When I hear the classification, “Mormon Feminist” I just don’t know what to think. I know I'm not a stereotype Mormon woman. But I must say, I hate the word feminist and resist identifying with it as much as I would avoid resurrecting the words, "groovey" or "bitchin'." (That's not a bad word-- in the 70's it just meant "cool"). I just hate being lumped into a category called feminist, just as I would hate being called "typical Mormon." Maybe that’s because I have lived during the rise of equal rights for women, which I believe in, but I have also seen the ridiculous side of women wanting to be exactly like men.
I read an article on Patheos, an on-line religious magazine, about Mormon Feminism. Although I applaud Mormon women following their own God-given direction in this life, taking the time to identify what a feminist is today is too much work and too much of what I am trying to avoid. I don't like clubs or cliques. There is always a feeling of belonging and excluding.
As mothers and fathers, we have a lot on our plates. Often, it makes more sense to conserve time and energy--divide and conquer. Men and women can work in different parts of the Garden and share the work load in new ways. I am not adverse to women doing traditional men's work, or men doing things that have been the traditional role for women. My son-in-law makes dinner--he is great at it and I know my daughter appreciates him stepping up to the "plate" for the family meal. He also makes breakfast for my three-year old granddaughter--she wakes up at the crack of dawn. Double yea.
I love to see fathers more involved with the hands-on work of the family. They gain new appreciation for mom. And some women can contribute to the family income without neglecting the kids, and have more appreciation for the typical male role. I don't know, but maybe even some women are better moms when they work. Maybe the husband has the calm temperament to be with the children all day. Every person, every family is unique.
I do think that family is most important in this life, and hopefully when a mom has to work and there is no dad, some other family member like grandma can be there as the primary care taker. Mothering is a sweet work, however demanding. It is a true sacrifice--no monetary pay (It would be nice to have a little equality there--we should get paid for this work.)
Ideally, I would love to see more flex time for men and women, more time to work from home and more time with the family. More appreciation for all our work, more teamwork, more camaraderie between moms and dads, between husbands and wives, between men and women.
I love greater light and knowledge and am open to new ideas. Not all Mormons are. I am unique, I see things differently, true, but I am a woman of faith, and a Mormon, who believes in priesthood power and blessings and I am trying to be sensitive to every woman, no matter what religion, or situation, that trudges through this life on earth.
Life is not easy.
And as Brigham Young said, quoted through Hugh Nibley, "Away with stereotype Mormons." (Approaching Zion)
"For Brigham Young, conformity is the danger signal: 'I am not a stereotyped Latter-day Saint,' he said, 'and do not believe in the doctrine. . . . Away with stereotyped 'Mormons'!"
Deila is the mom of five kids who looks for the deeper meaning of life's joys and struggles on planet earth. You can find her in Eve Out of The Garden.