July 06, 2014

A Day For the Women

Todd is taking the boys on a week-long backpacking, canoe trip.  They've been packing their packs and gathering supplies.  I'm so excited for them.  Excited, and a wee bit jealous.
So, I decided to make this week a fun Girl's Week.  We kicked it off with a Saturday getaway with just me and my oldest girls.  A Saturday full of selfies.  :)
We headed out to the Seneca Falls Women's Rights National Historic Park.  We got there just in time to hear Ms Harriet Tubman herself...
I was SO excited to share this little piece of history with my daughters.  I read the walls hopefully at first waiting to feel the power of women!  I know that power.  I re-read cautiously the second time around, and absolutely disgusted the third time through.

To be honest- this "Women's Rights" museum was the most anti-woman place I have EVER been in.  I drove an hour and a half hoping to give my daughters a feeling of their potential and ability to lead in this world-- and what I found were constant, ridiculous charges that women were "unequal" and "repressed" if they chose to be a wife and mother, or a teacher, or any of the historically "female" life roles.  Heaven these displays even suggested little girls were repressed if they played with dolls, wore dresses or makeup, or wanted to be a teacher when they grew up.  Put your face here, they said, you can be a fireman someday.

You do not need to demean women's choices as you open the door for women's opportunity to choose.

I heard Seneca Falls was a place choosen to represent Women's Rights because it is where an American Indian Tribe dwelt that had women sit in leadership councils.  That was a cool story that I never found in the "Historic Park"-- it must have been hidden behind blaring signs like this...
Yes- this says "Myth- Mother's are Special".
(This picture swings open, which I found the second time through, and quotes a domestic violence statistic.  But this display is NOT anti-domestic violence.  It is anti-motherhood.)
The whole exhibit was like this.
These quotes are meant to mock and degrade the "traditional role" of women.
These quotes were examples of the repressive history that the Women's Movement saved us from.

Men, in this building, were painted as oppressors.  Comments scrawled on the "What does Women's Rights mean to you?" board ranged from "Men are scum" to "the right to be treated by men the way men treat other men".  I'm sorry- this is just not my cup of tea.  I proudly wrote my two cents-- "Men do not need to be degraded inorder for women to be valued."
I do believe in "Women's Rights".
I don't believe "Women will never be equal until they hold their own purse."
I don't believe MOST of the propaganda I read on the walls at the museum I was hoping to feel valued and empowered in.
Perhaps I'm STILL missing something- but feminism seems to me to be the most anti-motherhood, anti-choice, anti-man ideals that I have ever encountered.

I am a strong, intelligent, powerful woman.  I'm thankful I can vote.  I have chosen the "traditional" role of wife and mother because I believe it is the BEST use of my life.  I do not earn money- but I am of value.  

I believe we each have different life missions.  Perhaps another women would be living her fullest life by working and earning an income.  

(I am actually FOR equal rights for women.  I did not see women's rights being talked about, I saw a war on women's roles.)

Perhaps some women will never be given the opportunity or will not choose to be a wife or mother.  I do not condemn these women in their choice at all-- and I demand equal respect in mine.

Feminism- as I saw it in the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Museum, was not pro-women's rights.  It was pro-male sameness.  It didn't promote the equal treatment of women, it promoted the SAME employment for women.  It touted loudly "Women's Rights" while it's walls were covered with the most anti-woman rhetoric I have ever encountered! This place came highly recommended to me, from many sources.  I was caught off gaurd, surprised by what I saw, and sorely disappointed.

Really women?  Really?  We can't create a place that celebrates womanhood and highlights the influence of great women throughout history without demeaning the greatest power we have?  This is a NATIONAL historic park.  Women are better than this.  Maybe they needed a few traditional mothers on their design committee- I'm certain we could have spent taxpayer money to create a better exhibit.

Mothers ARE special.  Traditional mothers, who choose not to work and are cared for by men who cherish them, not only feel equal- we feel honored in our role.

I didn't expect a Women's Museum to particularly herald stay at home mothers- but I was not prepared to feel like these "women" were SO wrong.  They are trading true value for things that are of very little worth.  

In an effort to save women from abuse and tyranny, they fight against "traditional womanhood".  Um, no.  Perhaps we should fight against abuse and tyranny.  

Perhaps instead of fighting womanhood or feminity itself, instead of fighting against marriage and motherhood, we can fight abuse, evil, and immorality.  This is the only Women's Rights movement I would support.  We don't need to trade inequality for deception.

I did buy a book of famous historical feminist writings-- I will read it TRYING again to see the good in this ever so popular movement.  So far, feminism continues to disappoint me.  Women-- we are better than this.  

We can be equal without divisiveness.  We have power as women without demeaning men.  We don't need to fight all that is true as we fight evil.  We can be a voice for goodness, fair treatment, and equality without being a voice of enmity, male-bashing, and anti-motherhood.
I brought my daughters here hoping to inspire them, we left uninspired although we were all a little wiser.
We followed up with a trip to the Peter Whitmer farm where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints was organized and much of the Book of Mormon was translated.

This place was full of beauty, love and inspiration.  We toured old farm houses and watched videos on family life that rang true to my soul.
I believe with my soul-- not because I am oppressed, not because I am unable to get a high-paying job, not because I am deceived into Mormon indoctrination-- my whole soul tells me that being a woman, a wife, and a mother is a great work.  
I believe homes are sacred.
I believe families (not pay checks) are eternal.
I believe that even when laws or nations are corrupt and unequal, we can create a home of love, equality, and goodness.
Small acts of bravery and charity at home, in your community, and in your nations- make a difference.

I felt inspired at this simple farm house, where a woman, quietly serving her family and friends, was given an angelic vision.
My girls felt it too- they felt inspired and happy.
As we journeyed home we stopped at some fun thrift stores and big estate sales, picking up items to decorate their room this week.
We bought gold paint to add some stripes to their walls... and, we've got fun plans for our week without the boys.
(We may build ourselves a dog house.)
We ended with the most delicious meal in Skeneatles.  Good food, good conversation, and beloved time with my best friends.
What a lovely day.
I love being a mother.
I love being a motherly, beautiful, feminine, traditional woman.

There is nothing I'd rather spend all my time and energy doing well.
I feel lucky to be home with my kids.
I feel blessed to be able to spend the money Todd earns.
I hope women everywhere feel as valued and empowered as I do.
I hope, whatever my daughters choose to do with their life, they choose with wisdom, power, and truth.
Women-- we have the potential to do a great work.
We are powerful.  
We are equal.  
Our role is holy and divine.
Our life can be so good.
I know it.


Unknown said...

Preach it sister!! Love this

Reyna Haddad said...

Loved this Jenifer and couldn't agree more ♡

Anonymous said...

I am so with you & have been disgusted with the feminist movement for some time. You were brave to go to the museum. I've already seen too much like that to even bother trying.

Too busy raising my kids & loving my husband to come up with an answer to this nonsense.

I guess that all I can do is pray for those that are in a position to make this right as well as to pray for those women who are being preyed upon with this type of victimology.

There is a reason that the snake went to Eve first.

Many Blessings to you & your family. Glad to see you still had a beautiful day with your girls.


Charlene said...

I now know your calling Jen and why you were spared last year. Thank you for standing up for truth and righteousness and for Women.

Jenifer Moss said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments.

Carrie- you might be interested to know that Mormon doctrine sees Eve's choice in Eden a bit differently than most Christian churches. We actually believe that Lucifer tempted Adam first, then Eve. We believe Eve chose well when she ate the fruit. Leaving the garden, having children, experiencing a life of good and evil, seasons and weeds, this was all part of God's plan for His children. Because of her brave choice to partake of the fruit, Eve was blessed and cursed with pain in childbirth. We place Eve (along with Sarah and Mary and other Biblical women) as one of our beloved, holy, most righteous Sisters. Personally, I know these women were holy Queens, Priestesses and Prophetess.

I believe deception is rampant on the Earth today-- so many people (males and females) believe things that are false because they are popular. However- the men and women I talk to are GOOD. We all want what is right, we all want to be happy, we want peace and equality. I believe that good is more powerful than evil. Truth speaks to our souls. Truth is love and peace and unity. As women, we have power to unite. I hope feminism is big enough to embrace ALL women and to fight evil and inequality while leaving room for feminity, motherhood, and the nurturing qualities that have always empowered (not enslaved) women.

We have all met powerful women. We ARE powerful women. Power comes as we unite- not attack each other. Isn't that how we finally won the right to vote?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Thank you for the additional information regarding the Morman doctrine. I have seen several different translations of the the garden story & what you shared is different than the others.

My comment was simply in regards to our unique, God-given feminine nature and how it has been targeted and used for different things.

I initially received your comment in an educational sense. As a Catholic I too have often experienced comments that come from a positive, but uninformed place and have found sharing to be helpful. Maybe it is because of the internet translations;) ,but I have had the nagging sense that how I wrote might have been unintentionally offensive or disparaging to you. I hope that wasn't the case, but rather I am just too tired & sensitive this afternoon.

However, I believe that we should obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit so if I wrote something that was a bit offensive please accept my apology. Sorry.

Blessings to you & yours,

jenifer said...

Carrie-- I wasn't offended at all!! I loved your comment. You just mentioned Eve and so I wanted to continue what you said with the similar but a little different Mormon perspective. (I love the Mormon interpretation of the Garden of Eden experience!)

Thank you for reading my blog and thank you for your thoughtful comments. I'm pretty hard to offend. ;)

Anonymous said...

Where to begin... I read your blog every once in a while because I find your honest and sincere view of your life and how you state your opinions very refreshing. I disagree with you about a lot of things, but I think your family is lovely and I think we’d have a lot of friendly debates and discussions if we hung out in real life. :) 

I have to say, if you choose to be a full-time wife and mother, as you have, you should be respected for your choice and be the best wife and mom you can be. At the same time, I would hope people respect me for my choice to work outside the home. (I don’t think you have shown any disrespect; I’m just putting this on the record.)

Feminism is not all bad…I’m saying this to some of the other commenters here. There are extremists in every facet of life- religion, politics, food, sports…and feminism is no exception. We’re not all burning our bras and hating men. Some of us just don’t think it’s cool to get treated differently at work because we’re women, being the object of sexually-fueled remarks and media content, and subjecting our daughters to a constant barrage of pink and gentrified toys, books, etc. Just keep that in mind…it’s not an all-encompassing school of thought. It’s not “all or nothing” to most of us regular women.

Another point I would like to make is that women who choose to not have a job outside the home don’t experience sexism the way moms and women who work outside the home do, sort of like how you felt judged at the museum for your “traditional” choice. I think if you were in my shoes for a week, you’d feel differently, or at least much less offended, at the museum. Seriously, if I had a dime for every crappy gender-based thing someone said to me, I’d be loaded. It’s easy and natural to write a lot of the stuff you said in your blog post when you’re not regularly dealing with sexist coworkers and clients. My hope is that someday women would just quit judging one another and start respecting our individual choices. There is the most potential in UNITY, in spite of our individual differences.

I don’t know if any of the stuff I just said makes any sense or relates to your original post. I just had to throw in my $0.02. I can’t say anything about the museum because I’ve never been there, I just wanted to say that all feminists are not hating on women who choose to be wives and moms...I have much respect for you and I’m glad because I think you have the same respect for a working mom.

jenifer said...

Thanks CG. I loved your comment. Although I have issues with feminism-- I rather like feminists. I'm certain we would have great discussions.

My favorite part of your comment was how you used both the word sense and $0.02. I did realize that I spelled two cents wrong the first time through and it always bugs me that these revisions don't show up in blog readers. So, I'm not sure you used those terms on purpose, but they did make me smile.

You make a good point about my lack of sexist exposure. You're right. I feel valued and respected for my womanhood by almost every person I encounter. I never thought about how that might be different if I were working.

Honestly, I didn't mean for this blog to be about feminism. I naively thought that all women would be able to celebrate our history regardless of our political, philosophical, economic or religious beliefs. Women's rights should be so unifying. My daughters (6th and 7th grade honor students) left that museum and did not even realize that these women were fighting for the right to VOTE.

Obviously I entered with traditional views, but I did not enter defensive. Although I disagree with much of modern-day feminism, I thought I agreed with the foundational principles. Now, I'm not so sure.

I have so much respect for working mothers. I actually believe we are ALL working mothers with our own unique challenges. Thanks for helping us remember that all "feminists" don't have horns (yet). :) It is so easy to polarize when we need to unite.

Really- thank you for reading my silly blog and for commenting. I do know that not all feminists hate men and burn bras-- and I hope you know that not all stay at home mothers spell cents wrong. :)

jenifer said...

CG- can I ask you a sincere question? Honestly, can you remove the war against the traditional roles of women and still have feminism? I'm not asking if there are feminists that value their role as a wife and mother, of course there are. But fundamentally, feminism seems to suggest that equality is only manifest when a woman works beside a man, earning an equal income. Right?

Additionally, can you be a feminist and not support abortion? Abortion is also a foundational feminist "right". Right? Obviously there may be women who call themselves feminists and are against abortion, but a core feminist belief is that a women's body is her own and she has the right to choose what to do with her body. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenifer, sorry for the late response. I am just reading this. I am no feminist scholar and a pretty casual feminist at that...and your questions are making me think maybe I need to read more...hahahahaha. I don't think feminism these days is so much about being "liberated" like in the 70s...but more about having the equal opportunity to make what you want out of your own life on your own terms...without any discrimination along the way. I sound like a hippie, but that's what I think. And my response doesn't really answer either of your questions, because honestly, I can't supply a scholarly answer due to my aforementioned casual feminism, which pretty much is 100% dedicated to providing HONESTLY equal opportunities for my daughters. I think women just need to start being nicer to one another...to respect one another's choices. That would be good.

And no, I didn't mean to use "$0.02" and "sense" in the same sentence. You are so smart for noticing that!

All the best...now I need to go to the library and check out some feminist books so I can put my money where my big mouth is! :)

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