A Strong Woman is Not a Man

I love Lucy, not so keen on Ricky…

I Love Lucy – one of our family’s favorite TV programs.  We like the simplicity and even the predictability of the humor… but oh… don’t get me started on the husband-wife relationship between Lucy and Ricky.  She needs his permission for every little thing, is given “an allowance” and gets in trouble like a child.  Other television programs of this era have the same dynamics.  I can hardly stand to see women treated as anything less than an equal partner.
However, I also do not like to see what goes on in media today – now it seems that men are degraded.  The father is always the laughingstock and it goes even further than that… children seem to know everything while adults appear foolish or out of touch.  Actually, these things invited me to quit watching television many years ago, so I cannot imagine how stupid it has become.
But I digress… that is a good blog post for later.
For now, when I watch these old television programs I just give a cheer that I was born a generation or two later because …. well, it just isn’t in my nature to reach adulthood, just to become a child again at marriage.
Today I was thinking of a time when a young lady told my son that she was so glad that his mother (me) had instilled some feminist ideals into him.  When he told me I was quick to respond that I do not consider myself to be feminist – the word doesn’t fit.  I do, however, try to be a strong woman.  I want my children to know that being a strong woman DOES NOT mean being a man.
A woman has beautiful qualities and innate skills that make her a vital and contributing member of society and home.  So do men.  I believe that these qualities are different and work together – but I just wrote about that… back to women.
Well, I am sitting here with writer’s block because this is a huge subject and there is just too much to say!
If I am critical of the attitude toward women in I Love Lucy – you can bet that I cannot even think of the treatment of women throughout most of history!  An example would be the double standard in regard to sexual morality.  Women used to hold the moral high ground, and also lose all respectability if she lowered her standards, while men had much more “sexual freedom.”  As the women’s movement came along and demanded that all things become equal – why did they not demand that men rise to their standard, rather than lowering themselves?   I have a quote from D. Todd Christofferson on this subject.  “Where once women’s higher standards demanded commitment and responsibility from men, we now have sexual relations without conscience, fatherless families and growing poverty.  Equal-opportunity promiscuity simply robs women of their moral influence and degrades all of society.  In this hollow bargain, it is men who are “liberated” and women and children who suffer most.”

I had to look him up – he was a 19th century British Liberal
politician.  I think a strong and virtuous man is a great
embellishment for a woman as well.

When I say that a strong woman does not mean that she is a man, I mean where are her feminine qualities?  Masculinity and femininity are different and I think that this is a fact that should be recognized and celebrated.  I love this statement by Margaret D. Nadauld (she used to be the world wide president of our church young women’s organization):
The world has enough women who are tough, we need women who are tender.  There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude, we need women who are refined.  We have enough women of fame and fortune, we need more women of faith.  We have enough greed; we need more goodness.  We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.  We have enough popularity; we need more purity.

To be tender, kind, refined, faithful, good, virtuous and pure… these are very STRONG characteristics.  These are characteristics which bring success in society, the workplace and the home. If anyone can think of a woman they know who possesses even any two of these values – such as a refined woman who is a kind woman… I am sure that you would say she is a strong woman.  I add that we need women who think for themselves – not allow the media and society to think for them.  We need women who respect themselves and teach their daughters to do the same.  We need women who do not try to be independent of men, independent of family; but rather to be interdependent – working together to make the home and the world a better place.
I am also glad to belong to a church which encourages women to develop all of their talents and skills; to get every bit of education that she can, to look for opportunities to grow in all of their endeavors, to expect to be treated as an equal in marriage, at work, and in all relationships.  At church we are given leadership and teaching positions – these often stretch us to develop skills we did not know that we had.  We are encouraged to serve our friends, neighbors and family.  Service brings joy – to the receiver and the giver.
Another movie/play that we like is Mary Poppins.  The mother, Mrs. Banks, is a suffragette.  She sings a song which includes these words, “Our daughters’ daughters will adore us, and they’ll sing in grateful chorus, Well Done…Well Done…Well Done Sister Suffragettes!!!”

Mrs. Banks singing about women’s rights – You go girl!!

When I hear that I sometimes feel that I do not give enough “adoration” to those wonderful women who came before me and fought so hard to be treated with equality.  Yet, I do adore them – I cannot imagine a world where women could not vote.  A world where a women could not only not own her own property, but was treated like property!  No thank you!!!  However, I also do not want to be in a world where women think that they have to act like men.  I certainly do not want a man who acts like a woman.
The song mentions Sister Suffragettes – Sisters!  Women united to be strong women who can then work together with men.  Men who understand who they are as well.  Strong women working with strong men – united to strengthen society – the workplace, the home, the family and the world!

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