Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Thoughts on Feminism...Kinda

I was looking today for a quote about amazing women. I stumbled onto a reference list on the Goodreads site which got me to thinking about something entirely different than why I went there in the first place.

Generally speaking, the quotes about women by men all lean towards extolling their mysterious virtues while simultaneously lamenting not being able to contain, imitate or understand those elements that make a woman WOMAN. There is always an element of sex to these sentiments – perhaps because that is the only way that men (mistakenly?)  believe they can dominate or control their gender counterpart. And perhaps it is in that moment of coupling where the only inkling of true understanding comes from, even if it is a momentary flash as brief as the climax itself.

Some of the quotes about women by women lean towards empowering women. Only women understand what their sex is capable of and the potential that lies within. So they try to encourage, to cheer, to urge their clan towards the greatness they know they can achieve, perhaps only while being supported by the sisterhood.  Sometimes those sentiments are angry, as they lash out at men who they view as their oppressors.

The other category of quotes by women about women from a Christian or religious standpoint are also encouraging, urging women towards their greater potential. The difference is that potential is viewed as being rooted in fulfilling their calling as wife and mother. There is a clear understanding of the feminine mission as defined by the Judeo-Christian value system.

On the outside, it would appear that the two viewpoints are completely different. It seems that many of my sisters who are expressing their desire to be recognized as equal, or to be treated more fairly, think that it is religion that restricts them. That may be true, the bit about “religion” restricting them, but I don’t believe it’s God that’s imposing those restrictions on them. Nor do I believe that it’s the men “in charge” imposing those restrictions, either.

Don’t misunderstand – I’m not necessarily saying that the restrictions are wrong or right. My opinion on those specifics doesn’t matter. No, what does matter is that there is a divide between women who all want the same – the right to live up to their potential. What they define as their potential is individual and unique, and while everyone has that desire, no one else has the right to impose those beliefs on anyone else.

But that potential can never be achieved for as long as women fall divided by the definition of what it means to be a woman. And perhaps that’s the issue – a Mormon feminist's definition who believes that attending the General Priesthood Session will somehow make her ... freer is not mine, and trying to make it be so will only serve to distance me from her, thereby making it so I don’t want to link arms with her in unity.

This statement by Timothy Leary I agree with wholeheartedly: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” Exactly right. I don’t seek equality – I seek fairness. I seek the right to pursue my dreams, my goals, my potential as defined by me and yes, by my God. Disagreeing with her does not make me wrong, it makes me different, and that’s okay.


Here are some of the quotes on the Goodreads site that inspired these thoughts:

“You see, women have been essential to every great move of God. Yes, Moses led the Isaelites out of Egypt, but only after his mother risked her life to save him! Closer to our time, Clara Barton was instrumental in starting the Red Cross. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin put fire into people's heart to end slavery in the United States. Rosa Parks kicked the Civil Rights movement into gear with her quiet act of courage. Eunice Kennedy Shriver created the Special Olympics. Mother Teresa inspired the world by bringing love to countless thought unlovable. And millions of other women quietly change the world every day by bringing the love of God to those around them.” 
Stasi Eldredge, Your Captivating Heart: Unveil the Beauty, Romance, and Adventure of a Woman's Soul

“To force a female to do things in male fashion is not equal opportunity, it is distorted idealism.” 
Gregory Hartley, I Can Read You Like a Book: How to Spot the Messages and Emotions People Are Really Sending with Their Body Language

The one that surprised me the most, not because of the sentiment, but because of the person who said it: “Women make up one half of society. Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated.” 
Saddam Hussein, The Revolution and Woman in Iraq


  1. Wow, that quote by Saddam Hussein is really interesting.
    I think that women being educated and liberated is all fine and good, but sometimes it just crosses the line into being competitive and tough and mean and man-hating. I'm not sure where I stand on feminism because so many people think of it as meaning such different things.
    I could go on and on but I'll stop.

  2. I appreciate your insights. Thanks, Laura. Very well said.