Thursday, February 11, 2010

Other Circumstances May Necessitate Individual Adaptation

This line from the Proclamation on the Family is an often overlooked part of the meaning behind the document.

My friend Derek recently posted on Feminist Mormon Housewives about expectations in our culture as far as gender roles and providing for the family.

As I was reading the comments on the post and thinking about other perspectives I've read about regarding gender roles in the church, I was thinking about how the church focuses on the father as the breadwinner, and mother as primary caregiver for children NOT necessarily because that is the best for everyone, but because generally, it works for people. I've read about people who feel hurt because in their experiences it has been implied that this traditional division of duties is the "Ideal" (and of course if you HAVE to do something else, that's okay, because of the short disclaimer in the Proclamation on the Family, but it's not the "ideal").

So a thought popped into my head, that what if it isn't about ideal vs. non-ideal? What if we teach roles the way we do because it's what GENERALLY works, but that the IDEAL for anyone is what they, as a couple have prayerfully decided works best for their family. We're all entitled to personal revelation for our own families, and I think if we can get away from the idea that there is one ideal, and the rest are less-worthy fall back positions, it will make life much less stressful for many people who find that the traditional roles are not ideal in meeting the needs of their family.


Salt H2O said...

This is one of the many reasons I love the LDS church- we believe in personal revelation.

It's the culture of the church we fight, not the teachings itself when our gender roles are somewhat reversed.

I think generation X and the "I ME" generation are going to make some significant changes to LDS culture, not doctrine.

Just like when BYU coeds were told they had to wear skirts to class, old fads will be replaced with more reasonable expectations.

wordsfromhome said...

Brings to mind winter in Provo in 1969. My levis worn under a long skirt, partly because it snowed a lot and was d**d cold, and partly because I could not understand why female students, who have to walk or ride a bike everywhere on a very large campus, should be expected to freeze below their (to the knee) skirts. Definitely a rule written by men.

Alice said...

Salt H20-

I should have been more clear in my post, I agree with you 100%- the problem is cultural not doctrinal. Too often we get culture and doctrine mixed up.

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

I think that is totally true. I often talk about this with my husband - how what works for most does not work for some.

I believe that a lot of what we take as rules/norms for our church are grounded in the pioneer culture it was settled in.

C.J. said...

I agree completely; the only "ideal" is what gets you where you need to go. It's like the whole "working on the Sabbath" parable in Matthew, when Jesus asks, is it better to let your livestock die, simply because of some arbitrary date on a calendar, or is it better to actually follow the Spirit and do the right thing? Or, I mean, I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.

It's funny how we can become so distanced from the original cultural ideals responsible for some of our "rules" today. We impose rules on ourselves, sometimes, without really understanding why. The other day, some people I was with were joking about their heritage ("you can tell you're Irish if...", that kind of thing) and I mentioned that I'm descended from pioneers. My friend asked, "pioneers of what?" Some things seem so obvious, within our little Mormo-bubble, that really...aren't.

The Boob Nazi said...

I love your last paragraph.