Zelophehad’s Daughters

Exploring a Misconception about Feminism: Women’s Superiority

Posted by Seraphine

One of the complaints I often hear about feminism (on the bloggernacle and elsewhere) is that feminists say that women are superior to men, or that feminism is about advancing women above or ahead of men (etc.).

When I hear this I am confused, since in all women’s studies classes I’ve taught and in all the conversations I’ve had with fellow feminists, we have focused on men and women’s equality (and what that means, how best to achieve it, etc.).

Starting with the “Declaration of Sentiments” and the “Resolutions” that emerged from the Seneca Falls convention in 1848, feminists and suffragettes have been focused on attaining equality. The “Declaration of Sentiments” borrows the language of the “Declaration of Independence” in order to argue that women up to that point in time did not have the same kind of equality that men in America did: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As we continue to read, the document explains the ways in which the women at the convention did not believe themselves to be treated equally by the laws of the land. The only section that even hints at language of “superiority” is the following resolution: “Resolved, that inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is preeminently his duty to encourage her to speak and teach, as she has an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.”

What’s interesting about this is that it does not say “we believe that men are intellectually superior and that women are morally superior.” It says that “inasmuch” or if men are going to argue that women are morally superior, doesn’t it make sense to allow her to speak and teach, especially in churches and religious settings? What’s interesting is that the resolution immediately following this one is: “Resolved, that the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior that is required of woman in the social state also be required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal severity on both man and woman.” After addressing a belief that society viewed women as morally superior, the document claims that men need to hold themselves to the same standards of morality (which to me, indicates that these women believed that men were every bit as capable of moral behavior as their female counterparts).

The language of women as morally superior actually didn’t come from the feminists–it came from those who were trying to uphold a patriarchal, middle-class structure. During the 19th century, the predominant idea of what a woman should be was that of “the angel in the house.” While this model of womanhood was that women should be meek and submissive to to their husbands, it also included a belief that women should be the caregivers of the children and remain at home because they were more pure, more innocent, etc. When the suffragettes started agitating for the vote, there were arguments that women should not have the vote because they were not capable of making rational decisions, but some of the reasons were the exact opposite (as Lynnette pointed out in her recent post on women’s suffrage): women should not have the vote because the intricacies and difficulties of the political sphere would sully their perfection. If feminists adopted the same kinds of assumptions, it usually was because, like the women who write the “Declaration of Sentiments,” they were trying to address the common assumptions about 19th century womanhood because that is how they would gain support for their cause.

In current day discourse (including in the church), I see similar kinds of patterns. Those who I hear most vociferously arguing for the perfection and superiority of women are people like President Hinckley: “Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.” And as much as I love President Hinckley and believe that he loves the women of the church and has their best interests at heart, “feminist” is not a term I would use to describe him (or, I believe, a word that he would use to describe himself).

And while there may be the occasional feminist that will affirm a speech like the one given by President Hinckley (women who adopt the title of feminist are a diverse bunch), most feminists I know and associate with when confronted with speeches about their purity and superiority and goodness, want to run from the room. Most of the speeches I hear about women and their superiority usually come from those most invested in upholding a patriarchal structure with traditional gender roles.

68 Responses to “Exploring a Misconception about Feminism: Women’s Superiority”

  1. 1.

    So, do we get to call this chicken feminism? jk.

    The language of women as morally superior actually didn’t come from the feminists

    Seraphine, It doesn’t matter so much where the language came from. The question is, did the people who used that language actually believe what they were saying. Unless we’re willing to call E. C. Stanton a liar (I’m not), I believe she meant it when she said:

    There are deep and tender chords of sympathy and love in the hearts of the downfallen and oppressed that woman can touch more skillfully than man.

    Do you disagree with her?

  2. 2.

    Starting with the “Declaration of Sentiments” and the “Resolutions” that emerged from the Seneca Falls convention in 1848, feminists and suffragettes have been focused on attaining equality.

    I am not sure that this a fair representation of the many groups inside the “feminism” umbrella.

    I was first required to read “Sisterhood is Powerful” for a public high school class in 1972, and again for a women’s history class in 1975. That anthology, which is considered a classic, includes excerpts from groups like SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men and from other authors who argue that, for example, lesbians are the only true feminists because they don’t even need men for sex.

    So I think there is, within feminism, a significant wing that denigrates men, that cannot be ignored

  3. 3.

    One of the problems is that “equality” has been bought at too high a price in some instances. When one considers the more hardline feminism of the sixties and seventies, for example, one can’t help but associate higher divorce rates and greater sexual promiscuity with the women’s movement of those days.

    When the net outcome of such a movement is a larger number of children being brought up in broken homes, then the means, IMO, not only fail to justify such a noble venture but render it evil.

  4. 4.

    When one considers the more hardline feminism of the sixties and seventies, for example, one can’t help but associate higher divorce rates and greater sexual promiscuity with the women’s movement of those days.

    When the net outcome of such a movement is a larger number of children being brought up in broken homes, then the means, IMO, not only fail to justify such a noble venture but render it evil.

    I hate this argument (sorry, Jack – nothing personal). It’s the latest incarnation of the tired old rhetoric that women and their choices are the root of all evil (think Eve). Society can’t afford to give women the freedom to choose, because they’ll make terrible choices and the children will suffer. Men need to be in charge so they can run the show and keep women in their place – which is at home with their children. Ugh.

  5. 5.

    ECS,

    With very little intellectual effort, one could roll out an almost endless list of horrors perpetrated by men. Does it follow, then, that because men have a greater power to choose than women–given that such power constitutes an inalienable right–that such perpetrations are justifiable? Even when such “horrors” may be the end result of actions motivated by the best of intentions at the outset?

    I guess what I’m saying is that, in spite of Feminism’s gains, I don’t know how to justify the back door swinging all to widely on marriage and family as a result of the women’s movement.

    I was once criticized for crying “what about children!!!” on a different thread. But I ask that question again: what about children? How many broken homes may have been saved had it not been for a mere lack of tolerance because of feminist indoctrination? (And, of course, I must include the caveat: with the understanding that there are extreme situations where divorce is justifiable.)

    When the quest for equality goes to such extremes it begins to look like an inquisition of sorts — as with any religion taken to the extreme, one begins to question its merits in spite of the good it has done.

    PS. Thanks for not making your response personal — though I do deserve a lump on the head now and again.

  6. 6.

    one can’t help but associate higher divorce rates and greater sexual promiscuity with the women’s movement of those days.

    Please tell me that is a bad joke that I just don’t get. I have written several responses to that statement, but I am getting pretty riled up so I keep erasing them. Suffice to say I think you are way off base with your argument. You need to look at the other causes of those issues and the roles men played as well.

  7. 7.

    I agree with Tanya Sue here, Jack. How come women, liberated or un-, get blamed for promiscuity?

  8. 8.

    I didn’t say that the women’s movement was the *sole* cause of promiscuity. In fact, I believe men played a larger role than women in turning society on it’s ear. But what ticks me off is that feminism seems to get a pass–as if it had nothing at all to do with the prevailing attitude that wrecked so many homes (and continues to do so today). And so, while correlation doesn’t prove causation and all that, one can’t turn the blind eye to the correlation between a spike in the divorce rate, promiscuous behavior, and women’s lib.

    Now maybe I’m way off, but I’d like someone to show me how feminism has *nothing* to do the mayhem of those days.

  9. 9.

    . . . or that feminism is about advancing women above or ahead of men . . .

    I doubt you’re interested in a conversation about affirmative action here, but I would just say that support for gender-based affirmative action is one way that feminists and other “progressives” could be seen to be trying to advance women ahead of men. Or at least at the expense of men. I know it’s a complicated issue and I know that some people have ways of justifying discrimination against individual men as an evil necessary to produce equality, but whatever the merits of these arguments, it’s hard to claim that you’re not working against men while you’re supporting discrimination against them.

  10. 10.

    And while there may be the occasional [Mormon] that will affirm [that women should be subordinate to their husbands] ([people] who adopt the title of [Mormon] are a diverse bunch), most [Mormons] I know and associate with when confronted with [the idea of spousal subordination], want to run from the room.

    So Mormonism doesn’t teach spousal subordination.

  11. 11.

    It seems to me that feminism can either be about women rising above men or women becoming equal with men. In either case, it implicitly states that the place where men are is a desirable place, which is a place where one claims power, authority, and rights and has ownership, control, and dominion.

    How about men come to where women are instead? Society has said that women are supposed to be meek, humble, and submissive. It might make for a less war-torn world if all people were to adopt those attitudes. Women are expected to be sexually pure. That‘s not a bad thing for men to practice either. Traditionally, women have had little to no ownership of things. Sounds kind of like the law of consecration.

    Maybe the men-women problem isn’t that women don’t have enough power. Maybe the problem is that men claim too much power for themselves. I’d like to see men give up a bit of their power, rights, and control and strive to be equal with women.

  12. 12.

    Now maybe I’m way off, but I’d like someone to show me how feminism has *nothing* to do the mayhem of those days.

    I doubt anyone would be able to prove this, but I’m sure much of the “mayhem” was caused by a reaction to rigid patriarchal structures that forced women to serve men and take care of their children. Until men start sharing in the burdens of domesticity, this “mayhem” will continue.

  13. 13.

    Now maybe I’m way off, but I’d like someone to show me how feminism has *nothing* to do the mayhem of those days.

    Guilty until proven innocent? Wow! I can’t show you that, just like you can’t show me that feminism was the root cause.

  14. 14.

    I hate this argument (sorry, Jack – nothing personal). It’s the latest incarnation of the tired old rhetoric that women and their choices are the root of all evil (think Eve). Society can’t afford to give women the freedom to choose, because they’ll make terrible choices and the children will suffer. Men need to be in charge so they can run the show and keep women in their place – which is at home with their children.

    Why is it that when a man makes a critique of feminism, it’s always turned around to be something that is sexist and patriarichal?

    I also wonder what the world would be like if we realized how important it is to raise our kids, as opposed to be so concerned about the work place. And I’m talking in a man and woman sense. Cuz, honestly, if I didn’t have to, I’d rather stay at home.

  15. 15.

    Hey, Jacob M – funny you should bring this up. If you check out my post over at FMH today, you’ll see that women who criticize feminism aren’t given a free pass, either.

  16. 16.

    And while there may be the occasional [Mormon] that will affirm [that women should be subordinate to their husbands] ([people] who adopt the title of [Mormon] are a diverse bunch), most [Mormons] I know and associate with when confronted with [the idea of spousal subordination], want to run from the room.

    So Mormonism doesn’t teach spousal subordination.

    The problem I see with your reasoning here, Tom, is that as we’re regularly reminded, Mormonism isn’t a democracy. I would completely agree with your observation that many Mormons (particularly the younger generations) tend to embrace egalitarianism. But ascertaining what Mormonism teaches (as opposed to what a representative sample of Mormons think, believe, or do) isn’t a matter of surveying a bunch of Mormons; it’s a matter of consulting official channels.

    For example, it’s entirely possible that most Mormons of record don’t attend meetings regularly, shop on Sunday, and occasionally let slip a string or two of colorful metaphors–and even that they endorse such behavior in themselves. But we cannot conclude from a survey of their behavior and attitudes that such is what Mormonism teaches.

  17. 17.

    With very little intellectual effort, one could roll out an almost endless list of horrors perpetrated by men. Does it follow, then, that because men have a greater power to choose than women–given that such power constitutes an inalienable right–that such perpetrations are justifiable?

    Jack, if I’m reading you correctly here, I think you may be confusing commitment to the principle of self-determination (or, as it’s sometimes known hereabouts, the principle of free/moral agency) with an endorsement of all of self-determination’s or agency’s consequences. According to Mormon scripture God is agency’s greatest champion, but we surely don’t want to lay the blame for all the human evil that results from agency at his feet?

    Sure, there’s no doubt that feminism was part of the general social upheaval that you mention, and that some of the consequences were undeniably bad. Personally I’m something of a sixties-nostalgia cynic (please, get the Beatles far away from me!), and I’m not much of a fan of the sexual revolution, although I think we have get a little materialist about our analysis here and look beyond the sexual-liberation ideologies to the enabling technologies (the Pill). I’m wholeheartedly in favor of marriage and commitment and the good of the children. But I’m equally in favor of many of the feminist advances of those socially turbulent years (the criminalization of domestic violence, the much more serious prosecution of rape, the enactment of laws prohibiting sexual harassment, equal pay for equal work, etc.). Those advances are a vital part of realizing a more just society.

    In short, I don’t think it has to be an all-or-nothing embrace of feminism (or any other ism, for that matter); I’m deeply skeptical of all-or-nothing embraces in general. I think part of what life demands of us is the kind of careful thought required to sift the wheat from the tares.

    (just in case anyone’s wondering, the Beatles are the tares ;) ).

  18. 18.

    (just in case anyone’s wondering, the Beatles are the tares ).

    I think this is Eve’s way of saying she favors Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

    What has been so interesting to me about this thread and the previous one is the extent to which we manage to talk past each other. It’s astonishing, really. Nobody disagrees with the assertion that our current understanding of presiding isn’t crystal clear. Even though the church now claims that the ideal model for marriage is an equal partnership, there is enough going on peripherally and behind the scenes to call the commitment to egalitarianism into question.

    WIth this post, Seraphine has asserted modern feminism’s commitment to equality. I, for one, believe her, and I’m pretty sure that her brand of feminism and mine are quite similar. (Although that thought might be somewhat upsetting to S.) But our acceptance of this definition of equality includes affirmative action and an implicit repudiation of the essentialist notions of the previous century’s leaders. When Stanton rattled of her indictment of the degraded state of the human race, we can be certain she really only meant the hairy-chested half of it.

    So we continue to talk past each other, cherry-picking the most extreme examples to buttress our arguments and attributing malevolence in areas where we lack understanding. It’s too bad. Our working definition of presiding in the home certainly isn’t perfect; neither is the current instantiation of feminism. But in both cases, the glass is certainly more than half full. Let’s all take a deep breath, people.

  19. 19.

    I think this is Eve’s way of saying she favors Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

    Noooooo!

    [Bangs head repeatedly against computer screen]

    ;)

  20. 20.

    Eve,

    I have never read anything so out of touch with reality as your last comment. The Beatles were, are, and will always be the greatest band! Ever!

    As to the rest of your comment: I think I agree–at least in the sense that moral culpability is moral culpability regardless…

    An analog or two being: giving imperial colonialism a pass because, forsooth, there is now greater affluence where there might not have been were it not for such adventurous carte blanche-ness. Or getting a little lax on the morality of slavery because, well, now it is plain to see that the most affluent Africans in the world reside in America.

    And so it is with the broken homes I speak of. While–as a father of many daughters–I’m glad for the opportunities they have because of greater equality nowadays, I have difficulty endorsing some of the means responsible for such changes.

  21. 21.

    Tanya,

    Your right that Feminism cannot be proven to be the root cause. But I think it’s beyond dispute that it was in bed with what ever was.

  22. 22.

    Sorry, I’ve got some personal issues with the modern “enlightenment.” I’ll try to simmer down.

  23. 23.

    I was once criticized for crying “what about children!!!” on a different thread. But I ask that question again: what about children? How many broken homes may have been saved had it not been for a mere lack of tolerance because of feminist indoctrination? (And, of course, I must include the caveat: with the understanding that there are extreme situations where divorce is justifiable.)

    “What about the children?” is an important question to ask, and I’m glad you brought it up. When opportunities are created for women to access secondary education or higher, potentially leading to more profitable employment, and when they’re given power over their own finances and the right to own property, research has shown that children are benefited (for whatever reasons, in the aggregate, women are apparently more likely than men to invest their money in their children’s welfare). This is one way in which, as I see it, feminism has a lot to offer, especially on a worldwide scale.

    I think what I find disturbing about the alarms that sound when the issue of feminism and children’s welfare is raised is the underlying assumption that women’s rights and opportunities are invariably at odds with optimal childcare situations; thus, it is to the detriment of individual women but ultimately to the benefit of society if women sacrifice their own happiness for that of their children. In essence, women’s misery is the price of children’s well-being. Obviously, having children involves a number of sacrifices and restrictions, but unhappy mothers simply do not benefit anyone. I’m convinced that mothers who sacrifice themselves for their children ultimately cannot mother their children appropriately.

    (Another way in which strains within feminism might benefit children involves the issue of divorce raised earlier. If women are allowed to initiate divorce thereby escaping abusive husbands, children benefit as well.)

    When the net outcome of such a movement is a larger number of children being brought up in broken homes, then the means, IMO, not only fail to justify such a noble venture but render it evil.

    Is it true that more children come from single-parent homes than ever before? I’ve read that marriages end at about the same rate today as they did a hundred years ago–it’s just that a hundred years ago they ended with the death of one spouse rather than with divorce.

  24. 24.

    K,

    I’ve read that marriages end at about the same rate today as they did a hundred years ago–it’s just that a hundred years ago they ended with the death of one spouse rather than with divorce.

    Is that death by natural causes (or disease) or death by abuse?

  25. 25.

    “In essence, women’s misery is the price of children’s well-being.”

    I’m assuming that there’s a bit of rhetoric in that statement–a sort of recap of the overall sentiment you’re trying to address. That’s cool–but taken at face value it is, IMO, the great feminist lie. Or it (imo) becomes a lie when women are indoctrinated to such an extent that they no longer believe that one’s greatest joy comes of living the two Great Commandments.

    Another great feminist falsehood is the doctrine that careerism is the gateway to satisfaction. As one who works in a machine shop for a living, I can’t imagine for the life of me how anyone could ever believe that the rewards of working with cold steel day in and day out outweigh the rewards of nurturing another human being day in and day out. I don’t know, it all seems a little Marie Antoinettish to me — you know: Let them open a Law practice (or something). That kind of thinking is a symptom of good ol’ western elitism, IMO.

    As it relates to women’s happiness–I’m all for everyone seeking to live a meaningful life and whatnot, but let’s not forget that David O. McKay’s counsel re: “success in the home” is just as applicable to women as it is to men. And I understand that some mothers need a healthy dose of fulfillment from venues outside of the home–I’m all for it, so long as the jewels in her crown remain her children and not worldly ambitions. Surely, any man who places such pursuits ahead of his family is considered a skunk by modern standards.

  26. 26.

    Wow. So we’re feminists because we’ve been indoctrinated? That’s, um, pretty insulting.

  27. 27.

    About as equally insulting as saying women who are not feminists are indoctrinated into the male culture, hm?

  28. 28.

    Jack,

    I understand. That is how I feel about patriarchy. I have some personal issues with it….

  29. 29.

    Tanya,

    I have issues with patriarchy too. And I can certainly understand how feminism would arise to counteract the negatives of a patriarchal society. I just get the sense that some folks out there can see, hear, or speak no evil of it’s obvious faults. Whereas anything “patriarchal” is dogmatically assumed to be part of the devil’s plan.

    It’s kind of like the evolution–ID war. I believe the evolutionists, for the most part, have a better grip on the science. And yet, they are just as dogmatic as they accuse the IDers of being. And so what happens is that they fall into the liberal trap of believing that anyone who disagrees with then must be uninformed, uneducated, or a moron–while giving themselves a dogmatic pass regardless of the fact that science has been terribly wrong on many occasions.

  30. 30.

    There are at least some feminists that proclaim women’s superiority over men. The most prominent example I can think of would be Catharine MacKinnon.

  31. 31.

    Okay, I should know better than to make a post when I’m in the middle of an insane amount of grading at the end of the semester…

    Mark IV, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in the original quote, but we seem to be talking past one another. I’m not sure why it matters whether or not I disagree with her. My point is that Stanton’s language about women and their “sympathy” came from dominant patriarchal culture, and I do think this matters (at least to the point I’m trying to make).

    If people claim that feminism’s goal is to advance women ahead of men (which I’m refuting), it’s important to look at the specific context of feminist statements that seem to be promoting this. If the language is coming from somewhere that is *not* feminist ideology, then I think it supports the point I’m trying to make in my post.

  32. 32.

    Naismith and Peter, I’m sure there are examples of feminists who promote any number of things (men are evil, women are better than men, etc.). One thing about feminism is that it’s not an authoritative movement, so anyone who wants to can call themselves a feminist (and then start saying anything they want to in the name of feminism).

    What I was trying to communicate in my post is that I’ve met quite a few feminists, and I’ve never met a feminist who believed that women were superior to men. On the other hand, I have met quite a few people in the church who have made some kind of claim about women’s superiority, especially when it comes to spirituality.

    While I realize my interactions are not a valid statistical sample, I get frustrated when people are turned off by views I almost always see promoted in non-feminist circles (and not by any of the feminists I know).

  33. 33.

    Jack,
    I am probably much too late in responding to your post, but I just can’t help myself.

    I think an important question to ask is: Is it morally correct for women to have the same priviledges and opportunites as men? If this is their right, it should be given to them, no matter the consequences. Denying women rights because they might make an improper decision is a lot like Satan’s plan, in my mind.

  34. 34.

    Mark IV, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in the original quote, but we seem to be talking past one another.

    LOL Seraphine, yes, we certainly are. And I think it is very decent of you to make a response while you are so swamped. I think I’m looking forward to a Christmas break this year more than any other time in my life.

    I certainly don’t think you are a female supremacist, and I believe you when you say that you personally don’t know anybody who is. Neither do I. Nor do I think you need to answer for every nutty thing that anyone who has ever self-identified as a feminist has said. My only point, really, is that there is a long history in “movement feminism” of denigrating males that really is beyond dispute, and that continues to this day. The phrase “testosterone poisoning” appeared in Ms. magazine in 1975, and is still in current use in places like The Washington Post. The argument, such as it is, says that men are dumb and evil, blah blah blah, the end. Even though neither you nor I knows anybody who think this way, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the attitude exists. I personally don’t know a single Mormon who is overtly racist, but it would not be legitimate to assume that there are none.

    I hope you get your papers all graded, and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

  35. 35.

    Mark IV, I also think one issue here is that many people (not necessarily you) assume that because there is a strand of “movement feminism” that is anti-male, the entirety of “movement feminism” is anti-male. However, my experience has been that male-bashing is not a dominant strand of movement feminism.

    Anyway, I think we’re mostly in agreement. And thanks for the well-wishes. My papers are graded–I just have poems and tests to grade now!

    Best holiday wishes to you too.

  36. 36.

    rilkerunning,

    The devil’s plan is all about equality–whatever that really means. The reason his plan fails is because accountability isn’t given its due in the overall scheme. And this is what troubles me about feminism–or some of its faces (for lack of a better way of addressing its shifty identity). It has a way of flying under the radar with respect to accountability.

  37. 37.

    Jack, as I read it the devil’s plan was, most fundamentally, all about his own success, self-record, and desire for glory–although it was also inevitably about human redemption and, given his determination to succeed at any cost, somewhat incidentally, about equality. But, oddly enough, the mere appearance of an idea or doctrine in the devil’s plan isn’t sufficient to declare that idea or doctrine evil. (Exhibit A: Human redemption).

    In any case, perhaps the more appropriate term in a Mormon context is justice, a divine concept which also incorporates the sense of accountability you find lacking in feminism. But having said that, I’d add that the concept of equality is fundamental to justice. Sometimes I see Mormons argue against feminism by claiming that feminist positions confuse equality with sameness. But I think that amounts to a straw man (I choose the gender advisedly!); both our religious and legal notions of justice depend upon a notion of equality that exists in spite of, not in denial of, difference–which is why justice is classically depicted as blindfolded, unbiased by the differences that are always present. (If the notion of equality really did require sameness, then justice wouldn’t need to be blindfolded.) Legislation against discrimination in housing, hiring, and pay don’t pretend that we’re all the same; what they do is insist that we are treated the same before the law and that we’re guaranteed the same opportunities to live and work. Similarly, we believe that God stands above our human partialities and favors only the righteous, regardless of race, gender, social status, wealth, or poverty. Ultimately, I think the notion of equality is fundamental to the concept of justice, but I suspect it’s a misreading to claim that justice and equality have ever insisted on sameness. It’s precisely because we don’t and never will have sameness that we need a justice of equality.

    And this is what troubles me about feminism–or some of its faces (for lack of a better way of addressing its shifty identity). It has a way of flying under the radar with respect to accountability.

    Feminism, like every other dogma, certainly has a way of hardening into various orthodoxies over time. (And then, someone comes along and challenges the orthodoxy, and that’s always when things get interesting.) But I suspect the lack of accountability you dislike may be largely a matter of community. Feminism may get a pass in the university, for example, but in my experience it doesn’t in the Mormon Church.

  38. 38.

    Eve,

    That’s a thoughtful response–and I can’t see much that I would disagree with. I certainly agree that all should have fair access to justice–though I’m not sure that the law can be completely blindfolded in every instance with respect to gender. I think there are potentialities that exist because of differences between the sexes that have bearing on intents and therefore transactions.

    For example, if a man strikes a woman and vice versa, though it may be determined that the damage to each is equal, the potential for greater damage done to the women may be assessed in some measure by a standing assumption that men are generally stronger than women. Therefore, it ought to be incumbent upon men, generally, to exercize greater restraint–as it relates to identifying a fair measure of justice before the law.

    Now this may sound a bit sexist, but even so, we would be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree with such inequality if we were talking about a strapping 24 yr old coming to blows with a creeky 84 yr old–both of the same gender. Or a 14yr old and an 8yr old–both minors (though maturity of judgment would certainly play a part in the latter).

    Re: accountability — When the day comes that orthodoxy in feminism might be *seriously* challenged by rational “free-thinking” men as well as women, then, I think, feminism might be on the road where it will find its way to true sense of accountability.

  39. 39.

    Re: accountability — When the day comes that orthodoxy in feminism might be *seriously* challenged by rational “free-thinking” men as well as women, then, I think, feminism might be on the road where it will find its way to true sense of accountability.

    Jack, I solemnly assure you that we don’t check Y chromosomes at the door. Heck, we even have a token man on staff! [Hi, Ziff!] Aren’t we progressive, now?

    Tangentially, though, I have to wonder about your complaint–a brief view of the last couple of centuries suggests that rational free-thinking men have rarely if ever hesitated to criticize feminist initiatives quite vigorously, a tradition that encompasses our own B.H. Roberts’ opposition to women’s suffrage, for instance, and extends on the one hand to the anti-Jacobins of the 1790s who called Mary Wollstonecraft and co. “unsex’d females” and “hyenas in petticoats”–and in the other direction to the likes of the charming Messr Norman Mailer. Like every other ideology feminism has certainly charged off in some strange directions at times, but I think history suggests quite unequivocally that as long as there’s been feminism, there’s been anti-feminism as well.

  40. 40.

    Ah, but is that “token man” seriously challenging feminist orthodoxy? That’s the question.

    I should have put a “grin” somewhere in my last paragraph because I really was trying be a little playful. But even so, do you really believe that the likes of Norman Mailer — you know, a guy who stabs his wife with a pair of scissors — is taken seriously as one who challenges orthodox feminist thinking?

  41. 41.

    Token? Who’s a token? Shhhh!

    Jack, you must understand that as a token, I can’t challenge feminist orthodoxy without risking my permablogger status. My co-bloggers have informed me that if I dare speak against The Matriarchy, they’ll cut off my free ride and start evaluating me on my own merits. And with posts like this one, what chance would I have? So I keep quiet. :)

  42. 42.

    But even so, do you really believe that the likes of Norman Mailer — you know, a guy who stabs his wife with a pair of scissors — is taken seriously as one who challenges orthodox feminist thinking?

    But, see, if you want to give up Norman Mailer as representative of anti-feminism, then you’ll certainly have to give up SCUM as representative of feminism. Norman Mailer’s far more mainstream than SCUM ever were; for some incomprehensible reason, people seemed to like his novels and recently showered him with obituaries to that effect. And in any case the larger point still holds: the culture is as awash with various critiques of feminism and men’s rights advocates as it is with feminism itself. Some of them, like some feminisms, might be a little loony for all of our tastes, but we can’t very well pretend they don’t exist, and their existence demonstrates that there are plenty of safe havens out there for men–and women–who want to take issue with feminism.

    Which brings us back to the original point of Seraphine’s post: certainly in the contemporary Mormon context, and even in the broader cultural context, almost all of the voices claiming women’s superiority are the anti-feminists (or the gender traditionalists, if you prefer). To my knowledge, the Mormon feminists of 2007 aren’t making any such claims.

  43. 43.

    . . . the Mormon feminists of 2007 aren’t making any such claims.

    Maybe not in 2007, but in 2006 a very astute guest blogger at a site that has Mormon and feminist in its title decried the practice of male bashing which was judged to be prevalent, and some of the commenters pled guilty.

    We really don’t need to talk about Mailer or SCUM, since they are definitely outliers. But, even with all the usual caveats acknowledging how hard feminsim is to define etc., etc., etc., etc., can’t we agree that Ms. Mag is about as mainstream as it gets? And if testosterone poisoning is put forward there as an acceptable explanation for all this is wrong with the world, a disinterested third party could reasonably conclude that feminism has a problem, because it asserts egalitarianism on one hand and dumps on half the human race with the other. And we cannot just dismiss it as sooooo 2nd wave, because it continues to happen, frequently.

    This conversation reminds me of Mormons, pre 1978, asserting that we weren’t racist. Honestly, I don’t think most of us were, but we should be able to understand how an outsider could think that we were.

  44. 44.

    Maybe not in 2007, but in 2006 a very astute guest blogger at a site that has Mormon and feminist in its title decried the practice of male bashing which was judged to be prevalent, and some of the commenters pled guilty.

    Ah, chuckle chuckle Mark IV….but here’s the thing. Male-bashing is faaaaar from confined to feminism; in fact, the worst male-bashing I’ve heard has often come from anti-feminists/gender traditionalists (which makes a certain kind of sense, if you think about, but wow is THAT ever a whole other post). Personally, I’ll happily go on record as opposed to male-bashing (and female-bashing, and geez, baby-seal-bashing, while I’m at it) in all its forms and ideological niches. I completely disavow cries of “testosterone poisoning”–but I hear them as much–probably more, because I’m around them more–from the women who uphold the patriarchy! In fact, I strongly suspect that if we could get some more egalitarian arrangements endorsed in the church then women who feel bound to uphold the patriarchy wouldn’t be so prone to male-bash because they wouldn’t be so disempowered and frustrated in the church and in their personal relationships with their husbands, for instance.

    This conversation reminds me of Mormons, pre 1978, asserting that we weren’t racist. Honestly, I don’t think most of us were, but we should be able to understand how an outsider could think that we were.

    Well….I think we were racist, and still are, I’m sure, just less institutionally so. But here’s where I think your analogy doesn’t hold: the Mormon church is an institution with a hierarchy and GAs situated to make official, or quasi-official, pronouncements on behalf of the whole church. As I think we’ve now been over and over and OVER (! ;) ), feminism is not such an institution, and there is no such official doctrine–in fact, insofar as it’s an outgrowth of the Enlightenment, one could argue that a feminist orthodoxy is almost a contradiction in terms.

    And so while SCUM and Ms. and other sources may make all kinds of weird statements, I don’t feel myself beholden to those statements whatsoever. Heck, there’s plenty in the small world of Mormon feminism itself that I’d disavow–I think we’ve often suffered from a knee-jerk wooey-wooeyism that I find distasteful, and certainly same very hasty and broad generalizations have been made. (Our current portrait of femininity is so corseted, as it were, that I think Heavenly Mother’s a lost cause. She gives me the oogies.)

    As I’ve said before, what this conversation about feminism really reminds me of is constantly having to explain, as a Mormon, why there are other people who claim the label “Mormon” who run around committing and arranging for statutory rape. I think we as Mormons would all rise up as one and happily explain to an anti-Mormon that Warren Jeffs is not one of us, thank you very much. My–and our–ongoing disavowal of SCUM and the loonier elements of Ms, with which I confess I’m little acquainted, but I wholeheartedly trust you when you say they’re there!–is exactly the same kind of disavowal. I’m not that kind of Mormon, and I’m not that kind of feminist.

    For all that, Mark, I must say I hold you in the highest regard, and I offer my disagreements, even my exasperated disagreements, in the spirit of the deepest affection. If ever a man did not deserve to be bashed, you are that man.

    Merry Christmas to your and yours–and one of these Bloggersnackers I do hope to meet you in person!

  45. 45.

    a knee-jerk wooey-wooeyism

    All right, Eve, care to elaborate on this phrase? I must admit that it makes me laugh, but I really have no idea what you’re actually referring to (I just think it sounds funny).

  46. 46.

    Eve,

    Heh heh. Glad you got a chuckle.

    I don’t disagree with a single thing you say. There are no doubt many more gender traditionalists than feminsts who buy the angelic female package. But that is like a pre 1978 Mormon claiming that there are more racists in the Klan than in the church. While certainly true, it really isn’t comforting. But I think we really are in agreement, since you create some distance between your views and and the views of others under the broader feminist umbrella. Me too.

    Sometimes these conversations hold the potential to reach the point of diminishing returns very quickly. So far this one hasn’t, at least for me, and I hope for you and the other participants, too. I reciprocate the desire to someday continue these conversations face to face, and also the wishes for a wonderful Christmas.

    (And I agree with Vada – knee-jerk wooey-wooeyism??? Please explain yourself!)

  47. 47.

    There are no doubt many more gender traditionalists than feminsts who buy the angelic female package. But that is like a pre 1978 Mormon claiming that there are more racists in the Klan than in the church.

    Actually this comparison doesn’t make sense to me, and since I’m supposed to be calculating grades and I’m getting rather bored, I’ll bore you all with why:

    Grossly oversimplifying for a moment and assuming gender traditionalists and feminists are at opposite poles on issues of gender, I take Eve’s point to be effectively the same as Seraphine’s–it’s generally those who oppose feminism who are praising women’s superiority and bashing men, not those who identify as feminists. As I read Eve, she’s not simply choosing a random group who exhibits unattractive trait x more egregiously as a way of exculpating feminist excess; she’s observing empirically that it is those opposed to feminism who advocate these views and appealing to a rational explanation to account for their perspective, which fits better in an ideology committed to maintaining power differentials rather than one advocating equality.

    So a better comparison would be to identify a group on approximately the opposite pole from the pre-’78 position (that blacks may not attend the temple and black men may not be ordained, effectively limiting their religious and spiritual opportunities)–thus a group trying to advance the opportunities of blacks in contrast to the Mormon Church’s commitment to curtailing them. The KKK is simply a more militant and extreme version of the Mormon perspective. Perhaps you could suggest that the Black Panthers were even more racist than the Mormons, and that racist ideology better fit their stated ideals? ;)

  48. 48.

    Is that death by natural causes (or disease) or death by abuse?

    (That’s death by everything–natural, unnatural, and everything in between.)

  49. 49.

    “In essence, women’s misery is the price of children’s well-being.”

    I’m assuming that there’s a bit of rhetoric in that statement–a sort of recap of the overall sentiment you’re trying to address. That’s cool–but taken at face value it is, IMO, the great feminist lie. Or it (imo) becomes a lie when women are indoctrinated to such an extent that they no longer believe that one’s greatest joy comes of living the two Great Commandments.

    Actually, I wasn’t claiming I believed the statement–I was trying to identify the assumption that underlay your reasoning that feminism is evil because it results in the abandonment of children by women. I was assuming that you were regarding women’s rights and opportunities as fundamentally at odds with women’s interest in caring for children. I was arguing that in fact, in general, creating opportunities for women benefits children as well.

  50. 50.

    I guess I’m not making sense. Maybe the best thing to do would be to stop digging, but what the heck. Let me take it from the top.

    The original post invoked Seneca Falls as evidence that the notion of female superiority isn’t really part of feminism, and compared the women’s rights movement to the declaration of independence. I think that is more or less right, but want to note that we had to go through a civil war to clarify what exactly equality before the law means. (By the way, I think part of the reason we aren’t connecting here is because Stanton spoke of a legal equality while appearing quite comfortable with an essentialist idea of gender that definitely is not egalitarian.) Seraphine maintains that the essentialism employed by the early feminists was simply the rhetoric they borrowed from their surrounding culture. I maintain that it does not matter where the idea came from. The important question is: Did they actually mean what they say? It cannot be disputed that BY absorbed some of his ideas regarding race from 19th century America. The extent to which those ideas worked themselves out into the church is a matter of speculation, but there is no question that fair-minded people can accuse the church of racial practices.

    So, our country had to go through some painful re-evaluation, our church had to go through some painful re-evaluation, but feminists, as far as I can tell, want to hold Stanton up as a heroine without asking themselves if the ideas expressed at Seneca Falls need to be reworked, and if there may not be some latent danger in accepting them all at face value. It is certainly to everybody’s credit that most of us seem to have moved ahead on our own. But it does not strike me as unreasonable (especially in light of the sloppy thinking that is on display in Ms., and on some femblogs, shown in my previous comments on this thread) to suggest that perhaps 10-15% of people who identify as feminists are willing to say right out loud that females are superior to males, and that there is perhaps another 10% who believe it but have better sense than to say so aloud.

  51. 51.

    I guess I should also make it clear, if it weren’t already, that I’m not attempting any veiled attacks on present company. I’m saying that anyone who maintained that there is no racism in the LDS church today would deserve to be challenged. And while I realize that is an imperfect comparison because the church has a recognizable heirarchy and chain of command and feminism does not, I believe it is nonetheless worthwhile to engage in some cold-eyed self-examination.

  52. 52.

    What a good summary! I believe our beloved EC Stanton made some unfortunate racist comments as well, which I think require serious “reevalution” (i.e. rejection).

    Hmm. This all would require several more posts to sort out. So on the one hand there are anti-feminists who perhaps believe women are superior to men as a way of compensating for their disenfranchisement, and they might not be so far off from virulent feminists who believe more in revenge than in equality. Yet another example of the extreme left and the extreme right reaching a strange sort of concord.

    But let’s not leave the misogynistic feminists out of the discussion, chiefly because I feel I am one. I cling hysterically to a hope that women are human primarily out of a terror that they are not, quite; after all, why would God create a group of people who are physically weaker, with smaller brains, if he did not expect them to be dominated and treated as property–as in fact they have been in virtually every culture for most of history, in different ways–and why only such slender miragelike indications that God regards women as human agents worthy of direct interaction? One day perhaps I’ll be compelled to accept the logical implication of the possibility that God does not regard me as a person–I’ll accept God’s definitive perspective on the universe and cease to regard myself as a person.

    Meanwhile, perhaps I’ll write a bestiary outlining the various positions and how they relate to each other. That should offend everyone, both by the categorization and by characterizing them as beasts. :)

  53. 53.

    Meanwhile, perhaps I’ll write a bestiary outlining the various positions

    Can’t say we weren’t warned that gay marriage would eventually lead to this.

  54. 54.

    Even worse, the bestiary, when read backwards, will include an acrostic which will make an argument advocating gay marriage, which I hope will subliminally enter people’s minds and influence their views. After all, I want this bestiary to be my most inflammatory post yet! [sinister cackle]

  55. 55.

    (And I agree with Vada – knee-jerk wooey-wooeyism??? Please explain yourself!)

    Well, it looks like this conversation’s basically wrapped up as we all wait for Kiskilili to finish her grading so that she can produce her bestiary, but I suppose I should attempt to take responsibility for my own off-the-cuff, and perhaps ill-considered (!), remarks. By “knee-jerk wooey-wooeyism” I had in mind the New Age strain of feminism (and liberalism more generally) that, for example, may serve up an amalgamation of other religious beliefs, appropriated and de-contextualized in what sometimes seems to me quite a colonialist fashion, and that in the same spirit may advocate worship of the goddess within and liberation from the patriarchy by coordinating one’s menstrual cycle with the moon. I disagree with the sometimes blanket rejection of all institutionalized religion (as if new religious movements aren’t going to run into and create precisely the same sorts of problems), the cultural colonialism and dilution I mentioned above, and what strikes me as an uncritical elevation of the natural (nothing’s more natural than dying at a young age of diphtheria or in childbirth, after all). Ultimately, New Age seems to me so relativist as to be self-undermining; it seems an insufficient basis either for launching a serious cultural critique or grounding a spiritual life.

    But having said all that, I must confess that my religious prejudices are showing. (Obviously.) I’m a very poor person to represent and reflect on these cultural phenomena, and I have no doubt that there are aspects of them and complexities to them I’ve completely failed to consider. I realize that as a member of a peculiar religious minority myself it ill becomes me to indulge my religious prejudices, and for that reason I would very much like to read a thoughtful, intelligent apology for New Age.

  56. 56.

    Eve,

    That high priced education is showing.

    amalgamation. . . appropriated and de-contextualized . . . colonialist . . . liberation

    and we are not even halfway through the sentence! I love it!

    Seriously, you have come up with a great phrase. It reminds me of that one by Tom Wolfe, mau-mauing the flakcatchers, and it belongs up there with the one about fish on bicycles and well-behaved women. Knee jerk wooey wooeyism is even better, though, because it perfectly captures the “Gawwwwlee, ain’t we spayshul?!” attitude that we all sometimes indulge, so it has universal application. For instance, I know plenty of Mormons who qualify as wooey wooeyists, and there are parts of my life where I also qualify for that designation.

    It also has potential to become a badge of honor. ‘Limousine Liberal’ and ‘Vast right wing conspiracy’ were originally intended to be pejorative, but people have now claimed those labels and bear them with pride. I work with a guy who has a t-shirt that says “I’m a limousine liberal”, and sometimes when I’m out in Utah I see bumper stickers that say “Proud member of the VRWC”.

    I foresee the time when you can all quit your jobs and make an easy living from the sale of t-shirts and bumper stickers that say “I’m a knee jerk wooey-wooeyist”. Heck, I’d buy one, as long as it came in a color besides pink. I’m thinking black, with red lettering that reminds people of the Harley Davidson logo.

    And I agree, Kiskilili needs to hurry up and finish grading already. Just give them all As and be done with it in five minutes.

  57. 57.

    Eve,

    That high priced education is showing.

    amalgamation. . . appropriated and de-contextualized . . . colonialist . . . liberation

    and we are not even halfway through the sentence! I love it!

    Oh, dear. How embarrassing (and how funny) ! Just the other night I was talking to Lynnette on the phone about how my academic writing has become more and more convoluted, to the point that it often circles the drain of itself. Sometimes I fall into the bad habit of trying to stuff my thesis along with the entire rush of necessary qualifications–into every single sentence of my paper. Aaaaaah! I better get out fast before I lose the ability to make a definitive statement. Forever.

    But your T-shirt suggestion is simply lovely. Maybe one day we’ll get organized like FMH and start printing T-shirts with puzzling slogans. Or, for the ambitious T-shirt wearer, with Kiskilili’s entire bestiary, front and back.

    Grading at the end of the semester is so hard. I can’t tell you how many times the “give everyone an A” fantasy has loomed threateningly before me as I’ve tried to make myself read through hundreds of pages of final papers….

  58. 58.

    What great fun you guys have over here.
    I second Mark’s comment of Eve’s high priced education. My husband has a very high priced education, he just graduated with his MBA on Friday and couldn’t manage to put his tassle around his rear-view mirror. (Of course, I kindly assisted :)
    How’s that for male-bashing?
    Seriously, though, this thread reminds me a little of last year’s multi-part post on the shortcomings of feminism *(Mark, wasn’t that you, also?) I seem to recall something about prairie muffins or some such nonsense.
    Mark, I think you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing, all nicey-nice, making friends and everything, but really you don’t buy this feminist stuff at all, do you?
    [Sigh] Even if you don’t, it’s good fun to read your comments and you get along so well with everyone. :)
    We should all meet at a bloggersnacker sometime. In fact, I had a dream that I met Eve in real life, and that all my concerns with feminism and the church disappeared, instantly! (Eve, has anyone ever had that response from meeting you?)
    Good luck to everyone who is grading. That is a lot of work.

  59. 59.

    Hey, Jessawhy, congratulations on your husband’s graduation! Does this mean you get to leave the grad-student life? (I was a grad-student spouse for 7 long years and I was ecstatic when my husband finally graduated.

    In fact, I had a dream that I met Eve in real life, and that all my concerns with feminism and the church disappeared, instantly! (Eve, has anyone ever had that response from meeting you?)

    Wow! I’m afraid I’ve never had that magical effect on anyone–including on myself! (In fact, if you ever meet such a magical person, could you send her my way, because I could definitely use some help with my feminist concerns!) In fact, I sometimes worry that I have the opposite effect on people and introduce them to feminist problems to which I myself have no solutions….but in real life I am EXTREMELY prosaic, very ordinary-looking, downright nerdy-frumpy, and both shy and prone to put my foot in my mouth. ;)

  60. 60.

    Thanks, Eve!
    Indeed, I am glad to be done being wife of grad-student, although someday I’d like to be the grad-student myself, but we can only handle one set of loans at a time, I’m afraid.
    Well, I’m sure you are a magical person in real life, who says magical people can’t be frumpy? :) I’m often frumpy and occasionally magical.
    Still, it was funny that I had a dream about someone I’d never met, but someday we’ll have to change that. Maybe next time you visit your brother, Ziff, (or was that “Token Male”?) we could meet for lunch.
    In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

  61. 61.

    Oh come on, Eve! Jessawhy, let me assure you that Eve isn’t a fair evaluator of how she comes across in person. At the very least, her wit translates well from the written to the spoken word. Also, she has a deep-seated desire to host a bloggersnacker for the entire bloggernacle (how many people could that be–hundreds? a few thousand at most?) where she will field questions about feminist concerns about the Church and resolve each one.

    Okay, I guess one of those statements is probably false.

  62. 62.

    Jessawhy,

    I add my congfratulations to you and your husband on the completion of his degree. Now comes the really fun part: finding a job. If your experience is anything like ours was, the job brings a lot more stress and only a little more money, but I wish you success.

    Wolf in sheep’s clothing? Moi? LOL, more like a lamb in puppy’s clothing. I don’t know what I believe, but the way our religion understands gender is fascinating, and raises more questions than it answers. I’m just glad that people around here are nice enough to not treat me like the skunk at the picnic.

  63. 63.

    Ziff, you’re far too nice about me, although I must say that the vision of myself before hundreds of people answering impossible questions about the church sounds like the kinds of nightmare I would have before giving a conference paper.

    And absolutely, Jessawhy, I’d love to meet you for lunch (and meet your boys, while I’m at it!). I definitely do need to get down to see Ziff one of these days–I really wish he didn’t live quite so far away. Our plans to gather the Zelophehad family in a single location are really not working out, sadly :(

    But very happy holidays to you as well! (Are you going to be moving soon now that you’re husband’s done, or are you planning to stay in the area?)

  64. 64.

    I’m just glad that people around here are nice enough to not treat me like the skunk at the picnic.

    Mark, a skunk? Never. I think you may be my favorite challenger of feminist orthodoxy in the entire world.

  65. 65.

    Oh, but Mark, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for skunks. When I was little I was terrified monsters and demons would come out of the closet at night, and I was told my stuffed skunk would scare them away, so I always slept with one arm clutching Skunkie.

    Some picnics need skulking skunks. Come to think of it, if I decided to change my own alias, “Skunk” wouldn’t be half bad . . .

  66. 66.

    “Skunk” would be great! You already have most of the letters if you just rearrange your current name.

    But even better, you can rearrange KISKILILI to make IKII SKILL (what you say about your window sill when you haven’t cleaned it in a while) or I KILL SIKI. In fact, I propose that everyone being posting with anagrams of their current names. People like Eve and I, who have short names, wouldn’t have much to work with, but MARK IV could become RIK VAM, or MR KIVA (a founder of kiva.org, one supposes).

    Furthermore, JESSAWHY can become SAY JEWSH (a difficult command–I can’t ever say “jewsh” properly) or HEWS JAYS (a bird killer?) or HEY WAS JS (the opening to an offhand anti-Mormon comment: “Hey, was JS really a pedophile?”).

    SERAPHINE could be APES RHINE (when you start letting the apes paddle boats, they take over the whole river) or HE RAN PIES or HIS PEN ERA or HERE A SPIN or SHEER PAIN (my favorite–don’t disagree with Seraphine, or that’s what you’re in for :) ).

  67. 67.

    LOL, Ziff! I can’t believe how good you are with letters and numbers. I like “HEY WAS JS . . .?” the best. Nice one.
    Mark IV, thanks for the congrats. Yes, he did find a job, and it is only slightly more money than before (slightly more than none is some, though, right?) Luckily, he’s working for the state, so what he lacks in salary he makes up in great hours, benefits, and vacation (4 weeks, anyone? :) And honestly, having him home for dinner and bedtime is worth a lot more than an extra zero at the end of his salary.
    As far as your being a lamb in puppy’s clothing, that’s pretty cute, and, well, feminine :)
    I think you’re just trying to demonstrate the truth of Socrates famous remark, “An unexamined feminist ideology is not worth living.” (That’s an accurate quote, right?)
    Eve, I’m sure Ziff is right about you. If you don’t make it out here, we’ll see if we can come out for my BiL’s law school graduation in May. That trip would answer the year long prayers of my 5 year old (who prays every night “bless me to go on an airplane”) I mean, if we don’t fly somewhere soon, he’ll start wondering if God really answers prayers!
    But Santa’s coming through for him, never fear.

  68. 68.

    Jessawhy, I’m glad you appreciated my silliness, although letters aren’t really my strength unless they’re used to represent numbers.

    That’s funny that your son is so eager to go on an airplane, because my boys are totally like that too (although I haven’t heard them praying about it yet :) ). My older son actually did get to fly to Utah with us a couple of times at Christmas before his younger brother was born, but since they now would both require their own seat, it’s just too expensive so we just drive.

    Let me add my congratulations on getting your husband through school. That’s a great thing. I’m finally almost finished with school myself, and I appreciate how patient my wife has been with me through the very long process.

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