JD Daughter is an Anti-Femi-Missed: Volume 2

"JD, I'll treat you well despite my strongly held ideological beliefs." "Hmmm."

“There are, I think, a fair amount of guys who are unwittingly feminist. They’re ok with their wife working, they want to marry a smart woman, they are egalitarian about most aspects of a relationship, but… they also don’t like the term ‘feminist.’ Maybe they were raised in a family where it was a dirty word, maybe it’s just not their issue, or whatever. So my point is, I think you could find guys who won’t treat you condescendingly, or if they do in a few small ways they don’t recognize they’d be humble enough to change with a firm but gentle explanation from you about what’s wrong with it. They might not ever say they’re feminist, but they are and they’re worth dating.”

– New Reader Austin

Now, it’s important to remember that a lot of the problems I had with Dennis are exactly the same as with guys I date who fit the qualifications above.  They may treat you well, but without the intellectual, and (pardon me) spiritual realization of the harm that their privilege and sexist society has, they cannot be convinced of the error of their ways enough to correct themselves.

I also call them “Femi-misseds” because, even though they never declare themselves feminists…other people do.

How am I gonna write this?  I’ve got no idea.

Let it be said that I believe MORE STRONGLY about this post than I do about the first- though the first lent itself to stronger language.

It is really difficult to put into structured writing such broad and strong thoughts as I have on the subject.  There is always the danger of getting convoluted and super-long…like the first installment of “JD Daughter is an Anti-Femi-Missed.”

CONFESSION TIME: I really did mull over that one for DAYS.  I would edit it, then unedit it.  I broke it up into smaller pieces to publish slowly over several days, making it more readable.  But the thing was, I didn’t particularly want it to be readable.  I wanted it off my chest, but I didn’t want the consequences of the load to swing back and hit me.  So, I actually re-copy-pasted everything back into one giant unreadable monster-post, and published it that way.

I figured, if noone could get through it, then noone would read it, unless they were just really hard-core.

I’ve decided to call it the  “Isaiah System”…where it’s so labyrinthine to read that people will generally skip it, and the meaning of possibly offensive portions will remain undeciphered.

I do this a lot.  You will very rarely see me publish only one  content rich post in a day.  I usually will post something…and then try to quickly bury it under lesser posts.

END OF CONFESSION

JD DAUGHTER IS AN ANTI-FEMI-MISSED: VOLUME 2

CONCENTRATE : as condensed as possible…the bulleted edition

QUICK NOTES BEFORE PROCEEDING

  • First off, new reader Austin made a point that pornography hurts men.  I am in agreement.  Just as racism hurts whites, sexism does hurt men, to a degree (  post pending on subject, both sexism and racism. It will be discussed, with seriousness). I find, however, that this concept is almost always exaggerated and abused, so I chose to disregard it in the post.
  • The amount of pain and disempowerment felt by men/white people as a result of sexism/racism is so small in comparison to that of women/minorities as to be inconsequential in most discussions of sexism/racism.
  • Example1: “JD, there is sexism against MEN too, so stop complaining.  Reverse sexism.  For example, girls have greater freedom of expression in how they dress.  They can wear both pants and skirts.  Dudes are so repressed.”
  • Was he honestly dismissing thousands of years of dehumanization, religious injustice, loss of property and rights through the law, objectification and belittlement …because he wanted to wear a skirt?  I can’t make this stuff up.
  • I mean, far be it from me do deny a guy my AUSPICIOUS SKIRT-WEARING PRIVLEGES…but…seriously.
  • Example2: My friend Margot’s boyfriend, himself  a compulsive pornography addict, has on several occasions attempted to equate the negative effects of her forced molestation by a porn addict to those negative effects  he experiences due to pornography addiction. I’ve actually been there and heard it happen.
  • “See, you’ve got problems with sex, I’ve got problems with sex…we’re both just messed up people.  We’re the same. Nobody is on higher moral ground.”
  • Sir, you sound as crazy as the following scenario:

“I survived Auschwitz, having lost all  my children, and spending three years, starving, shuddering in the cold…”

“Oh really?  I was in Auschwitz too!”

“Really?  Wow.  Nice to meet a fellow survivor.”

“Ya…I was a guard there, and I remember it being so cold there that I had to wear TWO sweaters one time.  And then I was up all night watching prisoners.  It was exhausting.  And then there was this one time I held the barrel of the gun so long, I actually got a splinter.”

“*blink blink* Are you…trying to be funny?”

“No, I’m dead serious.  I mean, the splinter could have gotten infected and who KNOWS what could’ve happened to me. See, we’re both survivors of trials at Auschwitz.  We’re both the SAME.”

and, to a lesser degree, you also remind me of this ( Language Warning).

You do not get to try to equate the suffering of the oppressed with the inconvenience you experience by oppressing them.  If you are about to make such a comparison…stop yourself.  You sound like a lunatic.

Makes me want to punch a dolphin sometimes.

THE MEAT OF THE POST

Concentrate

  • After dating Dennis, I started dating St. John Forest.
  • St. John Forest is the kind of guy most people are talking about when they recommend guys to me who treat women well, tend toward egalitarianism behavior, tolerate women having jobs etc., and “just aren’t technical feminists.”
  • There are a lot of these guys.
  • All of the guys I currently go on dates with, are like this.
  • St. John broke up with me because, in the end, he feared that my feminism, and general liberal thought, was a sign of religious unsteadiness.  I can respect that.  I know how it feels to not date someone because they are not religiously compatible with you.
  • Here is the crux of the problem with dating St. John-type guys.  It is not only in words and actions that abuse is considered.  It is also in beliefs.  I consider the belief that there is a gender hierarchy a form of abuse. It is just as psychologically demeaning, and harmful.
  • Imagine, if you will, a woman walking up to her husband and saying “God just told me that I am supposed to preside over you, be the final decider in all our family decisions, and be the main provider, and religious leader of our home.  And out of the goodness of my heart, I’m going to let you keep your job, and I’ll even let you have an equal say in our Family Councils, and every once in a while I let you pick who says family prayer.  And, I’ll help with the housework sometime too.  And here, I’ll even cook sometimes.  I’m so magnanimous.”
  • You would try to put her away. You wanna know why?  Because that’s PSYCHO, that’s why.  That man deserves to keep his job, have an equal say in Family Councils, and choose who says family prayer half the time, out of the natural right of his adult personhood.
  • He doesn’t need to have those rights “given” to him with permission.  To force him to comply with this belief, regardless of good treatment, is a form of abuse.
  • And the thing is, these guys who behave in egalitarian ways and are generally nice, still firmly espouse religious beliefs which tell them that these rights are not inherent, but should be given by them.
  • They still firmly, religiously, believe in a gender hierarchy, with themselves at the top ( but righteously at the top, mind you.).
  • And the problem is- that different from a disagreement with my spouse over which color to paint the living room, or even which candidate is best to vote for- if my spouse believes in a gender hierarchy he WILL automatically be granted the power through our culture to act on his belief.
  • There is not a lot of bargaining room when a Mormon woman talks with her boyfriend/spouse about gender hierarchy. He has no reason to change, and no one will make him.
  • And the worst part is, that most of these guys DO, in fact, treat me better than their religious beliefs actually delineate, if they were to examine their religious beliefs.  BUT, they therefore have no reason to improve upon their behavior…only reason to descend to their goals.

I've decided to illustrate my point with this super-high-tech, highly scientific thing I drew on PAINT. You can see in blue where the two men's personal, moral, idealogical standards for the treatment of women, as far as they have thought them out, are. In red you can see their actual behavior quality. Now, while St. John's behavior is over twice as good as Dennis', his ideological goals regarding the treatment of women are FAR FAR lower than Dennis'. While Dennis's relationship with me was full of problems and argumentative discussion, there was at least discussion. Dennis knew, in theory, where he should be, and had a pretty good intellectual understanding of why it was important. St. John's good behavior was due a great deal to public expectation, and the benefits of secular education, but not to actual understanding...or even effort to understand, since if you do not believe you are in the wrong, you have no reason to change. St. John, therefore, based his feminist behavior on a sandy foundation, not a strongly held belief. Dennis could really only go up. St. John could really only go down, without a huge change in his belief system.

  • And most guys of this type also consider technical feminism, by the actual definition, as a kind of adorable hobby I have.  Like…fly fishing…that they can be sort-of into and do with me on the weekends.
  • It’s not like flyfishing.

“Beehive Rules”- a concrete example

So I was out playing tennis with this guy Marlon ( I play tennis with Marlon every Saturday. NOTE: How to beat JD Daughter at tennis: Play tennis with JD Daughter). Marlon is one of those guys that Austin is talking about:”They’re ok with their wife working, they want to marry a smart woman, they are egalitarian about most aspects of a relationship”…as are ALL the guys I date.  It’s sort of a minimum requirement.

On his serve, the ball grazed the net and fell back on his side.  Then Marlon said,

“It’s OK, JD!  We’ll use Beehive rules!”

“What?”

“Beehive rules. “

So, here is what Beehive Rules means.  It means you get to go again, for free.  A redo.  And if you need to, you can even step up closer to the net.

Beehive rules refers to the Beehive class in church of young women age 12-13.  It’s the “rules” you use  in any game or activity when you “Have to play with the Beehives.”

Beehive rules means wussy, weak, and unskilled.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s dawned on Marlon yet…but I was once a Beehive.  I do not think I was any worse than the Deacon boys, inherently.  Marlon didn’t say the “12 year old” rules…or the Deacon rules.  He said the “Beehive rules.”

And I was supposed to just go along with it, like “Oh ya..”Beehive rules”.*laugh*…because 12-year-old girls suck at everything, don’t cha know.  And it’s not like they’ve been hearing this their whole lives, and getting any sort of negative consequences from it.”

(Now, I know that we do have, in our culture, a demeaning term for Deacons.  “The Deacon shuffle”, but unlike “Beehive Rules”, the Deacon shuffle only suggests an inability to slow dance [which isn’t really a huge honorable skill in our culture] while “Beehive Rules” suggests that Beehives are deficient at all things, and require constant accommodation.)

Marlon’s comment was sexist.

I didn’t respond coldly. I didn’t respond at all.  I can’t walk around being offended, arguing and crying at every second of every day.  I’d be terribly late for all of my appointments.

And I mean, even I will sometimes say something sexist or racist, without thinking.  But I usually wince and correct myself afterwards.

Now Marlon’s sexism is small, but I could not simply allow it, or ignore it in a relationship.

This kind of sexism is very very common, and is very easily missed by the perpetrator.

It takes a lot of time, a lot of research and introspection and realization and effort to recognize this kind of sexism and stop it.

The ability to notice and stop sexist behavior not something you just pick up casually.

And guys who have done this amount of research and introspection and realization do NOT have a problem with identifying themselves as Feminist…because they’ve come in contact with the word in its correct context.  You just aren’t going to find any good information or literature about Women’s rights written by “We’re not Feminists, but…”

And unless Marlon suddenly has a huge feminist awakening, and does tons of heartfelt research and introspection, he is not going to have the self-awareness to moderate his own comments and behavior enough to be effective.

Now, I could marry Marlon and spend the rest of my life gently moderating his comments and behavior for him- but he is a grown-up…and I’ve got better things to do than be the human-decency police for someone I live and work and have sex with, and who I should be able to trust to act morally by himself.  I want to be a wife and lover…not a babysitter for a grown man. I’m not Jiminy Cricket or a Door Mat.

And I suppose I wouldn’t be able to handle monitoring his sexist behavior, or trying to gently convince him that gender hierarchy is an abusive abomination, while he has no reason to change.  I would probably just quit and let him do whatever he wants…which is exactly the same scrape I was trying to avoid by dating an “in denial feminist” (aka “Femi-missed”) in the first place.

Even a benevolent tyrant who does the dishes, and “let’s” you have a job…is still a tyrant.

I COULD NOT allow myself to enter a marriage like that…no matter how nice, and how many freedoms he “allowed” me…my personality, my mind, my sense of human dignity could not handle it.

I’ve got something to lose if the guy thinks that he deserves his placement in the gender hierarchy.  If I thought I should be on top of the gender hierarchy, it could not be enforced, and would not hurt him.

I need someone who understands that power over another human being CANNOT be used for good.  They can’t be “nicely” over me.  I need a Frodo. Not a Boromir.

They need to understand the pain that sexism causes me.  They need to understand the reasons I cry in church, what about the temple endowment and ceremony I find sexist and awful.  I could do it, if I knew that the man I married would be willing to promise the same things to me, and understand that the things that are wrong in this world are wrong.

Sure, I could approach my life with the idea that I’m here to help sexist men become better people, with gentle urging and teaching…but that sounds suspiciously like

“Women are door-mats and have been.

The years these mats applaud-.

They keep the men from going in.

With muddy feet to God.”

It should not be my job to sacrifice myself repeatedly in the hopes that other grown people will suddenly develop human decency.

Feminism IS human decency. I wouldn’t marry someone whom I considered morally repugnant.

(Now I know that there are plenty of fabulous women I know who take the approach of helping their husbands improve, and marrying men who behave well, and do not identify themselves as feminists.  I am no one to judge.  I almost married Dennis.  But it’s just not for me.

I, personally, consider Dennis a superior choice, since, despite his flaws, he did not believe in a gender hierarchy, and had a strong personal understanding of the importance of feminism…if not executed correctly.  St. John, on the other hand executed things correctly, in spite of his personal beliefs…not because of them.  Doesn’t bode well.

I would rather have eaten glass than marry Dennis.  I would rather DIE than marry St. John, or any of my current regulars.

This is not to say that many of my friends have not married fabulous men, who just never really got on the feminist bandwagon.  All of these friends have lovely, spectacular and healthy marriages.  I think that’s is just a difference of expectation and personality and tolerance.  While I could tolerate some of Dennis’ bad behavior, but not another man’s belief in gender hierarchy- most of my friends could NOT tolerate similar behavior to Dennis’s, but can tolerate their husband’s belief in hierarchy.  It’s just a personal thing.)

Men who have done research and introspection and really understand the problem for what it is, have NEVER been averse to identifying themselves as Feminists.

Those who treat women well out of cultural habit, or sense of duty as presiders- but NOT as a deeply held personal belief- do tend to have a problem identifying themselves as Feminists.

And I will have a problem identifying them as my husbands.

There is, in fact, a problem with hierarchy that sounds like:

“We don’t have a problem with you improving yourself, and getting better and better and more powerful.  As long as we still get to have power over you.”

We hear it a lot.  Women in the church are urged to gain education, become successful, develop good leadership opportunities- but if you try to suggest that women gain equal power as men in the church (neutralizing the power they have over them), and all heck breaks loose.

In the South, before John Brown’s rebellion, there was an element of pride in owning well educated, healthy, well dressed slaves. To have impressive subordinates looks good on the boss.  But, if one of those slaves challenged the authority of the master, they could expect punishment for it.

Good treatment, urging for improvement, but not allowing equality- is still a sign of oppression. I would not tolerate it.

I find everything about such a relationship, for myself, repulsive, crippling, degrading, vile and wrong…even if he does “let” me have a job and “allows” me to be (quietly) upset about sexism in the church.

“But JD, those poor femi-misseds are suffering from their ignorance, just as you suffer from their ignorance.  Don’t you think you should marry one who treats you relatively well, even if his mindset is one of hierarchy, and then gently work with him. I mean, poor man, he just doesn’t know any better.”

“*Sigh.*

*POW!* *EEEEEeeeeeee! (dolphin screech)*

*Sigh*  Now see what you made me do?”

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “JD Daughter is an Anti-Femi-Missed: Volume 2

  1. C.

    This. Is. Perfectly. Written.

    Well done!

    • jddaughter

      Why, thank you. I started at midnight, and wrote until 2. I just woke up, at 10:30. These are my last days of being a bum.

  2. jddaughter

    Heeey. I just realized, through my friend Jessica McQueen, that fMh just posted an excellent article that goes along with my point. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=3217

    • C.

      The fMh post exactly sums up MY problems with Church bureaucracy. I don’t like being in charge without being in control – the one without the other is fundamentally useless. And you know my opinions on uselessness. If you’re going to give me a task, job, or calling, you’d better damn well make sure that I’ve got the ability to carry it out in the manner I see fit (which is, after all the responsibility you actually assigned me).

  3. Well, I see what you mean now, and I guess you’re just going to have to keep searching for a hardcore feminist Mormon guy. Not easy, but totally worth it. Good luck!

    • jddaughter

      Totally…Though I’m starting to doubt their very existence. Like the humpback chub…they are an endangered species …but Utah is their natural habitat ( for both chubs and Mormons) so here’s as good a hunting ground as any. ( I have GOT to move to New York or DC or Sydney after this!)

      I might just have to pick a lesser evil of one brand of femi-missed…or just get used to the fabulous single life.
      I’d make one kick-trash bachelorette. Sassy and chic.
      But ya…Despite my pessimism on the subject, I keep dating people, and I haven’t let myself go and bought a cat yet, so I guess I’m still pretty hopeful.

      • It seems like I found more liberals/feminists/otherwise shady characters at BYU than here in the DC area. But I might just not know where to look.

      • jddaughter

        Perhaps they should make a version of the MoHo Map for liberal, feminist mormons. Or maybe Sterling is right, and a BCC dating site is in order.
        I always imagined that there would be way more Mormon liberals outside of the Zion curtain, but after reading Elna Baker’s book “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance”…I dropped that fantasy like the tooth fairy.

  4. C.

    Married or no, you have to promise to be sassy Aunt Margot to my children, yes?

  5. Pingback: “The Pains of Privilege” « Jephthah’s Dancing Daughter

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