I have spent most of my teenage and adult life fighting the thought that feminism is immoral. When I read about women fighting for the rights of women, I agree with their quests wholeheartedly. When I hear the stories of women being mistreated, devalued or debased solely on their gender, I know it isn't right. I have lived most of my life in an era where women's rights are stretching and trying to become equal to men's. It is nothing like the inequality facing women of one hundred years ago, seventy years ago, or even fifty. But there remains a discrepancy between the sexes.
I find it offensive that men like to use a woman's ability to bear children as the equalizer in the inequalities. "Oh, I think women are far above men because they can bear children and I cannot." Yes, but you can pee wherever you want, so there's that. And there are many women who cannot have children, so does that make them less worthy of equal treatment? It is a faulty argument.
Obviously our bodies are made differently and we perform separate duties in procreating. Our hormones are different, our hair grows differently. Nobody is contesting that our bodies and their functions should be the same.
How are we treated in our homes, communities, workplaces, and religions? This is where feminism is concerned. It is OK to question inequities and strive for fair treatment. It does not make you a zealot or an unworthy nutjob.
But somehow it is viewed as OK to think that people are extreme and foolish who want comparable treatment and consideration for both genders.
I hope that my kids never consider feminism to be a negative word or cause. Just as I hope that they understand all races and nationalities are children of the same God, I hope that they know that both genders are equally important and valuable. And not just for their reproductive organs, but because they are all human.
I love this article written by Carol Lynn Pearson in the 1980s about gender treatment in the LDS church. It is called "A Walk in Pink Moccasins":
Men cannot possibly know what it is like to be a female child in a Motherless House unless they are given a glimpse into what it would be like to be a male child in a Fatherless House. I have had for years a daydream in which I invite men to walk a mile in the pink moccasins. I become one of the Presiding Sisters, speaking to the “boys of comparable age.” The fact that this glimpse is fairly shocking and leaves us disoriented demonstrates the extent to which we have all become acclimated to absurdity, to being assured that a Motherless House is normal.
“My dear young brethren, it is such a delight to be able to speak to you today. Your faces and your clothing look so clean and fresh. I know that our Mother in Heaven is pleased as she looks down on you this day. And I want, first of all, to convey to you the fact that our Mother loves you. I am persuaded that She loves you just as much as she loves her daughters, and I hope you can believe that.
“And what a marvelous plan She has laid out for you! What a glorious role you are called to fill! How you must have rejoiced in spirit as She created the earth and placed there her crowning creation, Eve, the first and perfect woman. But of course our Mother could see that Eve was not complete, that she needed a worthy helpmeet to assist her in the great work she was called to do. And so this is where you come in, dear brethren. A rib from Eve’s own body was fashioned into the body of Adam, and he was given her as a friend and helpmeet. What a glorious and noble calling! So important was he to Eve, and so important the commandment her Mother had given, that even when Adam sinned because he was deceived, Eve knowingly sinned with him so they could remain together.
“And over the centuries how you must have rejoiced as the plan unfolded further–through the great Matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel–as our Mother’s holy prophetesses continued to reveal her word to us, as woman after woman was sent to do important work, making us all better people so that we could bless the lives of our husbands and children.
“Keep yourselves clean and pure, dear brethren, that one day one of our Mother’s choice daughters might look with favor upon you, claim you as her own, and give to you the glorious privilege of serving as her helpmeet, adding glory unto her as she adds glory unto the Mother.
“And do not listen to the voices that cry out to you from the world. We are living in dark and evil times. Satan herself desires you. Do not listen to the voices that tell you you are suppressed, that entice you to a thing called full personhood and freedom. The role of man has always been made clear by God Herself. The place he occupies in our Mother’s plan is not in question–it is now, always has been, and always will be to stand by the side of woman, assisting her in the great work she has been given to do.
“It is true that new doors are opening for man to contribute in many fields besides his primary one, and we are glad when a man shows talents and abilities in a wider range of service. We encourage this. We are proud of the achievements of our fine young men.
“And as the light of our Mother grows brighter in this world we learn even more of the glorious truths concerning manhood, that it is intended indeed to be a partnership with woman. In fact, one of the truths of our age, and I believe with all my heart this is a truth even though we don’t want to talk about it and even though the words were written by a man–somewhere we’ve a Father there! Imagine! Somewhere we’ve a Father there!”In my daydream, when the dust of the shock settles, the men nod their heads and say, “I see,” and they are never quite the same again.