Are conversations about feminism and heterosexual marriage now harder to have?

Last fall, I began to write a post addressing an aspect of the publicity surrounding Prop 8 that did not garner much attention on the bloggernacle but seemed critical to me: what does the recent focus on same-sex marriage mean for the future of Mormon feminism and Mormon heterosexual couples?  At the time, I pulled this post from publication in order to prevent unwelcome controversy from entering the BCC site.  But now that the immediate impact of Prop 8 is over, I think it is time to ask how the goals of Mormon homosexuals and married Mormon feminists might support or conflict with each other.  This post is not intended to pass a value judgment on any camp, and it certainly doesn’t presume to understand the complexity of desires amongst Mormon homosexuals and women, but it does seek to open a discussion.

Supporters of same-sex marriage and some strains of Mormon feminism all want marriage to be redefined and reconsidered, but it is unclear to me that all parties want the same kind of redefinition.  While both presumably want to see partnerships with equality between spouses, basic civil liberties, and a rethinking of “natural,” hierarchical gender roles, heterosexual marriage must generally find ways to reconcile the issue of childcare with equality in ways that do not as strongly factor into same-sex marriage.

Although the focus on same-sex marriage has brought to attention questions about the rights of consenting adults to form life-long partnerships, its focus on choice, privacy, and identity don’t address married women’s needs for more equity in the child-rearing process.  For women in heterosexual marriages, I believe that assertions of equality with men, while welcome and doctrinally necessary, are less needed than real social measures to help make such equity (especially within the workforce) a reality and to give women more real choices.  The focus on privacy in same-sex marriage seems sometimes at odds with the desire by many women for more public support for issues like childcare, and the rhetoric of privacy seems to provide fewer incentives for the state to support or subsidize marriage as an institution.

My point is neither to judge between what I perceive to be the desires of both camps nor to suggest that both cannot, should, or should not achieve their aims.  But I do want to point out that the desires of both groups in respect to marriage are somewhat different even if they share a desire for reform and fatigue with prescribed ideals about gender.  I am concerned that the focus on same-sex marriages is rendering less visible within the public/church eye the need to ask how marriage might be reconceived and fostered for the heterosexual majority.   Heterosexual marriages are, I think, “under attack,” but I believe the culprit is changing economic and social expectations rather than same-sex marriage.

As an organization, we are often failing to publicly invest in and to seriously address the needs of modern married couples.  As it becomes increasingly harder for families to economically survive with a sole breadwinner, and as women increasingly view careers as opportunities for growth that complement their roles as mothers, we need guidance and serious thought about how to preserve the best aspects of “traditional” marriage while adjusting to these changing social realities.  While same-sex marriage is a serious issue that deserves attention, even more attention is surely due to the changing needs of the heterosexual majority.

But the focus on same-sex marriage seems to have created a renewed sense of urgency within mainstream Mormonism to define and reassert traditional marriage norms and with them traditional gender roles.  That said, I am not sure that these reassertions have increased the pressure on women to actually conform to gender roles.  I feel that many Mormon women actually have found more power to define their marriages on their own terms as the focus on regulating intimacy has shifted elsewhere.  I am concerned, however, that the current controversies will make it harder for serious discussions about heterosexual marriage to occur in the near future.

The questions posed by homosexuality about the role of gender in God’s plan nevertheless seem to complement those posed by feminist Mormon women and to present a long overdue opportunity for us to seek further revelation about gospel paradigms that do yet adequately articulate a role for women and for non-heterosexuals.  Or, since I confess that I am tired of gender roles being dictated or revealed, they  might at least present a time to decide if the rhetoric of gender is worth preserving in its current form.  My hope is that the needs of Mormons of all genders and sexual orientations will in fact be complimentary; even if we cannot endorse solutions that please everyone, this is an opportunity to discuss an issue that has been silenced too long.

Comments

  1. Aaron Brown says:

    “Although the focus on same-sex marriage has brought to attention questions about the rights of consenting adults to form life-long partnerships, its focus on choice, privacy, and identity don’t address married women’s needs for more equity in the child-rearing process.”

    This reminds me of Russell Fox’s (and Nate Oman’s) interesting insights about the ideological role that civil marriage has played in shoring up societal norms concerning the proper relationship between men and women, or more specifically, men and mothers. The concern is that stripping gender from the institution prevents marriage from fulfiling this function as well as it otherwise might (which is to concede, probably not that well anymore). I see you as articulating a version of the same point.

    I think it’s an interesting problem, and one of the few implications (really, “alleged” implications) of same-sex marriage that really gives me serious pause.

    AB

  2. I could not disagree more. Giving two people of the same sex to marry simply gives them the civil rights (i.e. those granted by the government such as tax rights, health care rights, inheritence rights, etc) now granted to different-sex couples. Everything else is just, uh, unnecessary complication.

  3. nasamomdele says:

    I think that there is a simple disconnect here. It is obvious that feminist women, Mormon or not, are apt to fatigue over “historic” or “traditional” gender roles, but to make that fatigue of roles translate into acceptance homosexuality requires a huge leap of logic, one that frankly does not work.

    Homosexuality often denotes a sexual behavior that cannot be defined simply as a “role”. Proper sexual behavior is part of divine purpose, doctrine, and commandment. The sexual behavior element cannot be ignored for the sake of our social constructs, i.e. “love”, “commitment”, etc.

    Who does the dishes, teaches children, stays home, goes to work, etc. is not overwhelmingly part of divine purpose, doctrine, or commandment. In fact, we are given very few specific tasking orders for genders.

    So discussions about heterosexual marriage are welcome. There is plenty of room for discussion on the topics of gender roles, real or perceived. Same-sex marriage may actually hold roles in common with hetero marriage, but simply does not approach hetero marriage on legitimate grounds for Mormons because of the large elephant in the room called sex, procreation, intercourse, whatever.

    So I think many feminist Mormon women confuse the issue with one big thing: the ideas of “gender roles”, “love”, “commitment”, and “family” as being key in relationships or marriages, where they are not addressing the purpose of gender or the family and conveniently neglecting the forbidden act of homosexual sex.

  4. Specifically, how two opposite sex people in a civil marriage, with all the governmental benefits there bestowed can act however they feel like. It is totally totally totally unrelated to the CIVIL fact that they are married. Duh.

  5. Not totally unrelated, djinn. Their (opposite sex people) respective designs–whether of Divine or Darwinian origin–does allow for a range of behavioral possibilities which promote the propagation of the species. IMO, that (survival) is something that society at large ought to be very interested in.

  6. Aaron Brown says:

    djinn, your comment #4 doesn’t really warrant a “duh” because, quite frankly, I have no idea what it says.

    AB

  7. I don’t have any deep, insightful response to make, but I believe that part of the answer to the issues modern families face might be found in cohousing: http://www.cohousing.org/what_is_cohousing . I’ve only recently stumbled onto the concept, but from what little I’ve read, I’m sure excited about it.

  8. Governmental rights that accrue with civil marriage are totally unrelated to the nature of the respective parties ugly bits (thanks, Aussie slang.) Forgive me if i were incoherent, a frequent problem of mine.

    Slightly different subject, but just slightly.
    Two people join their lives together. They are not Mormmons, and so Mormon beliefs are not part of their, or the government’s expectations of their behavior. They get the totally civil benefits of marriage, not of which implicate religion. What else matters? Please tell me.

  9. Oh, and nasamomdele, the man who called me “ugly,” with all the concommitant connotations and explicit and well understood denotations, please explicate the David and Jonathan story, referencing the Hebrew (not that totally sucky NJV) when need be.

  10. I confess, my remark in #4 was incoherent at best. Let me try again. One goes to a government facility to get a marriage license. This marriage license grants a rather astonishingly large number of benefits on a couple once they get married. This civil function has nothing nothing nothing to do with whatever religious ceremony the couple may also engage in.

    These civil rights (inheritance, tax law, right of survivorship, right to see ones spouse in the hospital in the most bleak of times, the right to go to the funeral if worst comes to worst) have nothing to do with the religious aspects of such marriages. Likewise, they have nothing to do with who does the dishes, who makes the money, who takes the kids to doctors, who cleans up the projectile vomiting, and so forth. The fact that both spouses have the same gender really means nothing at all. Interview some actual two-sex couples; the “pretend gender roles” are actually split by both. Get a grip.

  11. Mark Brown says:

    If I may step in here…

    djinn, there’s no need to be telling anybody to get a grip, and this is not the place to carry over ugliness that originated elsewhere.

    The skirmishes surrounding SSM carry with them a lot of baggage about gender roles and our currents understandings of masculinity and femininity. Much of the opposition to it rests on the assumption that children need both a mother and a father. You may not agree with that, but we ought to at least acknowledge that that is where the debate is taking place. Natalie’s point, if I understand it correctly, is that the discussion about masculinity and femininity in heterosexual relationships has now been completely sidetracked. The emphasis on traditional marriage, whatever that means, has had the effect of reinforcing traditional roles in heterosexual marriages. Do you disagree with that?

  12. As my later comments have disappeared, I’m trying again. There is a difference between CIVIL marriage (Ah, the fury of caps lock unleashed, if just for a bit) and a religious marriage. The civil marriage grants certain rights and responsibilities BY LAW that applies to everyone no matter what sex. For example, to get divorced, you are required to go to a divorce lawyer with a STATE, not a religous license. None of this has anything to do with gender differences. It’s just a set of laws. Get it? Obviously not. Sigh. A religious marriage grants none of the STATE rights, but, to you may be more important because of the potential eternal implications. However, it doesn’t require the intervention of the state.

    State=specific set of legal rights not connected to gender. Plus specific legal benefits and detriments (if you’re getting divorced.)

    Religion=state not involved.

    Get it? One implicatesa non-religious institution, the STATE, the other doesn’t.

    However, whatever gender roles you choose to apply are outside the rights and obligations given by the state. The sexes of the parties don’t enter into it at all. Show me where a state-issued marriage license declares male and female roles.

  13. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 5 I think we can safely put aside worries that the human population will collapse unless we persecute the gays. If homosexuality really reduced the birth rate, China would have replaced Mao with Cher years ago.

  14. I totally disagree Mark Brown. Marriage implies nothing about what spouse does what. Try interviewing some Mormon families where the wife make considerably more than the man. Though not in a traditional Mormon marriage, that is my life. My husband cooks, cleans, etc. beautifully. He is also a wonderful father. So what?

  15. PS. You’re funny MikeinWeHo, in case no one else has noticed, though I must confess my straight genes must assert themselves:CHER?

  16. Oh, as to Mother and Father, one may assert such comments, but there is no actual scientific evidence to support such a proposition that I am aware of. If there is, please let me know and I will do my best to modify my beliefs. The material used in the Prop. 8 campaign in California used single parent families versus two parent families; hardly the same thing.

    Waiting for evidence,

    I remain,
    as annoying as ever

    Djinn

  17. #15,17–djinn, I am at a loss as to why the hostility to Mark. My reading of his comment is that he was not asserting the Mother+Father necessity thing himself, but asserting that it was a theme in the yes-on-8 campaign. That fact doesn’t seem to be in dispute. I think the discussion we are trying to have here is, what are the implications for heterosexual LDS couples, perhaps especially those with with non-standard roles (e.g., working mom), arising from this retrenchment and reinvigorated emphasis on traditional gender roles within church discourse? All this talk of rights, etc, seems quite off-topic to me. Sure, nothing in the law dictates who picks up socks, but that’s not the point of this post.

  18. Thomas Parkin says:

    please …

    no … more …

    ~

  19. I think that this discussion is really missing the point on the post, which was not to talk about legal rights or whether or not we should confer them on certain people or even Prop 8 but just to ask what going through this moment as a church means for future conversations about heterosexual marriage. I’d appreciate it if the discussion stayed focused on this topic and remained civil, because I will not post any future thoughts on this topic if it can’t.

  20. Of course, one might look upon that threat as a good thing:)

    But, seriously, the point of this post is that we really do need a discussion about heterosexual marriage and gender, but the current controversy is making this conversation increasingly difficult to have. Let’s not contribute to the problem.

  21. “Get it? Obviously not. Sigh.” Ammusingly that’s quite ironic.

  22. Ahem… with respect to the topic at hand, perhaps one outcome of the Prop 8 Era may be a hardening (or a better word, re-affirmation) of traditional gender roles within LDS marriages. I have heard passing comments in my LDS circles that Prop 8 has been a catalist to focus discussion on the merrits of traditional LDS marriage values – under the assumption that somehow we as a culture have strayed (or are straying) from prior church leadership counsel.

    In addition, church leaders have properly recognized the effect of contemporary attitutes of young men and women regarding dating… they don’t. In fact, late last year, the New York Times ran an article with the headline “The Death of Dating.”

    Now, it seems to me that the death of dating may ultimately have a greater negative effect on marriage than SSM.

    Any how… if in my mind, I combine the two discussions of SSM and the decline of dating… I do seem to arrive at a narrowing of the LDS social guardrails which leads to a re-affirmation of traditional marital roles, priorities, expectations, and outlooks. This may tend to marginalize LDS feminism.

    (I am traveling all day, will not be able to respond until tomorrow, in which case the discussion may be settling down…)

    Earl

  23. I want to note that I changed the title of this post, but I am writing from my phone so I can’t elaborate now.

  24. So the point here is that the discussion on gender roles has taken a step back due to the fact that in order to address homosexual rights we have overstated the traditional gender roles in defense of traditional marriage?

    If I have summarized this correctly this is interesting. Certainly the dialogue in my own part of Cali has been dominated by those who defend traditional roles and are most opposed to gay marriage. It seems that those with less traditional roles within their marriage are more supportive of gay marriage. The people who hung up the signs, those who “pounded the pavement” and called us at home to ask for our support all happen to have more traditional roles and therefore have taken on a louder voice in the dialogue in general. Those who are less supportive of the traditional roles may have temporarily gone silent.

    One could argue, however, that those who are in the more traditional roles are much more willing to see a woman work outside the home or (gasp!) have a man do more of the child rearing because, well, at least they are married to the correct gender. They have picked a different battle and have more loosely defined the marriage as being just between a man and a woman, the details left to those who make that choice.

    I am not sure that this is accurate, but it seems to me that if a woman were to say “hey no traditional roles!! I want to work! I want men to stay up late and do the dishes! It is not my job to get up in the middle of the night with the baby!” then the opponents who might have previously commented that this is somehow less than what it means to be a woman, well, their new response would be “hey whatever, at long as you keep it heterosexual.”

  25. …the point of this post is that we really do need a discussion about heterosexual marriage and gender, but the current controversy is making this conversation increasingly difficult to have.

    You don’t say!

  26. Steve Evans says:

    on this thread,

    djinn = djerk

    that is all.

  27. 25 – I think you are nailing one of the most interesting consequences of the focus on ssm. While publicly we are reasserting traditional gender roles, is the definition practically narrowing so that most marriage arrangements are fine so long as heterosexual? Is this moment one where reassertions of gender roles can co-exist with greater practical atonomy for heterosexual couples?

  28. StillConfused says:

    I think that one way to resolve this is to have states only issue/recognize domestic partnerships… not marriages. If two people want to engage in a domestic partnership with all of the state rights, so be it. Gender is not an issue. The term marriage just comes out of the governmental arena all together.

    The term marriage can then be reserved strictly for religious ceremonies. But other than religious significance, it serves no significance in law.

    That way, people get the legal rights that they want. Those with religious desires get the religious recognition that they want. Those who do not have religious desires don’t have to deal with the religious stuff. And those who want the religious recognition without legal rights can choose to be religiously married but not have a domestic partnership.

    I think that would resolve much of this contention which comes from the merging of legal rights with religious ones.

  29. Again, discussion of SSM generally, and legal rights, etc, is off-topic here.

  30. Wow.

    This was a good, thought provoking post, but the comments seem to have really gotten off the rails :)

    I think that a large point has been missed here. It’s pretty safe to say that and LDS marriage is between a man and a woman, and that both should take active roles in all areas of family life. I don’t think the Church will ever tell us who should pick up the socks or stay up late with the kids, because both parents should do that. No matter which one is out in the work force (or both), both parents should have enough love and respect for each other to work together on all household tasks. Likewise, both parents should take their responsibilities as parents seriously enough to both contribute as much as possible to child rearing.

    The import part is working together. If one couple prefers to have the husband at home and the mother at the office, and that works for both of them, then that’s great. If others are more “traditional” with the mother home and father at work, that’s fine too as long as all parties involved are ok with things. If both parents are out of the house to make ends meet, then that is the reality they face – I’m not a big fan of our kids being raised by strangers, but to each his own.

  31. I really wish we could edit our posts… is that an option that can be enabled? LOL

  32. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 31
    I second that request, Ryan.

    Back on-topic, I think Mormon efforts to suppress homosexuality in society have negative implications for heterosexual Mormon women as well. The gay rights movement is arguably an extension of the feminist movement. Much has been written about that. It is not coincidental that increased opportunities for women in society have developed almost exactly parallel to increased tolerance of gays.

  33. #27,

    “is the definition practically narrowing so that most marriage arrangements are fine so long as heterosexual” Mostly true in practice for a long time but has never been true in the Ideal teachings from SLC. I have to go back to my and my wife’s great great grandmothers to find an example of a LDS female ancestor that did not work outside the home at some point in their lives after having kids. The great greats were on farms anyway….

  34. #32 – I really agree that especially in academic circles feminist and queer theory is often seen as interchangeable. However, thinking about this post made me wonder if the relationship between the two is actually more complex.

    For example, practical efforts to promote things like better health care for pregnant women or maternity policies actually do sometimes require pretty strong definitions about what it means or should mean to be a woman in a way that queer theory, especially when represented by people like Judith Butler who want to go so far as to say biological sex is a construct, is sometimes at odds with. Saying that there aren’t normative gender roles that we should respect as a society, which is what some though not all queer theory says, makes it really problematic to argue for measures in support of a group, like “mothers,” that needs to be defined by those very norms. I don’t want to take a stand here on what we should do, but it does seem to me that there is sometimes less overlap between queer and feminist theory/agendas then we sometimes assume.

    That said, I agree that women’s and gay rights have often come at parallel times, so there is some a relationship there.

  35. MikeInWeHo says:

    I agree, Natalie. It’s a complicated relationship between the two movements. I would argue that any cultural reversal on gay rights (which Prop 8 really isn’t, imo) would only occur in an environment where women experienced similar setbacks. Gays will go back in the closet as women leave the boardroom.

    The correlation is clear around the world: Societies that most control women also punish open homosexuality the most severely, and vice-versa. Saudi Arabia is on one end of the spectrum, some Scandinavian countries on the other.

  36. #32 While I agree with what you’ve said, I wouldn’t say it’s because gay rights/women’s rights are related. We’re seeing a general liberalization of society – a good thing for the most part IMO, but not in every way. I’m sure that the most Right leaning stiff today would have been considered a Lefty nut job by most folks 200 years ago :)

  37. I confess to confusion Natalie. Is your beautifully well-written post simply a request for women to do the dishes, take care of the kids, and otherwise shut up? If not, why the hostility to other arrangements?

  38. Please forgive my djerkiness, though I do confess a fondness for unvoiced initial consonants. Cniarians, anyone? Bowing out.

  39. #37–djinn, It is hard for me to believe that you read the post, or any of Natalie’s subsequent comments. Seriously. What are you talking about?

  40. I have noticed something of a backlash amongst many of my LDS peers (the twenty-somethings) to more “traditional” views of marriage and gender roles. However, there certainly seems to be a trend as far as women pursuing more education, men taking more responsibility in childrearing, etc., which could be positive things. From my observation, though, I would say the arch-conservatives outweigh the progressives, even more so than in the Mormon of my parents’ generation (the forty-somethings). I’m not sure why this is: any thoughts?

  41. Well, one interesting thing that I read yesteday is that, at least up to the economic crisis, a larger percentage of US mothers were expressing that their preference was to stay home full-time than in the previous decade. That said, most mothers said that their ideal is part-time employment. So, it would be interesting to see if Mormon women reflect these national trends at all.

  42. Please feel more than free to delete all my comments, except the “djinn = djerk” one, I liked that. I would do it myself, but there is no such function that I can find (I blame my stupid self (oh, and ugly)). I’d put this elsewhere, but can’t figure out where (reference stupid+ugly mentioned earlier.) Thank you very much, kind bycommonconsent overlords and -ladies

  43. djinn, bowing out of this one is probably a good idea. I appreciate your followups. We all have topics where we kinda lose it a little, it’s nothing to be ashamed of but I do appreciate your self-awareness.

  44. I never heard people at church say much about gender roles before the prop 8 firestorm. Perhaps they have always felt that labor should be so clearly delineated, but never felt any reason to bring it up.

    I will say, that for me, it was reading gender essentialist role affirming justifications for passing prop 8 published in the church newsroom that prompted me to not vote for it. My thinking was “I am not that woman, nor do I believe that God wants me to be that woman.” It felt like a vote for prop 8 was voting myself into Leave it to Beaver.

  45. Starfoxy, out of curiosity, did you go through the YW’s program? One of the things I have observed lately is that Relief Society (in my wards) tends to have far, far less focus on gender roles than the YW’s program, where I think many women form their ideas about the Church and gender. If that is too personal of a question, I completely understand. But, I am interested in knowing whether other people observe less talk about gender roles in RS. I have to say that I find RS quite welcoming of women who define their womanhood in a variety of ways, but I felt YW’s was much more rigid.

  46. I did go through Young Women’s, but I have good reason to believe that the ward I grew up in was full of FLDS people who just hadn’t made the transition yet. Which means that I got an earful every Sunday about getting married and makin’ babies.

    I’ve gotten out of the habit of assuming that what my childhood ward was like is what the church is like. However you do bring up an interesting idea, that perhaps it wasn’t so much the ward, but rather the programs I was in while I was in that ward.

    Now that I think about it, the wards that I include when I try to think about what church is like are wards where I’ve been tucked away in the Nursery or the Primary. These days what I hear at church is what is said in Sacrament meeting. Gender wasn’t a topic for sacrament meeting talks, until prop 8.

  47. I think this is a very insightful post. One of the interesting things about the gay marriage debate is that it has exposed the double standard opponents of gay marriage apply. They use lack of proper gender roles to argue against gay marriage, but heterosexuals may act out any gender roles they please, to the fullest extent possible, without their marriages losing legal effect.

  48. StillConfused says:

    It wasn’t until I moved to Utah that I was exposed to stay at home moms. Even in my family of 12 kids, my mother worked. I have nearly always worked even when I had kids at home. I personally didn’t catch much flack for it — mainly because I think the other women were intimidated by me — but I know that other women in the ward felt the pressure. I was a professional — air traffic control and then attorney — and for some reason that seemed to make a difference. Women who worked in entry level jobs seemed to catch more crap about working outside the home.

  49. Iwas a professional — air traffic control and then attorney — and for some reason that seemed to make a difference. Women who worked in entry level jobs seemed to catch more crap about working outside the home.

    This is one of more fascinating observations I’ve read on this topic.

    Perhaps the “church” (lower-case, meaning the culture) celebrates only certain types of work outside the home?

  50. 48, 49- I agree, that’s really interesting. To expand upon that, it does seem that when we talk about women working to be fulfilled, then we almost always assume they have a professional job. Honestly, I wouldn’t find it fulfilling to work in some jobs, but I suspect it is often the mothers in lower-end jobs that don’t actually have much choice about working.

    I think we see church culture celebrating certain kinds of men’s work more than others, too: MBA’s, lawyers, doctors, etc. I guess this makes some sense, since if you want the stay at home mother “ideal,” then the husband pretty much needs a professional job.

  51. StillConfused says:

    Another factor to my unique situation may have been that I really don’t care whether a woman works or not… as long as she is happy and does the best that she can with her choices. There were women in my ward on both sides of the camp that sought to impose their personal decisions on others and that is where the tension seemed to be. If someone said to me that they were a stay at home mom, my response was “great”; if someone said to me that they were a CEO of a company, my response was likewise “great”. I never viewed it my place to pass judgment on another person’s choices. Perhaps that is the problem that we are having both with gender roles and with SSM, people are passing judgment on the choices of others. That really isn’t necessary. Once person’s choice of how to structure their family needn’t take away from your choice.

  52. nasamomdele says:

    #51,

    It’s not as simple as “passing judgment”, which is a widespread phenomenon, and found in the feminist camp as much as it is found in the SSM or preserve marriage camp.

    If religion were a choice like you describe adoption of gender roles or structuring the family to be a choice, you might have a point. And I think there are a lot of people that think that way.

    But there are many people that view religion as not a choice, but a sort of mandate. A mandate for certain behavior and a mandate against certain behaviors. Of course, people insert their judgment into the mix and many times confuse the doctrine with ideals of righteousness, rights, or emotions. But certain aspects of certain religions are immutable.

    So it is more than judgment for many people. It is, to use the phrase, “standing as a witness”. Surely that deserves some respect, even if you disagree.

  53. StillConfused says:

    I never really viewed religion as a mandate. I think of it all as a choice. Even within specific sects, there are a myriad of choices. I don’t really care so much where a person is on the spectrum, as long as they are true to that choice. If you want to be an ultra-orthodox Mormon, great, but accept that that is your decision only. Others may not feel the same way. If you think a woman working outside the home is bad, then your family should live accordingly. But others don’t share that viewpoint and live fulfilling lives.

  54. I heard a couple days ago that, astonishingly, 85% of the jobs lost in the last year were lost by men. Such a statistic may make this entire discussion somewhat superfluous.

    I have worked most of my life. One reason is that I absolutely do not come from money; my ancestresses have been pretty much required to work for at least a portion of their lives or face penury. (Shout-out to bbell here.) Hence, my working history, not that it will guarantee a job in these difficult times.

  55. Oh, and when I was living blocks from East High in Salt Lake, a friend attended an assembly where the question was asked “how many of your mothers work?” Somewhat over 50 % of hands went up, prob. closer to 80%; next question, do you plan to work; something like 20% of hands went up. Take such comments as you will.

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