Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Re: Idealist, Pragmatic, and Cynical Feminists

So a post over at The Exponent II Blog is discussing three different types of feminism within the framework of the LDS Church. I think this topic is fascinating and would like to expound on it.

I think there are times when I fall under each category, but I feel I balance most in between pragmatic and idealist feminism. I'm pragmatic in the sense that I understand change needs to be slow, and specifically regarding church, I learn to pick my battles when someone says something I disagree with in Sunday School or when someone claims that Mormonism and feminism and mutually exclusive. I tend to compromise, especially on issues regarding family and woman's role as wife and mother.

On the other hand, I'm definitely an idealist. There have been very painful times in my life where I wished, more than anything, that we could all just understand that men and women have the exact same divine potential and that our differences are only temporal in nature.

My idealism is what keeps me faithful; my pragmatism is what keeps me going to church.

However, I can be a cynic. There are times when it seems to make more sense to believe that women are some how inherently inferior to men, and that I some how need to find a way to be okay with eternal subservience. I've been thinking about this a lot lately within the context of man and woman's intelligences and genders being coeternal with God. If gender is a law that God Himself can't transcend, then how are there differences? What in the beginning (for lack of a better, non-temporal term) caused women to be so different from men that we're inferior?

I have an analogy about my testimony in that it's like a bookshelf. I have lots of books, and some of them I really like and will read them over and over again because I understand them (like Christ as my friend, or Joseph Smith as a prophet). Other books, however, I've glanced at the table of contents or flipped through the first few pages of each chapter and realized that there's no way I can understand them. So I put them on my shelf for a future time when I'll be able to understand them. Women's seeming inherent inferiority to men seems to be growing by volumes, but perhaps one day I'll be able to pick it up, read it, understand it, and be okay with it.

Here's to hoping.

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