The Hairy legged girl hiding in the bushes

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recently my friend told me about another friend we have who was trying to get her to read a book. It is a "life changing book," apparently, and will rock our socks off in the world of wife-hood. I'm always interested in hearing how I can make my marriage better, so I was intrigued as to what this magic book was.

When I heard the title, I think I actually threw up a little in my mouth. Then I did a "NO she didn't" type of a jaw drop. I very well may be over reacting, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

The title of the book was "The Submissive Wife".

Before I go any further, let me explain. I'm a feminist. But, not the kind of feminist that the world describes. I think feminism has gotten a bad wrap. There are those feminists that burn their bras, don't shave and are total man haters for impregnating us with their nasty man seed.

I'm not one of those.

Simply put: Feminism is an intellectual, philosophical and political discourse aimed at equal rights and legal protection for women.


I think that most women would agree that they deserve to be treated equally.

When I heard the title of that book, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I understand that it probably is a poorly titled book, but that word triggers my gag-reflex. Mostly because in the worldly definition of submissive it means that someone else is imposing their will and worldly definitions on me. (aka June Cleaver)

I do believe that God created me to be equal to Jefe-- his partner, and that we walk side by side-- not his servant. The wordly definition makes me feel like I shouldn't have my own thoughts, feelings or ideas, and I really believe that--me not having ideas or thoughts outside of marriage or child-rearing-- goes against what God had intended.

While I do believe that I have a purpose here on earth-- to create life, nurture life and grow people-- I don't believe that God intended that to be my only purpose. I have ideas, thoughts and talents that I believe he wanted me to cultivate and grow. Not hide away under a bushel .

The reason for this post is this:

Thing 1 asked me recently if I "believed all that crap". When I probed further, she wanted to know if I really believed that my only purpose here in life was to make babies, clean toilets, change diapers, do laundry and cook meals.

She had been told by another adult that being a wife and mother was all she was meant to do-- that to be a good wife and good mother meant she needed to submit her ideas, wants, desires, goals and likes to those of her spouse.

That really made her angry and she wanted answers.

(yes. she was totally taught this.)

Her question really took me off guard and I had to ponder it for a while.

I went back to her later and told her that No. I don't believe all that "Crap" . I don't believe that my only purpose in life is to simply be someone's servant-- cleaning, cooking, changing diapers. Nor was it my "duty" to change who God intended me to be and like only the things that my spouse liked.

I told her that I believe that Heavenly Father has made it so we, as women, can do and be anything we want.

I told her that we live in a time where we truly can have it all, it just doesn't have to be all right now, at the exact same time. We have a lifetime to become, to evolve.

And, that is the greatest blessing that feminism has offered us women-- The right to choose.

I chose to give up a successful career. I turned down my dream job to get married. I was given the chance to choose, and I did.

I CHOSE to be where I am today, and it makes me happy. I told her that I know that Heavenly Father intends for me to make the most of my life-- using my intelligence, my creativity, my mothering and my spirituality-- and to help better the lives of those around me.

Blazing feminists made it possible for me to choose, and I thank them.

Do I burn my bra?


The girls are entirely too big to go au naturel.

*image via Google images

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22 monkeys jumping on the bed:

  1. Kristina P. said...

    I have heard of this book. And it makes me angry.

    I am so with you. I believe that feminism is not only about equality but being supportive of women in whatever choice they make for themselves, whether working outside the home, or not.

  2. Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

    I'm definitely a feminist in the way that you're describing. We are all equals, but some of us shave our legs while others of us shave their faces. ;o) I am intrigued by this book. Is it actually about being completely submissive or is it a really, really poor choice of a title? And, I so don't burn my bra either. It's too hard to find a good one and I don't go bra-less unless I'm in the shower. My girls are way too unruly for bra-less-ness. Hmm...that might have been a little too much information. I'll stop now....

  3. Shelley said...

    I'm not sure exactly. In Genesis 2:18 it says that God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and He made him an helpmeet comparable to him. And the bible says for wives to submit to their own husbands. But it also tells the husbands to love the wives as they love themselves. I think that MY life is better when my husband and I work as partners and even though I don't always agree with him, he is the head of our household. And by his prayer and following of Christ's principles, he should be leading our home correctly. If I don't agree with him, then it is my place to explain why and then for us to find a workable, biblical solution to the problem.
    I didn't say that always happens, but that is the way I believe it is supposed to be.
    I heard a story once that God did not make a woman from man's head so she could rule him. He didn't make woman from a man's foot so he could walk on her. He made woman from his rib, so she could walk beside man.

  4. DeNae said...

    I haven't read the book, but I am a long-time student of the Old Testament. And if you want to know a word that has gotten a bad rap, it's the word "submissive". The Lord makes it clear that in order to be His disciple we have to become like a little child, "meek, humble, SUBMISSIVE".

    As for being a "submissive" wife, I carefully and lovingly invite all of my endowed friends to consider the order in which our covenants are made with God. "Do your will, as you do the will of the Father" ring any bells?

    I feel confident leaving this comment here, because Motherboard knows me very well, and in terms of how the world defines "submissive", she would probably tell you that a rhino with hemorrhoids is more "submissive" than I.

    However, I understand that my husband has certain duties for which he is accountable before God, and as such is entitled to revelation and direction relevant to that stewardship. We are partners, and it is rare - and I mean maybe 5 times in 25 years - when he and I disagree about a course of action, where he has played the "patriarch" card.

    It helps that he is an incredibly humble, decent, and worthy priesthood holder, whom I trust not only with this life but with my eternal welfare as well. I'm a better person for being married to him, and as such, I have no problem with what was always meant by the word "submissive" when read in scriptures, or when heard in other, faith-bases contexts.

    I know. Go figure.

  5. Wonder Woman said...

    There are different connotations for "submissive," and also different circumstances in which it may be more appropriate.

    I don't think I should submit to my husband's wishes all the time. But I do think I should take his opinion into consideration more than I do. I think that a big part of a man feeling loved is feeling respected, and perhaps that is part of the commandment.

    I can't stand having hairy legs. I could never be that kind of feminist. I think that's the best part of the feminists movement -- a woman's right to choose whether she stays home or not. (Didn't fMh talk about this not too long ago?)

  6. Jennifer said...

    I like DeNae's comments very much. If being a submissive wife means aligning one's will with the PARTNERSHIP, then I say that's a good thing.

    My head is too groggy to say much more, other than to giggle at my word verification:


    P.S. Thank you very much for your depression/Estelle post.

  7. InkMom said...

    Ditto, DeNae. She said it way better than I could have.

    And my mama did burn her bra . . . and came to a much different understanding of the sacred relationship between men and women when she joined the church a few years later. I count my blessings that her perspective changed, because without it, I would be a non-person, never born to this body in this life.

  8. Untypically Jia said...

    I'm all about the submissiveness. Mostly because I change the meaning of the word in my head. I find there is a limit, and I'm certainly not going to be submissive to a man who doesn't deserve it.

    I prefer to be submissive and I don't think I would like having a submissive husband. I like that he can take charge, be a little dominating (cough cough) and can respect his role as well, which is to love and respect me.

    Of course when my hormones go off there's no telling what hell will break lose (and what rules get broken).

    I've read countless books on being a submissive wife, and honestly, you take bits and pieces of what you read, mush it together and create your own ideas and see what works. For me: submission (in my own forms) works.

  9. TheOneTrueSue said...

    I cannot get into this, as it is one of those topics that makes my brain start exploding, but I will say this:

    I'm a card carrying reader over at FMH and my husband and I are partners. Neither of us submits to the other. If a man needs to be able to look down upon a woman, to see her in submission, before he is able to feel manly? Then he isn't much of a man, in my book.

  10. Lt. Col. Samantha Carter said...

    Though there are a few bras in my drawer I wouldn't mind burning (those @#!(%& wires REALLY dig into my rib cage!!!) and I sometimes go 3 or 4 days between shaving my legs due to busy schedules; I'm not one of "those" feminists. I am also, not one of the "We All Have To Be Equal In ALL That We Do" feminists, either. We are not Equal in everything. We each have Equal Worth, but we have different roles to fulfill. And we pretty much need the other person to be able to fulfill the most important ones.

    Being sumbissive does not mean being weak and pathetic. It does not mean losing identity or freedom of choice. In everything there is choice. And having someone submit to you does not give you the right to push them down. That's called Unrighteous Dominion, and "amen to his priesthood" for the person who does that.

    I am suprised at the number of women in Christian-dom that scoff, grit their teeth, and shake their fists at the idea of submitting to their husbands, yet declare to the world and don't even bat an eye at the idea of submitting to God's will, and pride themselves (yes, I use that word with intention) on Following the Example of the Savior (One who served the least and communed with the destitute - submitting to them through service and love) but refuse to do the same with the man they claim to love and desire to spend Eternity with.

    Submitting to your husband does not mean living a life of "that crap" where all you do is change diapers and wipe noses all day long. Anyone who is telling you this is either ignorant as to what Submitting really means, or a liar. Any man who "makes" his wife live that way is not a true husband, nor does he understand true love.

    In a True Eternal/Godlike marriage, nobody "looks down" on another. Each recognizes the Worth, potential, and benefit of the companion; and each recognizes the position and status the other holds. Each honors the other, and does so through love, service, sacrifice,understanding, and self-awareness.

    I choose to submit to my husband, because I know he has my best interest, his best interest, and our best interest at heart. I am part of him (Eve from Adam), so without him I am nothing. On that same note, without me, he is not complete and cannot progress alone. So I know that he'll do nothing that will cause us to deteriorate, fall apart, or stop progressing; and he knows I won't either.

    In other words, "Temple Ceremony."

  11. Sher said...

    I hope I don't anger people with what I'm about to say, but....

    I think Heavenly Father is also a feminist. I mean, I honestly don't believe he placed women on the earth to be submissive, and enslaved to their husbands.
    He created Eve from Adam's rib to provide Adam with a helpmeet and a companion, NOT a maid and a cook, and someone to rub his feet with he gets home from the office.

    Husbands and wives, who work together, equally, for the better good, I believe, have better, happier marriages, and happier families.

    The end.

  12. 2busy said...

    At first hearing the word submissive, it makes my hair stand up like a cat! Those are fighting words if you ask me...But, I don't mind being submissive to the will of the Father, and IF my husband is living in accordance to His will, then I will value what my husband has to say. We are equal partners. I hope he would value what I say as well.

  13. Jillene said...

    AMEN sister AMEN!!

  14. Vern said...

    I dunno, I've got a couple of bras that could really use some polishing in a fire pit.

  15. Kalli Ko said...

    DeNae sounds smart, what she said okay?

    Feminism is so much more than man hating if you ask me (snort). I have views on this sort of thing, not the kind of views that are easily explained, but the kind of views that are more like disjointed but absolutely make sense in my head. Marriage cannot be one partner without the other in equal standing, I know that much.

    Besides, I feel like what I do all day is submit to the will of an 18 month old anyway so maybe I have no argument here...

  16. Jami said...

    It's not mistitled. It really is about being a submissive wife.

    I spent years telling my mother that the church isn't sexist that it just gets a bad rap. I wish, I wish, I wish I still believed that.

    I believe God isn't sexist and I believe the church is true, but people, ah people, they're so human. Some of us are sexist, some racist, some intellectual elitists. So, so human.

  17. Kimberly said...

    I LOVE this! I also consider myself a feminist, though I believe in equality over bra-burning. Even though I would rather not shave my legs all winter long if I had a choice...ugh! :) Haha...really though, I am not a wife but I think being submissive doesn't have to be being a doormat.

  18. Amber said...

    All I can say is that the men will have a lot to account for in the next life. Especially if they are Priesthood holders. I do not envy their responsibility.

    That said, I believe in partnership. I also believe in revelation. If my husband receives a revelation, one that is in line with the Spirit, I will submit my will to his. He has done the same for me on many occasions.

  19. Amber Lynae said...

    I love your post and I love DeNae's comment as well. I am not a mindless creature, my life and marriage are things I have a say in. I do believe if my husband is using his stewardship wisely that I will not feel as if I am trapped or being lead mindlessly, because we will be equals sharing the load and completing the other.

    I would however, be very upset at someone teaching my daughter "all that crap" that they told her. Daughters of God are much more than Stepford wives.

  20. Rachel Sue said...

    There is a famous story in my husband's family. My FIL was in the bishopric and would take the car (offense #1) to his meetings before church, leaving my MIL to walk to church with her 2 little boys. She brought them in the double stroller and then would park the stroller next to the coat racks. My FIL hated that stroller in the church and confronted her about it, telling her that she wasn't allowed to bring that to church anymore. Her response, "Well, why don't you walk then and I'll take the car?"

    "Because I. . .I have the priesthood!"

    Yeah. The one thing my MIL did right was make sure that her sons KNEW not to do that.

  21. annie valentine said...

    our brains are freaky connected.

  22. Lara said...

    Yes. I totally agree with you.

    I just taught a lesson in YW about our "divine roles as women" and it was ENTIRELY about housekeeping and cooking. I HATED that lesson. And I changed it a lot, because I don't necessarily believe that those things are all I've been put on this earth to do, nor do I believe that I am the only one in this household that can do those things. My husband doesn't buy into it, either. Obviously, since I rarely cook and he does, for instance.

    So I'm curious, is that where your daughter heard all that crap? In YW? Grr.