one thing into them, Then I need to make sure that they believe more then anything they are daughters of God. Thank you for this post. I have often said similar things, and am often amazed at the power women have in this world. As long as "We believe we are daughters of a Heavenly Father".

Jennifer Bowman said...

Beautifully said.

jenna said...

You wrote these words on my heart today- "When following the promptings inside of her soul to do whatever is important for her own life plan she simply has no equal."

kam said...

cjane, I believe this could be your best post yet. Spoken with conviction, and without apology, and yet there was a gentleness to it. I think you found the commonality we as women can all agree on- We are ALL endowed with divinity or "greatness" if the term divinity is intimidating to some. Where each of us takes this message from here is as individual a journey as you described. Thank you for giving so many woman a voice. I love it when I read/hear something that gives me chills. I love it when I read/hear something that I can stand behind and declare "AMEN!"

c jane said...

Thank you for your comments. I have read everyone and appreciated the long and short sentiments.

It sounds like there are some questions about how this post connects to the other. I will have to think about that further, but I think it has to do with my desire to explore the part of me where that post came from. Does that make sense?

Do I think men and women are equal? I don't know if it matters what I think. And that is all I can think of to answer right now.

A friend of mine with a Doctorate in Women's Studies told me she sees Feminism as the ability to view the world from a woman's point of view. I thought that was interesting.

Chatty Natty said...

C'est magnifique! Love you Clarky.

Aimee said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I never comment...but I have to say WELL SAID!
~hugs from NV~

Gingerlylizzy said...

Amazing CJane. I don't understand the need for so many labels in our society. Essence is much more effective and I feel like you captured that beautifully! I loved how you spoke of comparison cheapening us... Love, love, love this.

Janalee said...

That is exactly what I was hoping you would say!!

Christiana said...

Beautiful.

Well done, you.

David and Shalynna said...

It seems like you wrote this at the perfect time for me! I had a Relief Society activity last night (for the celebration of the R.S.'s anniversary) and some of the sisters spoke about women of the bible- Mary and Martha, Eve, and I was reminded again of how important women are and have been throughout the years. I love to know that we, as women, can have that sacred relationship with our Father in Heaven and that we have a divine potential that we can all reach.

Thanks for writing this!

Martha said...

beautiful!!!

Kacie Downing 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."

this made me stop in my tracks. i needed that today. i was just telling my mom yesterday that i need to realize my worth isn't in my out word appearance, but in my heart, my soul, and my God. God bless Courtney.

Heather said...

I've never left a comment before, but all I can say is, beautiful. And amen. I'm so thankful to be a woman! Thank you for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

Of course it matters what you think...it's your blog.

Do you think men and women are equal?

Do you think that you, as a woman, have the right to sit anywhere on a bus or just in a certain societally designated spot?

Do you think that a woman can choose any career her heart desires, or just ones that society sets up for her?

'Cause those things matter. In the world and even in our country they really do.

~the same feminine, LDS, feminist

Chad and Jordan Wilson said...

this is beautiful cjane. It should be posted as a banner around the world for all women to look inside them selves and be empowered.

Ashley said...

Amazing. Beautifully said. Thank you, I needed that today. p

Vicky said...

I revel in the knowledge of your essence and share it with your WHOLE heartedly!! Excellent post!!

heather said...

THis was powerful. This week I again realized my own poetential and this post is exactly how I feel in my heart. Thank you for those beautiful words.

bugs 'n' bees said...

I love being a girl.

Bravo!

Kmarie said...

I found you had encouraging insight. You are responsible for your readers if you want them- so it is mature of you to post the comments that disagree.

I liked how you said women can do much together. I still would like to hear thoughts on stories from Half The Sky as I found while this post dealt with strictly your thoughts on femininity it would be interesting to hear how you think women as a whole need to respond to injustice.

When you said we are at our best together...I am wondering what we all do for the rest of the women dying in unnecessary childbirth problems. Or victims of rape, domestic violence, acid burnings, public humiliation and death. How do you believe we rally together for the oppressed? Would you ever consider reading Half the Sky? If you did I think you will still write this response but I wonder if there would be a follow up on practical ways we can make a difference.

I really liked how you resolved it for yourself. You need that confidence in your thesis. We all need to be confident in who we are. It gave me even more respect for you. I do not have to agree with every single statement to choose to take the positive and be enlightened. I think for growth though it is important to have people who oppose us or choose to see the negative. Sometimes good balance can come from constructive criticism.

For all the commentators on religion in the previous posts....
While it is true no one should attack her religion - it is also true that you should not blame an attack just because there are those who are out of it. Someone may disagree but that does not mean they are ignorant. Sometimes it is the very educated who choose to not adhere to certain religious standards. It goes both ways. ( Respect I mean.) LDS women have just as much to give to the world as Agnostics, Christian ect. ect. ect. In fact we should not even be categorizing ourselves as "LDS" women because the labelling and tittle mean different thing to different people. It is like someone calling themselves a Christian. That term is very generic. For one person may associate it with Catholicism, or mainstream Evangelicalism, Mormonism or Southern Baptist! While another would think of it as the atrocities done by the Crusades or even Hitler in the name of God. Tittles are tricky because of the various definitions associated with them. It is important to read up and know the inner workings of every religion. To see the positive in each.

We are all valuable...even those who believe they are valuable apart from the traditional doctrine of being a daughter of God. Women who do not adhere to that theory have just as much essence. I know C Jane knows that by her lifestyle. She has empathy and compassion mixed in with her writings. I find that those who cited their religion constantly in the comments tended to be a little more legalistic? ( It could be though the lack of tone on the net. You never truly know how people are expressing what they are saying. Someone may sound harsh on paper but be a completely generous spirit...so I MAY BE WRONG.)
It is great when we try to acquire balance by listening with an open mind to both sides. (Again I am a flawed individual who does not believe I have all the answers. I am confident in my wrong assumptions. I am also confident that sometimes I could be right and it is worth the discussion.)
It took guts for C jane to attempt to do that. I admire her for it and will continue to support by reading her in the future.

CoCo said...

I love this. Love it love it. I was sitting here trying to pass some time with my 7 week old baby on my lap. I read you often, but today I needed something, and I found it. I was passing time, because today I am calling my boss to let her know I will not be returning to work from maternity leave. It is a choice my husband and I are so happy about. It is a choice I am dreading telling my boss. After reading your post, I did feel like I can do it. And I know so many woman have done it before me. Not just quitting, but choosing to lead a simpler life, and put the most important thing first, my family.
Thanks for the pep talk C jane :)

Kim K. said...

Thank you so much. You have put words to my feelings. I absolutely love being a wife and mother. I love taking care of my family and I love being a woman. Feeling strong and feminine are gifts from God and two attributes I never take for granted. Your essay is moving and I will read and re-read it frequently.

Nicole & Jason said...

Wow! I have been following your blog for a few months and have never commented but how can I not comment about this. I am at work and on the verge of tears! You said it so beautifully. Inspiring.

Jeanna said...

Thank you Cjane. Beautifully said.

And, as a woman who has just found her sister has cancer, I completely feel and understand what you said about feeling the most powerful as a woman by helping another woman.

Women helping women is an amazingly powerful force.

Lara said...

I think you hit the heart of the matter with this post. Women and men will never be the same, yet it is so wonderful to be a woman. Women have such unique sensibilities, and their own divine missions that have been given to us by a loving Father in Heaven.

Wendi said...

Thank you for sharing what you have learned. You can tell you were listening to all the different comments you received from across the spectrum and yet still stayed true to yourself. The parts I appreciated most were where you wrote about not comparing ourselves to each other and that we are best when we are united and striving to serve those around us.

The Young Women in your ward are really lucky to have you there to influence them for good. There is no need for titles or division when we value and love each other for who each of us are on this journey. Thanks for helping us all enjoy life a little more along with you--whether your posts be humorous or introspective.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy delivery of your baby. Hope you are able to have a restful weekend with your cute family. :)

Nick said...

Not that you were looking to do so, but to a certain extent you redeemed yourself in my eyes wit this post. I still sort of wish that you could admit that your first post of feminism was not very well thought out, somewhat naiively, and failed to take in to account a lot of serious concerns in relation to how women have been and still are treated in some areas regardless of whether you consider yourself a feminist or not . I am left wondering whether you feel any need to apologize--not for your views but for the sort of flippant where you presented them. But that is just me hoping that all the comments you received somehow made your realize that if you are going to broach a serious topic then you should address it seriously.
However, this post was beautifully written and the time you spent thinking about the issue is obvious.

ForeverRhonda said...

That was awesome.

rori said...

AMEN!

Lynne said...

Thank you for being awesome. You inspire me.

Chloe said...

"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."

This is the most powerful thing I believe I have ever read.

Thank you.

LeAnne said...

Beautifully and eloquently written. In the end, for me it is not about feminism or equality but about realizing our own potential to be the divine creatures we were meant to be, and supporting our sisters while they do the same.

I do not consider myself a feminist either but I do support causes that edify and and strengthen women. I am thankful for the powerful women who have come before me that have lived through tough times and made tough choices that allow me to be the best me I can be today.

I believe in the power of women to heal, to love, to educate, to build (using power tools if necessary), to strengthen, and support each other and the males in our midst.

Caitlin said...

I found this just as lovely as The Post. The most stirring part for me was the section about serving other women, helping each other, even though there's something among us sometimes that just brews animosity. Very inspiring. Thank you.

smalldog said...

See Jane? By my logic you ARE a femininst ;)

Anonymous said...

It seems that those most frustrated with your words are those who measure their worth according to the world's standards and want the world to recognize their worth as a woman. What I believe is of more value is for women to find their own worth - be a strong enough woman to know your own worth, and not care what the world defines for you. Man or woman - don't let the world tell you what you should or should not be. Find who you are and be that without a worldly measuring stick.

To be strong enough to not care what the world thinks and to care only what you are in God's eyes is the most powerful of all.

And should your circumstances leave you in a position where you are treated as less than someone else - let that be an opportunity for you to work harder, be better and ultimately stand stronger - be strong wherever you stand!

lovelindsey said...

Well, I'm officially taking you off my google reader. This post was a cop-out instead of an answer to all the questions brought up in the last post, a sermon instead of a revelation and you are STILL STILL STILL speaking from a place of priveledge instead of a place of understanding.

You're just one woman. One person and you're allowed to have your own opinion and your own beliefs. The only thing that disappoints me is that you've seemingly empowered a MASS of women to be completely... un-empowered, un-empathetic, and un-educated.

Good luck with your newest baby. I hope if it's a girl you open your mind a little, for her sake.

Carolina said...

My first time evr posting a comment and I wanted to say Thank You! Very inspiring and I know that you were lead by the spirit.

Michelle said...

I never comment on here, but I want to express my appreciation for your post. It is how I feel about being a woman and I LOVE being a woman. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this! It was beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

"She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man"

Right. Because believing ourselves to be more or less than another is the sin known as pride.

I also have to correct Eva. Sarah Granger Kimball was NOT the wife of Heber C Kimball, but Hiram Kimball. Her husband was not a member of the church (at first), but he supported her efforts in the Ladies' Society of Nauvoo which later became the Relief Society.

The Neels said...

Thank you!!

Sharon said...

This was a great post! Thanks so much for sharing.

TWINTALES said...

Lovely.

Very thoughtful.

Chelle said...

Oh my. That was fantastic.

Agents D, S, JD, JT, M, A, JB said...

Thank you--absolutely beautiful!

rebeccaV said...

Thanks CJane, perfect.

"And sadly, the sacredness of our bodies are the most exploited entity on this planet."

Well said, I think this is the battle, and I do mean there is a war, of our generation. It threatens to destroy us. It is ripping at the fibers of our civilization. What better way to destroy humanity than to take down the divinity of women?

Charlotte said...

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

My favorite sentence in this post that is chock full of jewels.

Thank you.

Julie said...

Interesting just because I thought after reading yesterdays post that todays post would have to do with more of the equality of men and women. I don't see how the posts are related at all, other than possibly that this post was birthed from the wonderings of the previous.

For the record, this post: a-ok. Great! Fine! but I thought you were giving us more of the feminism/equality issues relating to the first post

Then I see in your comment below that you don't think it matters what you believe about the equalities between genders? Breaks my heart. Especially when you have a forum such as this. Especially when you're a daughter of God who believes in the divinity of the feminine.

Equality in respect, in salary, in the most basic human rights: This is a tiny start to a long list where men and women do not have equal rights in our country or around the world. I can not and will not believe that a loving Heavenly Father ever intended for his daughters to be slighted, especially in these ways. These things DO matter. It DOES matter what every woman on earth things about these issues. They will only change and we will only be able to benefit and bless other women on Earth when we do care. When we act.

Shell said...

beautiful

Shantel said...

This is a really great post. I triggered some great thoughts of my own. I'll write those down later.
The influence we have as women spans generations. We have the ability to destroy or bind generations of people together. President Benson taught that when Temple covenants are made by a woman, her influence binds her posterity down through the generations and up through Adam. This is when I feel my influence is the most potent, hand in hand with my husband,presided over by the Lord - as I honor my covenants.
Joseph Smith taught that the influence of a woman cleanses and sanctifies souls and prepares people for eternal life.
Simply put - the role of a woman is that of the Savior's. It patterns it, and is blessed by his power.

Anonymous said...

I love what you said and I love the comments. What saddens me is that so many feel inspired by this post and yet as women we are often so unkind to other women. I think labels are unimportant(unless is somehow helps you better understand yourself) but really what we need is to foster the kind of love and exceptance you desribed. The reason I feel my Heavenly Father's love is so powerful is because it transends all. In the midst of our weeknesses and imperfections, whether we know ourselfs or not, He loves us. And as we except that we are loved as individuals we can tap into our own power. I believe that the way we treat others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. So if we all really believed we are daughters of God we should gain confidence to be loving and excepting of others. I don't just mean of their choices in life. I see too many women delight in talking about others to try and make themselves feel better (whether they recognize this as the reason or not.) I know for me I will try to be more loving of Heavenly Father's daughters because of your words. I hope others do likewsie.

Sundance Kid said...

Oh wow. This whole post was really, really wonderful and inspiring. The part that gripped my soul and is still tugging on it an hour later after taking a break to think about it is when you said, "God is with us." I can't begin to tell you how much I want to believe that, to know that, and to have the knowledge of your role in this life and in the eternities. HOW do you know this? What do I need to do to really understand this? I know that your wisdom is hard-earned, but where do I begin? Because I feel that if I had the knowledge about God and life and purpose that you do (not exactly of course, but still my own personal knowledge of that) I would be a happier and more complete woman.

I also really liked when you talked about this knowledge being more than enough to satisfy you, even if you weren't a mother or wife, etc. I feel that that's where I need to be spiritually - I need that understanding. I want to know that I am a child of God, that I am a beloved daughter of God, that He is with me, and that through Him I can be what I was meant to be.

LOVED this post, CJane. It felt inspired and I walked away from reading it feeling peaceful and inspired. Thank you for being you! You ARE helping women, even if you don't know us!

Hollywood said...

daughters of God unite!

Thanks!

sarah 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. They just hope that by writing something nice that I will give them enough points to pass.

This post was lovely, and I agree with many of the things you said, but it doesn't really address the topic of equality=sameness or equality=different but equal.

Steph said...

So beautifully written! Wonderful!

marf said...

i'm sorry that people didn't get what you were trying to say the first time, but also secretly glad because this was a beautiful posting. we are all very different, have different beliefs and priorities, but i think down deep all women are the same in that we see a need, a problem, and are moved to help.
i'm a full time working mom who is a mediocre catholic, so while we're different i find myself drawn to your blog because of our similarities - the love for our families, the humor, the love of shoes. i wish we could spend more time appreciating the similarities we all share rather than focusing on the differences.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for reminding me of my divine purpose and that I am a daughter of God, its been a very long time since i have pondered that, so thank you for helping to jog my memories of the wonderful young women program. Now I can only hope to remember that while beginning my days as an old woman.

Anonymous said...

I am not a religious woman, but I found the things you wrote so beautiful. You were able to truly put into words the makings of a woman. Thank-you for your writing, I will walk though my day today with a smile on my face and my head held high for the beautiful woman I am and will become.

Kathy said...

Amen! This is what I hope I have taught my daughters and am trying to convey to the Young Women I now have a stewardship over. Amen, Amen, Amen!!!

John and Laura said...

beautiful! Thank you for your thoughts.

jennie w. said...

Loved this!

But I have to admit I hate that YW theme. Not necessarily what it says, because I believe it. But sitting there chanting with everyone makes me feel like some sort of Communist zombie.

We don't really recite what we believe with others in public anymore and it weirds me out just a little.

Anonymous said...

I just can't leave this one alone. I think most women who live in the US don't realize that they are PRIVILEGED.

We can vote. We can work. We can make choices for ourselves. We can because women before us fought for those rights.

I served my mission in Africa. If any of you had heard the stories I heard about young women being forced to do things..ugh..heartbreaking---BECAUSE THEY ARE PROPERTY AND DON'T HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS.

What would tell that young woman who doesn't know that she is a daughter of God? Someone needs to speak up for her! Someone needs to give her HER rights!

~the LDS, feminine, feminist

Julie said...

Great post! I especially like: "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."

Becca said...

I am not religious or even spiritual, but I feel the power of these words.

c jane said...

Dear LDS, feminine and a feminist, I think you've got something to say, so let's hear it.

And not to be ignorant, but do women in this country have to sit at certain spots on buses? Really? I was sure were decades past that one.

JoJo said...

Gave me goosebumps. I plan to keep this around to remind me frequently and to help me guide my own daughter in her path to understanding these truths. Thank you.

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.

Jaana said...

I can't tell you how powerfully this affected me. Thank you so much. I love the way you approached this post, and the end result is really, truly, one of the best things I've ever read about womanhood. I think trying to reconcile your previous post would have been impossible, and changing your views to suit the naysayers would have been a shame.

La Carter said...

First of all, I don't think you owe it to anyone to explain yourself. This is your journey, not mine, not LDS Feminist's and not Lindsay who is removing you from her Google Reader. You are an extremely insightful and talented woman who offers herself up to us one post at a time. You inspire and, as I have said before, your blog serves a greater purpose than even you know.

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