What is Feminism?

By: wheatmeister
September 7, 2013

feminist

Do you believe women should have equal rights to men?

  • yes (99%, 106 Votes)
  • no (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 107

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Would you support legislation that supported equal rights for men and women?

  • yes (94%, 92 Votes)
  • no (6%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 98

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Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

  • yes (81%, 87 Votes)
  • no (19%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 107

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If you answered no to question 3, what is your definition of feminism?  This will be interactive, and we will add your choices to the poll as we receive them.  But for now, here’s two options:

What do you think is the best definition of feminism?

  • Men and women should be treated equally (82%, 72 Votes)
  • It is about achieving a distorted ideal of equality. (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Women are trying to gain power over men (6%, 5 Votes)
  • It is man hating usurpation (0%, 0 Votes)
  • It erodes society’s legal and moral framework (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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102 Responses to What is Feminism?

  1. Lorian on September 7, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Interesting. There are currently 8 voters for each question, including question 4. I’m assuming the same 8 people voted. All 8 voters voted on question 1 that they believe men and women should have equal rights. Likewise, all 8 voters voted that they believe feminism means that women and men should have equal rights. And yet, 2 voters voted on question 3 that they do not consider themselves “feminists.” How funny that someone (or two someones) who believes that men and women should have equal rights, and that this is the definition of “feminism,” still do not consider themselves feminists.

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  2. Hedgehog on September 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Getting weirder. 27 votes for question 3 (3 of them negative, 24 positive). But only 25 (all positive votes for question 1), whilst for question 2, 22 votes (only 20 would vote for legislation, and two would not). On question 4, 23 votes for option a and 1 for option b.

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  3. Paul on September 8, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Feminism is about achieving a distorted ideal of equality. Many feminists who I interact with argue that women deserve “equality” with men, which to them means jobs, income, and positions of power and authority. But when I ask them if they will relinquish their seat on the lifeboat to me and accept the icy fate that historically would be my privilege, I am met with an angry silence and a look of contempt. What was that about equality again?

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  4. Casey on September 8, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    That’s because your example is dumb and divorced from the real world, Paul. And feminists aren’t all women, my friend.

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  5. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Feminism is not easily defined or resolved in any black and white discussion because males and females are simultaneously both similar and different – think of overlapping bell curves. Add to this the fact that the world has changed mostly obsoleting the once highly valued male traits of generally greater physical strength and fear control and birth control has largely placed the timing of pregnancies in women’s hands. This made a underclass of women who were previously either protected or chattel depending on your viewpoint, belief and experience. Ideally feminism is about rebalancing this imbalance but like any grassroots movement it can be and often is sidetracked by special interests or by the angry lobbying for imbalances in the other direction. In addition historically feminists issues have been hampered by disagreement among their own gender, certainly this is true today with LDS feminism, more LDS men support their altruist goals than LDS women. When women agree society changes in that direction, when they don’t the status quo is sustained. Today it is easily argued that it is LDS women more than men who are holding women back.

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  6. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Paul, when was the last time you needed to use a lifeboat?

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  7. Paul on September 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    It is simply an example, one that is apparently antiquated. I use it to point out the absurdity of the position of “equality.”

    Are men and women equally physically (physical strength, ability to give birth, stature, secondary sexual characteristics)? Absolutely not. How does one go about ensuring physical equality? Science does not yet have the capacity. Plus, anytime this is brought up, it is dismissed as an idiotic idea. And it should be, because it is idiotic.

    Are men and women equal in society? Do they have the same opportunities for employment and career advancement, for income, for education? Do they have political voice? Are they in positions of power and authority in equal numbers? Do they share responsibilities within the family? These questions are far more interesting, and the way people answer these is very revealing of their own values and world view. I can’t answer these questions here for every conceivable situation and group of people. So I’ll use the example Howard brings up of the role of women in the LDS church.

    Many women in the LDS Church(tm) feel disenfranchised because the positions of power and authority within the organizational hierarchy are not open to them. This is completely correct. They are disenfranchised. They are kept from positions of authority. There are movements that seek for women to be “ordained to the priesthood,” to perform the roles of bishop, high counselor, stake president, etc. But this goal is short-sighted because it fails to recognize the fundamental problem with women in the LDS church and their apparent disenfranchisement: positions of power and authority undermine the priesthood of God, and in fact are signs of apostasy and wickedness.

    Christ stated that the “greatest” among you shall be your servant. This is the antithesis to holding positions of authority. Joseph Smith espoused the philosophy of (and I paraphrase) teaching people correct principles and allowing them to govern themselves. I appreciate the current discussion in the church about the role of women. What began with questioning why women are denied certain leadership positions led me to question why these positions of power/authority exist at all.

    From my experience, “feminism” aims entrench power hierarchies and ensure women a place therein, rather than undermining power hierarchy itself and liberating both men and women from the abuses of unrighteous dominion.

    Granted, “feminism” is a term subject to many definitions. A “feminist” who seeks to abolish rather than entrench power hierarchies has my staunch support.

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  8. nate on September 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    “Today it is easily argued that it is LDS women more than men who are holding women back.”

    Howard, this is absolutely true. The majority of women in the LDS church, far from being a subjugated class, seem to revel in their feminity, in their support of their husbands and the priesthood, in their focus on motherhood at the expense of education and career pursuits. But it’s not just because of cultural imprinting. This is also true out of the church, where femminists continually see their aspirational goals dashed by the predictable behavior of the female species, such as high powered CEO women suddenly abandoning their jobs to become full-time moms. How can a capitalist society be expected to reward women with equal pay when they present this kind of financial liability?

    Most women enjoy being women, and seem comfortable with the differences, contradictions, and inequalities that arise with the natural differences between sexes.

    Of course femminism has served important roles in the past, as balances of power have shifted in democracies, cultures, and biological control has been put in women’s hands. But there is a limit.

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  9. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I heard of a study of students that posed the first 3 questions at a university. The results of their poll showed that ~95% of the respondents responded affirmatively to questions 1 and 2, while ~66% said they weren’t feminists. I wonder what people think a feminist is if they don’t think they are feminists but are for equal rights. So thank you Paul, for providing an additional definition of feminism. I added it to the poll.

    Still, your statement that “positions of power and authority undermine the priesthood of God, and in fact are signs of apostasy and wickedness.” I’m sure many people felt the same way about blacks and the priesthood. All it takes is a revelation to change it. I doubt you consider Spencer W. Kimball as having “signs of apostasy and wickedness.” To use your phraseology, the idea that this can’t/shouldn’t be changed is absurd. We just need to find another prophet like SWK, and you will start sounding as absurd as Bruce R. McConkie. (Are you a fan of his?)

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  10. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Paul, since you found “These questions are far more interesting, and the way people answer these is very revealing of their own values and world view”, I wanted to answer your questions.

    “Are men and women equal in society? ”

    No, but it’s getting better.

    “Do they have the same opportunities for employment and career advancement, for income, for education?”

    No, but it’s getting better. I would say that women are being educated at a higher rate than men, so perhaps this will change in a decade or two.

    “Do they have political voice?”

    Not nearly as strong as men.

    “Are they in positions of power and authority in equal numbers? ”

    No.

    “Do they share responsibilities within the family?”

    No, but it’s getting better.

    So Paul, what does that reveal to you about my values and world view?

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  11. Casey on September 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    That’s well and good, Paul, but even if Joseph Smith didn’t create the modern, corporate church he was instrumental in building an LDS hierarchy and priesthood that largely excluded and marginalized women in his own day. I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism; he was a product of his era and was probably more progressive on women’s issues than many of his peers, but he still built and relied on systems that privileged the male experience. Power and hierarchy are inherent in Mormonism at some level, so I don’t think you can dismiss feminism so breezily. In fact, I’d wager that if you read more from feminist sources you might find you support most of it.

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  12. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    I think part of the feeling of disenfranchisement is apparent in their obvious lack of representation by proxy, if the 182 years of “forgetting” to invite them to pray in GC is an example. Including them in a meaningful way in church government would close that hole. So you favor abolishing the elements of church hierarchy that exceed Joseph’s advice?

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  13. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    For a very large portion of church history orthodox members strongly believed the brethren that blacks were less than other races and therefore should not hold the priesthood. Then along came secular enlightenment and the civil rights movement which proved these great prophets of the Lord wrong. How do any of you know the same is not true about women? The TBM women who love their current roles in life and within the church may simply be naive and unenlightened and the LDS feminists my be the MLKs.

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  14. hawkgrrrl on September 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    A few quick thoughts. Feminism suffers a little bit from the same issue the democratic party does: fragmentation. But I do see it as pretty straightforward. If you believe in equal rights between the sexes, you are a feminist.

    The other problem with gauging progress relates to the measures for success. We measure it against the existing male system. Male systems tend to be competitive, hierarchical, and men are not punished or judged for spending time away from their families. Female systems are flatter structures that use peer pressure more than top down pressure and find ways to support and cover for each other to create work life balance. A truly gender integrated structure would measure success slightly differently. But it would also be more of a hybrid of the two systems I just described.

    I have done well in male structures in the workplace partly by adaptation and partly through a supportive husband adapting and partly by personal preferences matching up well. But the types of companies I’ve worked for are more integrated than some people experience.

    Both men and women benefit when the structures are more gender integrated. Male structures are inherently elitist so only a handful of men truly benefit.

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  15. Will on September 8, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    The discussion of what equality means is relevant. I see men and women having different roles, much like a point guard and center would have different roles on a basketball court. Both need to preform thier duities properly in order for the team to have success. Likewise, mothers and fathers have different roles in the family and both need to fill those roles for the family to function at its optimal level.

    The problem I see is when some equate equality to men and women performing the same role in the family, like the roles are somehow interchangeable . This is tantamount to one pushing the idea that the point guard and center’s roles are interchangeable. In reality, a point guard playing center would get out rebounded every time; and, a center playing playing point guard would get eaten alive trying to dribble and pass the ball with the quickness and accuracy needed for this position.

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  16. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Great observations Hawkgrrrl.

    Will, the overlapping bell curves of male and female traits sets up the conditions for both reversed traditional roles and shared roles. The brethren dispense general advice I don’t think that means the minority are wrong or somehow unrighteous.

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  17. Will on September 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Howard,

    Both presiding quorums, all 15 members, signed the proclamation which defines those roles. Not some off handed remark from one Apostle, but a unanimous decision by both presiding quorums. I believe this document reflects God’s will on the definitions of man.

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  18. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Will, the family proc. is expressly not scripture, at least not yet. Does a father sin by being more nurturing than their mother? Does a mother sin by being more committed to FHE than their father? The family proc. is general advice.

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  19. hawkgrrrl on September 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Will, the other thing I will add about the PoF that is common ground between what you are saying and what Howard is saying – the PoF says there are these responsibilities, these duties to be done. But it then says both parents are responsible for them to be done. It doesn’t say women have zero accountability to make sure bills are paid or men have a get out of changing diapers free card. These adaptations are a normal part of life.

    So, in your analogy it’s true that there are centers and forwards and guards. But life is more like a pickup game than the NBA. We have to work with the players we have. I’ve had to play different roles on the court when I played basketball. I was better at some than others, I was a terrible center, but when the other tall girl was injured in cross country, I had to step up. I did the best I could. We don’t always have a star team with every role perfectly cast. That’s why the PoF says: “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” So, why all the harping on men do this, women do that when the PoF itself says to work as equal partners to make sure the primary responsibility is covered: “HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.” In every instance when it is talking about being held accountable, it is talking to the parents together as a unit. It doesn’t say “If the wife has to help earn, the husband is under condemnation” or “if the husband puts a bandaid on a child, the wife is condemned.” Equal partners just make sure the big picture is taken care of, in this case, the children are reared in a loving home and have the necessities of life.

    I still don’t see what this has to do with feminism, though, because you can be a SAHM and still believe women should have the same rights as men. It should be illegal for a man to rape his wife (it is), and discrimination in employment based on sex should be against the law. Wanting equal rights for all to be protected has zero to do with how you dole out responsibility within your own individual marriage. I’ll stay out of yours if you stay out of mine.

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  20. Will on September 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Howard,

    And supporting that advice (I believe is scripture) does not make you sexist.

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  21. Phil on September 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    The feminist deception.
    http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2010/12/the-feminist-deception.php

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  22. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Well it would probably be good for you to look up the definition of sexist because the PoF is sexist, it clearly discriminates based on gender, in fact that is one of it’s main points but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, chauvinist or misogynist.

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  23. Stephen R. Marsh on September 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Mormon Heretic — I’ve listened to women who insist that no man can really be a feminist.

    “I still don’t see what this has to do with feminism, though, because you can be a SAHM and still believe women should have the same rights as men.” Yeah, you would think that there would be an organization of Feminist Mormon Housewives if that was true. ;)

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  24. mh on September 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    What is it about the word feminist that people object To?

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  25. Phil on September 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    MH: feminism is synonymous with man hating usurpation
    Also feminism has contributed greatly to the eroding of society’s legal and moral framework

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  26. mh on September 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    How so Phil? Equal pay for equal work erodes society how? What exactly is man hating usurpation? That sounds like a meaningless buzz word to me.

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  27. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    By the way Phil, thanks for the definitions. I added them to the poll. Let’s see how much traction you get with those.

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  28. Phil on September 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Feminism evokes negativity.

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  29. mh on September 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Why do you say that Phil?

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  30. Naismith on September 8, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    A few months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Stephanie Koontz. An amazing woman who has done solid work in sociology, the impact of feminism on American life, etc.

    But she chooses not to self-identify as a feminist. She doesn’t disown it if someone calls her that, but she admits that the term has a lot of negative baggage with it, so she doesn’t make a point to use it.

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  31. Jeff Spector on September 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    The term “feminist” is a politically correct term. And while you can be for equal pay for equal work and equal rights, you do not have to buy into the cult of feminism, which goes well beyond the simple application of equality.

    Ay woman who wants to be like a high powered male corporate executive is pretty pitiful in my book. Those men do not have it right either and aspiring to be them is wrong-headed.

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  32. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I think Phil has something. There is some negativity associated with feminism, but why is it negative? What is it about feminism that evokes negativity? There are plenty of people who want equality, but don’t want to be associated with being a feminist. What exactly is the negativity of being identified with feminism? (Or is is supposed to be simply understood without being articulated?) Excuse me if I sound dumb.

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  33. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    There is some negativity associated with it and many feminist foes love that fact because it gives them an easy sweeping excuse to dismiss almost any feminist issue tossing the baby out with the bath water while safely retaining their ignorant, unexamined and untested bias.

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  34. Jeff G on September 8, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I must have missed something. Which rights, exactly, do men have and women lack? I mean actual rights, not preferences dressed up like rights.

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  35. Phil on September 8, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    MH I notice that feminism tends to support evil things like abortion and gay marriage. The brethren and the doctrine of the LDS church do not support these things putting feminism in opposition to the church and brethren. Who do you think will triumph in the end? Not feminism.

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  36. KT on September 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    @Nate
    “This is also true out of the church, where femminists continually see their aspirational goals dashed by the predictable behavior of the female species, such as high powered CEO women suddenly abandoning their jobs to become full-time moms.”

    THAT is a generalization. Men are equally capable of quitting to become ‘full time Dads’. And for that matter, they should be! Everyone should be! We should be a family friendly society, which we are NOT. Whoever is most capable should get a job, and should that individual (male or female) choose to quit, they should have that option without being ostracized.

    “Most women enjoy being women, and seem comfortable with the differences, contradictions, and inequalities that arise with the natural differences between sexes.”

    Some do, and some do not. Once again, there should NOT be a generalization, or an expectation toward that end. Furthermore, just because there may be inherent differences, does not mean that some of those differences don’t in fact bestow upon women a better ability to handle certain situations than their male counterparts.

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  37. hawkgrrrl on September 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Jeff G: Men’s earning potential is not adversely impacted by the downstream impacts of having children, male professional athletes are paid more, in many religions women are not allowed to be in high level leadership roles, most “women’s work” is unpaid or very low paid resulting in female dependence on male providers who may abuse their marital relationships with no real consequences, women are sexually objectified and often blamed when they are raped or sexually assaulted, women are more often victims of sexual trafficking, at the high school level women’s sports are often underfunded or cut, there are still many barriers to entry for women in male-dominated fields or as they encounter negative biases from individuals with decision-making power. But men are also disadvantaged by sexism: they often bear unfair financial burdens in divorce, some states are unequal in awarding child custody, more men are homeless, there is no great support system for male single parents. So when sexism exists, both sexes suffer.

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  38. Mormon Heretic on September 8, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Jeff G, there are plenty of men that support gay marriage, so tying that to feminism just doesn’t wash. Futhermore, gay marriage wasn’t even on the map in the 1970s when feminists were pushing the ERA amendment, so that argument doesn’t wash at all.

    The male dominated Supreme Court legalized abortion, so take that to the men. Also, did you know that states with higher abortion rates had lower crime? See my post on Abortion and Crime or Realistically Curbing Abortion. I wouldn’t call lower crime rates evil.

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  39. Howard on September 8, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Phil,
    I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

    What exactly is evil about gay *marriage*? Marriage doesn’t necessarily mean having sex, I know several married hetro couples who do not have sex by choice. I’ve read about gay LDS members who choose to be celebrate to remain good members, what if they married and didn’t have sex, would that really be evil? Is the evil in the ceremony or in the sex?

    How is being in favor of a woman’s right to choose or reject abortion evil? Isn’t free agency a major issue in God’s plan?

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  40. Will on September 9, 2013 at 5:58 AM

    “There is some negativity associated with feminism, but why is it negative?”

    Gloria Steinem, Rosa Luxemburg & Rita Mae Brown to name a few

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  41. juliathepoet on September 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Still waiting to hear any specifics of the “evils” of feminism………Will, Jeff G, Phil, Nate, Paul, (anyone I overlooked, feel free to jump in too)

    How has feminism hurt you, your spouse, your children, or a family member? What specific feminist action, or feminist goal, do you think would hurt you, your spouse, your children, or a family member? How would legal, social and sexual equality for the women in your lives, especially your daughters hurt them?

    I’m assuming we all remember the Articles of Faith, and the demand that all people, (not just Mormons) have the right to worship how, where and what they may. Allowing civil marriage for all couples, (heterosexual, homosexual or gender queer) who are legally able to consent to the marriage, does not impact whether LDS couples will be able to marry in a way that they choose to. Laws that allow for abortions, do not force women/couples who want to carry their pregnancies to term, if that is what they choose and the baby isn’t miscarried, at some point during the pregnancy.

    The reality is that there is no correlating term for men in the church. Feminism has a bad reputation, because there were some very smart, deeply religious feminists, who were disfellowshipped or excommunicated for writing about female priesthood power and Heavenly Mother. For a short time, it was a good scare tactic, but it also laid out just how much inequality there is in the administration of the gospel, and that women’s voices were not important in the church. Mormon feminists, (male and female) usually have one or more events that clarify just how looked over women are, just how hollow the priesthood=motherhood argument is, or how disrespectful it was to have the Proclamation on the Family delivered at a RS worldwide broadcast, but to have the document created without the voice of the women who the document itself describes as equals.

    The Exponent II recently had a blog post about the fear that many Mormon feminists feel, why those feelings have a basis in our history, and why so many MoFems still feel that it is worth the risk. Their reasons are not because they hate the church and want to destroy it. Quite the opposite. They are women of great faith, who feel called to stand up for all those who are voiceless in our current patriarchal organizations, and who believe Joseph Smith, when he said that the Relief Society was meant to become an organization of priests, who would be able to do much good in the world. We recognize that Emma, Eliza, and the other women who were bold and strong, willing to match the men of their time in leadership and responsibility, are the examples of how to be a priestess of our Heavenly Parents. There is nothing more Christlike than wanting to use the spiritual gifts you are given, as you serve those around you. Mormon men are praised when they do so, and I believe that Mormon women have the same calling from their Father and Mother in Heaven, to not hide their light under a patriarchal society that shames women for the light that has been given to them.

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  42. Mormon Heretic on September 9, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Will, I’ve never heard of Rosa Luxemburg or Rita Mae Brown. I’ve heard of Gloria Steinem, and I know many don’t like her, but I don’t know why. Could you enlighten me? Why do these 3 women give feminism a bad name?

    I think Julia makes a great point. Sonia Johnson was exed in about 1979, and Elder Packer complained about feminists and intellectuals, so I can partially understand why Mormons feel negatively about feminists. But I have yet to hear a cogent argument why feminism is inherently bad. Most non-Mormons have never heard of Sonia Johnson or Boyd K. Packer, so why do non-LDS not like feminism?

    For those answering question 4, the largest answer (outside of equality) is “It is about achieving a distorted ideal of equality.” Now obviously we have a more liberal audience than you’ll find at church, but let me ask my conservative friends: what exactly is distorted? (Or if a liberal can answer, I’d love to hear what conservatives think is distorted.)

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  43. Naismith on September 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    “How has feminism hurt you, your spouse, your children, or a family member?”

    First of all, let me acknowledge that feminism is a big tent. If I insisted on claiming the feminist label, I would be a complementarian feminist, except that many feminists believe that complementarian and choice feminism are not really feminism. And that is part of it, that some feminists have told me to my face, sometimes in a public way, that I am not a feminist, for various reasons (including my less-than-wholeheartedly-pro-choice stance which they see as a litmus test). So as I write here, the negativity I see is not with all feminists but certainly with some feminists and perhaps the most vocal part of the current movement.

    My biggest problem is that much of today’s feminism is not respectful of traditional women’s work, mothering and homemaking. Linda Hirschman’s GET TO WORK claims to be the voice of modern feminism, and has been selected as the “one book” for some college campuses. Shannon Hayes’ RADICAL HOMEMAKING is one of the best explanations of this attitude of many feminists.

    And it absolutely hurts women who have been home in re-entering the workforce, if their time at home is dismissed as “not working.” My current employer doesn’t allow any consideration of volunteer work. The irony is that I learned to use an email marketing program while doing volunteer work for a local political group. I use the same vendor now, and my employer benefits from those skills and connections. But it was not allowed to be considered.

    I was at a luncheon where a woman, a former mayor and supervisor of elections, commented that she was so glad that her granddaughter had been accepted into the local university’s pharmacy program, because that career offers so many options for working part-time while the kids are little. Then this wonderful woman looked sheepish and said, “Oh, I guess we’re not supposed to say that now…we’re all supposed to have fulltime jobs.”

    Back during the ERA debates of the late 70s, a proponent of the ERA recommended that Congress eliminate the social security spousal benefit, since women should have their own careers. I am not sure of anything that would plunge more women into poverty than to get rid of that benefit. I don’t particularly care for Phyllis Shlafly, but she did speak up in support, and it was not eliminated at that time.

    So often “equality” gets an operational definition of “doing things the way men do.” For decades, returning to college or grad school while a mom’s own children are in school has been a pathway to workforce re-entry. I could cite a zillion success stories. But my university decided a few years ago that part-time enrollment was not allowed. One of the families in the ward moved away, to a university where mom could continue her education at a pace that also allowed her to also do her job as a mom to the best of her ability.

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  44. anon on September 9, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    I used to consider myself a feminist. Feminism isn’t just a certain set of beliefs though. It is a movement and there is an element even in Mormon feminism that wants men to suffer so they know what it feels like. I support most of the goals, bug largely feel disinvited from the movement. when feminism advances to some future wave when it can accept men as individuals and not merely as part of a priveledged class maybe ill add the label back to my identity.

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  45. Phil on September 9, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Howard:
    Per LDS theology, only a man and woman sealed together and who are faithful will live together for eternity as husband and wife. All others will live separately and singly forever and ever. Why do you need this to be explained? Not woman and woman or man and man.
    Abortion is an offering to Satan. Extreme yes but abortion prevents a soul from obtaining a physical body

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  46. Will on September 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    MH,

    They (Gloria Steinem, Rita Brown, etc) are all radicals that have put a stain on the term feminist. Because of them, and others like them, when I hear the term feminist I envision a woman that looks like Pete Rose (flannel shirt and short spiky hair included) screaming at the top of her lungs why she should be treated the same as men. Honestly, the term feminist conjures up images of a whiney, b**chy, ugly woman telling me how I should act. It is a turn off and more reminiscent of a bowel movement, than a social movement.

    If the term feminist were associated with an attractive level headed group (like Hawkgrll for instance), it would be more accepted by society as a whole. Put another way, if the face and voice of feminism was Angela C., all their positions would be widely accepted.

    It is harder to be accepted in the church as a lot of the attractive, level headed women fully support the SAHM concept and the PofF and the roles contained therein. My wife for instance, who is extremely attractive, is happy and fulfilled in her role in our family and the church. I have seen what she has done and am very defensive when someone attacks the decisions and lifestyles she supports.

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  47. juliathepoet on September 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    So only “beautiful people” deserve to be listened to? That’s a new low for you Will. Thank goodness our Heavenly Parents look on the inside, and the beauty there.

    I truly can’t express just how little your last comment resembles anything that Christ would think or stay.

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  48. Kullervo on September 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    The poll gives some awfully uncomplicated answers to some awfully complicated questions. I imagine that a lot of people would like to qualify their answer a bit more than just yes/no.

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  49. Will on September 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Julia,

    It depends on your definition of beautiful or ugly. If you interrupt it superficially as you did, I can see your point.

    The reality is I have never meet any of these women, including Angela C on the positive side. I have see her picture, but the main attractiveness to me is her whit, humor and intellect in posting and commenting. Although physically attractive, she is not a runway model.

    On the other hand, Gloria Steinem yelling at the top of her lungs “were fierce, were feminist and were not going away” is an unappealing way to present oneself. It detracts from the message and stains the cause.

    You and others asked, and I gave the HONEST answer. Sorry you found it offensive.

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  50. Mormon Heretic on September 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Will, I interpreted it exactly as Julia. It was offensive, but your qualification was an improvement. Perhaps you could have couched it in other terms than attractiveness. I suspect Hawk was both flattered and appalled by your comment.

    To your comment 46 as well as Naismith in 43, I think we are getting somewhere. Would it be better to couch feminism in terms of “radical feminists” and “moderate feminists”? If people don’t want to be associated with a radical feminist “Pete Rose (flannel shirt and short spiky hair included) screaming at the top of her lungs why she should be treated the same as men” (seriously that was OFFENSIVE), would more people take the label of a moderate feminist “level headed women fully support the SAHM concept”?

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  51. jmb275 on September 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    My views have changed over the past 5 years. I no longer consider myself a feminist, though I very much desire the equal access to the various structures of society for both men and women.

    Here are a few issues I see:
    1. Feminism is a VERY loaded term. 1st wave, 2nd wave, or beyond? I’m very onboard with feminism up through 2nd wave, but can’t really get behind 3rd wave and beyond. It is also politically charged, and has a bad connotation in the church (which is really too bad).
    2. Feminism often tries to be more than it should IMO. It can’t, and shouldn’t fight for men’s issues as well. I wish it was really a catch-all term that meant “equal rights for men and women” (which I interpret to mean equal access to various social/power structures), but it just isn’t and I think we need to stop expecting it to be. The implication then is that we need to embrace male issues as well and movements that fight for men’s rights (which I think society as a whole will laugh at).
    3. Feminism has (understandably) chosen to focus on what it lacks (access to power/pay/political structures) which has historically been accessible only to men. I don’t think it has examined what it DOES have access to which men DON’T and whether or not it is willing to give those up (or at least share them). In other words, I think feminism lacks self-awareness of how it impacts the gender-gap landscape.
    4. I think my point 3 is flawed from the get-go because there is no one voice for feminism – i.e. it’s really not a unified movement at all.
    5. I have found these points (particularly #3) to be very unwelcome at the feminism table, which leads me to believe that equality isn’t really the goal because emotions are getting in the way of our self-awareness…which of course then leads to…
    6. The all-encompassing scapegoat of “privilege” is forever in the way of real discussion about how BOTH men and women are affected by the privileges they each have in the various (and differing) spheres of life and society.

    Ultimately for me feminism has explicitly carved out the spheres of inequality in which it is disadvantaged – and there absolutely SHOULD be equality in those spheres. But it wasn’t until I got divorced and am raising three kids on my own that I realize that men also have a sphere of inequality where they are disadvantaged. I think some feminists see that and work against rhetoric that encourages those problems. But more often I see feminists who only focus on the equality they experience in the domains historically dominated by men.

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  52. Will on September 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    MH,

    MH,

    Attractive is defined as ‘pleasing or appealing to the senses’; whereas, repulsion is defined as “a feeling of aversion”. Unfortunately, the term “feminist” is mostly associated with Gloria Steinem, who offers a feeling of aversion with her actions and the way she physically presents herself. She doesn’t have to dress like Pete Rose and scream at the top of her lungs “were fierce, were feminist and were not going away”

    If she presented herself as a lady and with whit, humor and intellect defined the term “feminist” it would be a more attractive term. But, she didn’t. She dressed up like Pete Rose and screamed at the top of her lungs. Much like the term ‘environmentalist’ conjures up the image of a hippie, (in full mode with love beads cutting of circulation to the brain), spiking a tree. Although these things give me and my buddies something to laugh out loud about while waiting to tee off on the next hole, it does little to promote the respective causes.

    I think the term feminist is forever stained. You can throw any adjective you want on the front, but the term ‘feminist’ will forever be repulsive due to the actions of Gloria Steinem. Lighten up, the Pete Rose comment was fitting and funny when describing her.

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  53. Frank Pellett on September 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    “Abortion is an offering to Satan. Extreme yes but abortion prevents a soul from obtaining a physical body”

    Pretty sure that’s not now it works. “Everyone gets a body, except those of you who are aborted, for any reason, even naturally. Tough luck!”

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  54. Mormon Heretic on September 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Will, let’s move on. This is not about your weird definition of attractiveness. Use the definition of attractiveness that most people use. Don’t dig yourself a bigger hole and try to justify the unjustifiable, or you will continue to make enemies.

    If the term feminist is forever stained, then please identify a new term that describes Hawkgrrrl’s level-headedness. Because like you, I think she represents an ideal feminist, and if feminist doesn’t describe her, then what does?

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  55. Will on September 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Mh,

    How about: WOMAN

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  56. Mormon Heretic on September 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Well, that describes Gloria Steinem too. Don’t you see a difference?

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  57. Will on September 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    No, I see Gloria Steinem as a feminist.

    BTW, she was Model and a Playboy Bunny (how ironic) and the current editor of Ms. Magazine. All of the things that “feminists” feel objectify women. The hypocrisy adds to the ugliness and staining of the cause.

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  58. hawkgrrrl on September 9, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Will is actually talking about a real issue for the women’s movement. Some feminists deplore makeup and other allurements. It’s probably the same thought process behind burning bras. It was more in vogue (so to speak) in the 70s. And of course at heart it’s a tone argument (if you said it in a more palatable way I’d listen). Even beyond that, it begs the question whether change is more effective from the inside (attractive women) or the outside (women who reject judgments of their appearance).

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  59. The Other Clark on September 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    @42 MH who asked ” ‘It is about achieving a distorted ideal of equality.’ ..let me ask my conservative friends: what exactly is distorted?”

    The distortion occurs when men and women are considered “interchangeable” with identical needs, strengths, and purpose in life. We’re not. Men and women are fundamentally different, (and God loves us for those differences.)

    God loves men and women equally, wants them to be successful and to find joy in filling the measure of their creation. And yet men and women have different roles to play in this life; both equally important, but different.

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  60. juliathepoet on September 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    I people want to learn about the wide variety of feminists, there are lots of ways to do that. If you are stuck on one picture and sound bite, *that you haven’t quoted right yet,* then I’m not going to waste my time explaining the huge variety just within the Mormon church. I’m pretty sure Will knows about Feminist Mormon Housewives, and there are a bunch of other blogs by, and about, subgroups of Mormon feminists.

    If you are stuck on one moment, and one image, you’re just stuck.

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  61. Howard on September 9, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Phil wrote: Why do you need this to be explained? I don’t, your explanation doesn’t answer what I asked. I asked you to clearly explain what is evil about it.

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  62. Jeff G on September 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Hawkkgirl in #37,

    That was a nice list of preferences, moral preferences. But you did not list a single right that women are deprived of.

    MH in #38,

    I think you were responding to someone else.

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  63. hawkgrrrl on September 9, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Rights are what the law confers and protects as rights. It wasn’t a right for women to vote or own property until it was. We don’t have a right not to be murdered, only a law that murderers will be punished if caught. Even the rights we declare inalienable in the constitution have certainly been alienated in some countries. It sounds like you have a narrow definition for rights.

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  64. Will on September 9, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Julia,

    “….your just stuck”

    Other than the people I referenced are the FOUNDERS of the movement. It is tantamount to saying there are various levels of Marxists while trying to discount Karl Marx. They are called Marxists for a reason; and, feminists for a reason. Both terms were founded by radicals.

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  65. Jeff G on September 9, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    You make it sound as if none of those things that you listed are rights, solely because there is no law against them. In that case, you agree that women do not lack any rights that men have.

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  66. Will on September 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    The other Clark

    Great comment. Right on the mark

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  67. hawkgrrrl on September 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Jeff G – a couple of quick points to see if we are on the same page at all. There are many waves to feminism as jmb275 references above. First wave feminism was about securing very basic equal rights for women who did not have them at the time: the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to divorce. Early Mormons were pioneers of this wave of feminism, and even Brigham Young, despite being a polygamist, supported these aims. The second wave was about women wanting to be able to be treated equally in the workplace, to be able to earn an income without discrimination, and to be protected by the law against domestic abuse and marital rape. Watch any episode of Mad Men if you want to see what this wave is about. This wave is what the ERA fought for and which the church opposed. The ERA didn’t pass, and yet on the whole, these rights were also secured one by one. I happen to know that E. Oaks among others in the Q12 feel strongly that women should be compensated equally and protected from discrimination by the law. The third wave is a bit more fragmented and relates more to inherent inequities in society: how male vs. female work is valued, female representation in government, reproductive rights (including abortion), the rights of unrepresented groups like the transgendered and LGBT community, and supporting the choices of all women whether it is to be a SAHM or to work. The movement also split between pro-sex feminists and anti-pornography feminists. So it can be tricky as a term at this time because not all feminists agree. Some of their aims are at odds with each other.

    I am not clear from your comments if you are against all the aims of the first two waves or if you agree through second wave feminism. Are you saying that the rights have already been secured, therefore it’s a post-feminist world? Personally, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a second wave feminist which many feminists would say is a position of privilege. But I would also say that so long as you agree that those equal rights should exist (that do), you are a feminist.

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  68. Vajra on September 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Gloria Steinem went undercover as a Playboy bunny to write and exposé of the Playboy clubs. Duh.

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  69. Jeff G on September 9, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    That is one of the best comments I think I’ve ever read on a feminist thread, HG. Thank you for drawing a few distinctions which I find quite helpful

    I strongly support your 1st wave. Absolutely and without qualification. That is definitely what I have in mind buy the word “rights” and it why that I answered “yes” to the first two questions.

    For the most part, I am against the 3rd wave you speak of. It smacks of affirmative action in that rather than insisting that women should start the rat race at the same place as men and play by the same rules as men, it wants women to finish the race roughly at the same time as men. That, to me, is a decision which women need to make for themselves rather than something which ought to be legislated.

    As for the 2nd wave, I’m not sure what to think. I think that employers should be able to employ whoever they see fit, inevitably leading to the demise of those businesses which refuse to employ more qualified people who happen to be female. I definitely support the aims of the 2nd wave, but I’m not convinced that legislation is the best way to pursue those ends. I understand that legislating these things tends to be faster, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better.

    These are the reasons why I answered “yes” to questions 1 and 2, but “no” to question 3.

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  70. Douglas on September 9, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Hawk – funny you should bring up “Mad Men”. To some extent, it IS a parody, showing current interpretation of American culture of some fifty years ago with regards to racism, sexism, and disdain of homosexuality. But all that social commentary goes out the window every time Christina Hendricks parades about my 47″ flat screen in 1080p. You can take the guy out of the locker room…
    I voted “no” due more to a disdain of the gender politics as promulgated by the feminist icons that Will cited rather than any desire to “opress” or mis-use women. Equal pay for “equal” work? A laudable concept. And HOW, outside of opressive government intervention in the marketplace that would more likely prove imnical to the interests of women, would that result be ensured? Ok, I still hear the feminist mantra about women earning on average 30% less than their male counterparts. Well, forget the good ole boys club, I’m going to hire women only and clean up with a combination of lower labor costs and/or higher productivity!

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  71. hawkgrrrl on September 9, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Douglas, as to pay inequities (which are mostly protected by law), when you compare like to like jobs and qualifications, there is far less of a pay gap if any at all. The biggest differences in earning relate to: women choosing careers that are less lucrative usually for reasons of work-life balance or personal satisfaction, and women choosing to take exit ramps from their careers (e.g. going to part time work or quitting altogether). The latter continues to be addressed by 3rd wave feminism, and there are many countries that are more forward in addressing things like paid leave and supporting flexible schedules (Australia is very ahead of the curve as are parts of Europe). The attemptsI like best are the ones that give both parents equal access to these things. Then we can raise the standard of life for all workers by giving them more flexibility and work-life balance, whether they are women or men. Personally, that’s the best outcome we can have from a women’s movement, changing from male structures that don’t actually give people flexibility or protect the lower level workers. Everyone would be happier if happiness and work-life balance was actually a goal.

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  72. MH on September 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    “The distortion occurs when men and women are considered “interchangeable” with identical needs, strengths, and purpose in life. We’re not.”

    Clark, I do not know what you speak of. The military is lifting the ban on women in combat. While I understand that men are bigger and stronger in general, if women can pass the same physical requirements, is there a reason why they shouldn’t be interchangeable? Should Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Carly Fiorina of HP not be interchangeable?

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  73. hawkgrrrl on September 9, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    The argument that “men & women are inherently different” is a straw feminist argument. Only “radical” feminists (an actual subgroup) seek to abolish gender. Most feminists recognize legitimate differences between the sexes; however, the salient point is that while yes, men & women are different, women are also each unique and so are men. Assigning things to gender roles that aren’t dictated by nature is foolhardy. Should men breastfeed? Probably not. Can they wash their own dishes? Only if they eat.

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  74. Phil on September 9, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Howard is one of a kind.

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  75. Douglas on September 10, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    #71 – You articulated it better than I did, so thanks for pointing out the generalized choices with their predictable results.

    I suppose that there are as many feminist ideologies as there are those professing to be feminists. Not unlike I have “Mormonism according to Doug”, which works for me but is no better than the Gospel for Hawk, or MH’s form of “heresy’, and so on…we can’t say that the shrill “Feminazi” types, their vociferousness notwithstanding, actually represent the views of so-called feminists and certainly not women in general.

    I would contend that the One that holds bests the interests of women is the Savior Himself. This is why I would say that certainly NOW He has at least one wife (I can only s uselessly speculate as to identity), and certainly a Heavenly Mother, and respects them as well as He does His many sisters, on earth and in heaven. We brethren ought to to pay attention to His counsel on dealing with the distaff side: “Men, love your wives, even as Christ love(d) the Church”. Certainly that attitude of service is far better than the current gender politicking which confuses and divides.

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  76. Ryan on September 10, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    Jeff G,

    Ok lets take this outside a late 20th centrury US context and go where the bulk of women in the world live. What don’t they have the right to do? Well, in Saudia Arabia they don’t have the right to drive a car, they don’t have basic rights over their body and just recently got a low that supposedly protects them from spousal abuse. In many countries in africa and asia is common practice for young girls to be sold into marriage. They have no legal rights as persons. In many of those countries, women can’t own property. They have no rights over their bodies, especially when married. Their husbands have the right to rape them as they see fit. That is the vast majority of women on God’s earth. The vast majority of God’s daughters. If you look historically of course we didn’t even have these legal rights into the US until the 1900s. And then lets realize like second and third wave feminism does that just having the law on the books is not enough. you can have all these laws on the books but if they are not culturally and legally enforced they mean NOTHING. Now maybe you think that we feminists should stop caring about these women, those that are enslaved, trafficked for sex, beaten, raped, denied a basic livelyhood because the US and some other advanced industrial countries have some legal laws? That there is no work to be done. That it is over? That my friend smack of blind upper class male priviledge.

    So yes feminism is needed in the US but is needed even more so other places. We are a but an imperfect leading example. Your fantasy world where legal rights are magically enforced and culture doesn’t matter doesn’t exist. So I am feminist for all those women here and abroad. I am a feminist because what happens to women in the real world matters. Outcomes matter.

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  77. Ryan on September 10, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    What HawkGirl said. If I here feminists think equality = sameness one more time as if that is some sort of accepted truth I swear I am going to scream. Almost no mainstream feminist believes that. Like NONE. My challenge to anyone who says that these days is to simply name one single published feminist author who has stated that equality means or requires sameness. Just one. Give me one single feminist anywhere who says that. If you can’t even name one let alone two or three then you have no honest, intellectual way of making such a silly, silly claim. Start Googling now and see how long it takes you to find a self-identifying feminist that says anything like equality is or needs sameness. Good luck. Like HG says there are a few really fringe ones out there, but they are super fringe.

    The funny thing is that all those mormons that use this line absolutely hate it when people do even close to the same type of charicature of Mormons. You know those ignoramuses that say ALL Mormons believe X or do Y or whatever. We hate it. We want people to recognize our humanity by recognizing there is variation within our group. Can’t we afford the same level of basic personhood to feminists? Or must we strip them of that?

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  78. Phil on September 10, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Bottom line is the word feminism evokes negativity. Try telling any group you’re a feminist and watch how they react.

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  79. Howard on September 10, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    If I here feminists think equality = sameness one more time as if that is some sort of accepted truth I swear I am going to scream.

    Black and white binomial discussions truncate and polarize! As soon as you move the discussion to gray nuance you begin to find some areas of agreement and the discussion begins to be productive.

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  80. Mormon Heretic on September 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Phil, 81% of the people who took the poll on this blog are feminists; I don’t think anyone here is batting an eye (except for you.) What’s the reaction you’re looking for?

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  81. Jeff G on September 10, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    #75 is a perfect example of why people don’t like feminists.

    I acknowledged that I am strongly for the rights that women have in this country (which obviously implies that I want it for women in other countries too). I acknowledged that I am also for the equality which women in this country still seek. I only differ from feminists in thinking that the equality which we all hope for should not be legislated, especially in the form of affirmative action.

    75 then responds with:

    “Now maybe you think that we feminists should stop caring about these women, those that are enslaved, trafficked for sex, beaten, raped, denied a basic livelyhood because the US and some other advanced industrial countries have some legal laws? That there is no work to be done. That it is over? That my friend smack of blind upper class male priviledge.”

    Comments like these are why people hate what would otherwise be a very noble movement.

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  82. Naismith on September 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    “Bottom line is the word feminism evokes negativity. Try telling any group you’re a feminist and watch how they react.”

    I haven’t found this to be true. Where I live, it is generally considered positive and people are surprised that I am not one. I work with a lot of feminists and feminist groups. Feminists are not the only one concerned with human trafficking, rape awareness, female body image and eating disorders, etc. At least where I live, a wide variety of groups comes together to work on those issues.

    I respect the feminists, and some of them respect me. Even though we disagree on some basic issues.

    Our RS book club read THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE and sisters were generally impressed with how well it tracked church teachings. Of course years later when Betty Friedan wrote the pro-family THE SECOND STAGE, it was strongly criticized by younger feminists, and Friedan was declared an irrelevant dinosaur. That’s when a lot of us stopped being feminist.

    The uselessness and baggage of the term is not that feminism is always negative, but rather that we don’t know what someone means when they use it. Just about all of the feminists I know IRL would qualify as “radical” under the definitions that have been laid out here, but they consider themselves “mainstream” and are members of two national groups.

    A lot of us are thoughtful non-feminists, not anti-feminists.

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  83. The Other Clark on September 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    @73 Hawkgrrl– While only the most radical feminist seek to abolish gender, the slippery slope of the legal system means this is where it inevitably ends.

    One example: Title IX (promoting equal access to high school sports) has been interpreted to mean:
    (1) boys and girls must have roughly the same number of participation, even though a far higher percentage of boys are interested in athletics than girls. As a result, popular boys programs are cut, and girls programs are created even though girls aren’t particularly interested in playing
    (2) Co-ed contact sports are now mandated by law. For conservatives, girl/boy wrestling on the mat isn’t acceptable
    (3) Locker room interchangeability. With both genders playing football, either is free to use either locker room (California) or burdened to have both sexes use the same locker room since the opposing team typically uses the other one. Once again, unacceptable.

    This is why, I believe, the Church opposed the ERA. Most feminists may not want to abolish genders, but that’s ultimately what 3rd wave feminism will accomplish

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  84. Howard on September 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Jeff G wrote: Comments like these are why people hate what would otherwise be a very noble movement.

    Well you may not like the tone or hearing the unvarnished truth but male class privilege is blinding and when one considers the physical, sexual and emotional abuse addressed in 75 how do you propose correcting it without legislation?

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  85. Phil on September 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Mh just expressing opinion

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  86. Jeff Spector on September 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    “male class privilege” There’s another one of those made up terms to somehow denote that men rule over women in this day and age. While some might, the majority do not.

    I suppose you call it male class privilege when you get buried alive 1000 feet underground in a coal mine? or to have a brick wall fall on you while you tried to fight a fire? Or have your legs blown off by an IED in some foreign country. Or when you a bucket of molten steel comes pouring down on you?

    Or you get caught in the trash compactor after bring in a load of garbage for the fifth time that day?

    What kind of privilege is that?

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  87. Howard on September 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Well Jeff I’d love to see a list of terms that weren’t “made up”!

    Which majority of men are you asserting do not rule over women? Are you including the third world? Are you asserting that congress is not a majority of men? Has there been a woman President?

    Are you an amputee coal miner or garbage collector Jeff?

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  88. Jeff Spector on September 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Howard,

    I do not get the point of any of your questions, because any answer I give will be wrong. I don’t know the answer to those questions anymore than you do.

    My point is there is no such thing as “male class privilege”. There may be “class privilege” of which both men and women benefit. But I do not see where being male in and of itself on a WW basis is of any great benefit, given some of the circumstances I listed.

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  89. Howard on September 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    My point is there is no such thing as “male class privilege”. Well, that’s exactly what I mean by male class privilege is blinding, in your case to the point of total denial.

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  90. Jeff Spector on September 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Of course, I should have known.

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  91. Ryan on September 10, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    JeffG,

    I agree I was reacting a little strongly. That is fair enough. However, I wonder what it means to be “for rights like in the United States”. Meaning is it ok to be generally in agreement and that is all that is required? In other words a better question would be what have you actually done to try and solve these problems that you agree are problems? Concretely what have you done to pay attention to them? One reason feminists (and others) tend to get so agitated is that, sure, everyone in theory thinks thinks sex slavery is a bad idea. But that does very little good. Now to be very realistic, of course everyone can’t work on every problem. That is completely unrealistic. However, I think a nicer way of saying what I was getting at is that once you start focusing on outcomes and actually helping women attain equality you quickly find that basic legal rights on paper get you almost nowhere. Women are still discriminated against in the workplace in very real ways (much of it unintentional and unconscious). 1 in 6 women in the US will still be sexually assaulted (and its probably more like 1 in 4). etc. etc. As you can imagine for anyone that works on these issues and really cares it becomes very easy to become frustrated by people, who don’t want to really face the reality on the ground and the years and years of experience in what it takes to actually make things different. You clearly dislike affirmative action. Yet, over and over and over again, the good research on this shows that affirmative action in both race and gender is one of the most (and few) effective ways to actually change outcomes for the traditionally disenfranchised. Put simply the economic theory that the market will magically punish those who don’t has been shown to be simply not true or at very best at a pace so slow as to be immoral. This is true of say the cast system in India, women all over the world, african americans and other minorities in America. So given all the work to do and having any decent respect for those who do it, it is strange that one would want to reject the label of being a feminist because you happen to disagree with a few radical feminist theorists. I am an American, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all American’s ideology.

    If not now when and all that.

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  92. Ryan on September 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Jeff,

    So you agree there is class priviledge. And you agree there is male priviledge. However, you can’t understand how it would possible for the two to interact in such a way as to create a distinct, particularly powerful form of male class priviledge. You can’t imagine that male priviledge may be qualitatively different depending on whether you are a US venture capitalist or a rural farmer in India? I don’t think it takes overly much imagination to see how this might be psossible.

    Also, can you give me one reasonable metric that shows that men do not have the lion’s share of structural power economically, poltically or socially? “Rule over” might be strong for some contexts but “have signficant power over” seems pretty grounded in empirical reality. I assume you are Mormon. Do you really believe that men don’t, as a gender, hold more power in the church then women? Really?

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  93. Jeff Spector on September 11, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    Ryan,

    I don’t buy into the whole feminist line of the extraordinary male power that you seem to ascribe to. I do not see any great “privilege” in spending long hours and days away from my family in order to provide food, clothing and shelter for them. And I don’t see any great “privilege” in the high risk jobs I described above that some men have to do to do so.

    I personally don’t rule over anyone, including my employees or my family.

    Now, whether the “men” hold more power than women is rather subjective depending on what you are referring to. Economic power? Perhaps, due to long established societal norms which are quickly falling by the wayside as more women jump into the workforce with higher education, more opportunity due to preference programs, lifestyle changes, etc. Young men as a group are failing to launch, so to speak, and the young women are getting ahead of them.

    And in the Church, we assume different roles, which I don’t equate to power….. getting up and attending 6am meetings every week and spending multiple evenings out of the home is not exactly my idea of power.

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  94. hawkgrrrl on September 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Ryan, from hearing Jeff on these issues before I believe he would not want women to be more disadvantaged than men but he also sees the ways sexism disadvantages men. Likewise I see these disadvantages. It’s one reason I am not so crazy about the priesthood as it is. It’s like a fake military with all its rank advancement and hierarchy and structure. That’s a very male structure from all I’ve read. Female structures are also not appealing to me with their social pressure. In the workplace the structure is more gender integrated which to me is ideal. Segregation creates extremes.

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  95. Hedgehog on September 11, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    “It’s one reason I am not so crazy about the priesthood as it is. It’s like a fake military with all its rank advancement and hierarchy and structure…. Female structures are also not appealing to me with their social pressure.”
    Amen. It is seriously offputting at both ends.

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  96. Phil on September 11, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Howard,

    Howard:
    I do not get the point of any of your questions, because any answer I give will be wrong. I don’t know the answer to those questions anymore than you do.
    Jeff hit it right on the head of the nail.

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  97. Howard on September 11, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I do not get the point of any of your questions… I know you don’t, probably looks like trick questions to you! Phil there’s no evil in allowing gay marriage or allowing a woman’s right to choose, they both support God given agency. You would have a better case arguing gay sex is evil and you can find some biblical passages that can be interrupted to support that argument but you cannot categorically call abortion evil because church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion. So it’s not black and white simple.

    Wake up Phil, Jeff doesn’t know the answer to the question: Has there been a woman President? Really?? He doesn’t know which majority of men he is referring to? Really?? Or if he’s including the third world in his comments. Or if Congress has more women than men? Maybe he just doesn’t want to answer them because doing so would erode his denial of the existence of male privilege, so instead like you, he would rather divert the issue by blaming me. :-)

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  98. Naismith on September 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    “Almost no mainstream feminist believes that. Like NONE. My challenge to anyone who says that these days is to simply name one single published feminist author who has stated that equality means or requires sameness. Just one.”

    If you seriously want to have a conversation, using words like “silly” and “ignorant” is not helpful. A lot of non-feminists have taken classes in women’s studies, formerly participated in feminist groups, but currently choose not to be part of that movement. We are not ignorant.

    I agree that feminist authors don’t explicitly state that equality requires sameness. Rather, they say that equality requires doing the *same things* as men: Having a career, not having children or at most having no more than one, and certainly never taking time to be at home full-time, which was described by Linda Hirshman as “bad for them, …certainly bad for society….”

    It is hard to dismiss Hirshman’s GET TO WORK and Leslie Bennetts’ THE FEMININE MISTAKE as “out there fringe” when the books were best sellers, and I hear about them all the time from young professional women who are adamant about not having more than one child.

    So let’s turn your question around and ask what recent feminist authors appreciate the contributions of homemaking and support the idea of women focusing on motherhood for a season?

    A while back, a knowledgeable blogger was kind enough to provide me with a list of pro-family pro-natalist feminist writings. The catch is that none of them were in my public library, most were in my college library but one was no longer in print.

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  99. Jeff Spector on September 12, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Is that what really differentiates the feminist movements: “pro-family” versus “no family” feminism?

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  100. Douglas on September 13, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    As Jeff well pointes out, there’s no inherent “privlege” that exists by virtue of being male in Western Society. The more shrill have givem undue emPHAsis on disadvantages faced by women and advantages to men while disregarding the respective corollaries. Often not only have men been assumed to share collective guilt for whatever grievances these “Feminazis” laid at their feet, but also the institutions that have worked for the good of families; or even marriage itself. It ought not be a surprise that most LDS wouldn’t agree; hence why they oppose the more radical feminists’ agenda.
    Nevertheless some societal trends are welcomed as they result from free choices and technological changes, rather than any thanks to shrill feminazi efforts. For example, when was the last time you heard of any female professional as being prefaced as “lady” anything, as if her presence was token and begrudging? It is well that in the employment marketplace that there be virtually no distinction according to gender. I recall an anecdote from “All in the Family”, ca. 1972, that a man is killed in an auto accident, his critically-injured son is rushed to the ER and prepped for surgery. The on-duty surgeon, upon entering the OR, says, “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son.” Even the uber-liberal “Meathead” doesn’t get that the surgeon is the boy’s mother.
    Likewise I see the Priesthood as belonging to the Savior. If He wants to change the status quo, He is perfectly capable of articulating His will through His servants, and if so we men had better get on board with it.

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  101. alliegator on September 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Feminism shouldn’t be about seeking exact equality. Men and women are different, PEOPLE are different. Feminism should be about allowing individuals to pursue the opportunities that fit best with their own lives and talents. I chose (and was lucky enough that it was a choice open to me) to stay at home with my children. I’m also choosing to go back to school and work in the next couple of years. I’m sad that my choice to stay home makes going back much harder, because nurturing, for all the praise we give it at church, isn’t valued in the “real world”.

    Feminism=freedom to make choices and not be pushed into a predefined role that your culture has set for you.

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