Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Venting Housewife Speaks

A few weeks back I was with a group of friends that I blog with over at Conversation. The evening went very well, and it was so nice to finally meet these incredible women and put a face to their words. However, at one point ,as I am want to do, I spewed forth my passionate opinion in a way that came off as a confused mess of words; more than likely not ones that expressed what I was really trying to say, but rather just words.

The subject was "feminism". A hot one for sure and one that I am indeed passionate about. I used to label myself as a feminist. Now I try not to label myself at all, because as I have grown older I realize that everything is black and white, but also shades of gray. (here comes that split personality...) It's is like the story of Les Miserables. Stealing is stealing and to take something that is not yours is wrong. But if you are starving and take a loaf of bread to survive it is much different than stealing a car just for the thrill of it. Black and white, shades of gray.

Feminism. S'mee has incredible problems living in a society that is considered to be the leader of the world in human rights, yet denies so many of these basic rights still. S'mee thinks all of the Congress, Senate and local leaders should "vacation" in the Ozarks for two weeks and live as the Mountain Folk do. Perhaps then we could get somewhere with medical aide, and social programs that would actually help. We have third world conditions within our own borders that seem to elude most of us. Have we not seen the mentally ill out on the street? Have we not witnessed the "not in my back yard" attitude that places more ill in neighborhoods that are to the brink already?

In 2005 how can the United States of America allow states to refuse entrance to country clubs due to religion and race and in some cases sex? However S'mee can understand the rights of refusal to allow entrance to religious buildings due to one's religion and adherence to its' particular laws. It's a conundrum.

S'mee is horrified at the reality of the situation of women in many countries around the world where women are not only devalued, but ignored as human beings. This is where the feminists should focus passions.

S'mee is angry that in some states in our blessed Union, women have lip service as far as their legal rights, but in reality men abuse their power and these same women are underpaid and worse. Case in point, S'mee's daughters having a more difficult time receiving grants, scholarships, and loans, due to their sex and marital status and lack of children.; while men and minorities with the exact same qualification as these young women are eligible for loans, aide, etc.. The U.S. and state governments encourage single women to have children out of wedlock in order to receive financial aide. (#3 was asked to get pregnant without marriage and #5 was told that "your mom needs to be dead and your dad needs to be in prison" before either would qualifiy for certain loans/aide. Both daughters have GPA's 3.9 and above and always have.) This is a "legal" way to oppress women.

S'mee agrees that there are true reasons to be and to label oneself as "feminist". However, S'mee feels it rediculous to label oneself as a feminist and then complain about the oppressions one places upon herself. If I allow you to oppress me, who's fault is it? If I choose to be abused, who is the abuser? I am not talking about women who find themselves in situations, marriages or countries where they have been lulled into abuse. S'mee has and continues to work with Domestic Violence Shelters and acknowledges the patterns of abuse that lead to psychological slavery. I am talking about making free and clear choices and then complaining about it when we could change it if we would. About allowing someone to demean me in my presence and not taking a stand to correct it.

S'mee gets angry at women who, through their "own free will and choice", have said "yes" to husband and children and then complain about their "burdens". Women who live in relative freedom to do as they wish, with husbands who work (either alone or along side of the same women) for the benefit of the family and then complain about their living conditions.

These same women gripe and complain about the silliest things, things which given a few years perspective will appear as just that - silly. Women who have been given challenges such as, "Change Diaper, gasp, make dinner, gasp, pay bills, gasp, doctors appointments, gasp, odd jobs to make ends meet, gasp, entertain 3 young’en, gasp, clean clean clean, gasp, ballet lessons, gasp, avoid punks, gasp, blog, gasp, practice piano, gasp, prepare sunday school lesson, gasp, panic, panic, gasp, gasp. Ahhhhh !!!!!!"1 ; they chose to receive, and then are upset because this is all they have to accomplish. You are the mom. You chose to be a mom. You can act like the mom. Moms have to teach right and wrong and keep the offspring alive and relatively healthy. (Mosiah 4:14-15) You can say "no" once in a while. No one said your kids had to do every thing they want; that food had to be this or that, trendy clothes, or to go to every party they are invited to; no one said the dishes couldn't wait an hour or two or even overnight. You don't have to beat yourself up trying to be the best in town, just the best you.

Did I miss something here? Did the woman who wrote this complaint live in a cave before she was drug -blindfolded, ear plugged, and gagged and forced at gunpoint into her situation, never knowing what was in store for her as a married mother of -gasp- 3 young'en? I think this and statements similar to it reflect the youth, inexperience and ignorance of the authors. Statements like the above make it sound as if this woman was not responsible for her consequences. Perhaps she could have written the following as an explanation. "I was so uneducated about American society and motherhood. I was unobservant as to what it meant to say "yes" to all this. I never noticed my own home life as a child or young adult, I never read a book, I never watched a movie or t.v. I was so self absorbed as a child/young woman that I actually thought married life would be different! I didn't realize that I myself stayed at home needing a mom for 18+ years. I don't know how to say to my husband, "I am pooped, I need help." I had no idea the lug that I married was this way before I chose to marry him. He changed and I stayed the same as I was in high school, pretty, slim, and sweet. I don't know how to communicate my needs and wants and I just take whatever is dished out. I want to complain because I was duped!"

S'mee is frantic with the "feminists" who attached themselves to any religion and then complain about its' statutes and laws. (This does not include women who have grown up in repressive societies where "religion" has been chosen for them, without free will.) Women who accept covenants and laws and receive gifts, keys, and blessings knowing the rewards/consequences and then complain at being uncomfortable with their choice. Women who stand united and raise their hands to sustain leaders and then complain about whom they "sustain". Women who do accept these things, then complain about them say to the world, "I was ignorant and made the choice without regard to the result. I went in blind and came out mad." The women who write these complaints seem educated and able to read, why have they chosen so wrongly? And, whose fault is their condition?

Women who vote for this leader or that and then complain while said leader is in office. Women who complain about the children of the world who are essentially slave labour in foreign countries, and workers of both genders who are enslaved in off shore companies and then turn around and shop at Banana Republic, Jones New York, Abercrombie and Fitch, and other "fine" manufacturers who do such practices as "good business". Women who shop Walmart because they want to pay less while others are being paid less due to their sex to work and maintain the store (and it's profit margin). Women who say they are feminists who really just are self-ists.

S'mee thinks most (not all) of these women have latched onto a cause in an effort to vent their self anger and blame someone else for their poor choices. Women who need validation from other "smart intelligent" women instead of finding their own worth. Women who, for some odd reason, can't feel their own worth because they are worried about the differences in biological functions. Women who buy into what they hear instead of searching it out for themselves, or who close their minds to the fact that they just might learn something later they don't understand now. Women who forget that there is always Someone smarter and that eventually all things will make sense; eventually can mean in a year or two, or eternally. Women who think they are as smart as they will ever be and no one else understands more than they. Women who by their own words say they are valued, but search out daily those who would demean them and devalue them. They feed upon the muck of the world instead of really making a difference. They gather together like geese, and snap at anyone who oppose them in view. Isn't that a main point of feminism? To allow each individual the right to think their own thoughts? Perhaps it only means you have the right to agree with me but not to disagree, or you are stupid, uneducated, or have your head in the sand. ( I know, I can hear you now. I have just said the same. But at least I am acknowledging I can be wrong.)

I propose feminism to be a doctrine advocating the social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. If that means you are upset about your religion, leave it. If your boyfriend is a jerk don't marry him. If your husband demeans you, correct him. If you don't want to be a mom, don't become pregnant in the first place. If anyone abuses or demeans you, don't put up with it, do something meaningful to change that. Use your votes in ways that matter. Work for the things that will matter in the long run. Do not accept lower wages for the same quality work and do not support merchants who do. Stop shopping without researching where and how it came into that store. Stop worrying about being the same as your neighbors, you're not and you never will be. Stop killing yourself trying to be what others want you to be. Find your own value and build your relationship with God. Stop mocking sacred things you do not yet have a full understanding of.

If I say that I am XYZ then people who read me will assume, whether for good or ill, that all I say somehow reflects on XYZ. There is a responsibility I have to try to represent XYZ folk in a reasonable manner. If I then choose to ridicule XYZ folk, practices, or leaders that is also a reflection. I hope that what I choose to proclaim does not reflect poorly on that which I deem most high and of value, including my own sex.

Perhaps some of these women could re-label themselves, Venting Housewives, and it would be more appropriate.

1. quote taken from the blog "Feminist Mormon Housewives"

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