"I read this thing the other day that was SO unfair," one of the girls in my dance class griped earlier this afternoon as we were changing into our street clothes after class. "It said that guys' blood has more red blood cells, which means that they get more oxygen to their body when they excercise, which gives them more stamina when they play sports. How unfair is that?"
Being the Pollyanna that I am, I replied, "Well, maybe Heavenly Father made us [meaning women] that way so that we wouldn't get super good at sports so we would stay home and be good mothers."
Someone chuckled, and I noticed some girls I didn't know giving me funny looks. "It's a good thing a feminist didn't overhear you," another friend remarked, trying to cover up the awkward aftermath of my statement. The conversation continued but in my mind that line kept playing over and over again.
The definition of feminism is "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." I believe in that. Men and women are equal in their worth and importance. But I also believe that men and women have different gifts and different responsibilties from the Lord.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
I believe that raising a child to the Lord is the most I could ever ask from life, the greatest calling a woman can have. Careers, positions and posessions all fade, but souls last forever. God gives us the opportunity to shape lives, to participate in creating something that will last through the eternities. Nothing else is as important. Nothing else is as demanding. Nothing else is as rewarding. Nothing else can compare.
Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever....Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity. -Russell M. Nelson
It is so tremendously important that the women of this Church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord. They must begin in their own homes. They can teach it in their own classes. They can voice it in their communities. They must be the teachers and the guardians of their daughters. When you save a girl, you save generations. I see this as the one bright shining hope in a world that is marching toward moral self-destruction. -Gordon B. Hinckley
I think there is a misunderstanding of feminism in the world and in the Church. The essence of feminism to to celebrate the strength and beauty of women, But I think that purpose is forgotten when some seek for equal rights in trying to make women just like men.
But that is not what God made us to be! He made us differently so we could complement one another. Instead of trying to become so much like men, I believe that we should celebrate the beautiful, divine attributes that God has given us as women - and use them to do the work He has called us to do.
So maybe I should have responded to that classmate, "No, I am a feminist. I believe that women are strong, capable and important, but I also believe that the greatest thing we can do is use our capabilities to raise a family in righteousness to the Lord."
Because really, what could be better than this?
Photo by Sheena Jibson.