So you probably think that what I am getting at is a man-hating ranting and raving session to spill my anger and to relieve myself of (probable) emotions that this experience caused me to feel. However, this is not the case at all. What good would a man-hating session do? I could sit and rant and rave about all of the injustices that men place on women for this whole blog post and then after posting, I'd probably receive a few hearty "yeahs!" in my comment box from my almost entirely-female readership. But what would that do? Make us angry for a second, bond us together as a female population by giving us a common enemy? Men?
Come on. If you think that that particular reaction would be productive, then we have more problems that I initially thought.
I’m married to a man. And I love him more than anything. He supports me. He loves that I love to learn. He wants me to further my education. He wants me to be a scholar. I’ve never felt anything but love and support from him.
Ironically, I feel most of the “gender” pressure from my counterparts-- other females.
Ironically, I often feel like the harshest judgement, and the most changing vices of social pressures comes from other females.
Ironically, you are female. You know.
You remember looking at ‘her’ outfit, thinking why on earth she wore that. Or you remember ‘her’ comment in Relief Society, and how it was a little whacked, but you looked at the other sisters and all silently agreed about that particular sister. And you remember judging the girl in your Freshman ward who got married when she was 19. And you remember when so and so didn’t have babies for 4 years and you thought that there was no way she was doing what was right. And you remember judging that one teacher because she was pregnant and going to graduate school. You judged that girl you met at Jamba Juice the other day because she DIDN'T go to graduate school, or didn't finish her degree.
Why do we do this to each other, girls? Why do we allow ourselves to bring each other down in this way? It’s so hard to be strong in a world that is so degrading.
Now, the issue of degradation. I think this most often turns women to the issue of sex, and being seen as sex-objects by men. I will say that men should take some blame for this, however, I sometimes think that we bring these views upon ourselves. We're constantly ranting about how we're tired of being seen as objects of sex, but what do we do to perpetuate this? We wear clothing that gets us noticed. We spend HOURS focusing SOLELY on our appearance. We act certain ways that we think will attract men to us. We not only participate in, but SUPPORT entertainment that BLATANTLY degrades women. We LET ourselves be mistreated. Is this the fault of men, entirely? My heavens, women. It's got to start with the way that we think about ourselves. You are not a sex object. Don't treat yourself like one.
In my final session for one of my classes this semester, we talked about what is called the "male gaze." It seems that men are always looking at women. In film, in literature, in audience... The women are always the object of the gaze, and men are always the gazers. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can become a bad thing when we, as women, portray ourselves contrary to what we divinely are. If we make ourselves objects, we will become objects. I, for one, will not have that. I am an intelligent, capable human being, and I will do what is in my control to portray myself as such.
I recognize that this is much easier said than done, though. That is why we should help each other to be strong. Lift each other up. Aid one another in our efforts to do good, instead of judging one another in these efforts.
Particularly, this part:
"In the past year I have met thousands of Latter-day Saint women in many countries. The list of challenges these sisters face is lengthy and sobering. There are family troubles, economic tests, calamities, accidents, and illnesses. There is much distraction and not enough peace and joy. Despite popular media messages to the contrary, no one is rich enough, beautiful enough, or clever enough to avoid a mortal experience.
The questions sisters ask are serious and insightful. They articulate uneasiness about the future, sorrow for unrealized expectations, some indecision, and diminished feelings of self-worth. They also reflect a deep desire to do what is right.
There has grown in me an overwhelming testimony of the value of daughters of God. So much depends on them. In my visits with the sisters, I have felt that there has never been a greater need for increased faith and personal righteousness. There has never been a greater need for strong families and homes. There has never been more that could be done to help others who are in need. How does one increase faith, strengthen families, and provide relief?1 How does a woman in our day find answers to her own questions and stand strong and immovable against incredible opposition and difficulty?
A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently."
It is so important to be strong in this world that is so clearly ripping its inhabitants to pieces. Look at our world. Step back. Look at the hate. Look at the negativity. Look at the degradation of morals and values.
The most important things are being replaced by the things of least worth. Things like love are being replaced with how awesome of an outfit she's wearing.
Come on, women. We are better than that.
We are stronger than that.
Now, I am not done with this topic. I currently do not have time to address women and education, so I will tell you to look for a future post addressing this issue. I have a lot to say about it. Stay tuned.