You may have seen #YesAllWomen, a movement on social media that encourages women to tell their stories of being sexually harassed or physically threatened by men. It's supposed to be a bonding thing that lets women know that they aren't alone--other women have suffered through these kinds of things, too. And I can see value in that. Truly, I can.
But every time I see it pop up, I just groan.
First of all, it's not ALL women. I can't remember a time I was sexually harassed or physically threatened in the way these women are describing. And it bothers me when they say, openly, "You know you've experienced this, too." Um...nope. Not ALL women, apparently.
Secondly, their unstated message is that not only have all women suffered, but all men are in line (or at least sympathetic) with these perverted men who do these things. Even if you never acted on it, the women seem to be saying, you know you think about it. I just don't believe that. I do believe there are horrid men in the world. But not ALL men.
And finally, every single time I see another story pop up, I think how completely inappropriate it would be for men to start a movement talking about all the horrid, mean things women have done to them. Especially if it implied that all men were mistreated by all women all the time.
I find it completely baffling that these same feminist women who are publishing these stories refuse to acknowledge that women can be, and are, jerks too. And that jerkiness is not a function of being a certain gender any more than sexiness is. Some people are jerks. Some aren't. We don't need to expand that to say all women are controlling or all men are lecherous simply because some are. And it doesn't further any conversations about real problems that really exist when we demonize and entire gender because...well ...because we have fallen in line with other people who do that? I find it even more offensive when in one post online women bemoan the objectification of women, and in the next they talk about how "hot" some male movie star is.
I guess what I'm getting at is you can't have it both ways. Either everyone gets to objectify, or nobody does. Either everyone gets to point out things the other gender does that are unacceptable (because, ladies, we do things that are unacceptable, too!), or nobody does. You don't get to make men the bad guys and then expect our culture to somehow magically improve.
Mostly, I'm starting to block people who advocate feminism online. They might find it pitiful, and I find it ironic, but the more they talk about their agenda, the less I feel like they are actually in touch with the experiences of average women, and the less I feel like they can actually help any women anywhere (especially the ones--males and female-- who seem compelled to defend womenkind against most of us women out there, without realizing they are trying to force us all to conform to an arbitrary standard upheld and created by an elite group, which is the very thing they are supposedly fighting against). Which is probably fine. They seem to relish talking to each other more than solving problems or engaging in real discussion anyway. You know, like the traditional stereotypical gossipy exclusive nagging women's club. Only minus the aprons and hats.
People always confuse the satellite duties of motherhood with motherhood. You know--you've heard the talks. "My mom always came to my baseball games" or "my mom made the best cookies" or articles saying a mother's work is worth $119,000 a year (and defining a mother's work as chef, chauffeur, teacher, laundress, etc.
It's true mothers do massive amounts of work for free. And they do show up and cook and do all those satellite things. They're all closely attached to the job.
But imagine if those things went away. Suppose a mother was in a car accident and suddenly paralyzed from the chin down. For a long time, and maybe forever, many of those satellite things would disappear. No picking up the floor. No cooking. No attending baseball games. No driving or laundering.
And you know what? She would still be mother.
Motherhood is not defined nor created by the work a parent does.
A mother without all of those extra things would still be a mother. She would still be invaluable and one of the strongest influences in a child's life. Her voice would still calm a child in distress-even when the child was an adult. (Did you know there are scientific studies proving that just the sound of a mother's voice--even over the phone--can relieve stress more effectively and more quickly than anything else?). Just simply the way she lived and viewed life and interacted with the people around her would define so much of her children's futures.
Motherhood is not the work we attribute to it. It's not the dishes or the laundry or even the tending to people when they are sick. Even wicked, abusive women do those things, but they aren't really mothers. Motherhood is this other, nearly indefinable thing that is not so much a thing we do as it is a thing we are. Many women become that when they have their first baby, but all women can become mothers. And many women who have children never do.
I can no more define motherhood for you than anyone else, but mothers are an amazing influence for good, for strength, for the future.
So Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And thank you.
I've been studying the effects of d-ribose on pregnancy this week, curious if it's safe to take d-ribose when you're pregnant.
So far, the usual forums, doctor-moderated boards, and public health sites have been of zero help. So I turned to Google Scholar.
What I learned, from reading scientific papers, is that, at least in mice, high doses (like 158 grams a day for a human; the usual therapeutic dose for a human is 15 grams a day) of ribose delivered intravenously causes dementia and is highly toxic to cells. (The regular human therapeutic dose was studied, too, and had no ill effects). So don't overdose. (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0024623)
But I also learned that, at least in rats, dietary ribose supplementation, even in extremely high doses (up to 789 grams per day for a human) has absolutely zero affect on pregnancy or babies. The babies, placentas, etc, were physically indistinguishable from the control group. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027869150600250X).
That would indicate that ribose is safe for pregnancy, at least for rats.
It does cross the blood-brain barrier, and enters cells through diffusion, so there is a good chance that it would cross the placental barrier as well, though. And, since ribose is unsafe for diabetics, I imagine it would be unsafe for those with gestational diabetes as well. Also, there was no research regarding the mental development of the rats.
Someone has also submitted a patent to use ribose to treat newborn stroke. http://www.google.com/patents/US20130196934. This doesn't prove it's safe of course (lots of wacky patents are submitted), but at least one scientist thinks it is.
There seems to be an ongoing discussion among some of my friends about what modesty means and how it should be taught. Many of my friends say that teaching modesty (or "the way it is taught") is wrong, and their reasons are very persuasive but feel very wrong.
I realized today that Anda is going to be taught about modesty by someone other than me in the next few years as she joins Young Womens. And I realized that I'd rather her be taught the traditional way, not the "new-and-improved" way some of my friends are proposing.
The new way doesn't appropriately or accurately deal with the true, biological nature of men. It, in essence, says that men should be women and see the world the way women do. This is neither fair nor realistic. While I agree that boys should be taught that they are responsible for their own actions and for learning to see women as people, not just bodies, it is important for women to understand that men notice bodies, too, even on women they like as people.
The other thing I want Anda to understand is that her clothes choices are her chance to inform every person she meets how she wants to be treated. While it's a lovely idea that we should be able to dress however we like, our clothes are really a text that informs people how we wish to be perceived. If we treat ourselves as bodies only, people will treat us as bodies only. If we treat ourselves as people, we will be treated as people. And how do we inform others of how we wish to be treated? By what we wear. And all the theories and lovely ideas about how stupid that is are totally disconnected from reality, no matter how appealing they are.
If we want to be treated with respect and dignity, we have to dress with respect and dignity. Period.
I have a lot of friends who are having emotional/spiritual crises of varying intensities because of Elder Oaks' talk about the Priesthood in Conference. I think it's because he said that the Lord said the Priesthood is only for men, and it won't help to petition the brethren because they don't even possess the keys to change that, no matter how much you beg.
The problem many of my friends are having stems from the fact that they decided they were right and essentially gave the church an ultimatum. Giving women the Priesthood--now--was non-negotiable because it makes a lot of sense to them.
I feel sad for my friends. They're all suffering right now, trying to reconcile their personal beliefs that conflict--because as of Saturday night, they no longer had the freedom to say, "Apostles speak for Jesus Christ and direct the Church according to His commands" and "God wants women to have the Priesthood." (And my friends were, surprisingly, uninclined to question the second statement. Instead, they were all struggling with how to reconcile the first to the second). Why? Because they've all thought through it thoroughly and truly believe that their understanding of both women and the priesthood leave no space for women not to have the priesthood. They've really considered this deeply, and it makes no sense to them to do it any other way. It's just not fair.
So why did Elder Oaks' talk give me not one whit of distress? Because I believe that women should not have the priesthood.
And I can tell you nearly a dozen reasons I think that's a good idea.
The thought process that led to those nearly a dozen reasons was like this (in a series of questions that I prayed about--over many years):
1. Is God real? Yes.
2. Does he care about me? More than I do.
3. If God is real and wants us to know about him, would He have more than one right church out there, all teaching different things? No.
4. So if there is one right church, someone must be in charge or there is chaos with all people believing what they will. So who is in charge? A prophet.
5. If it is truly God's church (and Jesus is in charge of it), would He leave the prophet to figure things out himself? No. That would be silly.
6. So is it reasonable to accept that God created the structure of His church to be led by a prophet and apostles, and that they are in active contact with Jesus to direct the Church according to His will? Yes.
7. Are people, including prophets and apostles, fallible? Yes. But would God ever allow them to lead the entire church astray on important matters (like who holds the Priesthood of God)? No. So we can assume that if a matter is important, God and His prophets have conversed about it.
8. Is it possible for me to comprehend or see all that God can comprehend or see? No.
9. So if God and I are at odds on some point of doctrine or practice, who is most likely to have made the mistake? ME. He can see and know more than I possibly can, and he care more for me and the people I love than I possibly can even comprehend. So I should probably trust Him, and if I don't understand, try to see it from His perspective (as impossible as that task actually is) instead of insisting He see it from mine (because He already does, thank you, and that doesn't mean He's going to do it my way).
10. Who do I have stewardship over (and therefore the right to receive revelation for)? Well, not the prophet or apostles, that's for sure. But they do have stewardship over me. And I do over me, too, and also over my children while they are young. Probably not anyone else. Maybe my spouse. Maybe. Not assuredly, though. So therefore the right questions to ask God would mostly likely be about me--my beliefs, my behaviors, my attitudes--and not about what the whole Church should be doing, or even what God should be doing.
So, once I had answered those questions (which didn't happen in one night--it was a journey), I was fairly confident that if the prophet or apostles gave us direction, it would be wiser for me to pray for understanding--of the instructions, of the doctrines, and of what I should do--than to sit around asking the Lord to change his mind.
In other words, I asked, "So you don't think women should have the priesthood. I can accept that. Can you help me understand why?" instead of "Please give me the priesthood--I think I can serve best that way." (That's a silly statement anyway--we can all serve to our capacity without the Priesthood. Nobody is required to have keys and ordinations to see suffering around us and try to ease it).
Anyway, I now have lots of reasons not to need the priesthood, and some new insights into the fact that we've devalued women's assignments but that doesn't mean the Lord has.
I do not believe women need or should have the priesthood. Maybe some time I'll write down why.
From Slate.com: "The cases were consolidated and argued Tuesday morning by Solicitor General Don Verrilli and Paul Clement, who argued the ACA cases before the court almost two years ago, on a spring day in 2012, when it was not—as it was Tuesday—snowing."