Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Blah, Blah, Blah... Girl Power, Feminism, Whatevah"

First of all, let me just say that I really, really, really loved every comment I got about my last blog post. Whether you posted something on Blogger's comments, on Facebook, sent emails, or even shared your thoughts through old-fashioned face-to-face conversation, I really appreciated everyone.

I know my opinion isn't the only one, nor the right fit for everyone, but I love engaging in discussion and want to elaborate on my opinions. However -- and that's a big however -- before I do that, I wanted to lay the groundwork for what I think it means to be a feminist.

I know I joked about the "F-word," but I really do think feminism has gotten too much bad press. For starters, many people think it is an attack on the family, which I absolutely do not believe. I had so much respect and love for my own mom growing up and I know it was because she was an intelligent, empowered, successful, educated woman. Not in spite of it.

But I don't think all intelligent, empowered, successful, educated women fit into one mold. I think the majority of women would agree that all women should be able to do whatever they want to do -- whether that is to stay at home to raise a beautiful family, or become the president of the United States.

Despite this common agreement, there are still so many awesome women who preface their gender opinions with "I'm not a feminist, but..."

I can't speak for everyone, but I assume people feel the need for this preface because feminists have a reputation for being angry, frustrated, cold, and generally unhappy people. Not exactly the first person you would invite to a dinner party.

It is for this reason, I really hope you have had the chance to watch the cinematic masterpiece of "Spice World."

If you didn't watch it between the years of 1997 and 2000, you will probably never ever see it. In the year 3000, when people are finally digging up all those time capsules, they will find the "Spice World" VHS and probably watch it then, but you really can't watch it in 2013.

Even I, a die-hard fan of the Spice Girls who memorized every song down to the zig-a-zig-ah,  recorded many impromptu music videos on the family JVC, and even performed as a Posh Spice lookalike in a Wasatch Elementary talent show, cannot watch "Spice World" from start to finish anymore.

It's not because they just so happen to run across extra terrestrials:

Or because they deliver this baby without the help of anyone except what looks like a school nurse:
Or even that their plush, double-decker tour bus jumps Tower Bridge:

Where they really lost me is when they are balancing atop said bus in THESE shoes:

So, yeah. Unless you watched "Spice World" at a sleepover, on a sugar high, in the 90s, don't bother. I'm just here to say you did miss out on some serious Girl Power messages like this one:
Seriously powerful stuff.

Some Spice Girls critics (I know what you're thinking; "How could anyone be critical of the Spice girls?!") have said that the Girl Power movement was just to put mothers at ease when their pre-teen girls were obsessed with a girl-band who seemed to be promoting the if-I'm-wearing-boots-I-don't-need-pants movement. But I don't think we should be quite so harsh to Girl Power.

Girl Power was all about the camaraderie between girls, and dare I say, women. It was about feeling strong and being who you want to be. Even though the Spice Girls were not the ideal role models, at least they got the ball rolling. I mean, if four British girls can stand on stilts on top of a moving bus, (Posh was driving, of course, otherwise it would be five) what can't girls do?

But the best part about Girl Power is that it didn't take itself too seriously, unlike its ultra-serious older sister: Feminism. Now, I am the first person to say that women should be taken more seriously, and take themselves more seriously. But Feminism as a whole needs to lighten up a bit. By taking a little advice from Girl Power, Feminism can be more approachable, gain a larger following, and make more changes in this world.

I know my logic has been tangential at best, but this is my plea to start using the "F word" more. If you think women are smart, capable, strong, beautiful, and divine, call yourself a feminist. If you think women have just as important a role in this world as anyone else, call yourself a feminist. If you are proud to be a woman, call yourself a feminist.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


The "F" word.

Sometimes I think hearing this "F" word is more shocking to members of a Sunday school class than if you were to shout the other one from the pulpit. Even if you drop it casually in the middle of your comment in Relief Society, heads turn around like dominoes to take a look-see at the blasphemer.

Pretty soon the situation morphs into the mob logic from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Okay, it's probably not that bad. Certainly it's not as bad as 30 years ago. Like when one of my mom's law school professors asked her how she dared take the opportunity to go to law school from a man who is trying to put bread on the table. As if her aspirations to make a difference in her family, not to mention the world, were completely obsolete.

But even though many people have allowed their views on women to evolve, there are still many who balk at feminism.

If you know me at all you likely know where I stand on this spectrum. And if you're friends with me on Facebook you have probably seen that even a smack of misogyny will get more than an earful from me. In fact, even typing the word misogyny has my adrenaline pumping.

But I'm not the kind of feminist that comes to mind for so many people in the church.

For instance, I don't hate men. I usually really like men. There's one in particular who I'm absolutely crazy about. In fact, men today have got to be some of the best men that have ever lived. Seriously. They certainly smell the best -- at the very least.

You also don't need to worry about hiding your bras from me, lest they spontaneously combust. Bras are pretty all right in my book. Without them, I couldn't have pretended that I had boobs in middle school. And nearly half of high school. So yeah; pretty grateful to those things.

I'm also not an angry tyrant who is always looking for a soapbox so she can yell at people about Roe v. Wade and lock women out of their kitchens. As someone who is adopted and very easily could have been aborted, I think the pinnacle of womanhood is someone who takes responsibilities for their actions -- especially when it involves a human life. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices it took to bring me, an inconvenient baby, into this world.

And I really like to cook. I don't think there is anything demeaning about going into the kitchen with odds and ends that are merely edible and coming out with something that is beautiful to nearly all of your senses. Oh yes. Food talks to me.

However, just because things right now are good, doesn't mean they are perfect. I believe we live in a fallen world with attitudes toward gender that are far from Godlike. Even though we have come remarkably far as a society and as a Church, I still think we have far to go before we achieve Zion status.

So many men in the Church are so respectful of women. Kind, gentle, chivalrous, even to the point of reverence. And without being ungrateful to these men, I would just like to say that so much of it isn't doing my gender any favors. Being put on a pedestal means you can't keep climbing. It means you stop pushing yourself to grow and be better. Since eternal progression is such a central tenet of our religion, I don't see how women can really have arrived at our final destination.

Which is why I -- as a mere mortal and someone of no special authority to speak for the Church or anyone else -- believe women should be ordained to the priesthood.

There. I said it.

Now before you go raising your eyebrows and thinking I'm one of those people who likes to just spew false doctrine, let me tell you that my opinions on this matter have been the result of countless prayers, visits to the temple, scripture readings, and even burnings in the bosom.  All of which are tender experiences I feel urged to share -- but in later posts, lest this one become a novel.

I will share one thought, however, that started shaping my opinions on this matter. The following quote is an excerpt of an interview President Hinckley did with David Ransom in 1997:

DR: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. ...
DR: Is it possible that the rules [for the priesthood] could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks?

Gordon B. Hinckley: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

DR: So you’d have to get a revelation?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. 

I believe that God takes our prayers very seriously and wants to answer them. Because of this, I think God is waiting until the people in His Church are ready for new revelation. This isn't a belief I feel I need to impose on everyone around me.

However, it would make me feel pretty awesome if you would treat my opinion like it came from an educated, faithful, and mostly-rational person. I promise I will try to do the same. Let's just come together in the belief that "He denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God" and leave it at that.