Zelophehad’s Daughters

Patriarchy = Communism

Posted by Apame

{{Oh snap!  What a hot-button title!  Don’t let it throw you off from actually reading the post!}}

I currently live in a city that used to be deep in former East Germany.  I’ve seen pictures of rows on rows of historic buildings painted grey and brown, falling down in the 1980s.  I’ve walked through the huge residential communist/brutalist-style neo-villages on the outskirts.  And, I’ve made a few friends who grew up in the DDR and have a lot to say about what it was like then, now, and during the difficult transition.

I had tea with my friend Ute yesterday and we talked for two hours about many things, but one thing in particular I just couldn’t get out of my head…

Some background

Ute asked me what I was doing with my time  in Germany since we will be here for two years for my husband’s post-doc.  I mentioned that I had a master’s program to work on and some classes at the university to teach, but that I wished I could find a job like the one I had in the states–a job I was really passionate about.   I went on to talk about how difficult it can be in a marriage to find a balance between each other’s dreams and ambitions–who moves for who, what time is best to have a family, what gets put on the back burner and for how long?  That sort of thing.

Ute nodded and said, “It is strange.  Even now, after so much change, it is still often the woman who gives up more of her ambitions.”

And I said, “I think you’re completely right!  Because even though I know, logically, that husband and I both are capable and deserving of our dreams, I still feel as if it is my responsibility to be the one to say, ‘You now.  You go.  I will later…’  And if I don’t say it, I feel like a horrible person, or perhaps a horrible woman.”

These comments led us to talk about how women have more choices today than they did before.  Ute talked about how many women in Germany (and, I said, many women in the US too) feel conflicted about their choices, still not sure what they are supposed to do with their lives and feeling as if a choice must be made, implying something must also be subsequently lost.

And I said, “Maybe, Ute, maybe, do you think it just was much easier for women in an earlier time?  They did not really have a choice–they only had one honorable path to take–and they just had to learn to like it or not.  Do you think the stress and anxiety of not having so many choices would make women happy?  I have heard people say this to me–that women today are unhappy because they have too many choices, too many different options and expectations…”

And this was the part that I can’t get out of my head (which I am paraphrasing, because we talked about this for about forty minutes).  Ute shook her head very emphatically and said:

“This is the same as the DDR–the transition is difficult, but that does not mean it would be good to go back!  Older people here sometimes say they want to go back to the communist times–then no one had to choose their lives, “Big Brother” organized everything for them; house, job, children, food.  It was easier they say and now things are hard they say.

But, they are only hard because they have to now look into themselves and be responsible for their choices.  There is no way now to say, ‘This is what I have to be, so it’s not my fault if I am not happy.’  It is frightening to be responsible for your own happiness when you grew up in a system that told you, in every detail, how you should be happy.”

I was so incredibly overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts about what she told me.  It seemed so wise and real– she knew what she was talking about.  And why wouldn’t it be wise?  Ute, of all people, who was 32 years old when she suddenly, blindingly was asked, “What do you want?”… Ute would know with so much depth what it would feel like to be a woman of the second- and third-wave today.

Today all the buildings are painted in pastels…  All the buildings look different from one another.  Losing the same-ness took a lot of work, and some people were frightened that so much difference would become chaos…but it has only made the city more beautiful…

34 Responses to “Patriarchy = Communism”

  1. 1.

    my wife wanted to do something more with her life than to sit on a cow farm in the middle of nowhere. So I said, “go for it.” Now, she is the principal of a successful 6-12 public school that she designed herself while I am the one taking care of our daughter.

    But then again, I’m not a traditionalist. I am a rebel. My wife is happy and exhausted, but I know she would not want it any other way. She gets up at 5:30 every morning (except Saturdays and Sundays) and she works 12 hours a day at ensuring that school is run well. She loves her work, she loves the impact she has upon those kids.

    Or….we could have stayed on that cow farm in the middle of nowhere and she could have continued working at some local day care. But we both knew that was not the completion of her potential.

  2. 2.

    The problem is what if your dream is to be with your children, monitoring their nutrition and education, being there when you need them, and all the things that are so casually disregarded when people talk about their “dreams?”

    I, for one, have no choices. I have to work. Period. And I can choose to like it or not.

  3. 3.

    That should read being there when THEY need YOU! -l- I really shouldn’t comment when I am sick.

  4. 4.

    Ute’s words are hauntingly beautiful. I have heard (and participated) in the thought that life would be significantly easier without so many choices. However, when we limit our options we don’t get to see the rainbow that life offers.

    I find myself in a similar position to you, Apame. Putting my husbands job/educational pursuits before mine. Always. It isn’t that he forces me to, it’s that I offer. We, as women, have been so conditioned to put our partner’s (and children’s) needs before our own that I wonder if it could be labeled an instinct. (Is there any evolutionary benefit/reason for this? Anyone know and care to offer an opinion?)

    I am learning that there is no black/white options for my husband. We can both pursue our educational/career paths and keep our family together if we both sacrifice.

    SilverRain, I think that you are confusing pursuing our dreams with selfish desires. I can tell you, from experience, that teaching our children that following our dreams requires sacrifice is important. They will learn that not everything in life is handed to them and we must all work for our goal. Furthermore, pursuing your dreams doesn’t mean your forget your spouse and/or children in the process. It means building a family with a strong foundation and choosing when/if to sacrifice job/education to ensure family togetherness. Men, especially in the church, often work long hours or pursue degrees (doctor/dentist) that will require excessive study and residency requirements. Most of them see their family for 1 hour a day. ONE HOUR. Is that putting their education before their family? Many would argue that they are doing that for their family. But, when a wife suggests the same path, they would be seen as sacrificing their family because of their ambitious wants. This, I believe, is the divide that Apame is addressing.

  5. 5.

    Amber, I don’t think you understand what I am saying.

    I don’t have choices. That is what I am saying. I am a single mother of two. Single, because my husband failed to live up to his covenants. Even when I was married, I had no choice but to work outside of the home and leave my children in the care of others.

    Depending on which earlier time you are referring to, women had a great many more choices than some of us do, for example, the choice to work for pay AND keep their children close. Although it is true to a point, in a way it is an illusion that women of an earlier time had fewer choices. Each of us NOW has far more limited choices than we would like to think.

  6. 6.

    I served my mission in the former DDR. And so: yes, I have heard a lot of stories about why going back to those days would be a terrible idea. But I was also surprised how much my American idea that everything was better after communism turned out to be wrong. The collapse of cooperative institutions there at the same time as integration into a global economy and media culture has been a problem.
    We shouldn’t try to go back to a “simpler” past because of the problems of the present, but we shouldn’t just accept the present either. I hope there’s a better future for East Germany than what they got “nach der Wende.” And I hope there’s a better future for us than the one where some of our shallower economic choices (what to specialize in, where to work, what to watch, what to wear, what to buy for a friend) are supposed to define us and make us happy.

  7. 7.

    Provocative post, Apame. It makes me think of Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice, and his proposal that too much choice ends up being overwhelming and stifling. I’ve certainly had that experience in the consumer arena, as I’m sure most of us have. But, to pick up on James’ suggestion, perhaps one problem with our culture is that we’re overwhelmed and inundated with absolutely trivial choices to the point that our brains are finally colonized by them, and we’re impoverished in the face of the choices that actually matter. Maybe the problem isn’t an excess of freedom, but a triviality of freedom.

  8. 8.

    The problem is what if your dream is to be with your children, monitoring their nutrition and education, being there when you need them, and all the things that are so casually disregarded when people talk about their “dreams?”

    That’s my dream too, Silver Rain–and I do realize that I’m very, very privileged and fortunate to be able to realize it. But I don’t see anyone here casually disregarding your dream. Indeed, one of the things I’ve appreciated about this community is that we strive to respect the various choices and life circumstances we ourselves are living (married, single, working, SAHM). I like to think that for the most part we succeed.

  9. 9.

    But, they are only hard because they have to now look into themselves and be responsible for their choices. There is no way now to say, ‘This is what I have to be, so it’s not my fault if I am not happy.’ It is frightening to be responsible for your own happiness when you grew up in a system that told you, in every detail, how you should be happy.”

    Especially as a Mormon, I’m deeply sympathetic to this sentiment, and yet I’m skeptical too, perhaps because growing up in an intensely image-conscious culture of Mormonism I’ve so often experienced happiness as an exhausting, misery-inducing moral imperative. I’m just melancholic and cantakerous enough to want to be free to be unhappy and to make wrong choices–since we all are unhappy sometimes and we all make plenty of wrong choices. Maybe what eternity can offer us that consumer culture cannot is the infinite, gentle grace we all need to learn from our mistakes and come to God and ourselves and choose better. I want the reassurance that even a terrible choice needn’t be an eternal disaster–since we all make a few terrible choices in our time.

  10. 10.

    Eve, I understand that. I’m not articulating it very well, but my point in commenting was to point out that we only have “more choices” if the choices we yearn for involve building a career away from our children. If the choices we yearn for fall outside of that norm, very very few of us have the luxury to make the choice to fulfill our dreams. Possibly few enough to parallel the rare women who were able to follow their dreams of a career in the past.

  11. 11.

    I agree with Eve, SilverRain, I wonder if the problem comes with the word “dream.” I believe it’s every parents dream that they can supervise their children’s learning and nutrition adequately and many have had to learn to do so from afar (as in divorce or when one or both partners work).

    What I am referring to (and I believe Apame is also talking about) is for those women who are interested in career/educational pursuits that often conflict with their partner’s same pursuits. In these cases, we often place our partner’s dreams over our own. I am not complaining that I do this, but I wonder how we can arrange our lives differently so both partners can adequately achieve their career or educational goals.

    I also feel that when women decide to pursue a career that might take them outside the home more than 40 hours a week (like medicine) they are often looked down on as choosing their career over their family (even if they aren’t married or don’t have kids at the time) whereas a man in a similar position would be applauded for choosing a career that might require time sacrifices for his family (i.e. wife) so that he might adequately provide for all his families wants and needs.

    I realize that we all have different situations but, fundamentally, there are differences in how people view a woman’s choice versus a man’s choice.

  12. 12.

    Ack! I mean to say that I agree with Eve in that in this community we support women in whatever choices they have made regarding work and family.

  13. 13.

    my point in commenting was to point out that we only have “more choices” if the choices we yearn for involve building a career away from our children. If the choices we yearn for fall outside of that norm, very very few of us have the luxury to make the choice to fulfill our dreams. Possibly few enough to parallel the rare women who were able to follow their dreams of a career in the past.

    Silver Rain, I’m wondering if you’re conflating choice and desire here. Whatever your desires, it’s an empirically verifiable reality that you have far more choices now than you would have a century or two ago–you can divorce, get custody of your own children, own property after marriage, vote, serve on a jury, run for office, and enter the professions. You’ve clearly availed yourself of many of these choices, as have we all. Good for you.

    Undoubtedly, all this expansion of opportunity for women has had its costs. But it’s a pretty rare woman, or man, who genuinely yearns to “build a career away from her or his children,” and in the Mormon world, such an ideal is far from normative. One of the saddest things about stay-at-home parenthood is that it is indeed a luxury, available only to the middle classes and up, but that was just as true in the past. Working-class women have always had to go to work and leave their children in sometimes terrible circumstances. It’s heartbreaking think about how many women worldwide have to and always have had to leave their children simply in order to feed them.

    I’m truly sorry you find yourself in the situation you do. It’s a situation that could happen to any one of us. But your desire to be with your children really isn’t that non-normative. It actually places you squarely in the middle of mainstream Mormon discourse.

  14. 14.

    “I realize that we all have different situations but, fundamentally, there are differences in how people view a woman’s choice versus a man’s choice.”

    Why are people going around viewing other’s choices? We are not entitled to revelation for anyone else’s family.

    Just stop. Problem solved.

  15. 15.

    Eve, I’m obviously doing a terrible job of communicating. I am sorry for that. But from your response it feels like we are having two separate conversations, and I am getting confused. In this case I am confident it is my problem.

    Amber, I think I understand better the point here after your explanation. I see two parts to what you say. First, that both members of a partnership cannot pursue their careers at the same time. My answer is that you can’t by reason of simple economics. When two people marry, they take two sets of problems and resources and combine them. When there are kids, you add a set of problems. It only stands to reason that three problems and two resources mean that some problems are going too have to go. One or the other parent will have to pause their career, our both career paths will have to suffer a little.Either way, that is a decision which must be made not only with “dreams” in mind, but also considering net benefit. Given the nature of a host of extremities including wage differences, pregnancy, and other practical considerations, that is often the mother who makes the most sense to wait on carry. Not always, but often, and it is a problem within the couple if one person ends up feeling marginalized in that decision.

    The other issue you mention is what other people think. To that, I echo Naismith. Who cares?

  16. 16.

    “Why are people going around viewing other’s choices? We are not entitled to revelation for anyone else’s family.”

    Tell that to Ezra Taft Benson. He thought he was entitled to revelation for all the women of the church.

  17. 17.

    “Tell that to Ezra Taft Benson. He thought he was entitled to revelation for all the women of the church.”

    First of all, a prophet does receive revelation for the church, which is different than the carnage that we wreak on one another when we try to judge others. My comment addressed the latter.

    But I was a young mom in grad school when he gave that talk, and I have to say that what you claim is not accurate. FIrst of all, it wasn’t given to “all the women of the church”; it was a North American fireside, not a General Conference talk. I am not sure it was even available where we lived; I read it on a scratchy photocopied transcript a bit later.

    Second, like anything in the church it was given for our prayerful consideration, not our mindless implementation. I thought it was a great talk, and had a huge impact on the way we raised our children, especially the part about being there at the crossroads.

    I prayed about whether I needed to drop out of grad school, and the reaction I got was frankly offended and frustrated. “So I arranged all these miracles for you, and you are just going to drop it all in order to appear righteous in the eyes of others?”

    So I continued in grad school, but did it in a way so that I was home with our kids after their school most days. That was costly because I often had to drive back again in the evening, but it was worth it to be with them at the crossroads. And it was a sacrifice, because some classes that I would have liked to take were only in the late afternoon.

    Maybe other sisters in the ward judged me. I neither know nor care. It was my life, not theirs.

    Later, my graduate training was used to write a stake history and serve in public affairs. Who knows how else it will be needed in building the kingdom.

    President Benson has a lot more respect for women than some give him credit. He waited for his wife while she served a mission. He doesn’t expect women to be mindless sheep, but rather faithful disciples who are capable of pondering a prophet’s word and prayerfully figuring out how to apply it to their lives.

    And in no way does a prophet’s revelation provide any basis for us to look at one another and judge one another. Nothing positive ever comes out of it.

    Look up, not sideways, when making decisions about your life. Then have the balls to not care what others may say.

  18. 18.

    I don’t think Apame is trying to judge people’s choices so much as situate her own choices in larger sociological trends.

  19. 19.

    Not caring what others think, in a democracy, doesn’t work well. I believe that the powerful are the only group entitled not to care what others say or think.
    Or in other words, in social or herd animals, those that do not care what other herd members say, will find themselves excluded. Predators will quickly have a lovely lunch, balls included, chowing on these outcasts.

  20. 20.

    Except we’re not talking about a democracy. We’re talking about a decision between a couple and the Lord. As is described in the Proclamation to the World and other church teachings. Seriously, who cares what other people think?

  21. 21.

    In other words, so what if your decision is not applauded by the people around you. If you truly made the decision with the full involvement of God and your spouse, than applause is NOT the reason you made your decision and should be incidental.

  22. 22.

    This is amazing, Apame! Amber used the word “haunting” and I think that’s surprisingly appropriate. I don’t know if it’s your friend’s expression or the way you conveyed her words that is so lovely, but I thought this was really beautiful.

    All individuals don’t have the same choices, that’s true (and SilverRain, I’m so sorry that you’re forced right now to work when you don’t want to. I hope that changes for you). But the number of choices available to an individual isn’t the same as the number of choices available in society. As a group, women have so many more choices now. The fact that women now believe we deserve the right to work if we want to doesn’t mean that the right to stay at home with your children is any less a valid choice, and believe me, no one with that desire is outside the norm in the church.

    The problem isn’t too many choices. The problem is that, like Amber pointed out in #11, there are consequences for women’s choices that don’t exist for men. There are also still expectations, such as the fact that even when women are working they generally do more housework/childrearing than their husbands. “Caring what people think” isn’t exactly the problem, either, because we’re not just talking about others’ personal opinions of you. It’s about what society offers based on what it “thinks” of your choices. Girls, especially in the church, are not encouraged toward education and work the same way men are. Women have fewer opportunities in the business world. They often aren’t supported by their employers if they want to have a baby (maternity leave in the U.S. is a fraction of what it is in Europe). There’s a really good TED talk about this; essentially, yes, it does matter what our culture “thinks” of our choices. Besides which, SNeilsen’s point – it’s not very helpful to just tell people that they shouldn’t care ever at all about what others think of them. Maybe that’s the ideal, but it isn’t the real world. People care what the people in their lives think about them. They just do.

    This is a fantastic post. Thanks.

  23. 23.

    Given the nature of a host of extremities including wage differences, pregnancy, and other practical considerations, that is often the mother who makes the most sense to wait on carry. Not always, but often, and it is a problem within the couple if one person ends up feeling marginalized in that decision.

    SilverRain, I disagree that this is only a problem within the couple. It’s a societal problem, because the reason it “makes more sense” for the woman to stay home is that society specifically makes it harder for her to do otherwise. Not feeling okay about that, about being marginalized by society, is not simply an issue within a couple’s relationship. And I actually thought we were talking about a democracy… Because we’re talking about women’s choices as a group, within our culture. Not just on a case-by-case basis with marriages.

  24. 24.

    “Not caring what others think, in a democracy, doesn’t work well.”

    The church is not a democracy, and I am not advocating that we not care at all about what others are thinking in many other areas of life. But when it comes to topics discussed in the OP, only the couple has stewardship to know if what they are doing is what the Lord would have them do.

    If everyone acted as if it were true, the world might be a happier place. Visiting teachers would bring in a meal when a new baby is born AND when mom has finals for law school. A mother-in-law would never say anything negative about a couple’s choice, because she knows that she is no longer entitled to receive revelation for her son.

    “Predators will quickly have a lovely lunch, balls included, chowing on these outcasts.”

    Actually, my family’s experience is that these are the folks who get called to be bishop or Relief Society president. Because no matter how many friends you think you had when you started, you will be criticized constantly. Even if you try to be a people-pleaser, there are times when the promptings of the spirit will make that impossible, and the still small voice is higher priority.

    Well, maybe that *is* being eaten for lunch.

  25. 25.

    Miri, thank you for that clarification. It makes better sense to me. I am, however, still left with shrugging shoulders. If you know your choice is right, then it still doesn’t really matter what people think. Sure, there are undesirable consequences because of how people perceive your choices, but that is always the case with any choice you will ever make. If you want to change that, you are doomed to eternal frustration. People are judgy. Men are not immune to that, either, criticized if they pick a less than lucrative job, can’t fix things, drive a minivan, etc. etc.

    Wisdom lies in recognizing and considering these consequences, but not letting them dictate your decisions any more than you should let personal desires completely dictate decisions.

    And I am not looking for pity because I have to work, I am merely illustrating that choices are relative to a point. I am not any less fortunate than the thousands of men who have to work so their wives can choose to.

  26. 26.

    “It’s a societal problem, because the reason it “makes more sense” for the woman to stay home is that society specifically makes it harder for her to do otherwise.”

    I’m kinda stunned by this. I guess it depends on the “society” in which one lives, but where we are, it is much harder for a woman to take a few years off for childrearing than it is to continue employment. The latter is very much the norm, and it is hard to do otherwise.

    A mom who is at home fulltime is looked down on, and faces unnecessary challenges in workplace re-entry. The local university doesn’t allow moms to attend college part-time while their kids are in school, which has long been a productive path for women. Some of my colleagues were resentful that I had “loafed” at home for years and was still respected in my field and in many cases made more money than they did.

    So if I cared about how my choices “are seen” and what people say, I would NOT have taken time off to be with my kids, which means that I would not have had most of them.

    Of course everyone has different reasons for their choices, but the main reason that I was a mom at home full-time had nothing to do with society, and everything to do with biology. I have horribly debilitating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and can do little more than lie on the couch for months. I prepare by filling the freezer with food in advance and cleaning the house well, and we used a paid babysitter to help with the other kids, which is NOT tax deductible in the US although childcare for paid employment is. Then, when I breastfeed, I have a hard time maintaining an even blood sugar level, so that’s another year of doing better at home. For me. Other people have different dynamics and make different choices.

    “Not feeling okay about that, about being marginalized by society, is not simply an issue within a couple’s relationship.”

    Okay. You could just move here.

    But I don’t think here is better. It can result in judging from another point of view.

    So even here, if one is going to do what the Lord will have us do, for our particular life mission, it may mean swimming upstream and not worrying about what people in that building on the other side of the river are saying.

  27. 27.

    It seems this conversation has been dragged into some familiar ruts. Those convinced that any distress others experience from socially unusual choices is simply a moral weakness to be overcome are urged to read below:

    http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2009/07/20/caring-what-others-think/

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2007/05/who-cares-what-the-neighbors-think/

    This issue has been covered, here and elsewhere on the Bloggernaccle, too many times to count. There are certainly worthwhile conversations to be had about the precise parameters of social dissent and our responsibilities to God, ourselves, and one another; the two above are fine examples. However, when conversations about, say, the nuts and bolts of particular social norms for men and women and particular systems of government are repeatedly dragged back to the distantly related litany, “It doesn’t matter what other people think,” deeper, more meaningful consideration of the issues raised is just as repeatedly stifled.

    For that reason, further debate about whether or not you should care what other people think of you will be summarily deleted. We thank you for your understanding.

  28. 28.

    I have deep and abiding affection for The Bouncer.

  29. 29.

    The Bouncer, I don’t care what you think.

  30. 30.

    SilverRain, I think the issue is that women don’t always know their choice is right. Because they are told a lot what they should and shouldn’t do, by their families, by their religions, by God, supposedly, and that makes it pretty hard to question when you don’t feel right about what they’re saying. Feeling at odds with your religion is a pretty intense conflict, and is much more than an issue of just caring what people think.

    Naismith, that’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s either stay home or work; if you want to do both, you’re not going to get much help. Many women want to do both but feel like they have to choose between the two, because society doesn’t make it easy for women to combine them. Thus, their choices are limited. Not just because of what their neighbors think, but because of the options that are available to them based on what society “thinks” about women’s roles.

    The Bouncer, thanks for those links. Very helpful. :)

  31. 31.

    Miri, exactly! That is what I was driving at. People don’t always know their choice is right. So, since there is little to no hope of changing everyone “out there,” wouldn’t a great way to deal with this be to develop a deeper personal relationship with the Savior and your spouse so that you could better navigate between what “everyone” is saying, and what the Spirit is saying? So you could know what is right, and gain strength from that?

    Society doesn’t make it easy for ANYONE to combine work and family. Not just women, anyone! Every adult has to choose between the two, or find some way to balance them. That is just reality, not some conspiracy against women.

    Bouncer, I was driving that point for a reason that IS a part of good discussion. I thought that my life experiences, which I have explained in part above, supported that. As a person who has been forced BY SOCIETY and the poor choices of others to give up on her dreams, in a way, I have traveled this road. I have seen two paths, either we can focus on externalities to determine what we will feel, or we can work on reducing those externalities in importance so that we can take back our power. Either I can weep and gnash my teeth because I’m caught in a life I didn’t bargain for, or I can accentuate the good in where I am, and use that power to make more good.

    In the OP and subsequent comments, the problem seems mostly to be how we feel about the choices we have open to us. I, for one, refuse to rely on outside changes to change how I feel. I see the OP addressing that very thing: that we can change the outside to make us feel safe and validated in our choices, or we can lift our heads high, accept the consequences that are imposed externally on our choices, and make them anyway.

    When I say, “who cares?” it is in invitation to paint your house hot pink if you want to, because the law says you can, no matter what your neighbors think.

    How, exactly, is that “shutting down discussion,” unless the discussion desired is only to mourn together over what we can’t have? If that is the case, then I apologize. I misunderstood the point.

  32. 32.

    Silver Rain, it comes to this. You don’t think it’s worthwhile to focus on externalities. We do. Perhaps we’re wrong to do so. But it’s our blog; we paid for it. And it becomes a serious nuisance when, in post after post in which we do focus on externalities, someone like you comes along to inform us that we shouldn’t. It’s like getting halfway through a baseball game only to have someone repeatedly run onto the field waving Newton’s Laws of Motion to tell us that we haven’t taken adequate account of relativity and quantum mechanics. Indeed we haven’t. But that’s not really what we’re doing here.

    The kind of discussion we want to foster here is somewhat unusual. It’s not generally possible to talk about intersections between Mormonism and feminism at church, at the university, in the workplace, or in our routine daily interactions. To make that discussion possible, we need to accept some things as axiomatic. The importance of externalities is one of those things. You and other commenters will find yourselves more welcome here if you’re willing to accept that importance as axiomatic for the purposes of our discussions. In other words, please stop running onto the field mid-play to start a conversation about Newton and Einstein–surely an eminently worthwhile conversation to have, but this baseball game of a feminist blog simply isn’t the time or place.*

    If you and others want to have the laws of motion conversation about why externalities are, in fact, unimportant, knock yourselves out on your own blogs. There’s a whole blogosphere out there. But we do ask that you respect our rules for our space.

    *Bonus points to us not just for using a sports analogy, but for aligning the feminist position with brute athletic contest.

  33. 33.

    Hey, I just found your blog! Love it! Keep up the good work!

    I was just wondering if you would be interested in a book manuscript I am currently in the process of writing. It explores and delineates the externalities experienced by the characters in the movie A League of Their Own. I have entitled it “A Woman’s Place Is At Home, First, Second, and Third”.

    Each chapter examines the issues from the viewpoint of one of the characters. The two sisters, Dottie and Kit, offer views from both the career woman’s perspective and also from the woman who gave up her career for husband and hearth. Coach Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, represents the male patriarchal hegemony. When he tells the women “There is no crying in baseball”, he is unconciously imposing a male pattern of discourse onto a female space. Perhaps the most provocative chapter is the one examining the character played by Madonna, Mae Mordabito, and nicknamed All The Way Mae because of her reputation with male suitors. I’ve found that this character has great appeal to so-called feminists and others who want to abandon their families and children, subvert their divine gender roles, have tawdry affairs, destroy America, and worship Satan.

  34. 34.

    Mr. Brown, thanks for coming by. As so-called feminists who are out to destroy America, we can’t wait to read your manuscript.