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4/20/10

if you haven't worn it in a year, throw it out.

Anyone who watches TLC's What Not to Wear knows that the quickest way to get Stacey London riled up is to cling to the fashion sense of the 1980's. Seriously, she gets nasty when she encounters anything with shoulder pads, stirrups, or bangs.

Likewise, nothing gets a "contestant" more riled than Stacey and Clinton telling them the 80's are over. For many of them, the 80's were when they were hot and young, and who wants to give up on hot and young? No one. Even if it means clinging to your sky-high bangs.

Eventually, though, the contestant gives in. Old clothes are discarded, a new wardrobe purchased, and the contestant comes out saying "This is the real me!"


Sometimes, I think our LDS church culture gets stuck in a fashion rut. Despite the fact that we have biannual meetings (Conference! It's like the Fashion Week of Church!) where we receive counsel from our Church leaders, some of us cling to counsel that is outdated.

You may think I'm being facetious, but really, sometimes Church counsel, like stirrup pants, becomes less relevant as new information, new styles (to continue my metaphor) come into fashion.

Does anyone still wear the skins of animals?

No?

I bet you don't follow God's counsel to sacrifice animals, either. Which is good. That sounds messy.


Recently, I've seen this quote bantered around, and I'd like to discuss it.

“You [women] were not created to be the same as men...

The business world is competitive and sometimes ruthless. We do not doubt that women have both the brainpower and skills—and in some instances superior abilities—to compete with men. But by competing they must, of necessity, become aggressive and competitive. Thus their godly attributes are diminished and they acquire a quality of sameness with man.”


President Ezra Taft Benson.

With all due respect to President Benson, who I believe was called as a prophet, this quote reminds me of shiny pastel metallics, leggings over over-sized sweatshirts, and cone-bras. Not that those things didn't have their place, but I'd much rather wear this:

"It is disturbing that so many, especially women, have self-doubts and question their ability to succeed. Addressing female students studying math, science, and engineering in March 2005, BYU president Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr. of the Seventy said: “One of your professors has commented to me … that some of you have less confidence in your abilities and prospects than do your male peers, even when the evidence may suggest that this is not justified. You do need to recognize your talents, skills, aptitudes, and strengths and not be confused about the gifts that God has given you.

Women especially may receive negative feedback when they aspire to professional occupations. A young sister entering her late 20s and faced with supporting herself wrote for advice. She confided that she had approached an ecclesiastical authority about studying law and he had discouraged her. We do not know her abilities or her limitations; the counsel she received may have been based on them or on inspiration peculiar to her circumstances. But her determination could be felt through the pages of her letter, and it was clear that she should be advised to reach the full level of her potential.

President Thomas S. Monson, as part of his message during the general Relief Society meeting held on September 29, 2007, told women: “Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen M. Oaks. "Learning and Latter-Day Saints."

Like dark-wash denim, and the wrap dress, this more current information fits me better. I think it also fits the statement in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," which identifies men and women as "equal partners" who should help one another.

Instead of characterizing men as aggressive and beneath the pedestal on which women are placed, why not embrace each other as equals? Instead of clinging to our hair spray, why don't we cut a bob? Instead of worrying about whether or not competing in the business world will make us less feminine, why don't we pray for "abilities equal to our tasks?" Why don't we become miracles?

For the love of all things, literally, holy, why don't we buy the dark wash jeans?

Of course, there are the classic wardrobe staples, that do not become less relevant over time, and are passed down from generation to generation. These are your grandmother's pearls that you wear at your wedding.

These are the worlds of Eliza R. Snow:

"We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and holy ones...Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time... the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling and qualifying for those responsibilities."

"This is the real me!"

29 comments:

NIKOL said...

I really, truly, wish we would spend a year in Relief Society learning about Eliza R. Snow.

I love the quote from President Monson.

Wonderful post, my friend.

The Boob Nazi said...

I hate that quote and everyone who quotes it. But I'm also just angry right now at myself and life.

Dustin and Whit said...

this goes along with something I encountered just last weekend, I was reading a book on the best health care and nutrition for children, it has come highly recommended but as I read it, i began feeling very uneasy about its content. And then I looked at the publication date- 1984. I really don't think we should be taking medical advise from a book that was written over a half a century ago, it actually was a little scary and upsetting to me that I overlooked that minor detail!

Alyosha said...

Love Clinton and Stacy. Great post.

MamaBear said...

i was in seminary the year president benson said that. the teacher asked me what i thought, and i said, "now i know the prophet can be wrong." he was, of course, shocked to the ground. but i stand by my statement.

and i quit mormons because the real me wasn't allowed.

CaitStClair said...

Hear, hear! (And good metaphor. :-)

Xan said...

A-freakin'-men!

I needed this today. Thanks!

Emilie said...

Thanks for writing this. I really like the logic in it all.

Ashley said...

Beautifully said.

Brooke said...

Amen, Sister Child Bride! I wrote a post about this very topic a few weeks ago after I had some 1980s doctrine thrown at me that did feel a little like being forced into scrunchies and leggings again ... (yikes, mom! what were you THINKING when you dressed me in that stuff?). I pulled out some advice from Pres. Hinckley and listened to Julie Beck this conference session and felt much more comfortable. Great analogy, by the way. Sums up that uncomfortable feeling perfectly as well as the stubborn attitude I've seen in some members. Hopefully I can remember this lesson so that in 20 years when the young women of that generation are given advice by a prophet that's timely to them that I won't scoff and tell them they're doing things wrong.

MJ said...

I'm sure he meant "over a QUARTER century before", but as someone born BEFORE 1984, I'm still going to be all indignant and say I'm NOT over a HALF-CENTURY old!

Now, to be absolutely serious, I couldn't agree with you more. My husband and I have had similar conversations about holding on to the past, though I LOVE the 80s reference.

As always, thank you for your insight. It's refreshing to know that we aren't the only members of the LDS community who feel this way.

Me said...

“Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.”

That is just awesome, I love it!

Ru said...

:)

That is all.

Hillary said...

Amen and amen. I wish we as women stopped thinking about what our husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, bishops, or other male ward members expect us to be, and instead focus on what God has given us the potential to be.

heidikins said...

Can I copy-paste-print this and use it as my RS lesson? Seriously. Brilliant.

xox

Sally said...

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before, but I absolutely love this post. I was just talking about this the other day... how some church counsel was relevant at one point, but just doesn't seem to fit anymore. You put it much more eloquently than I could have. Also, dark wash denim IS where it's at.

AzĂșcar said...

This is why the church is awesome, because we get new stuff to replace the old stuff when the old stuff doesn't work anymore (the old mark of Cain stuff, anyone?)

Lena said...

What a great post. I love What Not to Wear, so this really hit home :). I love analogies.

Crystal said...

This was fantastic. I love Clinton and Stacy and your metaphor was perfect. My husband and I have recently been battling some others about new doctrine in the church and how it relates to old doctrine. (read homosexuality) My husband is a convert and he has such a hard time understanding how people in a church that touts modern day revelation can be so staunch and unchanging.

Emily said...

(First off, fantastic writing.) I couldn't agree with you more. Out with the old. And why weren't we wearing dark wash jeans all along? (so slimming)

Kari said...

Great post!

Rynell said...

Fabulous. I'm so glad to have a prophet on the earth receiving inspiration for TODAY. Love it.

MBC said...

Thanks for a very nicely articulated post. My husband and I got our hands on a church marriage manual from the 1970s yesterday and were comparing it to the updated manual we also own. The counsel in the new manual is much better suited to us. So glad.

Aunt Spicy said...

Thank you. Really.

Katie said...

I've been on a little blog break, but I'm so glad I decided to stop by and see what you were up to.

I'm not joking when I say this brought a tear to my eye. My work/professional life is more than a little rough right now, and it's taken a real toll on me in every aspect of my life. I've been wondering if I can handle all of this, or even if what I was doing was right.

I'm pretty sure you were inspired when you wrote this. In short, thank you.

charolette33 said...

I found your blog post very interesting. I've always wondered how women who are truly empowered could embrace some of the church doctrine that is out there. I think I have a glimpse of understanding now. Thank you for that.

yours truly dear said...

absolutely love this. couldn't agree more w/your view. thank you.

Cortney said...

I came over here from That Wife after you left your link. Thanks for the heads up, I really enjoyed this post particularly!

Oh, and this is Sophia from That Wife, but I'm Cortney in real life. I started commenting under Sophia on Feminist Mormon Housewives, and it just became my commenter name :)

Katrina said...

Brilliant analogy! Seriously. I love it and am going to use it. Don't worry... I'll tell them where it came from.