Lately I’ve been trying to let things that usually bother me, not bother me. It’s hard work to not be offended, but as you go along with it, and practice it, it becomes easier. Not perfect, but easier.
Today I saw something, that didn’t necessarily “offend me,” but it bothered me to no end because it’s not a solution to anything. I saw the headline for the same story written several ways, here are some examples:
“F-bombs For Feminism: Potty Mouthed Princess Use Bad Word for Good Cause”
“Little Girls Unleash a Torrent of Profanity in ‘F-bombs for Feminism”
“F-bomb Princes video isn’t offensive – it’s exploitative” (Really? You don’t say!)
“Feminists make video with little girls, prove once and for all how insane they are”
I’m not going to link to any of the stories, if you want to find the video, it won’t be hard. This thing will be viral in the next day, I’m sure.
From what I’ve read, this video features little girls – like, little, 5 and 6 years old, by their appearance, swearing (over 25 uses of the “F-word”, by someone’s count), flipping the bird and talking about their bodies in crude ways. I would hope that no 5 or 6 year old understood what feminist empowerment was, but apparently some do now.
Oh people, people, people, I am shaking my head. As a mother I am upset. And as woman I am mad.
First, the world is already a crude and mean place. Why oh why, would any parent allow their kids to participate in such trash? Why? Unless they value their “cause” more than they value their daughters and their innocence. And those people, sadly, do exist. I think they made this video.
Videos and rhetoric like this promotes the misguided notion that for a woman to rise higher than a man, or for a woman to be empowered she must somehow step down into the gutter to raise herself up. Tell me how that makes sense? Oh that’s right, because it doesn’t.
Modern feminism tells us that we are empowered, but victims all at the same time. I’m tired of that line. So, so tired of it. Because you cannot be an empowered victim. You are either one or the other.
Modern feminism tells us that Latter-day Saint women, and really all women of faith, are oppressed and disenfranchised, because we are not priesthood holders. And yet we are taught time and time again by prophets and apostles that we are equal in the sight of God and important to him, and that we do have power given to us via ALL of the covenants we make.
Modern feminism tells us that we, as women, have zero responsibility in our modesty. That men have all of the responsibility to control themselves, and to never ever be tempted by a woman, and if they are, then it’s their problem, and that they contribute to “the rape culture”. The modern day “rape culture” is as common as the air we breath these days, which sadly devalues and lessens the response when someone is actually the victim of sexual violence.
Here is the truth. Some people are jerks. Some of them happen to be men, a lot of them are also women. Get a thick skin and learn how to deal with them and become a stronger person. That is empowering! And as an aside … I am the mother of sons, and only sons. You bet we are teaching them about what their responsibilities are, but at the same time, why do others make it harder for them? Tell, me how does it empower a little girl or a woman to wear a pair of pants with writing across the buttocks? How does it empower a young girl to look like a sexy anything for Halloween? It doesn’t. Let’s use some common sense here and all take responsibility for our choices, and think about how our choices might affect others before we make them. Elder Ballard taught, “[Girls] need to understand that when they wear clothing that is too tight, too short, or too low cut, they not only can send the wrong message to young men with whom they associate, but they also perpetuate in their own minds the fallacy that a woman’s value is dependent solely upon her sensual appeal. This never has been nor will it ever be within the righteous definition of a faithful daughter of God.”
Modern feminism tells us that to be sexually empowered we must sleep around and not learn to control our desires and urges, and that there are never any consequences for sexual recklessness. Things like abortion is a choice, and that marriage does not matter. But we do know there is power in chastity and learning to control ourselves. And that when we choose to take control our lives and our bodies and choose to follow the Lord’s standards we are better and stronger people, and society is a better and stronger place. Here is where the empowered-victim dichotomy usually rears it’s ugly head again. If you are an empowered women, making her own decisions about how you use your sexuality then you should be empowered enough to accept the consequences of those decisions, no matter what they are, and deal with them. Nothing is more empowering than saying, “I will be responsible for my life and my choices, all of the time.” Elder Ballard taught in recent General Conference, “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men.” Did we hear that sisters? We have been given a task, by an Apostle of the Lord to lead, to teach and be uplifting in this world. That is empowering!
A few weeks back I wrote about the “pain narrative” that is very prevalent in many LDS circles. It frustrates me to see my brothers and sisters continue on in misery when the answer is right in front of all of us. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the ultimate tool for empowerment and the total solution for all of life’s circumstances. That is not to say that the atonement is a magic spell that makes it all better, right away, but it does give us a way to seek and find solutions and to be healed. And there is the key. We have to choose to accept the Atonement. We have to choose to walk with the Lord. We must choose to let go of the pain and hurt and to find our new selves as sons and daughters of God. We have to choose to work at being healed. All of these positive choices will help us find true and lasting empowerment.
So here is the challenge. I’m sure I’ve ticked people off with this blog post, because I’ve been bluntly honest. But before you leave an angry comment or go and tweet your fury, ask yourself, is seeing a video of little girls swearing empowering? How is modern feminism empowering? Or is empowerment found in trusting the Lord, relying on His grace and choosing to accept His Atonement the real key? And if so, what are you wiling to do about it? The Prophet Alma teaches us in Alma 32: 27, how to start, and how to try to apply the Atonement, “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” We have to make the leap of faith and try. We have to be willing to work, and the Lord will come and help us with the rest. That is empowering! That is true, eternal empowerment. That is what will help us, heal us, and make us stronger, that will lift us up.