Friday, March 03, 2006


This past Monday, we received a lecture on feminist analysis of literature. It was a very good lecture. It's really fascinating to have a BYU spin on feminism. I, of course, believe in equality of the sexes.
It's strange, especially now that I'm getting married and I have to look at the family relationships. Men and women are wired differently (but we've known that for a while, haven't we?) For example, I'm deathly afraid of my future in-laws. I've never met them and here I am marrying and taking their son away. I've met his brother and talked on the phone with most of them. I'm not afraid of the siblings or the siblings' spouses and children. Nor am I even afraid of his father. I'm a girl, I can win over a father.
But it's his mother that I'm afraid of. You see, at least for me, to throw myself into that relationship is slightly scary. I'm nervous everytime I talk to her on the phone. I'm nervous about meeting her in May. Why? Because acceptance from the matriarchal figure is important to me, as a girl. I want to be accepted into the little "clan" of women that include his mother and sisters and sisters-in-law and the way to do that is through his mother. And if I don't receive that approval, my married life will be hell. Scary.
But guys. Guys on the other hand aren't worried about being accepted by the "clan" of men. They just need a father's acceptance and to be able to joke around with brothers and all. That's it. And sometimes they'll get along without all that.
Alas, my lack of a Y-chromosome. This would be so much easier. Or not. If I were a guy, I'd be obligated to marry a woman, and that, I could not do. I'm glad the marrying of women is left for the men to do.
Anyway, where were we? Feminism. Ok. My favorite part of the lecture was this:
She starts talking about some class here at BYU where they look at gender and sex and the impact on a person's life. She states that at the beginning they usually ask the class to list all stereotypes of men and women, all good and bad. Usually looking like this:
Men: athletic, proud, simple, courageous,violent, tempered, loud, strong, etc, etc.
Women: weak, compassionate, kind, motherly, catty, frivolous, stupid, etc etc
See? with everything good and bad.
Then they divide up the good and bad characteristics so that you get four lists: good qualities of men, good qualities of women, bad qualities of men, bad qualities of women.
And then it gets good.
Then, they ask for the class to come up with the qualities of Christ. What's fascinating is that Christ, except for usually strength, has all of the good qualities of women. It's as if the ideal man that we are trying to become is the ideal woman. Christ is an example of how men can be kind and compassionate and well, feminine, while still being masculine and without being effiminate.
How's that for a twist on feminism? It's a feminist idea because it puts the good qualities of women as the ideal, but yet it embraces the mother, the compassion, the kindness and mercy of women, which is not something that you think of when you think of feminism.
Bizarre? Yes. Do I like it? Yes.
Well, anyway, that's what I thought about that lecture. There were so many good parts of that lecture. Studies of the man as a demon and as a god, contrasting to studies of woman as a demon and as a goddess. Fruit flies versus elephants. Fatherhood, motherhood, priesthood.
Wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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