Or, putting some fun into our dysfunctional discourse on gender. If you haven’t already ready read Cynthia L.’s excellent post, please read it now before proceeding.
This post introduces a new feature called the BCC Puzzler. Consider the following situations and the questions which follow. If you think you know the answer to any of the questions, please write the answer on the back of a twenty dollar bill and send it in. And if you just paid your tithing yesterday and can’t find a twenty, please write your answer in the comments.
A. Through a convoluted set of circumstances involving old college roommates and in-laws, I once found myself seated in the living room of a man who then served, and who now serves, in the Quorum of the Twelve. What kind of small talk do you make when paying a social call to a general authority? The conversation turned very quickly to his most recent general conference sermon and we all mentioned how much we had liked it. He graciously thanked us, but deflected the praise to his wife. He told us that she had written his talk for him, and that this practice was common for them.
B. Pornography is harmful because it is immoral and because it can often break up marriages. It objectifies people and treats them as abstractions rather than as individuals. It creates a fantasy world full of unrealistic expectations and sets an almost impossible standard which real people cannot meet, which then leads to much unhappiness.
C. It is often claimed that men’s and women’s roles are separate but equal, and that one is not better or more important than the other. Ponder the title of this book, then go to the questions below.
1. Can you tell which sermon delivered last week in conference by a man was written by a woman? I cannot, and I don’t think you can either. What does this do to our assumption, reinforced as recently as last week’s conference, that women are better teachers and more spiritual than men?
2. Because our gender discourse also treats people as abstractions, is it possible that our current interpretation of gender roles is inadvertently creating problems for LDS people and in some cases causing real damage?
3. How many hundred feet of glacial ice will cover hell before we see Deseret Book publish a book written by a member of the First Presidency entitled The Remarkable Soul of Men? In a conference which began with our Relief Society president saying that women don’t want or need to be petted and praised, why did we have so many talks petting and praising women? How have we arrived at the point where our discourse borrows more from Helen Andelin than Emma Hale Smith Bidamon or Eliza R. Snow Smith Young?