I’ve noticed two different posts recently in the bloggernacle that touch on the same theme: Non-Mormon women think that Mormon women are repressed and considered inferior to men, while educated and articulate (and believing) Mormon women are horrified at these broad characterizations.
Janelle at Let Your Mind Alone writes of a conversation with a co-worker who told her that “Mormon women are bred to consider themselves inferior to their husbands.” Janelle was appalled at a broad characterization that potentially includes her, but discusses in her post how many Mormon women do seem to give an impression of inferiority.
Jennifer Jensen at BCC writes of a conversation she had with a woman she met while traveling. “When I told her I am Mormon she was quite shocked. She asked me how I could be so educated and part of such a sexist church, thus allowing myself to be repressed.” Jennifer, of course, replied with a strong rebuttal — an argument which her nonplussed acquaintance apparently found unbelievable.
It’s an interesting question. I’ve known many Mormon women who do seem repressed, and many men who seem to think that women are inferior. I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone who would encourage these members to change their attitudes. On the other hand, it seems that broad statements — “all Mormon women are repressed” or “all Mormon women are made to feel inferior” — run the risk of patronizing or insulting those women in the church who are articulate, intelligent, and educated. The bloggernacle provides great evidence of the existence of such women — just look at our bloggers here, or our guest bloggers, or the bloggers I’m linking to, or many other bloggernackers.
Is there a way to strike a balance here? I’m not sure.