Sunday, July 18, 2010

When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

I've been doing a lot of thinking on this subject lately.
I've come to some conclusions, conclusions I would like to spend more time researching and studying and, someday, maybe write a real essay about. I realize this post will be all over the place, and I apologize in advance. Also, just a disclaimer: some of the sites I have linked to in this post are not pleasant. Please be careful.

"When momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy." You've heard similar expressions, and they're dead on. I think this is what general authorities are hinting at when they talk about the influence of a righteous woman. She can and does influence her husband immensely, and she shapes her children--as much as they like to deny that they have any resemblance with their mother... A woman sets the tone in her home more than any other single individual or influence.

But this applies on a larger scale as well.
There are studies that show cultures where women are mistreated/abused/considered as slaves tend to be less peaceful (as in civil unrest, war, etc) and less developed. (I am looking for the source for that, I promise I've read it!)
The more education a woman gains, the more chances her family has of rising out of poverty and making a good and wholesome life for themselves. Even a little bit of education can assure that a woman's children have greater chances of survival.
Give a woman the resources and she will make them blossom and bring good not only to herself but to her family and to her entire society. I remember seeing a BYU documentary about micro-finance (which I think is the best possible form of humanitarian aid--it's teaching men to fish instead of giving them fish. But that's another post entirely. I get ridiculously excited talking about micro-finance) and how the success rates were huge for women especially because they took advantage of the loans and used them to start a business, however small, and get their kids to school and food on the table. And then all it takes is one generation for the family to already be better off.

The implications for "making momma happy" go so far beyond daily family life: "making momma happy" affects entire societies. (I realize I am equating happiness with education, financial resources and peace. There could be a lot more to that definition, but for now we'll leave it at that)

Ugh. I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words here.

I am becoming convinced that one of Satan's most effective targets to destroy families is women.
Because women are the heart of the home (and by heart of the home, I mean the spiritual center of the family unit), downgrading them and demoralizing them is his best shot for bringing down families, and then societies.
Think of extreme beauty standards that can cause eating disorders (which incidentally can render you temporarily sterile... kills women's self-esteem and their possibility of having children for a time; how interesting).
Think of cultures and extreme religions that put women in subjugation and declare them property of their patriarchs, that don't allow women education or any form of personal dignity.
Think of places where women must cover their face in public, where their own family members can kill them if they "dishonor" the family--where being raped can fall in the "dishonoring your family" category.
Think of domestic abuse.
Think of peer pressure to have sex before marriage or to dress in provocative ways, pressure that can destroy a girl's self-worth.
Think of cultures that kill off their baby girls because they have insufficient worth to their parents.
Think of places where parents mutilate their daughters' bodies (female excision) to make them more marriageable.
Think of the prostitution masters who abduct mere girls and sell them off into slavery of the worst kind.

And then look at the Gospel that (aside from cultural quirks which are NOT the gospel: guys who think they're so important or excercise unrighteous dominion over their family) puts women beside their husbands as goddesses and priestesses. People think that because women don't have the priesthood, Mormons are old fashioned and that our religion lacks equality. Nothing is so far from the truth: women in the church operate without the priesthood by faith alone. God entrusts us with his sacred mission without a hierarchy of power because of the divine nature of women. I am by no means putting down the priesthood, which we believe to be the power of God himself. But I'm beginning to think that this is what could make the female gender unique: that we could by birthright alone receive our own special power--perhaps a gift directly inherited from our Heavenly Mother.

So what do we DO about this?

First of all, we can all make a greater effort in the fight to end the atrocities being committed against women around the world. We can stop trying to be "politically correct" towards people and cultures that do these things to their women. (This is one reason I think the burqa law in France has nothing to do with freedom of religion and everything to do with cutting back on a repressive symbol--despite other not-so-noble motivations that may be behind the law. But that's another post entirely.)

And second, we as women can try a little harder to be a positive influence in this world--once we realize our potential, our abilities are without bounds, but we need to use our influence for good. (I realize this sounds vague, but there are so many ways we can do this-- come on, what are your ideas!? what can we do?)

I am too often guilty of letting myself be carried by the flow of events, but I need to grab a firm hold and get started, I need to start influencing my family, my acquaintances and my world for good. And the first thing I can do is be a little more cheerful and take greater advantage of the educational opportunities I am so blessed to have.

1 comment:

  1. Lyd, I love this. I think you are right on. Thanks for putting your thoughts into words and posting them.