Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Enough Women

"Women of God can never be like women of the world. 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.” -Margaret Nadauld

I have a really hard time with this quote. I feel that when Sister Nadauld spoke these words they were portrayed in a way that was negative. As if you could be only one way and not the other. (heaven forbid you be a well-balanced person)

I am Proud to be Tough.
I am Tender (unless you make me angry)

Coarse? What does this mean? If it means rugged and outdoorsy then I'm proud to be that too. I love that I have the pleasure of being a WFR, have experienced time in the desert with just the clothes on my back and I enjoy all that God made for me outdoors.

I am Kind. (again, ONLY if you don't cross me)

RUDE. I don't belch. I do my best not to pass gas. (unsuccessfully I might add) I don't cut people off while driving. So, I'm not rude.

Refined? I don't know many women who are "refined." (maybe not any) The Queen. When I sit down to a 7 course mean I have NO idea which fork to use. (I have to ask) My posture isn't perfect. My walk has a little bounce in it. I speak my mind, instead of holding my tongue. I don't think I'm "refined." So, does that make me rude?

I'm not famous.
I certainly don't have a fortune.
I'm pretty sure my faith isn't where I'm comfortable. If these are opposites, then how do I not have any of them. Oh, I have met some really nice, humble famous people. And I know some AMAZING people who really do have a FORTUNE. I don't believe that makes them any less faithful.

I'm not Greedy. (However, if we do not have more than an acquaintance status, then DO NOT ask to borrow something from me. I WILL say no)
I'm decently good.

I'm not vain. (I find it incredibly humorous that I live in the City that was voted by Forbes as the most vain City in the US in 2007. Even more interesting is that Fox 13 covered this story last year- just a little slow.)
I'm virtuous.

I'm definitely NOT popular. (especially in my ward.-they fear me)
I'm pure. (If you ask me something I will give you a genuine and sincere answer)

I just don't understand this quote. None of these things are opposites. I don't feel they really contradict each other. Oh well. I will just keep with the things that I like, enjoy, and am proud of. My Hubby loves the way I am.


Mer said...

I was really irritated when I first heard this talk, and ended up sounding off at one of my older aunts about it after she raved over it. She's in her mid 60s. After about 20 minutes of arguing, we realized that we liked and hated the talk for exactly the same reasons -- we just attached different meanings to the words she was using. Once she explained how the meaning of some words have changed over the last 40 years, I totally agreed with her. And it's funny, because I think it describes you PERFECTLY. Work with me here:

She's using some definitions which aren't the same as how we use them in everyday conversation. Think of what "cool" meant in 1950 and what it means now.

For example, modern dictionaries will list "tough - durable, not easily broken, having great endurance, hardy"

But dictionary from the 1960s will will talk about a hard-to-chew steak or something "vicious, severe, violent, stubborn, unfeeling." As in "A tough neighborhood" or "a tough criminal." They'd mention the stuff we associate with the word, but only as little sidenotes.

Same thing with other words. In the context she uses, synonyms and meanings for these words are:
*tender - easily moved to sympathy or compassion, kind.
*coarse -- harsh, vulgar, obscene, crude, of inferior quality
*kind - loving, affectionate, willingness to do good habitually.
*rude -- impolite esp in a deliberate way, without learning.
*refined - free from vulgarity and impurities, precise. When referring to a persons character, refined means "better than average. Having acquired many different skill and interests as well as a desire to learn and know more."
*fame - public eminence, external image, associated with boasting or superficiality
*fortune - chance, luck, The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events, a person's condition in life being determined by wealth and nothing else.
*faith - belief, confidence, fidelity to promises, (Christian)the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved
*greed - An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves
*goodness - moral excellence, generosity, integrity.
*vanity - lack of real value, hallowness, worthlessness (this is what "vanity" means in the scriptures)
*virtue - effective force, valor, moral excellence, good or admirable quality or property.
*popularity - acclaim, vogue, fashion, the favor of the general public
*purity - freedom from anything that contaminates or pollutes, freedom from guilt, cleanliness

So tender IS the opposite of tough. And kind IS the opposite of coarse. And being focused on fame and fortune/chance is the opposite of being focused on faith.

And I think you are all of those things. You aren't tough in that you aren't unfeeling or viciously attacking others. You are tender and virtuous and pure and kind because you are sympathetic and compassionate and true to yourself. You ARE refined -- because you're interested in learning more and understanding things better and improving your mind and body and skills -- instead of just sitting around the house saying "I'm never going to read anything but celebrity magazines and slutty romance novels while I judge other women in my neighborhood who are different from me and pretend my life is happy and perfect"

Sorry, that's a LOT of weird info. But it helped me a lot with the whole talk. A lot of people are going to take things the wrong way and assume that women should be silly little inactive and fill their brains with useless knowledge, and they're going to try to preach that from the pulpit, but that's because they don't know the proper definitions of those words. I like to use the definitions to "forcefully educate" people who piss me off in RS. Thank you, Aunt J and dictionary.com!

Tali said...

I liked the talk, but I could not describe why. the way you seemed to interpret it really made sence to me but at the same time I did not get that out of it. Thank you Mer for that discription. I think that is more how I understodd it but could not put it into words. I know though, that when ever the topic of "quiet dignity" or avoiding laud laughter, or anything that seems to put the femal population in this light, that to me says "inferior" or well stupid. I hate it. so it helps me alot to see that I am not understanding the memaning of the words.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

I liked this post AND Mer's explanation. I think they both go very well together to show how vital it is that we have other people to bounce ideas around with. When I heard this talk, I too kind of wanted to roll my eyes a little at the call to be a sweet soft submissive woman. I feel like these types of talks encourage the uptight RS sisters to avoid the rougher, less active sisters, y'know? There are a lot of good women who don't fit the "good LDS Woman" mold.

So, while we want to be good righteous women, we need to be careful not to get all judgey of those who might be works-in-progress, y'know?

Phannie said...

It makes me think : which of us ARE the "works in progress"? Always me. Always me.

Thank you Mer for your wonderful explanation. I'm such an antagonist. I was pretty sure of what she really wanted to get at, but I tend to be pretty analytical (like my dad) and take what people say for face value. (My hubby hates that. I tend to answer questions directly instead of what he was really asking. Secretly it's fun for me. Oh! not a secret anymore) So expressions like that talk get to me easily. Mostly because I want people to say what they mean and not fluff it all up. Your explanation was perfect.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I was checking my sitemeter and saw your blog address and thought I'd come over and say hi!

First of all, I nearly fainted from surprise to find myself listed under your "cultural phenomena" section over there.
I feel so honored I would gladly give you my last piece of chocolate!

And I found your take on Sister Nadauld's quote fascinating. I had never looked at it from that angle before. I guess I never looked at it from an all or nothing perspective. I read it simply as, "just try to be more like God and less like the world."
But I see your point and I'm so glad you shared!

Like for me, when she said "coarse" I thought about the language people use or the jokes they make.

I certainly not refined (I bite my nails *gasp*) but I kind of look at that more like, women who don't flick people off because they cut in front of you while driving.

And popular? Hahaha ha ha... ya, I'm not one of the popular girls. I stand alone on many occasions. But I kind of think in this sense she was talking about women who gather together to look down on others. We should be welcoming and include everyone.

You know, my every best friend in the entire world is not gorgeous, she's not dainty or perfect, she has to wax her upper lip, she is loud and a bit different. But she makes me laugh in such a wonderful way because she has the best sense of humor, she makes me feel good about myself and never, ever puts me down. She gives and gives, she works hard, she cares about people and she loves God so much.

I would give anything to make her my next door neighbor.

And.... wow, okay then. Um hi, my name is Serene, this is my first time to your blog and I just wrote an essay.


But I loved your post and just had to comment.

I hope I am forgiven.

Phannie said...

Welcome. welcome. You are Forgiven. thanks for coming. Come back soon.


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