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Women in Patriarchy

The post about women being valued for their looks made me think about how women are generally the enforcers of patriarchy.

For example, as a TBM I was the one who made sure we went to church and did all the 'right' things like family prayer and scripture study. Most of the families I knew had this same dynamic - the woman got the kids ready and made sure everyone behaved during church while often men would put their heads in their hands and fall asleep during the talks. The worst failing an LDS woman is for her kids to stop going to church. (Sorry, Mom...)

In The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes the same dynamic in her Muslim family. Women enforced the traditions that kept them in their place on the bottom rung of society. One theory I have read about is that patriarchy enforces the idea that women have no power, and subconsciously this causes women to repress their feminine side and embrace their masculine side, which means they identify with men and enforce the patriarchal system in ways that give them some power. OK. I didn't say that very well. Do you know what I mean, though?

Why do you think women try so hard to support a system that hurts them? When you were TBM were you the one who made sure everyone got to church on time?

Comments

yrsuchariot
Jan. 23rd, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
For example, as a TBM I was the one who made sure we went to church and did all the 'right' things like family prayer and scripture study. Most of the families I knew had this same dynamic - the woman got the kids ready and made sure everyone behaved during church while often men would put their heads in their hands and fall asleep during the talks. The worst failing an LDS woman is for her kids to stop going to church. (Sorry, Mom...)

Interesting. When my husband and I were still TBM, I was the one who pushed the upkeep of church traditions, but I always assumed that was due to the fact that he was a convert and I was BIC. But now that I think about it, it does seem like the dynamic in a lot of relationships is that the husband goofs off and the wife tries to keep him (and everyone else) in line.

Also, my mother definitely makes her displeasure regarding her children's apostacy more well known than my father does. She is incapable of discussing any life issues without bringing the church into it. I have wondered whether that has to do with the fact that she has spent the majority of her adult life working in the home or doing other work that does not require her to work with non-members in any serious way, while my father has always worked with non-members. I wonder if that's the same for a lot of LDS women... They haven't been forced to live enough in the secular world, so the religious sphere takes precedence and they can only see value there. If their children aren't in church, their lives have no meaning... I hope that made sense!

In The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes the same dynamic in her Muslim family. Women enforced the traditions that kept them in their place on the bottom rung of society. One theory I have read about is that patriarchy enforces the idea that women have no power, and subconsciously this causes women to repress their feminine side and embrace their masculine side, which means they identify with men and enforce the patriarchal system in ways that give them some power. OK. I didn't say that very well. Do you know what I mean, though?

I think I get what you're saying. Women support their priesthood leaders because then they have the hope of becoming Relief Society president and at least have some measure of power? Or support their husbands so they can work outside the home, so that they (the women) might have power over the domestic sphere?

Why do you think women try so hard to support a system that hurts them?

I think a lot of them do it because they believe. The idea of not being content with their place would be shameful. A woman who doesn't accept her place is ungrateful and selfish, probably spiritually immature. She doesn't understand her place... *sigh*

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