Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hudson Response

A long, long time ago I wrote an essay for Sunstone about women and the priesthood. Nobody really liked it. I mean seriously--people hated it. But whatever. I wrote it when I was in the midst of having kids and teaching and I was really pretty young, but my hunch was that in terms of running a church, in terms of reaching zion, in terms of advancing the civilization, as it were, of the LDS community, the children of God, women didn't necessarily need more priesthood--men needed more womanhood. What I saw in the church that was contrary to the spirit of God was what Valerie Hudson describes as masculine--self-centered power-seeking, self-aggrandizement, lack of concern for the safety and security of the flock.

I wrote about a woman in my ward in Cambridge in testimony meeting who had been with a friend in labor the night before and just felt like she had to talk about it--but then stopped herself suddenly, said "I don't know why I'm telling you this," and then gave a hasty amen. Why, I wondered, was it perfectly acceptable week after week to use football analogies but not okay to compare our spiritual lives to giving birth?

So Valerie's ideas are interesting--but also kind of obvious, no? I guess this is more of a popular magazine than a scholarly one. So there must needs be opposition in all things--Tieresias had to become both male and female in order to achieve true wisdom.

I'm also thinking of the powerful passage in D&C 121: Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hudson Article

I posted this article by Valerie Hudson (isn't she one of the world's hundred most influential people, you Ladies who study with her at the BYU?) on facebook, but would love a more in-depth discussion of it than a like or dislike on FB.

Did she really say that it's good that Ladies have less confidence than men?  I heard her present some of this material as it relates to the ratio of men to women in the Political Science dept. and was fascinated by it.  

Tell me what the Ladies are thinkin'.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Androgyny Playlist: Saturday AM

Just went for a little run, and the first song that came up in shuffle mode was Beyonce's "Irreplacable," that anthem of feminine independence and power. She'll call her cheating guy a cab and wave him goodbye, but he'd better not take the Jag she bought him--and he'd better remember that everything he owns can fit in a "box to the left," that he'd better not for a second get to thinking that he's anything but irreplaceable.

Which made me think of this song, "Independent Women" by Destiny's Child. The rocks I'm wearin'? I bought them. House I live in? I bought it. I remember listening to this on my way to teach at Lakeside, and thinking, okay, cool, so I can work hard and pay my share of the bills. Thanks Beyonce for making that feel heroic rather than, can I say it, shameful? Sinful?

Next came, I kid you not, "Grace Kelly," by Mika, the beautiful British man who chooses to emulate Grace Kelly and Freddie Mercury, two icons of style and beauty. Mika doesn't care who's a guy and who's a girl--they're both fierce.

Finally, no joking, "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie touts the power of her lovely lady lumps, boobs and butt.

So what about gender is significant? The ability to earn and spend money? A particular type of talent? The erotic appeal of curvy flesh?

On my mission there was a point when I prayed to have my femininity diluted. I was trying very hard to be a good missionary, and to me that meant being intensely connected to all I encountered. I made eye contact. I expressed love. I smiled with at everyone in my range of sight. And it led to some disastrous moments. My desire to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ was interpreted by several men, one a married (unhappily, evidently) ward mission leader, one a manipulative, predatory married investigator, and several missionaries, as the desire for a hook up. I was reprimanded by a Bishop for being too flirtatious.

So am I more or less female because I have a job and largely support my family? I need to be careful, evidently, to not make the man in my life feel replaceable. I emulate Grace Kelly AND Freddie Mercury--and Mika. Strive for elegance in all its forms. Even my lumps.

Emily and I have often talked about the fact that I grew up surrounded by three brothers, and learned how to compete with them, or at least defend myself from their physical and verbal attacks. I think this has given me a measure of comfort in the world of men. More significantly I grew up during the seventies listening to Free to Be You and Me, and I really believed that gender was a superficial construct. My best friend's mother was an artist who created famous politicized feminist prints in her basement studio. It seemed more simple in the seventies. Today's teenage girls face a much more treacherous landscape of identity.

But I still don't know how to man up my style. Being a boss means being strong, firm, not crying, not leading with my heart. But my heart is one of the best parts of me. I alternately wish to eradicate my gender in my work life, and draw on what I know as a woman about nurture.

Monday, April 12, 2010

androgyny and such

Today in my "Girl Power" class, which Eva told me was sort of suspect and retrograde when I was designing it over the holiday, we talked about androgyny--Mary Pipher says that androgynous persons can change a tire or a diaper, fix a meal or a washing machine, and that "studies have shown" that androgynous people report greater life satisfaction.  This is in the first chapter of Reviving Ophelia where she discusses the pressures girls feel to become object rather than subject, to gain our power, as Simone de Beauvoir asserts, from the ability to get men to do what we want, from being acted upon rather than acting.

I'm curious to hear from y'all how adolescence affected your sense of self, your feeling about where the locus of your power lies--within or without?

And talk to me about androgyny.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

suitie love!

So, I've been waiting a little while to introduce you all to my main lady Anna. She just posted a few photos of some meals we've made recently, so now seemed as good a time as any.

Here she is!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

evolutionary psych

is there anything more annoying?