I have been a member of the church all my life (67 years) and I have had VERY few of these questions asked of me. I am wondering where the people live who have been asked these things? I have been invited to bring food to various church events, but since my husband works full time and I work only one day a week, (and our children are grown and gone) that seems pretty fair to me! I have so much more freedom than he does!
These questions are indeed troubling and completely cringe-worthy, but I really wish people would be willing to look at men's issues as well. I grew up thinking I was less than girls/women because of how our differences were presented to me.
What I've seen and the messages I received (granted, not all of these come from the Church):
1. Men need the priesthood to get closer to God whereas women have a natural spirituality (women>men).
2. Boy: "Why do the women have soft chairs?" Leader: "Because they deserve them" (women>men).
3. Why can't you boys be as good as the girls? (the way to be a good boy is to act like a girl).
4. My wife is my better half (women>men).
5. Scenes such as the RS vs. EQ scene in Singles Ward. (women>men).
6. Cleaning a gun when a boy arrives to date your daughter (boys will misbehave unless threatened).
7. Every movie/TV show that shows a father that's either mysteriously absent, a buffoon, or abusive where the mother is kind, wise, strong, overwhelmed, or victimized.
8. Ladies first. (women>men)
9. EQ men subbing in primary, etc. on Mothers Day so that the sisters can enjoy Relief Society meeting for a change but no RS sisters subbing for elders on on Fathers Day (women>men).
These messages, though unintended, were very damaging to me as a boy (and I will point out that these messages were received from both sexes—neither men's issues nor women's issues should be considered "women vs. men"). Not all of them originated from Church members per se. I agree we have a culture that is devaluing and degrading women, we simultaneously have a culture that is increasingly telling boys and men that we are less than girls and women.
It's so insidious that I feel like it can only be Satanic in origin. Somehow he's managed to convince both men and women that they are unimportant/less than/devalued/insignificant/etc. because of their sex and that only through acting like the opposite sex will they be deemed "good."
God teaches us to celebrate what is unique and distinct between sexes, not exalt one over the other.
This is my experience and while I won't claim my feelings are universal, I will say that I've heard other men express similar things. Women's issues are absolutely important to be aware of, but so are men's issues. They are complementary, just as we ourselves are.
I love this, many of those are so true. Fathers do not "babysit" their own children and women don't work as a backup plan. The glory of God is intelligence and LDS women shouldn't be belittled or questioned on higher education. You are not choosing to be offended by recognizing that men and women are treated differently. There is nothing I hate more than be patronized.
#30. I have been interviewed to see if I'll support my husband in a call before he was asked to do it. I was very relieved when I learned that the call was for him and not me!
In our efforts to convince society and ourselves that the LDS culture is all inclusive and diverse we are forgetting, in my opinion, actual doctrine. Counsel from the prophets, while not given in every conference talk, doesn't change regarding the ideal and best ways to live. Yes, there are unique and necessary situations that require adaptation, but, that doesn't mean everyone who asks a question is being insensitive. No one can offend you, unless you let them. If the truth hurts, evaluate yourself, not the person you are talking with. Justifications for limiting family sizes and lifestyle abound. Look internally, rather than externally for the way you feel what you do.
That has got to be the most refreshing list I have seen in a long time. Even when I was a child, this sort of thing bothered me. Thank you so, so much for pointing it out as gracefully as you did.
I am a 55 year old woman who has worked since I turned 16, including while I was raising my children. I've lived in big cities and small towns in five states. Most of these questions would be relevant to my life, but only a handful have been asked. And most of those ("what are you bringing to the potluck") have been asked of my husband as well. Quite frankly, there are only a few on the list that would have bothered me if they had been asked, and if those few had been asked, I would have politely ignored the asker and gone on with my life.
Julie, I liked the post. Much food for thought.
I haven't been asked too many of these in the reverse (I only have a bachelor's degree and I have owned a business from home since 1987, so some don't apply), but my husband HAS been asked a bunch of those questions. In particular, #1, #2, #4, #10, #12, #16 (but with regard to the ward dessert party), #19, #22, #28, and #30.
I WISH all males were asked #21. And *I* have asked him things akin to #20 dozens of times, because he is the most awesome guy anywhere. :)
I noticed at the end of your article that you have written a book entitled, "The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women." I hope that you are also working on a companion volume for all of us men.
I agree with Dr. Hanks that “Our questions matter. Our assumptions matter.” That being given, I might ask what cultural presumptions are being made in choosing these thirty questions? By what standard does Dr. Hanks measure the rightness or wrongness of (what used to be) culturally preserved roles of husband and wife in our LDS family-based social structure? Furthermore, at what point did we as women engage in a public squabble for sameness that has nothing to do with divine wisdom? Modern progressive conceptions of equality and fairness are not God’s word (see The Family: A Proclamation to the World). Granted, greater respect is needed for the power, capacity and sagacity of women in general, both in and outside the home. But does this call for respect justify tossing aside the good preserved in traditionally held gender roles? Are we serving divine interests when we make it so shameful, so politically incorrect, to assume a natural alignment between women and the home? I, for one, rejoice in it. It seems to me we are being too quick to jump on the equality-as-sameness bandwagon, and in our quest to homogenize, we tie to the stake the well-being of the eternal family. The Lord requires us to think things through more carefully--unless, of course, we don’t mind selling out for the proverbial mess of pottage.
I have heard inappropriate questions for sure.... But I have also had people put words in my mouth because I gave up my career to stay home. Just because I did, does not mean I assume everyone should. Sometimes feel I ask a sincere question like 'How was work?' I've been accused of knowing they had a 'bad day' and the only reason I asked was to convince them life is better at home. That's a whole lot of reading into a genuine, trying to start small talk, question. I think yes, we should be careful in the way we ask, but we should also be equally careful on assuming the intent of seemingly innocent questions as well.
I see the cultural bias in these questions, but I'm not sure I agree that there is a problem with all cultural biases. Also, LDS beliefs will lead us to ask questions based on those beliefs, so why should we make them an elephant in the room? If there is a mistaken assumption in a question, let's have it out in the open so we can clear it up.
I appreciate that many women have received judgmental and hurtful questions in church settings, but I also appreciate the comments that point out the questions men get. Sometimes I wish that we didn't ignore men's opinions and overemphasize women's experiences in our zeal to be feminist. This article should be accompanied by a twin article about "questions that women never get asked." By the way, I also think that women don't need as much special treatment as we think they do; more women are graduating from college and men these days, so maybe it's the young men that need more help.
It was a fun article to read. I have heard many of those comments and questions during my lifetime. And I believe that many of them are culturally based. I heard most of them during the time I lived either in or near Utah. However, I agree with one of the other commenters regarding some dumb stuff people say about women in the church. I'm referring to comments along the lines of "women are more spiritual than men". Ridiculous. One gender doesn't have some special affinity for spirituality. The church is true, and sometimes the members are misinformed :-)
I, personally, have not heard many of these questions asked. I'm not saying that they haven't been asked or aren't asked, just that my general experience with members of the church (during my 44 years of life--half in Utah, half not) hasn't included many of these type of interactions. I could be wrong but sometimes I feel like we get stuck on the stereotypical foibles and emphasize them more than we recognize that there are more Christ-like and sensitive individuals out there than not. I get a little tired of the hammering of the stereotype.
Most of your questions seem to relate to women working outside the home. I am in my sixties and remember when we were taught from the pulpit that women should not work outside the home. It isn't something we hear much anymore. Is it (women not working outside the home) one of those "never changing" doctrines I hear so much about, or is it a church policy, or was it just good advice for the era in which it was given? No wonder that people are confused about the issue; it is, like not using birth control, one of those issues that just gradually slipped into disuse never to be spoken of, but lingering in the memory to cause confusion in the minds of church members.
None of these are half as bad as a comment that a grown women with several children made in a lesson. She shared that her mother taught her to always put make-up before her husband got home from work, because he's going to be comparing her to all the dressed up women he sees in his field of business. It was revolting. I was very upset with the comment and when called on I don't know exactly what I said. I did mention that a woman shouldn't have to wear make-up to impress her husband. One older woman said if you married him with make-up on, then you should wear it now. I wanted to throw up. The implication is that you can stop your husband from having an emotional or physical affair by looking better than other women. There are so many wrong, horrible things about that.
Excellent, entertaining and enlightening article. Thank you for sharing.
I am a woman, born in the covenant, raised in the church, calling server since Beehives, returned missionary, Bachelor's & Master's degree holder, married in the temple, mother of three and currently serving in the stake Young Women's presidency (not that any of that really matters, it is simple there to give reference to my statement) and I have been asked most of these questions at one point or another. Usually, they come across in a somewhat passive-agressive form. I think it's absurd that we have to go to these extremes to simply illustrate the negative and harmful effects of patriarchy. As the author clarified we would all be wise to check our assumptions and manage better how we speak to others. As many of the commenters shared in one form or another, an egalitarian approach to life and even the church could be much more beneficial of all... women AND men.
Also, I find it problematic for so many commenters to list the The Family Proclamation as and "end of story" type reference for further discussion and respectful dialogue concerning stereotypical gender roles and preconceived assumptions. The gender roles mentioned are still open for much interpretation and I think that interpretation should be between the individual, couples, families and their Heavenly Parents and not the ward, stake, friends, etc. who ask prying questions.
While I can understand the message behind this article, it saddens me. As a female the only time I have ever been bothered by a ‘gender-related’ topic or question from Church members is when I was told I was a topic of conversation once in a group of LDS stay-at-home moms who met weekly at a play group at church where it was said that I was going to Hades because I held a job outside the home. None of those women knew our financial circumstances dictated it and my working was the cause of much friction between me and my spouse. My only career goal was to be a mother. My irritation was because I did not feel the church should be sponsoring a weekly gossip session, otherwise their opinion of me was their issue. This said, I think it is sad that women are not secure enough within themselves that many of these questions are even bothersome and that it feels to me that more and more feminism is being pushed by members within the church because of it. For example, question 27. So what if books use the term “men” to refer to men and women? Are we so insecure in our womanhood that we cannot handle the knowledge that this is inclusive? Does this mean we have to modify the scriptures to be politically correct so no one’s feelings get hurt? And regarding question 24 about our Heavenly Mother, we know we have one but our Heavenly Father has chosen to limit how much we know of her. Sometimes faith is accepting things not seen. Rather than demanding that we be told more about her can we not think that maybe there are reasons we do not have more information about her and rely on our faith? How does our limited information of our Heavenly Mother change the fact that we are the product of divine parents? Honestly, I think if many of these questions are affecting women’s choices or how we value ourselves then maybe we are focused on the wrong things and I think we are missing some very valuable lessons that maybe the Lord wants us to learn.
LOVE! One of the biggest issues I have with the church is the way women are treated. As I've grown up and have began dating myself, the social prejudices have become quite clear to me. I've always wanted to be a doctor and the question I get asked most (by both men and women in the church) is, "How are you going to have children if you're working all the time? Isn't that a bit selfish?" To the lady who says feminism is bad... have you done any research on the topic at all? Feminism, along with this article, does not challenge what is written in The Family A Proclomation. To the people who are arguing with this article, I suggest you educate yourselves and reread with an open, nonjudgmental mind. To the men, think of your daughters and how you would feel if her role as a women was constantly undermined. These questions, that women are asked all the time, largely diminish our importance outside of being a wife and mother. Personally, I want my future daughters to grow up believing that they are just as important as men and that they can be anything they want to be. Unfortunately, lots of people in the church don't believe this to be true, which is represented by these types of questions.
Thanks, Julie! Love this article and the way you wrote it. I've been a life-long member of the church and have served in many Primary, Relief Society, and Young Women presidencies and as the president several times. I love nearly all the people I've worked with (I'm not perfect yet...) and I've heard similar questions SO often. I recently wrote a master's thesis about my great-grandmother--a plural wife who used this same kind of humor to make statements. THANK YOU!
I've been witnessed to a lot of these...either myself or friend/family...only one I really never saw was the calling one. Every calling I've gotten except for leadership they never talked to my husband. Every calling he has gotten except for leadership they never talked to me but every time either one of us has gotten a leadership calling they asked us both if we were willing to support the other.
Some of the comments on this article are hilarious--or very telling! Please READ the article before commenting, people. Always a good plan.
Brilliant--very thought provoking. Thanks, as usual!
As an adult male in the church, I've been asked a fair number of those questions. Members of the church can be just as insensitive as everybody else. Sometimes it is harder because you want to hold them to a higher standard.
Exactly. Last night our ward executive secretary called and though I answered the phone, asked to speak with my husband. They chatted and when my husband hung up he said "WE have an appointment with the bishop tomorrow at 6." I asked, "Do you realize that neither of you included ME in that conversation or setting of an appointment?" My husband was immediately remorseful and apologized. (Followed by, "You can make it, right?") I realize he acted this way because this is the way many of those around him in church act. I have work to do in my own house, apparently! ;) He did recognize the inequality of what occurred and offered to be more mindful of such things. I have seen a wide variety of calling interview scenarios over the years. Sometimes I am asked about my feelings concerning a call for my husband. Sometimes I am not. And vice-versa. I do agree that many of these 30 questions are a societal as well as a church issue, but less so in society. We have a long way to go and at times it appears we are traveling backwards. Thank you for an honest and thought-provoking (hopefully) article.
I like your article and it definitely makes us think. I would also ask if what we teach our children when they are young, pushes this culture when they are older. For example...what if we start a list of the things nobody said to a young woman. #1 - you should open a door for a young man, #2 - if it's dark outside, you should walk a young man to the car/home, #3 - young men like flowers on occasion, #4 - if it's cold outside, you should give a young man your coat.... Do these teachings push our culture in the direction of where your article points to?
Perhaps these questions came from an older generation, or Utah or both. I am a 40 year old woman, college graduate, career professional, mother of 5 children and I have held many leadership positions in the church. I have never been asked most of these questions especially the ones pertaining to career and education. We live in a time where people support one another's determination to survive and excel. I feel like these questions are outdated.
Brilliant article! Can't believe I read it here. I hope to see more like it.
I may have missunderstood this but most question shouldnt be asked to men, or female for that mather. Some questions are just dumb, but some are not wrong. I think its easy to "judge" the whole male society and write these articles, when what you should do is just write and tell what questions against women are wrong and why.
Seriously, a thousand thank yous for this. It is so beautiful and perfect. Articles like this give me hope that I can maybe keep trying in the church. Also, I hear you other commenter about what does your husband think of your new hair do. I get asked that inane question all the time. Which is weird, since this isn't rural Pakistan.
I like it in the sense it makes the role completely reversed which gives a more dramatic effect. However, I would conclude by saying it needs to be a balance in a marriage. Many statements were how will "you" when it should be more we. As marriages discuss things and make decisions with a "WE" attitude it is the healthiest solution.
Thank you. I really enjoyed this article and feel it is very important to our culture and community to consider these thoughts seriously and make changes.
I believe that the "natural differences between men and women" are far and away fewer than the similarities. I think we should be completkey equal before God/in the temple and in our theology.
You missed one-- "What does your husband think of your new [haircut, color, style, etc.]?"
It's MY hair and I'm going to cut it how I like it!! I don't need my husband's approval to get a new, shorter haircut.
Thank you for writing this! I see the comments trying to invalidate or judge the views in this article as evidence that it sparked some good food for thought, which is often painful for all of us. Keep it up!
Julie, to be fair and balanced, please write another article with the questions that my amazing stay at home wife has received while out shopping with the kids, but no one has ever asked me while shopping with them. The questions from others who hold more worldly views are certainly less benign than those you quoted from members of the church.
I understand why people think you are against the "Proclamation on the Family". For many members, the divine nature of gender roles is cut in stone. Many people don't think there is anything judgmental about asking a woman why she is getting a graduate degree or why she is working when her husband has a good paying job when the Proclamation leads people to think that only men should earn money and women should focus on raising their children. Many people believe that when the prophet speaks, there is no room for individual interpretation or that God would inspire and direct a couple to adapt the Proclamation to fit their specific circumstances.
Thought provoking article. I had the opposite experience when I was chastened by by a leader in the church for choosing to stay home with my babies while my husband worked and went to school. We work together from our home now and encounter these beliefs in our situation regularly. We are constantly evaluating whether we are acting on cultural norms or inspiration. It's been a fun ride.
Side note-When my husband was called as Elder's Quorum the Stake Pres. did ask my permission. He also counseled my husband to seek my council in the matters of his calling. He said that he received the same direction from the apostle who came to call him as the Stake Pres. This article makes me ponder my own beliefs and how I judge the people around me rather than seeking to support and love.
This is hands down the BEST article ever published on Meridian. Keep this up and I may have to subscribe!
Umm I ask my husband these questions all the time! Maybe because I didn't grow up in the church, these questions are dumb (to me!) and im certainly not offended by them. In the non LDS world I just get asked why am I staying home instead of continuing my work experience blah blah. It's just the opposite.
Elizabeth R., I really, REALLY appreciated your comment. Thank you!!
Thank you, Julie, for once again shining a light and bringing things out into the open. The stereotypes and assumptions made by fellow saints get really old after a while.
I find it interesting that Mormons don't question societal norms but always try to find a way to fit it unless it breaks the word of wisdom or modesty. God never commanded men should leave the house all day to provide and women should stay home alone all day to nurture. If women are supposed to nurture than she can nurture by making money to feed her kids. If a man wants to provide he can stay home and provide their daily needs. So many people are defending what they think comes from God but really it just comes from 1950s America.
Wow! I was just talking to someone about how different the culture of Churchgoers is so different from the gospel we preach and try to live. It's funny (not funny) that we can say things so insensitive to people and not walk around with red cheeks all the time.
I count myself lucky to have not encountered almost any of these comments, yet 1. I am a man and 2. Have lived most of my life in areas where the church population is the very small minority and 3. My wife is the primary breadwinner.
I hope I can be sensitive enough to gently correct any such assumptions, should I hear them in the future! Thanks for sharing!
This article is important because of the Proclamation's indemnity clause: "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." There are those of us in the Church whose family experience is blessed by the fact that as women we were encouraged to get as much education as we can, that we are not limited in capability to stereotypical "women's" work, and if needed we can step into the role of provider, protector, and nurturer to our families and our husbands. For families such as mine, where circumstances require adjustment to traditional role, if women were expected to maintain weakness and submissiveness, our families would fail and our husbands languish, incapable of participating in the religious experience. Inclusion of this indemnity clause is the only reason that the PTW steps outside the bounds of social commentary and becomes revelation from God.
Hi All, Thanks for taking the time to read my article and for posting your comments. I appreciate those of you who actually get the message. For those of you who have raised concerns, here are a few clarifying comments.
This is article not about women vs. men. I don't believe I said which gender asked the questions. Many questions are asked BY women and men. We all make assumptions.
As for your concern that I am going against the Family Proclamation...I'm not sure where that's coming from. I have read the Family Proclamation and I believe in divine stewardships of men and women. However, we often make assumptions about HOW other people should be managing THEIR individual and family stewardships based on gender division in a judgmental way. Does that make sense?
As to the claim that this somehow devalues stay-at-home mothers...I'm talking about how the ASSUMPTION that all women with should or can be a full-time stay-at-home mother if they are "righteous," or the assumption that women do all of the parenting, meal prep, or that married women should always prioritize their husband's education, etc. impact women.
And to David's comment: "I expect if the author reads my comment to immediately dismiss it because, I'm a man and She's a learned doctor who has dealt with and counseled hundreds of women who have dealt with feelings or inferiority, self-worth, etc..." I find it really interesting that the ONLY commenters on my Meridian articles who have tried to discredit or minimize my professional credentials or experiences are...male. I'm not sure what to make of that.
Regarding Andrewk's comment "Your list implies that men and women should be held to the same standards. That if it's true for a man it would be true for a woman." I'm not sure where you're getting that men and women should be held to the same standard from this article. I'm saying we would be wise to consider the assumptions and judgements we make based on gender. We all do it. So let's at least reflect on it.
Why are there hymn books, and not hyrr books? Just kidding. For every article like this, there is another article to that could be written about the judgments and conclusions people jump to against men. Funny too, that many of these questions that bother women in the church are asked by other women, and rarely men.
The more comments about not understanding the article (including those who "righteously condemn" the subject), the more evidence this article was needed. Bravo!
The connection of how devalued the FamProc stereotype was in most of polygamous Church History is not a point I hear often. Keep rolling it forward!
To those invoking the Proclamation to defend these questions, since when have we ever been directed to use the Proclamation to passive-aggressively judge the righteousness of our fellow sisters in the Church? We honor personal revelation and the Proclamation itself recognizes the need for flexibility in certain circumstances. So why insist that these rude, presumptive interactions are appropriate?
I posted this on my Facebook feed and a very cool male friend commented this:
"A lot of us guys could benefit from being asked more of these questions. Not all. Some are stupid to ask anyone. #30 I am asked every time. #16 is important if you don't want raw oatmeal (my wife's favorite) #3 who knew Easter Bunny costumes weren't appropriate for Easter Sunday?"
FRIENDLY REMINDER: If you're posting about choosing to be offended, it is most likely you who are choosing to be offended. Nowhere in this entire article does the author say they she is offended or angry. Therefore YOU are creating offense where none was intended.
Great post! I think it's good to step back and see what kind of messages we are sending to others. Especially our youth. I'm sure others aren't intentional about this, which is why I love this post. It's great for encouraging conversation.
A stay at home mom...
Awesome, Julie! Hilarious and eye-opening. It's always good to think a little more about what it might be like to live in someone else's shoes. In this case, men get to think for a moment what women in the church go through. Hopefully, it will spark some empathy for some. It appears some of these commenters are "choosing to be offended" by your thoughtful article. ;) I love everything you write.
What a wonderful article! I get asked these questions all the time. I am so glad that Hermana de Azevedo wrote this article. I am going to share it with those insensitive members in my ward who ask these questions. Hopefully, they will learn how hurtful it is to have to answer these questions.
Here are comments no one at church has made to my wife:
1. You've been assigned to shovel out the church parking lot.
2. We need you and your visiting teaching companion to visit Brother Jones and help fix his shed.
3. The Relief Society Social will be a service project working at the home of a widower in the ward.
4. Here is the kit for the Pinewood Derby. You'll need to saw, sand, and paint it by Friday night.
5. Could you be at the Stake Center an hour before Conference to set up chairs?
6. You sisters can sit on metal chairs in the gym for Relief Society. Let the Brethern has the nice cushioned chairs for their Priesthood meeting.
7. You know Sister, that it is YOUR DUTY as a single sister, to find and propose marriage to one of our fine single brothers.
8. Sister, as the head of your family, you are expected to take the lead in holding scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening.
To be frank, I, a man, have been asked several of these questions.
Julie, I found your questions to be very thought-provoking. Of course, many of the assumptions made in the questions are based on our usual experience, that is the norm of the way things are in most Latter-day Saint families. And, I think we should all assume that people who ask such questions don't intentionally intend to offend the person they are asking.
Men and Women are different. That can be taken and expressed in many ways . . .
I don't know if it helps, but as the married (nearly 25 years, thank you very much) father of 7 I can tell you that I have either been asked (or overheard another man being asked) nearly every question on your list; if not in the exact same language, something very close or equivalent.
Context and tone mean a lot.
And I think we do ourselves and others a disservice when we allow well-meaning expressions of concern to be taken with offense.
Interesting. I have actually been asked many of those questions. Perhaps some of them are based more on individual context rather than solely LDS culture.
This is not a issue of religious belief but rather social belief....
This is very thought-provoking. I will be thinking of this as I talk to other women and even in the things I think/say about myself!
I am not your husband but I am a husband and have been asked number 20 but not in the context you mean.
As for the rest of the comments or questions people ask you. They should frankly mind their own business. These are questions that a husband and wife should decide together and not something anyone else should be questioning.
I was raised in a home where my mother stayed at home for my brother and sister and worked when I was born. Their is a difference. A big difference. But that is not for anyone else to decide. It is up to you. I am not going to say the difference was horrible for me either. It was Different.
As a convert I think people ask too many Mormon Myth questions that they have no business asking. Someone asked my wife one and I made sure they understood how I felt about it and how it was not something that doctrine supported let alone human kindness.
Thanks for your thought provoking article. I wonder could your husband do a reverse of that article though.
I get the point of the article, and generally agree that words/assumptions matter. This why my wife and I make a concerted effort to NOT ask our kids (or other youth) if they have a girl/boy friend yet. I don't want to encourage it. I also ask both the YM/YW the question of "where do you want to go on a mission" assuming that both will want to go (I was Sunday School president for 4 years so I interacted with both regularly). But, I've been asked (being male) quite a few of these questions.
2 was asked of me and I ask my boys all the time - if they don't want to go on a mission, or can't answer this question, then they aren't ready and shouldn't go.
28 - Thopugh for me it is "does your wife work?"
Most of the other ones even my wife looked at odd saying that she hasn't heard most of those, and those that she heard she hasn't heard since she was in youth back in the early 90s.
It might be well to ponder these questions after reading The Proclamation On The Family.
I love this article. I've always has a career and it drives me crazy when new home teachers come, because they try to get to know our family by asking questions dirented at my husband. "What do you do?" "Where do you work? " "Where did you go to school?" I just sit there getting madder and madder at them and my apparent invisibility.
Thanks for posting this. It really resonated with me today, and reminded me that as a woman, I have agency separate from my husband's. Nothing is worse than receiving a calling after having been thoroughly vetted through my husband! It has always felt wrong to me when this happens. And it does happen! All the time! Cultural changes need to occur in our church. And cultural doesn't equate to doctrinal. What we say to women and how we treat them says a lot about what we actually think of them.
Well done, Julie! Funny thing, people don't ask my husband those questions either, and he has had three major unemployment interruptions to his professional life. I've just soldiered on raising 5 children, getting a post-grad degree, filling up to 5 Ward/Stake callings at a time and volunteering in State, National and International Councils of Women. Mind you, I've just resigned from the Nat and IC of Women and am planning to sit back and enjoy some recreational time at last, now I've turned 80.
I have seen most of these questions posed to men. However eight questions do stand out as never occurring:
7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 21, 22, 29
Thank you for writing this. As I read the questions, I found myself in shock that people actually ask a great deal of these questions just to women, and never men, but I'm sure that some form of these questions are also asked of men. What shocked me the most was the subliminal--intentional or not--judgmental tone and nature of these questions. I've been asked some of these, and they're hurtful. Why do we not more simply accept people and their good (or bad) life choices out of genuine love for them, and not "judge" them with out words and actions? Or even if they don't necessarily know where there life is going, but are doing the best they can? Why can't be give them the benefit of the doubt and not our judgement but our love and support?! I have had plenty of my life goals turned upside and have asked "so what are you going to do/", "why are you going there for school?", etc. and at the time I didn't fully know WHY, I just knew, through sincere, personal prayer that I was being guided where I needed to be. And I have. I completely testify to that. These questions often don't mean to be hurtful, but they come across that way. Thanks so much for bringing this to attention, because we all need to think more about what our questions--whether sincere, out of love, or out of judgement or criticism--do and cause when we ask them. Thanks again!
I'm a convert to the Church of some 36 years and I have been asked some of these questions (or a variation of them). As have some of my male friends. Specifically, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 16, 20, 24, 28 and 30. Yes, I know that 24 refers to my Heaven;y Mother, whom I do wish to know more about. And yes, my wife has been interviewed about her feeling and support for positions for which I was being considered.
Great article!! I totally agree!!
Your list implies that men and women should be held to the same standards. That if it's true for a man it would be true for a woman. This is a false assumption. But since we're doing lists, here's a list of questions I have never heard the Sisters asked.
Are you as interested in being a good wife as you are in being a good mother?
If your husband married up does that mean you married down?
If your husband is expected to put your needs first, aren’t you expected to put his needs first?
If you have girls night out, shouldn’t he have boys night out?
If you believe in forgiveness, doesn’t that mean not holding things over your husband that he did 10 years ago?
When you work and earn your own money is that the “family’s money” or "your money?" If your husband’s money is the “family’s money” why isn’t yours?
When was the last time you asked your husband for a “revelation” on what you could do to be a better wife?
Why is it that your love and affection for the children is unconditional but your love and affection for your husband is conditional?
If your husband doesn’t feel like doing something (work, picking up the children, helping your out) because he’s not in the mood, will you let it go, or hold a grudge?
Ahhh, PC in The church........I can't wait.......Was it Brother Brigham that said "He who is offended when no offense is intended is..." well anyway........js
Elder Bednar said that being offended by what people say to us is a choice. The problems involved with the questions belong to the questioner.
I was lured in by the title of this article thinking it might be an article on missionary work or a part-member spouse. It obviously wasn't; rather it's a judgemental list insinuating that the established roles and gender norms and counsel given by LDS leaders and prophets (think Family Proclaimation) is abnormal, inappropriate, or just plain wrong. They are not. Nor are they inappropriate because people struggle to fulfill expectations and responsibilities.
I expect if the author reads my comment to immediately dismiss it because, I'm a man and She's a learned doctor who has dealt with and counseled hundreds of women who have dealt with feelings or inferiority, self-worth, etc... This kind of tripe is not helping women or men fulfill God's commandments or build relationships in their families or in the Church.
I'm confused by your article. You say these are 30 questions asked of females, but so many of them seem to be questions for men. This doesn't make any sense to me.
i don't understand the point in this article of 30 questions.
I think this is very sad. The 30th one really undermines the position of the priesthood. Perhaps these are meant in jest and I misunderstood but it seems to me that this one should have been left off either way. When a man is called to a bishop or to be a stake president or many other callings the wife is asked if she will support Him.
I heard a lot of these comments when I lived in Utah (especially about a mission and why I wanted an advanced degree, even from women). But I have not heard comments like this while living on the East Coast. In my experience, Utah LDS culture can be different than LDS culture in other areas.
You are right, Julie. As a divorced single mother and just as a woman, I have been asked some of these questions, and they do have an effect, even if a subtle one.why don't people consider what they are asking before they ask? Some are actually insulting or demeaning. A person has to be strong in their own self-esteem not to be bothered by them, but I still have wondered at the questioner's purpose at times.
Of course, men and women receive different comments and questions about their lives. We are different! Women have a hard time balancing work and motherhood -especially for a woman raised in today's culture that promotes family destroying feminism. Women in the church are trying to find their way, and these questions illustrate the many choices they can make.
What is the point of this article? To stir up trouble, promote feminism, put down the culture we used to have where women stayed home, and men were the breadwinners?
Is this article trying to question the Proclamation on the Family that infers a mother should be at home nurturing her children and the father should be the main provider? Unfortunately for society today, God's plan isn't politically correct.
This article isn't enlightening it's just annoying. I suppose we could spend a lot of time looking for more ways to be offended, but I don't want to participate today.
I'm not sure what the point of the article was. As a woman, should I (we) be asking our fellow male members "Did you know you are a son of your Heavenly Mother?" As members we know there isn't a lot of info on Her so why bring it up at all since Christ taught us to pray directly to Heavenly Father instead of praying to Him.
As for the other questions, just culturally based obviously. Not sure why the concern.
Dr. Hanks - what a great article (as usual)! It seems so obvious some of the biases that we all have. Just like a fish can't comprehend water as it is all it has ever known all around it.
It just reminds me of something - in a stark contrast. After reading some of the churches gospel topics essays on polygamy I have recently been studying polygamy within the church. It has been so interesting, but one thing that really struck me was how MANY of these women were nearly single mothers with little to no support ($ or more importantly time) from their husbands. I have deep admiration for the faith of these early church sisters. Then I look at my father-in-law that is a good man, but he has said that husbands should not have to change diapers. Progress can be slow, but I am glad we are slowly moving in the right direction.
I believe that:
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
While I agree there is a double standard when it comes to womens and mens body image issues and expectations, as a homemaker I have felt the tide turning against those of us who choose homemaking as their "career". Outside of church foyer conversations, society in general champions mothers who work outside of the home as do- it- all multitaskers who are revered for their ability to balance work and family. They have plenty of support. But as someone who deliberately chose to leave the workforce to be a homemaker, I can attest to the fact that when a mother has a job or a career, something has to give, and that something is usually children who need their mom, not babysitters or daycare workers. I had to enter the workforce as a result of a divorce so I realize that sometimes it cannot be avoided. I also have friends that feel like if they were home with their kids they would suffer emotionally and mentally. They feel that they are better mothers because of the satisfaction they get out of pursuing a career. I realize that every situation is different, but as for me I knew that I would never look back on my life and wish I would have made more money or satisfied any career related ambitions during the fleeting years of my kids childhood. I blinked and my kids are in high school now and still need their mom. It goes so fast and anything else just isn't worth it.
Number 30 is one that gets stuck in my craw. Do I not have first voice in the matt if it is me you want.
A few I do not see your problem. It is a man's responsibility to financially support his family and that's good in my book. Some i think people are just looking for trouble. Sure the pick up line is a bit trite or even offensive, but think of they poor guy trying his best to get a date out of the most beautiful woman he has seen. So that is the beat he can do, really. Cut a little slack.
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks!" Comments like "the Sisters are much more sensitive to the Spirit" or "if want you to know what's going on the in the Ward ask the Relief Society; the brother's haven't a clue." I have never heard the brethren chastise the sister's at women's conference they way they do the brothers at priesthood session. You are beneficiary of the Enlightened Women's Movement, which, in my opinion, lost all moral standing when it opted for abortion rights. In my generation we have gone from "Father knows best" to father? who needs him. When it comes to identifying "cultural offenses" maybe the "easily offended" should ask themselves, "Is it I?"
Somewhat confusing, even if it is meant to help us men put ourselves into women's shoes...and yes, there is such a thing as differences between sexes that make women better at certain things, and men better at others, which explains the nature of the questions...
I’ve been asked #2, 5, 7, 14, 16, 20, 21, 26, and 28. #25 is essentially the same as “You have somebody else mow your lawn?”, so I’ll claim that one as well. #10 is moot because I dropped out of school after getting my bachelor’s, so I could concentrate more on starting a family.
I undersrand that many women have self-worth issues, and that well-meaning questions can exacerbate the problem. But I also understand that many men have the exact same issues, and we have to suffer silently amidst a church wholly devoted to extolling the natural superiority of women. I could easily make a list of 30 demeaning questions that no one has ever asked my wife, but if I did, I’d either be ignored or, more likely, labeled an ignorant misogynist who needs to leave the poor, oppressed women alone. Because, you know, women are God’s ultimate creation—a fact we are reminded of quite often.
The struggle has nothing to do with gender, and I rather resent your implication that it does.
Ok about the Heavenly Mother questions. It certainly grates at me to hear the half- picture blithely conveyed by, "We are children of our Heavenly Father," although I also won't settle for anything less than true revelation on the matter, which can't be forced on demand.
But beyond that, I find it maddening that every article you write contains a theme of taking offense at the suggestion or assumption that women should actually raise the children they bear rather than employ hired hands-- whether it's outrage that nobody expects this of your husband, or eye-rolling that your all-important personal or professional satisfaction should be curtailed in the least to raise a family.
The pattern of mothers engaging in certain traditional nurturing tasks is not some big culturally-created error. It is by design, and it is a beautiful thing which often involves a considerable measure of personal sacrifice but it seems to be ideal for infants and children.
I know that my responses to our infants, for example, were significantly different from my husband's, and I was especially surprised at this following the birth of our first child. I'd been a lifelong tomboy with downright contempt for dolls, dress-up, and other typical girly things, and I was not excited about mothering, or about leaving behind a frequently interesting professional job to do so. However, the instant I held that first baby, I felt the strongest impression I'd ever known that this life was MINE to nurture and protect. It just kicked in, unbidden, and it's a good thing it did. I quit my job immediately and yes, there was sacrifice involved but so whst?
The pattern of mothers raising their offspring and fathers providing material needs is mentioned in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Do you have some sort of special knowledge that this is an error?
I will add that now that my children are young adults and my husband has passed away, I work professionally in stress management consulting and many of my clients have been raised by nannies or daycare. I can tell you that almost to a person they carry significant stress from that experience (even if it was "high-quality" care) and it is their mothers, not their fathers, whom we find they need to forgive for farming out this basic need to hired hands.
So, yes, I don't know what you're trying to say about the fact that no one's asked your husband these things but I'm saying back to you, "So what?" Maybe you're the one who's out of step. To the extent that you're trying to legitimize mothers not raising their own kids, I think you're doing harm rather than shedding light, and I wish you'd stop. We've got the whole rest of the world out there saying the same false nonsense. I hate reading this baloney in Meridian, of all places.
Hilarious. My husband and I are both attorneys and I could add to your list. But as you said, overall benign reactions. And I have found much more often that my education and experience has helped me serve in ways I never anticipated.
This article troubles me because it seems to accept as a forgone conclusion that people shouldn't care about the natural differences between men and women. Male chauvinism is a horrible thing, and the basis of it is to make women serve men, rather than the other way around. I worry that feminism plays into the chauvinists hands by making women think that men who place a high value on providing and protecting are the bad guys, and that the desirable men are those who don't worry about providing and protecting women, "empowering" women to do all the work while he enjoys a free ride.
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