I am a woman. I am a Mormon. I love both of those aspects of my personal identity. They fill my life with the most amazing richness and fulfillment and feelings of astounding self worth. I suppose most all of us struggle with feelings of self doubt on occasion, and I am no exception. But those feelings of self doubt have NEVER stemmed from the fact that I am a Mormon woman. I have often felt that I am not quite living up to my potential as a woman or as a Mormon. I know, see, and feel my potential thanks to both of those attributes. I work and strive daily to be the kind of Mormon woman that so many amazing women have set the example of for me throughout my life.
Why then, would I be writing an article about the “War of Women?” Well, I have several friends, other Mormon women, that have yelled from their proverbial rooftops to “warn” me, and everyone else their voices can reach, how dangerous Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are to women. They are waging a “War on Women” and we need to stop it. I have spent the last several weeks researching this with earnestness. I generally tend to vote somewhat conservative, but am honestly more of a moderate and always vote according to the person, not just the party they represent. I absolutely would not vote for a candidate simply because we share a common religion. I wanted to honestly understand what it is that had these friends so concerned and decide if I should be concerned as well. What I will share here are the results of that intense study and pondering, along with a great deal of prayer.
What I have been able to conclude is that there is in fact a war being waged to harm not just women individually, but womanhood itself. That war is not being waged by Mitt Romney or the Republican Party however. For the sake of keeping my thoughts as brief as I can, I will not list the dozens and dozens of sources I have used in my research. I may share a few as it feels needed, but I am happy to share them with any of you that would like those sources later on, or perhaps in another post.
I shall start by sharing a video that describes the “War on Women,” as described by various feminist organizations, the Democratic Party, and others. I will then address her concerns and attempt to show the “War on Women” that I see raging all around me and leaving me heartbroken to witness.
I have tried to embed the video, but WordPress keeps dropping the video. You can click here to go to the video directly.
This woman did more in the course of a short video clip to declare war on me as a woman that any republican speech has done. When she said, speaking of contraceptives, “It allows us to pursue the educational opportunities that we hope for and to have the careers and the career trajectory that we dream of.” I thought to myself, “Who convinced you that you are not eligible to do those things while embracing your womanhood in its fullest potential, which includes motherhood?” I graduated from college with a 3-week-old baby. He was my fourth baby. I graduated with honors. I worked in a field I loved while nursing my fifth baby. I started my own business and operate it out of my own home so that I can enjoy the giggles of my two-year-old when I need a stress relief, the sweet sound of my nine-year-old practicing her violin as I do accounting work, and the snuggles of my six-year-old when he wakes up early while I am getting some work done while most of them are sleeping. Yet, this video, and many liberal messages, have made it perfectly clear that I am not eligible to achieve success outside of my home life because I have chosen to be a mother. Well, I suppose I sit here as living proof that they are wrong. I loved the way Mitt Romney responded to a question about women in the workforce in one of the presidential debates. (His comment was one that was very close to the, now infamous, comment about the binders of women.) He spoke of working around an employees need to be home with her kids and creating a flexible schedule that could make that possible. I admired that statement. I have not heard much along those lines from the liberal side of the fence. From them I hear about contraceptions to avoid having children in the first place and about child care if children are a factor. I would rather be the mom than let some child care provider do it for me while I go pretend to not care that I am missing all that time with my kiddos. I know it is not possible to always have the mother be in the home, but I love that Mitt Romney was bold enough to say that a two parent family raising their own kids is the ideal. It is ideal! I feel such a respect and admiration for those that can do it on their own, but I also feel so much sorrow for what it might be like for them if their situation was different. The democrats tend to say outright or imply that mothering is not enough of a career and that those who choose that for themselves are somehow less than those who choose to avoid having and raising a family. Honestly, I truly see that as the real war – the discounting of my divine role as a woman and as a mother. It is not some ‘lesser’ option as liberals and the media try to pain it. Women, and women only, can carry and bear children. To me, that is the highest honor God can give me in this life – to be entrusted to care for one of his little ones. It is the hardest job, with the lowest pay, the longest hours, and sometimes the most unusual and even on occasion dangerous (have you ever taken on Legos laying on the floor) work environment. But it also has the most incredible benefits package that no other job in the whole wide world can compete with.
OK – that is enough of that rant. It is just the one that bothers me and leaves me feeling the most attacked as a woman. Again, I am not attacked by the “War on Women” that the liberals and the liberal media outlets refer to, but by those suggesting that by being “just a mom” or embracing my womanhood instead of doing my best to be exactly like men, that I am somehow less of a person than someone else. Yup, I would call that war on womanhood and it is organized to relegate those traits most unique to womanhood as noting but annoying complications that we should do our best to avoid or get rid of.
I shall turn my comments back to contraception once more for a brief (I hope) minute. Those who act like contraception is required for a woman to have control over her own body are disregarding a woman’s power to reason and say no when the time demands it. The idea of abortion on demand makes women look like users. Users that get their fix on sex and then shirk their responsibilities. Making it seem like women would be nuts to not have or at least desire an abortion make it seem that a woman is a victim, rather than someone empowered to control her own destiny to become a great woman, even while carrying, giving birth to, or even raising a child. Besides that, those that promote “choice” for abortions on demand have an amazing tendency to ignore the effects of abortion on the mother. There is not only physical trauma inflicted on the mother, possibly leading to infertility or even death, but there can often be real and potentially life altering emotional and spiritual trauma. I have only ever seen Planned Parenthood and their supporters talk about how traumatic carrying a baby is, but never how traumatic aborting one can be. I have a cousin that never wants to be a mother – never. But she became pregnant, carried the baby to term and placed it for adoption. She told me how amazing the experience was to carry the baby, even though she did not attempt to bond with that little life, it was still a fascinating and unique experience for her. A good and even fulfilling experience. I can’t imagine a woman finding such satisfaction through abortion and many end up physically or emotionally scarred for life after having an abortion. That may sound over dramatic, but from the testimonies of many that have had that experience, I don’t think it is. Again, I do see a “War on Women,” but it comes from those who push for abortions without giving the time of day to the alternatives and real best well being of the mother. I will not go further into abortion here, if you want more of my thoughts on that subject you can read the blog post I wrote just about that.
I do however want to add some comments about another aspect of the “War on Women” that frustrates me. Many women have been convinced that Planned Parenthood is some kind of savior for women’s health because the government gives them money to theoretically provide reduced cost mammograms. The liberals that attempt to show women how much conservatives are working against them are attempting to scare women into thinking that their access or the access of other women to those life saving screenings are attempting to be taken away by the conservatives. Unfortunately, the reality is that already Planned Parenthood does not actually do mammograms themselves, they only refer that to other providers. Liberals also attempt to convince people that if the government stops funding Planned Parenthood, they will no longer be around to do what they do. In reality, they have other funding, a majority of their funding in fact, that would be able to keep their clinics going without tax dollars going to pay for it. Another lie that simply makes me mad, perhaps more directly because I am a small business owner, but that is the lie that the Republican Party is trying to take away insurance needed to pay for contraception, or cancer screenings, or other health concerns important to women. Plain and simple, that is a lie. Republicans are merely trying to stop Obamacare from forcing every employer in the country to pay for coverage that includes fully covered contraceptives as well as on demand abortion. There is a huge difference between attempting to stop providers from providing for those services and forcing employers to pay for such services. Republicans may appose abortion, but right now they are not attempting to stop anyone from including them or any contraceptive care in their insurance plans or for paying for those kinds of services directly if they are either uninsured or if their insurance does not currently cover that care. They are not attempting to lower the number of providers that do currently cover those services like the “War on Women” folks like to make it appear. However, they are trying to protect me and others like me (like the well written statement by those that run Hobby Lobby) from having to betray my religious convictions that abortion is wrong. If I want to be able to hire anyone in our business (which I do plan to do within the next year!), then Obamacare mandates that I would have to choose a health insurance that pays for abortion for those on the plan. I would not have to have an abortion for myself, but I would have to pay for the ability of my employees or their families to murder their own unborn children. That goes absolutely against my personal beliefs and and my religious beliefs. War against my faith. If I wanted to still side with my religious sensibilities, the fines imposed by the government would quite simply put us out of business. To me, that is direct war on me and it is a war of any women that I would otherwise employ or whose husbands I might otherwise employ. That is where the real war is being waged.
The last big issue that I have heard women complain about bugs the analytical side of me to no end. Simply, the idea is this, women are paid less for the work they do than men are. Somehow this is theoretically supported and encouraged by republicans too. There are so many things wrong with this particular part of the message about the “War on Women.” I will start with the most irritating one for me – at least in terms of my math geek brain. The statistics that continually get used to “prove” there is a “War on Women” and that women are making so much less than their males counterparts do not say that in reality. Women, on average do make less than men. However, when those statistics have been done, they fail to compare apples to apples and instead compare bananas to kumquats. The big numbers that compare overall earning are easy enough to recognize the disparity between the genders. Women tend to work in lower paying fields like teaching more often than their male counterparts. I think many can see the failed logic there, but it takes a deeper look at some of the more representative statistical data. When samples are done comparing people in similar positions, and still show women making less than men, they fail to account for the common disparity between the genders on two major things. One, women have often been in the workforce for less time than their average make counterpart and therefor have less experience and consequently receive lower wages. Two, women generally work fewer hours than their male colleagues, again resulting in less pay. So, to keep it quite simple, there are good and easily recognizable issues with the logic that we, as women, make less money than men do. While that statement may be accurate, the truth is not based on some horrible example of sexism, but on the reality of where we choose to work, how long we have been at it, and the kind of hours we are able to put into it. What bothers me about all of that is the feeling that is attempted to be placed on me as a woman. Those, that declare some horrible sexist war to keep me from earning a fair wage, attempt to make me out to be a victim that needs the help of my big government heroes to come and take care of me. Well, sorry to burst their bubble, I can take darn good care of myself. I got blasted good grades in college and when job recruiters came around I had the easy ability to catch their attention as they saw me already demonstrating daily leadership, ability to multi-task, and organizational skills that reached far beyond my male counterparts or even my female ones that were not also mothers. Because I was a mother they approached me, instead of me hounding after them. I guess I just don’t see that variety of a “War on Women” in my experience. So when the liberal folks try to make it sound like I can’t possibly get a fair deal in this life without their help, it ticks me off as a belittling statement that ignores and disregards my ability to earn it for myself, on my own merits, without wondering if I got a job because someone felt forced to hire a woman. Along with that, Obamacare and other negative trends in business growth offer much bleaker prospects for all workers, women included, because employers simply will choose not to hire because it ends up costing them more to hire someone than the person is able to offer in added value to the company. This is not mere rhetoric with me, but comes after looking into it and the new tax changes that will be coming in terms of when our company will be able to hire someone this next year and how many people we will be able to hire. Right now, it looks like we will be unable to afford to hire someone for a good long time with those changes in place, where we would otherwise do it somewhere in the first quarter of next year (likely) otherwise. It is not imagined war here, it is war I feel on my personal home-front.
So, all in all, the liberal leadership and media have been trying to convince me and have convinced many of an atrocious “War on Women,” while all the while sitting behind that front and belittling my womanhood. I want to share something from my church on the role and amazing-ness of women but I couldn’t decide what to share. I will just say this, that after all the amazing insight into the power and potential of women given by various leaders of the LDS Church, I can’t settle for being a half-valued citizen because I choose to embrace my womanhood and all the roles that I play because of it. (By the way they have a whole page of great things about how important women are in general and their role in the LDS church that I had not seen before, I will have to check it out later for sure, but it has some great links to some of the things I debated sharing.) What I will share is the following scriptures from Proverbs chapter 31:10-31. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… [She] worketh willingly with her hands… She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms… She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy… Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her… Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
I don’t need some government folks trying to pat me on the proverbial head and tell me that I have value. My own works stand to praise me because I work willingly everyday to be a virtuous woman and do what will bring forth good fruit for me and for my family. I want to hear a political party that honors and respects me for that much more than I want to see a party that denigrates that very virtue that is of such great worth. That would have me sell my womanhood for some free contraception and the insinuation that family and my role in it is not central to the very survival and success of our nation. The real “War on Women” is being waged by those who claim so vehemently to be working to protect us lowly women from the big meanies in the Republican Party. It is a war against the very essence of womanhood. Liberals and feminists act like unless women are the same as men, then somehow we are less than men. I am equal to men in value, but I am not the same, just as God intends it to be. I want to stop the Real War on Women by standing up and saying, I am a woman and I refuse to disown my womanhood for the sake of convenience or out of fear of failing to achieve success. I will succeed thorough my own strength and by turning to a loving Heavenly Father that loves me and values me as His daughter. I am woman, hear me roar!