Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Of feminists and fraternities

I’m not even on Facebook anymore, but it seems I’ve been inundated with articles, blog posts, and people talking about women and the priesthood, prayers, and pants.  In all of this I think there have been some good points, but I’ve failed to once see the most obvious: nowhere is it better to be a woman than the church.

I can find no secular or religious institution where women are more fulfilled or free to progress.  I am the beneficiary of a church (and culture) that encourages me to follow my desires to have kids despite being poor and young; to get an education and use it to serve humanity; that raises its men to revere womanhood, motherhood, the tender and divine.     

Granted, the church culture hasn’t and isn’t perfect.  Even as I disagree with many of the claims from feminist organizations against the church, their role has been vital to helping the church clarify what is doctrine and what is culture; the result is that there’s no place I’d rather be.

I can’t help feeling the call to give women the priesthood is simply a desire to be taken more seriously.  In this, I think there is some legitimacy to their claims (not that getting the priesthood would change that).  Some may say that that is because women don't have the priesthood and in turn equate that with lack of authority, but I think it has more to with sacchrine talks or perhaps the budget for decorations at ward parties. But when otherwise thinking women leave the church over irrelevant church policy or historical minutia, that’s what we were left with so if you have a hard time with the lack of variety in women personalities in the church; blame the apostates for leaving.

That said, for women to be taken more seriously in the church I think we, as women, need to take ourselves more seriously.

It was interesting that the prayers and pants issue was being brought up right about the same time that Stephen and I happened to walk past a porch of a fraternity house at UPenn packed with 30 or so drunken men chanting loudly in unison about raping women as several coeds watched casually from the sides. Seeing that this is coming from an Ivy League institution that should be recruiting among the brightest and best, I can’t help but feel that true feminists would have bigger battles to fight right now than whether women are saying prayers twice a year or wearing pants.

Christ asked his disciples: “Will you also go away?’ and Simon Peter answered  ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:67)


hosander said...

not that you are looking to read more, but my sister started this blog http://indefenseofwomen.wordpress.com/
it's pretty good.

Beth said...

Awesome post, Rachel! I completely agree with your thoughts here. Very well said!

I've seen a lot about it lately too. Actually I didn't think much about it until I started having friends bringing these ideas up (on facebook of course) and then it gave me pause. Do you want to hear my take on the women and the Priesthood issue? This is not as nice as a conversation--normally at this point you could say, "No, Beth. I don't." :) But oh well. (I wish I could make it sometime to the Google hangouts!)

I think part of the problem is that when the Savior said, "But he that is agreatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11), we don't take Him seriously. We teach that it doesn't matter where you serve in the Church, but rather how you serve and THAT you serve. But we often don't live this. It's human nature to equate authority and position with value. CEO's are the most valued person in a company, etc. We fall into the trap of thinking Bishops or people with authority are more valuable to the ward than say...nursery workers (which, honestly, we kind of view as the Goulag). This translates into all view of authority. We fall into the trap of thinking we need authority to be valuable--when Christ made it so clear: the greatest in the kingdom isn't the one with authority, it is the one who serves (which of course is what the Priesthood is all about anyway).

You're completely right. We aren't taking ourselves seriously. We aren't taking seriously the service we do and can give. And we aren't taking the Savior seriously.

Beth said...

By the way, that UPenn experience is downright scary. Especially with all the buzz about recent rape cases.

Ruth said...

Insightful Rachel. If they're going to take the issue up with the church, they're taking the easy way. The men in the church aren't going to call them nasty names and treat them like trash like they'd be treated by almost all other institutions or groups following cultural norms. I happened to unintentionally watch MTV a few weeks ago at a store and was shocked at how terrible women were treated by men in popular pop culture.

Erin said...

My thoughts exactly. Thanks.

Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

You make some really great points here. I especially love how the church teaches men to respect women and children and protect and provide for them. What wife wouldn't love a husband who is 100% faithful to them, who doesn't view pornography, who spends quality time with her and the kids, and who supports her decision to stay home with her children without pressuring her to work unless she wants to.

Nicole said...

My thoughts exactly Rachel and Mary! I got to go to a relief society activity this week while Joseph stayed at home with the 4 kids. I invited my neighbor but her husband didn't want to be alone with their two kids...This among many other things I've seen/heard in our non member friends (drinking parties, poker night, gambling weekends and non stop video gaming, etc...) makes me appreciate more and more and more how wonderful it is to be a woman in the LDS church. Joseph even commented that men who have families they are committed too rarely think to spend time any other way. I think its great!