Today in my Women in French Art and Culture class, we talked about designer Jeanne Lanvin. I just love her feminine, whimsical dresses and especially her mother-daughter ensembles. Don't you?
|The artist herself.|
|My professor credited Lanvin for the invention of the rosettes we pin in our hair and on our dresses. Can you see why?|
Check out these mother-daughter images - I think they're so sweet. I love how she often she represents women as mothers and her insistence that motherhood and fashion can go together.
For the same class, we were assigned to read the last chapter of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, arguably the most important piece of feminist literature in the Western World. Reading Feminist theory is difficult for me; the mixing of truths, untruths, negativity, and general hatred towards men turns my brain to jelly. I do not enjoy the debasement of men any more than I enjoy the debasement of my own sex. Somewhere in that chapter, Beauvoir wrote,
"We have seen that it is possible to avoid the temptations of sadism and masochism when the two partners recognize each other as equals; if both the man and the woman have a little modesty and some generosity, ideas of victory and defeat are abolished; the act of love becomes a free exchange" (692).
If men and women are to be "equal partners," as the Proclamation on the Family suggests, both men and women need to see each other as such. Men do not only need to honor and respect women, but women need to do the same for men. Man-hating, backbiting, criticizing, and proclaiming that one "doesn't need a man" can have not a place in our lives if we are striving to end sexism and work together as one.
Some in the Church claim that only men hold the Priesthood because they are inherently less virtuous or righteous than women. I find this argument degrading, depressing, and out of line with the loving nature of our Heavenly Father.
I believe that the Priesthood is not just a power but a responsibility and an opportunity to serve as Christ did, and thus become like Him. I believe that motherhood/womanhood are the same things - opportunities to serve as Christ did and become like Him. These offices involve different skills and different assignments, but their purpose and their promised blessings are just the same.
As a mother, a woman gives life to a physical body and maintains it through daily care. She teaches, encourages, uplifts, comforts, counsels, and bears testimony. She serves the needy, cares for the sick, and clothes the naked. Most importantly, she leads her flock to make covenants with the Lord through sacred ordinances. Through this service, she finds joy, fulfillment, and exaltation.
As a Priesthood holder, a man gives life to a spiritual body and maintains it through daily care. He teaches, encourages, uplifts, comforts, counsels, and bears testimony. He serves the needy, cares for the sick, and clothes the naked. Most importantly, he leads his flock to make covenants with the Lord through sacred ordinances. Through this service, he finds joy, fulfillment, and exaltation.
Both men's and women's are important, Holy, and necessary for our salvation. Why should one sex and their foreordained role be heralded as better than the other? Every single one of us needs the blessings we receive from women and men.