Monday, July 7, 2014

Enough Is Enough

There is a war being waged in nearly every home and every community in this country… A war which is largely one-sided with the losers laying down their arms and the winners taking as many prisoners as possible, including the dissenting voices in their own army. This is the war that clever columnists and politicians have dubbed “the war on women” when in fact it is exactly the opposite. You see, the real war on women in this country was fought and won before my time by generations of brave and competent women who just wanted to be treated as human beings. This new war is not a continuation of that noble cause. This new war is a spit in the face to those women who fought so hard to be heard and taken seriously. The fighters in this war are not seeking equality to men. No… their goal is to teach every man, woman, and child that women no longer need men.

I almost brought this war into my own living room this week. My husband and I were watching “Daddy Daycare” with our two boys yesterday and laughing at how miserably these men were failing at running a childcare center. My 5 year old asked, “Why are they trying to do the Mommy’s job?” Instantly my inner girl power switch was flipped and I was about to take issue with the phrase “Mommy’s job”, especially when the tasks portrayed in the movie were so stereotypically menial. I decided instead to ask him a question back.

“Jay, can boys do everything girls can do?”

“NO!” He laughed.

“What can’t they do?”

“Stay home and take care of the kids,” he said matter-of-factly.

“You’re probably right,” I said jokingly (in light of our movie choice). “What about girls? What can boys do that girls can’t do?”

“Go to work.”

My mind started spinning. Everything inside of me wanted to declare, “Of course they can! Doesn’t Mommy work sometimes? And go to school? And take care of you? Girls can do ANYTHING boys can and then some!” And then I realized the real message that would have sent. “Women don’t need men. You have no purpose or value.”

I was about to take my own son prisoner in a war I didn’t know I was fighting. It was then I finally realized that we have gone too far, tipping the scales perhaps irreversibly in women’s favor. Our world is full of examples of women winning over “man's territory”. For heaven’s sake, we are about to face the very real possibility of a female president. We have conquered public service, the military, medicine, science, Hollywood, etc. The list goes on and on. There is nothing we can’t do… right? But as I stared into my son’s giant hazel eyes I just couldn’t say that to him. I didn’t believe it anymore. When I looked at him I saw the father he will one day be, the husband, the priesthood holder, the missionary. I saw a boy who is irreplaceable, talented, capable, kind and good. No one, male or female, can take his place in God’s plan. How could I know that about my son and at the same time tell him that women can do ANYTHING that men can?

We as women need a serious reality check. We have no problem saying that men can’t get pregnant, have babies, or nurse them. We hang these accomplishments and sufferings in our men's faces and demand gratitude and praise for our awesomeness. We use these amazing feats of female strength as proof that women are really the stronger sex. If men said half the things to us that we do to them, they would be labeled as misogynistic. Imagine if in your ward’s Mother’s Day program we were saying those things about men instead of women. Heads would roll. We as women can’t stand to hear men lifted on pedestals the way we so often are. That would be sexist!

(Now let me clarify that this is not in response to the “Ordain Women” movement, although I have been deeply disappointed by the reaction to that movement by our members. I fear many will be lost in that war as well. But let us not use the casualties of war as justification for our own testimonies. Those who have fallen away could be any of us. Perhaps we just haven’t had the question or trial that would break us.)

I want to live in a world where men and women are celebrated together… where our individual talents and abilities are vastly overshadowed by what we accomplish together as partners, marriages, families, and children of God. Gender is important, divine, and distinct but we are two halves of a whole. I think we are seeing the ramifications of a generation of feminism: men who are afraid to be men. I don’t want that for my boys.

I’m afraid it will be a long and hard fight to help them see their worth in this world we live in. In a world where single women are choosing to start families alone, reducing men to their genetic offerings. A world where women are acting like an oppressed minority. (I hate to break it to you but 50% doesn’t count as a minority.) Men are evil. Men are stupid.

We often talk about what the world is telling our daughters about their worth, but what about what we are telling our sons through our efforts to elevate our daughters? Men need to respect women but just as important is the need for women to respect men. I never in my life thought I would be saying those words! I have often fallen on the side of female empowerment. But as I see the institutions of marriage and family crumble, I have come to the realization that it is in large part due to the collapse of the male gender to the feminist agenda.

Today, I’m laying down my sword.

(Update: I originally posted a response to a few of the comments as an extra post on this blog. I deleted it. First and foremost because it was intended for a few people who commented below. They've seen it now. Secondly, because it became a complete distraction from the intent of this post. Men and women need each other. Period. I'm sorry to those who were immersed in the conversation on my other response post. Quite honestly, I just didn't feel like playing host to a feminism support group on my family blog. I respect you all but you are kind of exhausting. Don't you realize you are doing exactly what I said you would in the first paragraph? To be fair, a few of you were very nice. Thank you for your opinions. Realize that you may be seeing positive reaction to this on facebook and that makes you angry, but I only get to see the negative comments aside from a handful of family and friends who I pay to say nice things to me. ;) )