Recently, I’ve been reading the always controversial Feminist Mormon Housewives a lot, and it’s been pissing me off. I am really mad at men right now.
As the stories continued to flood in of men holding incredibly wrong-headed ideas about women, I ground my teeth. I pulled my hair out. I rubbed my eyes in exhaustion and snorted in disgust. I’m not perfect by any means, but I had grown up with strong women – my mother was a strong, opinionated woman who, when she deferred to my father, it was out of respect, to keep the peace, or because the issue wasn’t as important to her. Meanwhile, I never saw my father tell my mother what to do or force her to do anything. She was intelligent, she was compassionate, she was capable, and she did not take lip from her children, that’s for sure.
My sister is studying for medicine. She is engaged to a great guy (congratulations!) and all the guys in Seattle chased her, but when she moved to Utah, the dates quickly disappeared to a small trickle. I often wondered if it was because my sister actually wanted to pursue a career, had strong opinions, and wouldn’t back down from them. While interacting with many Utahn/Mormon men, these qualities I always considered strengths they considered detriments.
My prom date went to John Hopkins to study medicine. My old high school crush climbs cliffs and teaches children. My best friends who were girls went on to do many great things all over the world. My wife today is an inventory specialist and internal auditor for an fine import company. If anyone challenges her accounting prowess, she will put him in his place. Despite all of her strong characteristics, she loves emailing clients best because of her unusual name – people think she’s a man. And once they find out she’s actually a woman, even if it’s months after dealing business with her, they immediately treat her differently, as if she was stupid or weak.
And if anyone tells me that my mother, or my sister, or my wife should know “their place,” I may just knock their teeth out. After all, when it comes to their “capability as a woman,” the women in my life have already proved them wrong, over and over and over again.
I, lucky me, was not in want when it came to strong women in my life. And it has blessed my life greatly.
Whenever men complain about a girl who didn’t make out with him or sleep with him even though he paid so much money for the date, I gnash my teeth because he essentially looks at dating as socially acceptable prostitution, not a courtship ritual for learning the personality of a woman you like.
Whenever men treat a woman condescendingly, whenever they insinuate that her place is in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant, whenever they insinuate that the entire purpose of a wife can be boiled down to (1) look pretty, and (2) make babies, I wish hard that I was a benevolent dictator in charge of a widespread eugenics program.
Whenever I see an article that tells men to dump their girlfriends who can discuss philosophy because it shows those women are insecure and hide behind a false veneer of intellectualism to mask it (true story), I want to scream and yell and kick and rip out their throats and arms so that they can no longer continue to disseminate such horrible misinformation.
And even more so, I despair to see women who know nothing else, who internalize these messages designed to keep them believing they are somehow inferior, somehow ill suited for complex tasks or complex intelligence. I hate it when my wife, after one of my feminist rants, looks at me and says, calmly, “Yes, theoretically this is all true, but in reality, none of this is true. Too many men and too many women believe in these artificial constructs of themselves.” Because I know in my heart that she may be right.
Who are these men, who profess to revere and love their mothers and wives, and yet look so poorly down upon them? Do they ignore their cognitive dissonance out if ignorance, or because it disturbs their convenient world view? As I sit wondering if we will ever approach anything close to Zion in my lifetime, my heart despairs. How can we, when we continue to systematically abuse and degrade 50% of our population, all the while justifying it as if God wants His daughters to suffer?