Monday, December 3, 2012

I Am, It Turns Out

Last Thursday I was on a really interesting panel about feminism at BYU. I asked my sister Lucy to film my five minute introduction but because my statements were so fascinating she got caught up in my words and forgot to film. That's what I told myself anyway.

The five other panelists were all involved with academia and I was the token non-academic. They talked about how feminism shapes their work--life sciences, public health, Spanish and Portuguese 1700 literature, comparative film and theater. Then I talked about how I was really upset because one time Chup came home from his really busy job and didn't help me with the baby. So, that was me.

While sitting there listening to the other presenters it occurred to me that in our search for equality and cooperation at home, Chup and I have had some of the most brilliant experiences of our lives. My faith in God and Mormonism has deepened. It's been a tough road, it's come at some pretty high prices and heartache, but I cannot deny the blessings. Oh those unbelievable blessings.

I also think it's been important for me to identify myself as a Mormon feminist because I have found strength in being part of a people and passion I can relate to in my heart. I feel "home" when I say I am a feminist, it feels like me. It feels peaceful.

Over the weekend I cleaned up my intro and added some clarity, I am not certain it all makes sense, and I am evolving, but these are my thoughts right now. Thank you to the students for asking me to come and for Dr. Holmes for hosting the panel:


My name is Courtney Kendrick, I am a writer and blogger at CJaneKendrick.com, a columnist for the Deseret News and a Downtown Provo community activist. I’ve been married for ten years to Christopher Kendrick and we have three children with one on the way.

Earlier this year I had lunch with Joanna Brooks, arguably Mormonism’s most vocal feminist. The meeting was unforgettable, but two specific thoughts have not been able to leave my mind since our lunch in downtown Provo:

One, Joanna wasn’t angry like I thought most feminists were. She was confident and open, honest and funny.

Two, I couldn’t tell her I was a feminist at that point, I was too afraid of what it meant, so I said, “I am a womanist,” and she said to me, “That’s a great word to use if feminist scares you.”

Feminism scared me because I defined it this way: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

And the word equality was an idea that scared me. 

Joanna wasn’t angry but I was. I had just started to write my life story which included a long extensive look at some of my triumphs and failures—relationships, my mission, a divorce, graduating from college and remarriage, body image issues, infertility—and I started to see that all of my choices, insecurities, frustrations and determination were centered around one driving thought I had arrived at in my childhood: women were less important than men.

Thinking I was entitled to equality made me feel vulnerable and hurt because at the expense of relationships, I had spent so much time telling myself it didn't matter. I had almost convinced myself.

As a child I remember thinking how sad it was that God didn’t love me as much as my brothers and boy cousins because I was a girl. Of course, I had moments where I refused to believe this sentiment and the frustration I felt in wanting to be treated equal only exacerbated the problem. Anger and frustration from women only proved why they weren't to be trusted with something like the priesthood. Besides, questioning equality was considered "dangerous," and could only lead one place: a faithlessness in God and apostasy.

I began to believe my only worth as a woman was in being attached to a man. This created desperation inside of me to get married at a young age. Eventually, I married the wrong person, hoping to make things right. At my family bridal shower my aunt gave me the advice “When he comes home from work, don’t say anything to him, just hand him the remote control.”

When my first marriage ended in total devastation and abuse, I started to rethink gender roles for the first time. I started to resent the way women were treated in a lot of the relationships I had observed growing up.

After I remarried I looked for a man with maturity and fairness. I found an amazing one. Our young marriage had complications but we seemed to overcome until he took a corporate job traveling around the country. At that time I had our first baby and was getting used to that business. But everything came crashing down on me one day when after staying up with the baby alone for nearly week, battling a terrible cold and feeling lonely, I looked forward to the help of my husband. But when the front door opened and he came inside, he merely glanced at me, threw his suitcases on the floor and announced that he was so tired and was going to bed.

I was shocked. I realized that he saw his job as his responsibility and when his job was over, when it was time to come home, he was free to relax and sleep. Meanwhile, my job “mothering” never had the same finality to it. I was never, ever going to be done. Not for eternity. I was never going to sleep ever again.

Was I really supposed to stay silent and hand over the remote?

Somehow those same old gender roles had crept into our marriage and we were equating my husband’s job with motherhood which was painfully false. Fatherhood and motherhood are equal pairs. We both should never, ever sleep again. (insert: smiley face)

After a few years of trying to figure things out, we finally decided a new approach. We were both unhappy with our situation—he was never home and I never left home. He would quit his job and we would utilize a “farm mentality” where we would each put in 100% of all the work. This meant there were no roles, we both worked, we both parented, we both cleaned the house and took responsibility for the totality of our lives. When I worked writing and blogging, he cleaned and took care of the children, when he produced or acted in film I was at home. This continues to this day, and it’s hard because it’s socially abnormal and financially precarious. But every time we want to quit, we remember social acceptance and financial success are not our goal. Showing our children respect and cooperation at home is our hope.

This idea of having equal voices and opportunities has challenged us to explore the way we live in almost all aspects of our lives--childbirth, parenting, teaching our children the gospel. We have prayed and studied our religion's belief in family including The Family: A Proclamation and have found a lot of peace with who we are and where we are going as a family--considering our skills and talents. (We've also been very challenged to dig deep and think hard, it hasn't been a road of roses and applause.) God has made man and woman equal with shared powers and vibrant voices. I also have begun to see changes in the church about women and the Divine Female and it thrills to be to see how prayers are being answered by those who are asking with faith. I am grateful for the spiritual and political feminists who came before me.

After years of listening and learning from feminists I admire, I still felt unsafe calling myself a feminist until this summer. My older sister Page had come to one of the Rooftop Concerts my blog hosts in downtown Provo. Amid the thousands of concert goers I found her dancing and enjoying the music. I felt proud of myself for helping to accomplish something big and it occurred to me suddenly, that I was successful, even though I was a girl.

“Hey,” I said to her loudly, “did you grow up thinking boys were more important than girls?”

“Yes!” she yelled back.

“But you believe we are equal?” I shouted.

“Of course.” She shouted back.

“So, are you a feminist?” I yelled.

“Yes.” She screamed.

And that’s when I finally declared, “SO AM I!”









You can often tell if the media and technology in your life are having a positive or negative effect on your soul by the quality of the media conversations you are having. We should regularly ask ourselves three questions: First, am I having media conversations, or am I simply consuming media? Second, what conversations am I having about media with my family and those closest to me? Third, what am I doing to improve the conversations around me when I use media to communicate?   
-Amy Peterson Jensen

128 comments:

Jessica said...

Wow, I could have written this post. Thank you

Alice said...

I'm a Mormon feminist too. Welcome to the club.

Aimee said...

Thank you for sharing this aspect of your self discovery with all of us. Stories like yours do wonders in helping liberate others. Welcome to the Mormon feminist tribe!

Katrina said...

Brava! This made me cry. There is nothing I love more than a woman claiming her power.

La Carter said...

I really did not think I could love you any more as a writer or a person, really, I didn't. Today, I read your post, and smiled the whole way through, thinking about that time you almost quit writing your blog. Look at you now Courtney, you are amazing!

Jami said...

Thank you for this post. I'm a convert, raised by a feminist hippie. Still I've been a bit afraid of the word feminist. I've finally realized I am one. I am a feminist. And I believe in God and the church. And I'm a bit pissed because the young women's program and young girl's program is so much less than the "equivalent" boys' programs. I'm married to a traditionalist who believes I'm serving Satan by calling myself a feminist. It's a tough combo.

So many feminists leave the church. It hurts every time it happens. I mourn their exit, even though I understand it. Can you believe in equality and stay? More and more people in my life say no. I am ridiculously grateful for each person who says yes. I believe. I believe in equality. I believe God loves all of his children equally. So again, thank you for this post.

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

Thank you. This is beautiful. My wife has gone through a similar transition and it has been an amazing process to witness and I am behind her all the way. I'm glad though, that you have moved from "Womanist" to Feminist, because as a male feminist, it would be hard for my male friends to have to hear that I'm a male "Womanist". :)

Kiera said...

We've known each other for years but I dont think Ive ever really known you. This was a wonderful insight to who you are and I have to tell you, I LIKE YOU!

Stephanie said...

Welcome to the club!

carblemarble said...

Although our experiences have been different, this post is a reflection of my soul.

lovelindsey said...

Thanks Courtney! This is beautiful and exemplifies why you've always been my favorite Mormon blogger. ;) I know it takes strength but I will never choose to believe that Heavenly Father would have a problem with feminism - we are all his children. Attitudes need to change but it's women like you and many others that will work to change it WITHIN the church so that someday everyone can feel empowered, equal, and welcome.

Rachel Chick said...

This is an interesting topic for me. I was raised in a very traditional Mormon home in Utah -- with Mormon ancestors reaching back to the very beginning. I have NEVER felt that my life as a girl or as a woman is unequal to that of men. Just different. I've never felt that my worth was tied up in my husband. I got married young and had 5 children in 8 years. My sweet husband is the bread-winner and I am a stay-at-home mom. I never felt like I would have less value if I hadn't gotten married young and decided to repopulate the earth single-handedly. :) That was the life I chose and I know that the Lord can help me to have happiness and fulfillment in my role every day.

I think that the lives that you and your husband are leading are wonderful. That is your choice and you are working together toward your goals daily --- as each of us should be doing with our spouses. Even though the lives that my husband and I lead are different from yours, I feel that we do the same. Each working together - putting in 100% to our goals. We DO have a delineation of some of our "jobs", because that helps us to be effective in running our household, but I don't feel that they put us on an unequal playing field.

I think part of the problem that people (especially in Mormonism), including myself, have with the term FEMINISM is that in our
"feminist society" most women are not seeking for equality in worth. What they believe - and are led to believe - is that women are BETTER than men. Any look into popular media tells you that men are stupid, lazy, pigs - and that women alone are the answer to the world's problems and could do it all on their own - if it weren't for those pesky sperm.

I'm not saying that is what you believe, but that IS the popular thought that goes along with a word like Feminist. I think that is what turns off most people to it. You said yourself, that is what you thought, too. Perhaps that isn't what it HAS to be or what it was meant to be, but regardless, that is how it's viewed.

I believe that men and women are of equal worth. I just don't feel like I need any certain term or movement to define that in my own, my husband's, my children's, or my Heavenly Father's eyes. I feel that as I draw near to Him, he teaches me who I am and He helps me to find satisfaction, peace, and fulfillment in the life that I've chosen. It sounds like you've done the same.

I don't feel that I would ever want to associate myself with what most people view as "Feminism" and I don't feel that I need to to have a place in this world.

I love reading your blog. You present a lot of interesting ideas in ways that I haven't thought of before. I really enjoy the "food for thought" that I get from your words. I've often read some silly comments from people getting on your case for having your own opinion. I love your opinions! My one critique is that since you are writing about your own life and your own views, you are biased. (AS IT SHOULD BE) But your audience is quite diverse and may, at times, read your words and believe that ALL Mormons grew up feeling the way that you did. (or that they are lying to themselves if they say they didn't) The way you present things, at times, certainly comes across that way. And that is simply not true.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts to publicly. I really do enjoy reading and I think you are an incredible person. Thank you for years of new ideas!

whitneyingram said...

I am still completely fascinated by the fact that you grew up thinking girls were less than boys. How does that happen? Who influences that thought?

My upbringing wasn't that at all and I think it might be because I grew up in a family of all girls. There were no brothers to be better than me. And maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had a very strong mother who wasn't submissive or dependent. She had a defined personality and wasn't the typical Mormon mom. She didn't fit the stereotype. Maybe that is why I didn't grow up thinking women were weaker than men? I dunno. I think I might be analyzing this all day.

SarahJane said...

The theme of your most recent posts is something that I have been thinking alot about in the past few weeks (and years). I have been really concerned about the treatment of several men towards their wives - men in "leadership" positions. Thank you for speaking up about this!

Meghan said...

It's hard for me to relate to this, because I never had the sense that girls were less valued than boys. Or that I would find my meaning in my marriage.
And my husband has always had demanding jobs, but his attitude was that his important work started once he got home. I honestly have never seen him sit while I worked. Or not take over when I was exhausted.
I guess I didn't have the cultural disadvantages to overcome that you have had, so I don't feel the need to claim power that I never lacked.
Having said that, I don't think your experiences are unique. I hope they become more and more rare as the attitudes you describe become less and less accepted.

mere said...

Thank you for your courage on honesty. Things will be so much different for our daughters, and our sons. I love this life so much.

Natalie said...

I am not a Mormon, but a Protestant Christian (and recently converted Feminist) and I can relate so well to this post. Thank you for sharing it! It gives me confidence in who I am as a woman. Unfortunately among other Christians I still feel like I have to be a secret Feminist, and that bothers me.

Tara said...

It's funny, I agree with pretty much every thing you say in this post, but I've never really thought of those opinions as being feminist. Just normal :). I'm sorry you grew up thinking boys were more important, I remember always kind of feeling sorry for boys because it seemed like we had all these church lessons about how wonderful and amazing women are, but never similar lessons about men.

theirondaisywrites said...

I grew up with parents who treated me like I was an equal to boys and I have a father who is a self-identified feminist. I grew up believing the world was like this and it was rather shocking to go out in the world and have my competence, worth, intelligence, etc. questioned because of my sex. That is why I claim the title Mormon feminist. Not because I think I'm better than a man, but because I know my Heavenly parents love me and my sisters just as much as they love their sons, my brothers. Brava for being brave enough to share your truth.

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) said...

Women like you make the Mormon faith more relevant to the world as it is today. I love that you do not see your faith in conflict with your feminism. I am not Mormon, but there's much I admire about the religion. And much I don't. I admire your willingness to step out and be CJ. Nice!

Colleen said...

I've never called myself a feminist because I've always equated feminism with women who think they are BETTER than men. Which is just taking the problem and reversing it rather than fixing it. I suppose it's all about your definition of feminism.

I find it interesting (and sad) that you grew up feeling so inferior as a woman. I was raised in a traditional LDS home where my mom did all the housework and my dad came home from work and didn't leave his recliner and the television. My dad wouldn't let me join the track team because "girls don't run." But somehow I didn't let his attitude define me. I just rejected it completely. I was always very competitive with my brothers and I often won. I never felt "less than." I also didn't grow up in Utah County, which seems like a very odd Twilight Zone to me the way you describe it.

Sara K.S. Hanks said...

I felt the same way you did growing up, like men were more important than women, like God loved my brothers more than me and loved my father more than my mother. I don't know where that idea came from for certain, but as Carol Lynn Pearson says, "It's in the air we breathe." In my experience, it just seemed so obvious that men were superior. I hope I can save my future kids from that truly evil assumption. It's still a deep-down belief that I can't fully escape.

To me, feminism means seeking a world where every person can seek full human flourishing without being hampered by sex-based or gender-based bias. That's the definition that strums my heartstrings and makes me smile. But there are different kinds of feminism, different eras and sub-genres and accompanying definitions. I used to worry -- like a previous commenter -- about what it would mean if I were to "associate myself with what most people view as 'Feminism.'" I believed in the word as I understood it, but in my social circle (Mormon, conservative), the word had a negative connotation. But you know what else has a negative connotation in some circles? The word "Mormon." I could never ever ever think of myself as any less Mormon just because a lot of people didn't like what that word stood for, because it was part of me in my bones and because I believed in what that word stood for in my heart. I was about 19 when I realized that the same went for the word "feminist," that I claimed it because I knew in my heart that it was true, completely independent of any connotations or how other people interpreted the movement.

Anyway, that's all from my own little soapbox. What I really mean to say is that I love your words, C Jane, and that I respected your reasons for not calling yourself a feminist (when you wrote the "I'm Not" post a few years back) with the same sincerity that I welcome this change. I like having you in the Mormon feminist club, and I hope and trust that feminism will enrich your testimony and your spiritual progression in the years to come, as it has for me.

Erin L said...

I grew up in a Mormon home with 9 children and I never, ever, ever believed that boys were more important than girls. Still, I married young, started having kids right away, and plan on having a big family with my husband being the breadwinner and me the housewife. I don't understand why being a housewife and embracing those sacred, divine responsibilities means I think my husband is more important. I do those things because I know that, as a woman, I have talents and gifts and divine nature that can do the MOST good, and have the greatest influence in the walls of my home. I clean house because I love my children and my husband. I iron my husbands shirts because he goes to work at 6 am and comes home and studies and works on projects and serves in the church and I have the time. He knows how much I do for the family. I know how much he does. We appreciate each other and work through things when something isn't right. Call me what you: a feminist or an anti-feminist. What bothers me more than anything about the whole "equality" mindset is that it seems women are only praised for doing things that are traditionally a man's role (and men are praised for being more like women). While I believe we can learn much from the opposite gender, I also believe that we are complementary in our differences and we should embrace "womanhood" not "manhood in a woman." Woman are powerful people because of the divine traits God has blessed them with. Why, or why, do we think to we need to all be the same?

Jena said...

I am in the film program at BYU, and Amy is one of my most favorite woman on the planet. You two would be a force to be reckoned with! LOVE IT!

Megan said...

I started leaving my comment, but Rachel Chick took the words right out of my mouth.

Rachel+Co said...

I found that I was not comfortable calling myself a feminist until I resolved my anger towards men and let go of fear that I would ever be considered equal by the men in my life.

Lovely, lovely words. Perhaps my favorite post of yours, of all time.

Chelsi Archibald said...

Love Joanna and love you. Great post. It's an important thing in an important time. Little girls and young women need to read these types of essays from women our age, people they look up to. Thank you!

jai said...

Well done, CJane. Well done. Kudos from a lifelong faithful Mormon feminist.

Alicia said...

I just want to say thank you for another post that puts into words all those emotions swirling around in my head. I think part of the reason women grow up thinking they are "less than" is that our world is structured in such a way that it's incredibly difficult for a woman to fulfill her divine role as a mother and wife while still finding ways to magnify her talents outside the home (if she so chooses).

I'm a nurse, and it has taken me two long (impoverished) years to find a job that meets my family's needs. My friends who are unmarried and/or don't have children were able to commit to working 40-60 hours per week, and have progressed so much further in the nursing world than I have. Even in nursing, a field generally dominated by women, it has been difficult to find a supportive environment during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

My husband and I also set out with the goal of equality in marriage in mind, and it distresses me how easily we fall into those unhappy roles that we saw growing up. Too often, I play the martyr and do all the cooking and cleaning, resenting him the whole time, and he comes home from his job and feels that his work is done for the day. It's only when we have our one on one time after the kids are in bed that we can remind each other of our goals, and our needs, and commit to working together to utilize both of our strengths.

I'm not usually a big blog commenter, but your words have moved me so much this morning. Thanks again!

Cortney said...

Rachel Chick-

I found it really interesting that you would say that you don't want to be associated with feminism because, regardless of what it means to *individuals*, the general idea it gives you is a negative one, so you don't want to be associated with that word.

Then, you say that Courtney has a responsibility to place a caveat at the bottom of every post saying that not all Mormons think that way- so one should not extrapolate her individual ideas to the larger ideas in Mormonism.

I just find it interesting that your comment contains two concerns that are the exact inverse of one another.

Also, I would say that most feminists find most of the ways women are presented to be troubling, so your assertion that the way men are portrayed in the media is a result of feminism is flatly wrong. Not to mention the fact that the entertainment industry is hugely male, and is not filled with a bunch of angry feminists writing scripts that make men out to be fools.

When people trot out all the "negatives" associated with feminism I cringe because those negatives are usually not from feminism at all, but are old recycled negatives that anti-feminists have claimed feminists think. So, it's like if someone came at you with some inaccurate anti-Mormon propaganda and said "I'm sure most Mormons are great, but they believe X,Y,Z and I don't agree with that." I'm sure that would be frustrating for you, right? It feels similar when, as a feminist, you hear the myths of man hating power hungry women wanting to take over the world, because as a feminist, you know good and well that the only people who say those things are people who are against feminism, putting words in feminists' mouths.

Dislike feminism all you want for what it stands for, but please don't disagree with it based on what opponents have decided it stands for.

Betina said...

I always knew you were.

Welcome.

It is calm and peaceful here. "I feel "home" when I say I am a feminist, it feels like me. It feels peaceful."

True. That.

Vanessa said...

I think I have really generalized feminists into an unfair stereotype. I am learning, still not ready to use the word to describe myself yet. Maybe someday! Because this type of feminism (and that I have been seen from a few others in the past one or two years) makes me proud.

M cubed said...

I don't get this at all....but the Obama thing was the post that threw me the most. However, one thing I LOVE about being a member of this church is the vast diversity we share as women and at the end of the day we all love Jesus and are doing what we feel is best for ourselves and those we love. I love learning what other people think and feel, even if I don't agree. So thank you for sharing another piece of your beautiful heart!

Marissa said...

I am an LDS woman, and never felt like boys were more important than girls. I actually always thought girls had it better but would never rub it into the boys :) I wonder why some girls got one message and others got another from the same lessons? I never got the impression that I was to serve my husband in a way that made me less than him, but just that I was supposed to serve him as all of us are supposed to emulate the Savior and serve others. Anyway, I am glad you and Chup have worked something out for you. My husband and I have worked out our roles as well, even though he does work away from home and I am home most of the time I have never felt jipped.

Raevan Blake said...

Ditto.

Vanessa said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us. It always finds a place in mine.

Rachel Chick said...

@ Cortney -

I'm sorry if you misconstrued my meaning. - It's bound to happen. - I certainly would never think that Courtney needs to place any such caveat on her posts. I was merely pointing out that in MY OPINION, there are times when it sounds as if what was her reality IS the reality for all Mormons. (which it isn't) Perhaps I misinterpret what she's saying and it gets my hackles up. Regardless, she can do what she wants with my OPINION and I'll read her blog anyway, because I enjoy it and her viewpoints are valuable to me.

Secondly, there would be little value in me debating the virtues and vices of the feminist movement with you. (I DO find it interesting that it's called FEMINISM, yet it's made out to sound like EQUALITY. It's name would suggest otherwise.) All I was trying to convey was that my experience was different than Courtney's and that FOR ME I feel little need to associate myself with a movement to feel powerful or value in my own, or God's eyes. (that is MY EXPERIENCE) I'm happy that many are able to find what they are looking for in Feminism. And I think there have been a great many things that are good that come from it. I love hearing other people's voices and their thoughts and experiences with the subject.

Kelli Anderson said...

i can't tell you how much i appreciate this post.

your "i'm not a feminist post" made me sick to my stomache, haha. so i'm happy to see this post.

Leah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Many members are scared of our history because they don't understand polygamy or the massacre or whatever else. If we STUDIED our history we would find that the early members had a beautiful understanding of the worth and abilities of both genders. Personally, I grew up with 9 siblings and a dad who honored his priesthood, which involved thinking his daughters could and should accomplish anything. And we have. The church is not wrong and never has been wrong in its core doctrines on these issues but certainly there have been plenty of Saints who failed to understand the doctrine.

Since your sister also misunderstood her worth, I have to assume that your parents failed to pass on the correct doctrines in these matters. I'm glad you are correcting that for your own children

Miggy said...

Good thoughts and words. Your experience is valid and valuable to many.

But I cannot for the LIFE of me understand how other Mormon women, who grew up in the late 20th century, had any misconceptions about their worth and equality. Especially when you talk about feeling that God loved you less. I never felt that way. Never, ever, ever. Even having a grandma who spent her life serving her children and husband in a very 1950's-proper-submissive-wifely sort of way, I was still never confused on her worth in the sight of God. In fact I grew up thinking girls were smarter than boys--because in my elementary school years that was certainly the case and I was pretty shocked to discover that there was this idea that most people felt it was the other way around.

I wish I could trace these beliefs back to some sort of amazing examples in my life or direct teachings, but I don't really have a recollection of where they came from. In the end I'm just glad I didn't struggle with those issues. Others issues yes, those no.

Lani said...

I don't have time to read all the comments, but just wanted to say I like this post and I would love to echo Rachel Chick's comment. I feel no need to BE or NOT TO BE a feminist.

mere said...

I'm not going to not claim the title of American just because some people who are American don't see things exactly the same way as I do (if I don't claim the title of American, it will be because I'm actually not American, but Canadian). If this makes sense, why is it so hard for us women to say, I may disagree with your brand of feminism, but I love being a woman and want to have equality and be respected for my ideas and contributions, and that is what feminism is to me, so I'm a feminist. Why can't there be a plurality of thought within feminism. I love women. I am a woman. I am a feminist. I'm pretty sure all the commentors on here are as well.

Pam said...

Maybe women who don't feel the need to call themselves feminists is due to all of the work that feminists have done. It's never been an issue thanks to the brave and strong women who came before us.

mere said...

We have come a long way, but there is still so much to be done. http://feministmormonhousewivespodcast.org/episode-21-feminism-wants-what-you-want/

bandanamomtoo said...

Love this post Courtney!

To the commenters who claim feminists seek to be ABOVE men. This is some crazy idea that the Rush Limbaugh types of the world seek to promote. I don't know any feminists who think like that. Instead, feminism seeks to promote the EQUALITY of all people regardless. It means women who choose to do so can stay home and be a homemaker and still be totally equal because they choose it. It's about each person finding their own path. And having equality opportunity in the process.

Brittany said...

I love this so much. I didn't grow up feeling like my brothers or boy friends or boyfriends were better than me (my parents get a lot of credit for that). But I did begin to feel it in college at BYU--I knew in my head that I was powerful and smart all on my own, but there were people who spoke of women otherwise. I was told a new story, and I couldn't believe it was being told, and I was angry and hurt.

Somewhere along that road, I pulled something out of myself, with the help of like-minded peers, friends, professors, and mentors, and that something turned out to be a kind of feminism. My feminism maybe isn't so much about equality and roles, but it sure is about strong voices and lots of choices and freedom in Mormonism and confidence and open-mindedness. And you know, I wish I could say that I'm ashamed of my feminism, even a little bit. But I'm just not. I think women are so wonderful, and they deserve to know it.

You're so wonderful C.Jane. I wish you had been on a panel at BYU when I was there a couple of years ago. Thank you!

sdb said...

Thanks for this. I appreciate that you are a mormon feminist. It's a great step forward, I think. I also liked your post on the election. I would like to add, though, that it does women such a disservice to waver in their ability to say it (however difficult it might be depending on circumstance, which I understand is a reality). It's not just about us claiming it for ourselves as individuals. The world we would be a better place for ALL women, if we could just get on board, already. Women are struggling out there, and despite the fact that you have found equality in your life (yay!) other women have not (financially, in the church, in the home, etc.). Thanks!

Rachel said...

Love this! AND I took Dr. Holmes class in 2010 and remember the feminism panel we had. I learned so much and definitely consider myself a Mormon Feminist. I learned in that class, it's not necessarily about equality - it's about equity. It's about women having every opportunity that men have and couples deciding for themselves what an equal partnership looks like. I was so grateful for that class and the feminism panel so I could understand and put into words the feelings I'd had for so long. And DANG! I would have loved to have you in my panel - I'm super jealous! So glad you did it and so grateful for the voice you have to help improve gender roles and opinions and beliefs in the church. Keep rockin' it, CJane!

lara said...

i've been reading your blog forever but have never commented. I guess it's time to come out of the closet and say something, inspired by professor jensen's advice about conversations! I love following all the changes you've been through and thoughtful explorations of what it means to be a mother, mormon, woman, feminist, and to have a career. this is one of my favorite posts ever! i love the dance/coming out as a feminist scene at the end, especially. I've always appreciated your honesty and willingness to be publicly and sincerely vulnerable. so thank you for all that!

minta said...

Thank you so much for this post! I feel like feminism is good because the world tells us that as women we're not as important and we need to fight that!

Leah Vanessa said...

Beautiful post! Every time I read one of your posts, I'm more convinced that we could be very good friends. I've identified as a feminist for a long time and have taken a lot of heat for it over the years. For those commenters who believe that feminists are anti-men or feel they are better than men, I ask that you please get educated about this subject from modern feminists, because this idea is FALSE. Anti-feminism demeans men just as much as it demeans women. Women gaining equality doesn't mean that men lose theirs.

Rachey said...

On Sunday my sweet Sunbeam (and oldest child) said to me, "mommy, daddy has something. He has a hood." I said "you mean the priesthood?" He responded "yeah, daddy's have the priesthood but mommys don't because they are girls." It made my stomach hurt hearing him say it. That is how it all starts.

Barbara said...

Until there are equal rights for unborn women, I will never call myself a feminist.

Becca {While You Were Napping} said...

I love your phrase "farm mentality." Because, right? For eons men and women have both had to work really, really hard and both had roles in and around the home. Someone raised the cows and then someone else had to turn that milk into butter.

Lindsey said...

It makes me so sad that you grew up this way. I had all girls in my family, so, maybe consequentially, I was never raised in that mind set. My parents encouraged success, education, dedication, I was even a great athlete, and missionary. I was never told I couldn't. All of my sisters are powerful women, who don't think this way at all. I am sad that anyone could feel this way, and I hope you continue to find your footing. In the end, I don't feel as powerless in my roll as mother. So, sometimes I do hand my husband the remote. Not because I was told to, and not because it is what I am supposed to do as a wife, because it is what I want to do, and I am not threatened by it. And that my friend, is possible too.

Sarah Jane Innes said...

I'm a feminist, raised by a feminist mother and a feminist father. Sometimes I get angry at how far from equality we actually are for every step foward we take 3 back it seems. I also come from 2 groups that Women are seen (from the outside) to be treated as less then men. I'm Catholic, and I won't disagree my religion is definitly lacking in equality but I think I can make more change from the inside then out. I am also an Aboriginal Australian and we're viewed as primitive, I'm constantly talked down to by non-indigenous feminists about how poorly I'm treated by my race... when all of the sexism I've experienced has come from outside of my racial group. Also my parents took turns as the stay at home parent, in my later years one would work full time but during my younger years when my parents both studied dad would be home during the day and work at night and mum would part time work during the day and be home at night. It was fantastic, it will probably take me awhile to find a life partner because now I have such high standards lol!

Shewinn8 said...

Amen Rachel Chick....I had a whole response that was bubbling inside of me that was completely expressed by your words. I felt such a sense of peace when I read it. It was said with both clarity, tact and respect. Bravo. I too worry about one voice and one truth being thought of as representative for all of us. I was lucky enough to be born with the gift of knowing my self worth and divinity from the get go. I know this to be a special gift since my sister struggled more than I with the concept. I did not seek that validation from society or from others so there were no labels or boxes for me to fit into. Once again I realize that as a wonderful spiritual gift I was given that others are still trying to identify it. I just don't want people to think that it is what the LDS culture is about. I am not blaming Courtney for her feelings because they are her truth, yet I realize there are no thousands of people beating my blogging door down to hear the flip side. So no matter what label for women is used I am glad that we are all loved by a God who has said he is no respecter of persons.

D. said...

Yes!

D. said...

Welcome, sister! It's beautiful here.

mere said...

Rachel Chick and Schewinn8, a lot of feminism is not about getting validation or gaining power, but having the opportunity to help and serve that our brothers have. That, in my opinion, is a noble desire. A god-given desire. Feminism is not about pride. It is about love and service.

Kristine said...

Oh, dear. I will have to revise the paper where I quoted you as an articulate spokesperson for the choice not to identify as a feminist. Revisions are rarely so delightful!!

(ps--I never doubted your true identity :))

Dalaney & Hannah said...

I'm glad you're out of the closet!!! I think this is the greatest direction your blog could possibly take. You have a strong platform and I hope you become more outspoken specifically about the inequalities in the church, whether that be doctrinal or just societal. Thank you for being brave and vocalizing these concerns because I believe many will find their feminist voice through you.

Jenne said...

Its so wonderful that you have been able to embrace a term that unites you with so many other people who are working for a better world. There are many shades and styles of feminism and they don't all fit. There isn't just one and you found (or are finding) the one that fits you. One thing I notice about he most common and moderate form of feminism is that it inspires compassion for others who may not have it as nice as they themselves did. Its hearing women's stories and having compassion and the hope that someday things will be better.

My own journey to feminism was similar to yours in that I found that gender balance of parenting to be imbalanced. It was after my husband and I started trying to employ equally shared parenting techniques like you and Chup did that I started to understand that feminism is a means of respecting all the needs of both mother and father.

Debbie Jones said...

I am enjoying your posts more and more and relate to them more and more as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Debbie Jones said...

One more thing...thanks so much for helping make it be OK to be a Mormon with a little more liberal polical ideology. Thank you!!!! Some peopl forget that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for ALL of us, politics and political parties aside. Thank you!

Beth Allen said...

I am so glad to have a husband who also believes in the "farm" parenting method (I liked how you put that.)
He works, I work, we split the chores and cooking and shopping. We are a team. I think if he came home and sat in front of the tv I would have to hit him upside the head.
I also think one of the main reasons I love motherhood so much is that I do have a husband who lets me enjoy it by helping as much as I do.

Raevan Blake said...

It hurt me to read this, that you didn't post how you responded. Did you let it go at that and let him believe that girls are inferior because they don't have the priesthood?? Are men inferior because they do not get to be the ones to work so closely with heavenly Father bringing souls into the world?? We are have different missions in this life, but we both (male and female) get to receive the blessings. My husband gets to receive the blessing of children through me(yes he helped too!), I get to receive the blessings of the priesthood through him. This is just one example, there are many more. We are meant to compliment each other and together gain a fullness of joy.

M cubed said...

@Rachey....Tell your sweet sunbeam that Mommy has a "hood" too... She has MotherHOOD which is equally vital and powerful as the priesthood. And she has sisterHOOD which has a power no man can understand. There is nothing in the world quite like the strength of faithful women bound together and united in the cause of Christ. I have been teaching my two sons this for years. Remember what it says about the valiant young men in the latter chapters of Alma... They "did not doubt that their mothers knew it." There is a power in our "HOOD" that makes Angels and men and children weep.

Mary & Marc said...

I actually experienced a physical reaction....I felt my heart warm.
I am woman hear me ROAAAARRR!

Ashley said...

Raeven Blake and M Cubed: please be careful when you try to equate Priesthood to motherhood. They are not each other's equivalent.

Worthy LDS men can receive the Priesthood if they so choose.

Motherhood is not contingent upon religious worthiness. Many, many women who want to be mothers cannot, despite prayers and tears. Some women in the church will remain childless either by choice or issues out of their hands.

Making motherhood priesthood's equivalent is a common in the church as a way to neatly assuage anyone who is concerned (like Rachey's son, further up the thread). I certainly got this as a child. It's not true and can be very hurtful.

Motherhood's male equal is fatherhood. So when we try to find a female equal to Priesthood, where does that leave us?

lauren said...

@cortney you took the words out of my mouth. The concept of the 'feminazi' that Rachel Chick thinks equals feminism (while acknowledging it may not be 100% accurate) is a construct created by those for whom the concept of equality is scary and threatening.

@rachel chick feminism has been turned into a dirty word, which is why women and men need to reclaim the word and its true intentions. I have a marriage based on equality even though I do the laundry and he takes out the trash (standard gender roles). I grew up knowing I was strong and capable. But I am a feminist because the world over that is not true for many women because of the messages they receive, and many men and women don't view my worth the way I do. So for those reasons and those women,I am a feminist.

You are of course entitled to your opinions ( I'll refrain from caps) , but please dont base them on grave misunderstandings.

lauren said...

One more point about using the word feminism rather than equality. It originated in French many, many years ago so while it'snot perfect, it's what we've got. I'd rather focus on waft feminism is or isn't rather than what it's called. And it is a woman-centric word because as a movement feminism has always been about woman's rights. Not men's rights because they already had them. When feminism picked up steam in the U.S., a woman couldn't even have a credit card in her own name. In order to reach equality, we need(ed) women's rights, hence the term.

Nathan and Gemma said...

I just can't contain it "YESsss!!!" GO CJane!!!! I am so in awe of you. Look at what you have just written and compare to the horrendous abuse you wrote about and just posted. You GO!!! I'm so happy for you for coming out on top and for creating a beautiful and fulfilling life. You are an inspiration and your honesty and sincerity in sharing your opinions and life experiences are so appreciated!!! Thank you!

Kris said...

I didn't grow up thinking boys were more important than girls. I always thought that was because of my mother, but reading this post has made me think that my father must have had something to do with it too. I don't know that I would call myself a feminist though because I don't identify with a lot of traditional feminist views. (Like abortion on demand etc) However, I feel equal to any boy in God's eyes and I believe that's really how He feels about me.

Melody said...

I LOVE BIG SISTERS! There are five girls in my family. I'm both a big sister and a little sister. We're all feminists.

I love the word. Feminist. It feels holy to me. This world often seems to make holy things unholy.

'nough said.

Erin L said...

@rachey: I hope you took the opportunity to tell that sweet little sunbeam that the Priesthood is a responsibility to serve God's children, and that all people, male and female, have access to it's power through keeping their covenants. I hope you told him that woman have a wonderful, natural gift for service and that we gladly serve God's children the way He would if he were here, and that bringing souls to Christ is what both Priesthood and Womanhood are needed for that important work. It would be sad indeed if you let that little guy believe that men were indeed more important in the eyes of God. It is simply not true.

Erin L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whimcees said...

Me too! :<)

Wishing you a day of sunshine!

Hugs,

Barbara Diane

tharker said...

This. Yes!

sarawhat said...

I think there is a difference between saying "Men are better than women" and "Women and Men have different roles." I do believe that Men and Women (generally speaking) have different resposibilities.Society has led you to believe that because the Man's resposibility is to provide an income for his family (according to LDS doctorine) he is somehow superior to Women in our faith. I view myself and my husband as equals in our marriage, our parenting, and life in general. However there are many jobs that need to be accomplished. He has taken on the job of bread winner, Dad, fix it guy. Those jobs are exclusively his. All of the jobs of running a household I have maily taken on as my own....however they are not exclusively mine. When he is gone to work, I do them. When he is home, we share in the work load equally. We share in the parenting, the cooking, the dishwashing, the laundry folding etc. I support him in his aspirations, he supports me in mine (even if those aspirations don't bring home a paycheck....and even if they did). In my opinion being "equals" does not necessarily mean having the same jobs. Rather having jobs that compliment eachother and add to the rich blessing of a family and a home. I do not feel that because my husband provides our family with something like money that makes him a more valuable human being than I am. Society however, will tell you that's exactly what it means.

Raevan Blake said...

I certainly don't have an answer for you, but in no way was I trying to imply that bearing children is based on worthiness. I know how hurtful comments like "I'm grateful He trusts us enough to be parents" can be so if I was adding to that I am sorry. That was not my intention. I just to the core of me believe that He loves us and values us just as much as men. A lot of things in life do not seem fair from our mortal view but are given to us for our good. I believe that the priesthood has power, not the man who holds it, that I have access to it and am grateful for that power on earth. If we all lined up would our lives and trials or temporal blessings seem equal? I think it always hinders our progression to compare and tell God our lot is not fair. And just to be clear I am NOT referring to our secular "rights". I was raised by a single mother whose "cowboy" father never felt you couldn't or shouldn't do something just because you were a girl. I am grateful for those who paved the way for us, she got her degree supported us by teaching and is now a principle. That wouldn't have happened without the women's rights movement and I appreciate that so much!

tharker said...

So beautifully said.

Vesuvius At Home said...

I always like to quote Tori Amos by calling myself a "born feminist". Also, I always knew I loved Page.

Ashley said...

Good points, Raevan. Thanks.

CherryLaneDiaries said...

I am a Mormon (I am your neighbor!), but I've never considered myself a feminist. Maybe it's because I actually grew up on a farm (in glorious Montana), so that's just how I was raised: everyone works HARD 100% of the time. It helps that I have a husband (a beautiful Samoan) who was raised this way, too. Glad you and your husband have worked out such a great system.

Katherine Of It All said...

When I got to the end, where you write your shouted conversation with Page, and I imagined you both dancing with joy and then speaking these things-- I cried. I did. I love you, Courtney!

Jill said...

Cjane, your blog is getting obnoxious. And when people say things like, "Welcome, it's beautiful here." And congratulation you from coming out of the closet? Really? I think many of us are doing a collective eye roll. You and your husband share the work equally. Great. That's how it should be. Why such the big deal? You crave attention to much and it's off-putting. I rarely read your blog anymore. This is why.

cutebutnerdy said...
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cutebutnerdy said...

I am a Mormon Feminist, and I didn't grow up thinking women were less than men. But I have eyes, and I see that men are treated as the Superior Sex, and that is what made me see the gender inequalities in the church. I am very happy for those that naturally find fulfillment in their prescribed gender roles, however; I have met with too many women whose stories of institutional and individual abuse were validated by those who preside in church. Just because your experience is rosy doesn't mean another's is as well. Those people (who are not you) count. The pain of my sisters is my pain and should be yours as well.

Also this "Angry Feminist Who Hates Men" is a character made up by men. Don't buy into it...

cutebutnerdy said...
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Sarah said...

Way to go CJane. I'm feminist too, and you voiced my issues about moving into traditional gender roles (SAHM with full time working daddy) so perfectly. I LOVE these posts where you talk about what you think, what you believe, and what you and Chup are working to create together. Keep evolving, and keep sharing!

Carrot Jello said...

I'll never understand the need to label yourself.

Brian Gibson said...

I have a FB friend who liked your post so I took the opportunity to read it to understand his and your perspective. I enjoyed your comments and I can’t take anything away from you because of your experience and feelings. I do find it very interesting how a few (men or women)can take a topic (any) and broad brush stroke it over a large audience and think it paints an entire story of all, that’s where I struggle. I grew up in a family of all boys, 6 of them. We were taught by my father and grandfathers that as boys and men, women were to be treated better than us because they contained the refining elements that would soften the rough edges of men. Over the years (and I am not that old)I have found that some of these traits and traits that even my mother taught me as a young man are now considered chauvinist among feminists. I think Paul said it best "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. The last three words in that sentence are key to the individual worth of both men and women no matter the task or the date in society. Outside of that we are all imperfect people and hopefully our view should be helping each other to prefect ourselves through the Atonement of Jesus Christ in all aspect of our lives.

Carrot Jello said...

Curious how you interpret this;

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

MMMandM said...

I wish Page had a blog.

Amber Whiteley said...

Love this post, and I love you. Even though we have never met, your posts continue to touch me.

Never mind the haters who are commenting. Feminism tends to mean something different to everyone, and it has been given a bad rap by anti-feminists. It's people like you who are helping to turn the meaning around so that one day, all women (and men) won't be scared or ashamed to admit that they are feminists.

Angie said...

Maybe you felt that boys were better than girls because you felt they had FREEDOM to choose what they wanted for their life, and you felt you did not. (Ie: it was expected of you to get married, have a gaggle of kids, and stay home and serve your family). I know I am a rebel at heart and do not like being told how I should think/feel/do, and that the freedom to make my own choices is what gives me the security in the choices I've made. Therefore, I don't feel "less than" anyone. (The irony: because I feel this freedom, I chose to get married at 20, have 4 kids, stay at home with them and have a husband who has never made me feel less than...and I don't struggle with feeling less than anyone...for I had freedom to make my own choice and am doing exactly what I know is my purpose for my life right now).

Amy said...

Courtney, I appreciate your blog posts. I've been reading your blog for a while now. Your posts on body image especially helped me and I even mentioned them in my blog (here: http://jspandamydoll.blogspot.com/2012/11/no-makeup-november.html).

I've been thinking a lot lately about feminism and the Mormon church. I never felt like I was less than any male, but I can understand how people feel that way. I have always felt that males and females are different, but equal. 5+2=3+4. Equal doesn't always mean the exact same. My husband works and I stay at home because that is what we want to do. Maybe we won't always want to do this, but it works for now. I really appreciate this post because it shows that there are several good ways to raise a family that are in accordance with the LDS church teaches. I think (and I think you think this, too) that it is important to figure out what works best for your family so that everyone can reach his or her full potential.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sorry mine were so jumbled.

Amy said...

Oh, and I completely forgot to even say what I came here to say.

I saw your tweet about your male feminist friend. I can't remember if it was in one of my religion or English classes at BYU-Idaho, but my professor mentioned something about being feminist and some kids started laughing. His reply was, "What? Don't you think a man can be a feminist?" It was just a mini epiphany for me.

wonderwoman1975 said...

Yay!!!! I have been enjoying your introspective and courageous leaps forward lately . . . Voting Obama, brutal honesty about your first marriage, and now recognizing that feminine divine within yourself that we Mormon Feminists claim for promoting the equality and fairness for all of God's creations.

Personally, I call myself a Feminist Mormon.y feminist awakenings started budding at age 3

My feminist awakenings started at age 3, when my 5 year old sister suggested walking around our parents' student housing at IU Bloomington with our t-shirts off. "Because of boys can do it, so can we!". I heartily agreed.

Matt and Tiana said...

I needed this right here and right now.

Thank you!

Lori Ann said...

Maybe this is the wrong forum for this, as this is not exactly what Cjane is addressing with her post, but I felt it had value, so I will add it to the conversation.

More and more women are identifying themselves as feminists and advocating for equality. Which is a good thing. Period. 100% good.

My question is this...it seems like; for whatever reason, a lot of men are not getting that equality message. They are getting the message that women are worth less than they were before. Not just worth less than men, but worth less than "pre feminism" women.

So many women today have children but no father(s) who are willing to stand by them. So many women work hard but have a husband and/or boyfriend who doesn't work.

Men have gone from being socially stigmatized for abandoning wives, girlfriends, and/or kids to it being somewhat socially acceptable. They are even able to find other women to get into relationships with.


And;I really have no idea why, it seems to coorelate to the rise of feminism.

Let me be clear- I don't believe that feminism is to blame for men's increasing irresponsibility, unwillingness to marry or commit, and lack of effort as fathers.

I just wonder what does?

Women want equality and are not afraid to ask for it anymore..but it seems like; in so many situations, women are valued less and less.

Cristi said...

I really liked this post. Equality is important, as long as we recognize men and women are and always will be different; we are not the same and we have different roles generally speaking. I think it's WONDERFUL that you and your husband have worked out what is best for you concerning your roles. That is truly a blessing and I think it is beautiful. I am sad, however, that you grew up feeling men were better than women. I am LDS and grew up in CA, which I think is much different than UT from what you describe. I've always felt like we've actually been told time and time again in the church how special and important we women are, while the men are often told they need to work harder and do better. We don't hold the priesthood in our church, but that has never made me feel inferior or less valued by Heavenly Father or anyone else. I feel He has chosen to organize His church this way for a reason, and it has never bothered me or made me feel bad for even a second. I feel so valued and loved in this church. I hope you do, too. And I hope the attitudes of those who think men are better than women will be changing. I think there has been much progress in this area. I think in this way, feminism is good. I am saddened and perplexed, however, at those Mormon Feminists who leave the church over these things. I wonder if they are "looking beyond the mark" so to speak, or imagining offenses that aren't really there. That's what I feel when I read their blogs and such. Anyway, thanks for a thought provoking post!

Cristi said...

P.S. I also wanted to say that I feel grateful that LDS men have the priesthood in this day and age where our society is trying to allow men to be stupid, lazy, selfish, and carnal. Through the priesthood, the Lord gives them the opportunity to be honored, to be responsible, and to be leaders and rise above the low expectations of our culture. I see it as a great blessing. In this way, they will reach their divine potential. I also feel Heavenly Father has never forgotten us women or ceased helping us reach our divine potential.

And I LOVE the idea of learning more about the Divine Feminine/ Heavenly Mother!

The Stucki's said...
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Charity Suzuki said...

Does this mean that you're going to stop shaving your arm pits?!?

Just kidding. :)

emily said...

thank you for this. every time I read or hear that someone else is a feminist let alone mormon and a feminist...it makes me so happy. I also feel happy to know you and your husband have worked out an equal partnership. that is something the mormon culture needs A LOT more of. I know many people read your blog and look up to you...so really, I appreciate you being this voice.

wonderwoman1975 said...

I grew up in Pennsylvania. My father, especially, was an active Mormon feminist. As the father of 4 girls, he had to be!! I was a tomboy, yet pretty and popular, athletic, as well as smart. Yet somehow, I absorbed the message that women weren't quite as equal as men.

Somehow? Oh, wait....I remember! Boys were more special at church, because they could pass the sacrament at age 12. (At least Jewish girls get a bat mitzvah.) When I realized that I could go on a mission, too, that was all I needed to look forward to doing something of equal spiritual import. (While overlooking the figurative pats on my head: 'Girls are so special! They can't serve until age 21 because we need to protect them! All women are future mothers! And on and on...'

When the Proclamation came out in 1995, it gave specific, prescribed gender roles. And then getting married in 1997 and discovering that my husband can learn my special temple name, but I can't know his. Realizing that I have to make a covenant with God through my husband, rather than directly with God myself. And the worst discovery of all: if I do all that is asked, obey all the commandments and honor my temple covenants, I get to be blessed with the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom . . . Wherein I will be 'blessed' to share my husband for eternity with other Celestial Sister Wives, wherein we all can be pregnant for eternity. Yikes.

No wonder the Brethren need to constantly hold women to a higher pedestal and praise us and honor us and tell us we are incredible, because actual Mormon Doctrine doesn't treat us equally, and they know it. No matter how you interpret it, or phrase it, or emphasize it, the actual practice and Doctrine elucidates it all.

The problem as I see it? Mormon women are just going to have worse problems reconciling this cognitive dissonance, because the next generation and future generations will NOT have as much patience as my generation and past generations.

Laurel Bogar said...

Strangely enough I went to bed last night crying about this exact thing. I wrote a blog post a couple days ago that to me was a message of love, but to some people in the lds church, and my ward had problems with. I felt (yesterday and many times in the past) unless I'm echoing an opinion of a male church leader that my own ideas have no value to other members of the church. I know this isn't everyones experience but it has certainly been mine. Its very discouraging to feel like I'm expected to mimic rather than form my own opinions. I woke up this morning and saw this post and felt so relieved to hear that I'm not the only one. Thanks!

Helen said...

Courtney, you are such a talented writer! I've just started reading your blog recently and love how authentic, personal, and truly thoughtful your posts are.

Jenny (also) said...

The Stucki 5 comments up sounds scary and super creepy?

The Stucki's said...
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Aleesa said...

BRAVA! When I was a young woman, I used to cry foul over the young men who played basketball every Thursday night while we young women worked on Personal Progress goals. One of the young men asked me disparagingly, "What, are you going to be a feminist when you grow up?" He didn't realize I already was!!
Welcome to the fight, Courtney.

Natalie Fairbourne said...

In my own home growing up, my mom was really resented the masoginistic attitude around her (all those brothers!), and she made me feel like if there was anything unequal it was that girls could do it better. However, if people think girls don't feel equal growing up in the church, the are turning a blind eye. I was enraged at age 8 that the boys went to cub scouts every week and I didn't. I totally resented their high adventure trips down south as a teenager, while I was learning to crochet. The boys get DOUBLE the budget in my ward ( I learned this in ward council, my words made the bishop very uncomfortable)To me, that screams, "boys are more important". It's not all about who does the dishes. It's bigger than that. We need more discussions like this, feminism in our church is GOOD in our church. Court, your my kind of peeps. See you at Costco.

Amber Marie said...

Thank you. I could not have articulated what I thought as I read this post any better.

Martha said...

i knew you were. i just knew it.

Jenny Hatch said...

The feminist movement in America was an economic marketing ploy to generate two income tax payers per household. Madison Avenue determined they could sell more stuff with two parents working full time.

Mommy substitutes are a huge sector of the economy.

It's sad to see those who pride themselves on being hip and informed fall for, embrace, and louly stand in solidarity with crass consumerism with a thin overlay of so called female empowerment.

As a proud anti feminist I love the earth friendly lifestyle of Sovereign Family Living.

Don't know that Joanna Brooks would ever want to hang with me, don't care...but it would be refreshing if those who claim to be educated truly understood the foundations of the idiologies they promote.

Jenny Hatch

Shauna said...

Does this mean you'd think it was okay if your husband started calling himself a "Male-ist" ? just sayin'.

Cristi said...

I Love what Rachel Chick said!

Amber said...

I also love what Rachel Chick said! Thank you for stepping up and voicing what so many others feel.

We are indebted to the tireless work of many women like Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton who secured the rights that we enjoy today.

But the original goals of both the first wave and the second wave of feminism have been met. What do we need now that we don't have?

Today, women have the right to vote.

Today, women can run and hold offices.

Today, mothers have MORE rights than fathers.

Today, women own property.

Today, women get paid more than men for the same number of years of work experience in the same job. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/04/16/its-time-that-we-end-the-equal-pay-myth/), and (http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13290-enough-already-with-the-women-get-paid-less-nonsense).

Today, girls exceed boys at every level of education from elementary on. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/25-fewer-men-women-graduate-college-obama-its-great-accomplishment-america), and (http://www.good.is/posts/women-now-earning-more-bachelor-s-and-graduate-degrees-than-men/), and (http://chronicle.com/article/Young-Women-Are-More-Likely/133980/).

Some congratulate this “achievement.” WHY? What happened to equality? Then again maybe that is not what they are after.

Today, women can file for divorce. In fact, women file for two-thirds of all divorces.(http://chronicle.com/article/Young-Women-Are-More-Likely/133980/).

Today, women have many options for birth control.

Today, women can have abortions.

We have achieved many important milestones. But what is left???

The tide has turned... and it is far from equality.

What is the feminist movement trying to achieve?

I have some ideas READ HERE (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/books/review/the-end-of-men-by-hanna-rosin.html?src=recg&_r=3&), and HERE (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/opinion/men-who-needs-them.html).

It seems feminism these days is about more than equality.

How sad.

Personally, I look forward to a day when people are no longer judged by their gender or race but by the content of their character.

theirondaisywrites said...

Amber,

Yes, all those accomplishments are great, aren't they? (And you should really check out the work done by suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns who deserve more credit than Stanton or Anthony for getting you the right to vote). If you think the work of feminism is done, you are seriously kidding yourself. Also, if you think these accomplishments are granted to women the world over, you need to expand your view. Watch or read "Half the Sky" and then come back here and tell me the work of feminism is done.

-In the U.S. 1 in 3 women are rape/molested/sexually abused in their lifetimes.
-An 11 year old in Texas is being blamed for being gang raped because she wore makeup.
-The number one cause of death during pregnancy is the woman being killed by her significant other.
-Out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives only 76 are women. 362 are men.
-Out of 100 members of the U.S. Senate 17 are women. 83 are men.
-Women are sold into sex slavery every single day in your country. Yes, this the United States. Not to mention all over the world like Northern India, Nepal, Thailand.
-Malala Yousfzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for demanding the right to an education (she is a 14 year old girl).
-Women aren't allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia.
-Check out child brides and the rates of fisutlas in Eastern Africa.
-70 million women last year were subjected to female genital mutilation.
-100 women are gang raped a day as a weapon of war in the DR Congo.

Yes Amber, it's easy to say that feminism has done it's job when you're a privileged woman living in a privileged country where your immediate person is not in constant danger. How about expanding your world view to your sisters around the world? Please tell them they don't need your empathy or protection because your life is pretty great and feminism has already done it's job for you.

thedavidpearson said...

I finally got to sit down and listen to Jamie's recording of the class. It was fascinating (although some parts had low quality). It was great. Thanks for sharing everything.

Brittany LeSueur said...

I am so glad I read this! Feminism can mean so many thing these days it is a hard one to define. I like your perspective on feminism. I just have so many feminist friends who are angry, and I get that, but that is where really understanding who you are comes in. I would not personally label myself as a feminist, but that is only because most of my feminist friends do not hold some of the same values and standards as I . So I guess the word hasn't quite resonated with me, but I still love and respect this nonetheless! I DO believe strongly in political, social, and economic equality of the sexes! My husband and I grew up in two completely different homes. He had an extremely traditional Mormon upbringing. His mom was an amazing stay-at-home mother and his Dad brought home the bacon while she, and only she attended to household chores. My mother had a full on career before me and even once I was born she worked full-time as a business owner. My Dad wasn't exactly the "pants" of the family, but he presided and honored his priesthood very well. Growing up I had no desire for marriage and little desire for motherhood (only because kids were so dang cute) Quite honestly I didn't believe that there were any good men left in this world, and if there were it still wasn't worth my time. My husband really changed that view for me. He is so helpful and so encouraging of me in my hopes and dreams. I chose to put my career and educational pursuits on pause to become a mother. It has been a difficult choice but one I find joy in each and every single day. I don't agree with girls growing up to be taught that they are inferior to men, or that they need to get married and have kids right away! I can't imagine the struggle you have been through because of this! I think that yes marriage and motherhood are essential and important things, but it is important to learn to trust in the Lord and His timing. Women need to find who they are as daughters of God and feel the love He has for them. That is a great and solid foundation to base your self-worth! I think when you truly know and feel God's love for you that you realize and understand that you have infinite worth just like every other person. Your life most definitely reflects this. I love reading your blog! Thanks for writing this. I love that you know who you are and don't worry too much about what everybody and their dog is going to say! Now that is girl power!!

Jenny Hatch said...

Amber,

Only LDS hipsters are naive enough to think that the Feminist movement has anything of value to offer to Family Life.

The wearing pants to church debate illustrated the pointlessness of the Feminist Mormon Housewives anger.

American women are the most prosperous and have the most leisure time of any generation of Mothers through human history. It saddens me to see so many intelligent women getting lost in fake rage when that energy could be put to so many more productive purposes.

But we all have to live and learn. Thanks for all of the links, I read most of those articles when they were published. Many thinking women of good will are questioning the end game of Feminism.

When the Vagina Monologues are being performed at every university in the land and Naomi Wolf writes a flop of a book titled Vagina that even Camilla Paglia pans I think we can safely assume we are solidly ensconced in a post feminist movement world.

We have nowhere to go but up. The dark, dank toxic world of Feminist Thought has been a blight, but we can choose to embrace the Divine Feminine and move forward freed from the shackles that have ruined so many marriages and left so many millions of children without a Father as part of their daily life.

Jenny Hatch
WWW.JennyHatch.com

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