Sunday, October 9, 2011

How Does This Happen?

A few nights ago, my husband made a passing comment about his socks being dirty from walking in our apartment, and that the floors should probably be vacuumed. I immediately felt guilty, and told him I felt bad that the floors were dirty. He asked why I felt bad since he hadn't cleaned up either, then said, "It's not because you're a girl is it?" he went on to remind me that it was as much his job as mine to keep things clean, and when I got home from work the next day, he had vacuumed.

I grew up with progressive parents who divided housework up based on who was home, who had time, and who enjoyed what, with things coming out basically even. I was never taught that one job was for boys, and one for girls. I have two sisters, and we all did all kinds of chores growing up. My husband has never said, implied or suggested that I am primarily responsible for household chores because I'm female. He does the laundry most of the time, we split the cleaning based on schedules, and cook and shop together. I've been a feminist all my life, and never bought into the notion that being female made me better at or more responsible for household chores. The only place I heard that was at church. Despite all this, I felt guilty for not cleaning the house. I felt like I had failed in a responsibility, that I'd fallen down on the job. How does this happen to someone like me? How does the church have that much power over me?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Interpretation is as Valid as Yours

It's LDS General Conference, which has become a difficult time for me. Last conference, 6 months ago, I watched all the sessions and spent the weekend being pissed off and outed my disbelief in the church to my mother, which I hadn't intended to do. So this time around, I tried to take a different approach. I spent Saturday with my husband, which was way more fun, and felt like a better use of my time. But today, Sunday, we're at my parents. I thought I could hack it if I only had to watch a few sessions, but I lost it about an hour into the Sunday morning session. I left the room to avoid upsetting my family, and my husband followed me out.

I told him I was annoyed at Sis. Dalton's talk about fathers and daughters, that it felt like it was just re-doing the father as "patriarch" who "presides" in the home, and suggested that women's identity is reliant on a good man loving her. His response was, "that's not what she was saying," to which I responded, "I'm not going to defend myself. My interpretation is just as valid as yours." It's very easy for me to feel wrong when confronted with different interpretations In LDS situations. But reading a recent article, has made me want to change that. Just because people are dismissive or scared of what I am saying that does not mean that my emotional or intellectual reaction is invalid. Mormons are taught to listen to authority, that our personal revelation won't conflict with authority and if it does it is wrong. On top of that, women are told that their nature is passive, selfless, submission. Women who conform and give up their voices are honored and set up as examples. Even though I know I'm smart and speak my mind, I still feel as though my beliefs don't carry as much weight as those of the people around me. Telling my husband that my interpretation was as valid as his was a step forward. I'm done backing down just because people don't like what I say.