I have been feeling really stressed at work lately. This group of children is so difficult. I come home and fall straight asleep. Anyway, I'm not going to write about that right now. It's all pretty standard anyway.
Lately, I've been watching Big Love seasons 1 and 2. I wanted to watch it because I have been watching the corresponding reality show, Sister Wives and found it fascinating.
Why do I find it fascinating? I think it is the mix of modern women and antiquated gender roles. My religion doesn't embrace polygamy, but it certainly endorses patriarchy.
At young age, I learned about the male being the head of the household and wives submitting to their husbands. I've heard more sermons on the differences between men and women than I can count.
Here's the most typical sermon I've heard: a woman's primary need is to be loved and taken care of and a man's primary need is to be respected. I heard this sermon when I was probably eight, for the first time. I remember thinking at eight years old, "Well, I would rather be loved and respected, but I would choose respected if I had to make a choice."
For a long time in my life I didn't say much about my problems with patriarchy. People told me all the time that women don't like to submit and that if they don't do it they will be poison to their families. I didn't want to be poison.
At a young age, I learned the word "usurping." It means that one is seizing power inappropriately. I think that I learned that young because everyone felt that I was at risk for being an "usurper." They were right; I totally am. The thing is that they mean by that that the women is passive aggressive, subversive, and manipulative. I've always been honest and forthright, but naturally I am not a follower.
Additionally, I think the culture I grew up in took this stuff a step further. Ambition, leadership, and even strength aren't generally appreciated in women in circles I've been raised in. It's better to be quiet and sweet natured.
I hear all the time about how emotional all women are, BUT I am an exception to that rule. I'm not naturally emotional, and I've always been confused when I've been told that I just need to be myself to find that side of me.
I think that growing up in that culture did change me. I hold back more of myself because I was taught to. Women being opinionated was bad. Women being in leadership was bad.
As I watch this show, I really identify with the oldest daughter of the family, Sarah. She doesn't like the way the women are sometimes treated in her faith, but she loves her family.
At one point, her mother asked her if she was sleeping with her boyfriend because she had been walking away from the family faith. "Mormons don't have the exlcusive rights to morality," she answered.
Now, at 26, I am starting to feel a bit like her (though my religion is a different one). I still believe in God. I still believe in Christianity. I just think that maybe people are using it wrongly. There was a time when people used it to keep slaves in bondage. There was a time when people used it to justify many terrible actions.
I think that I can be every bit as strong and independent as I feel and keep my Christian beliefs in tact.