This topic may seem the most surprising of my goals in Walking to Zion. Through the years I've come to see it as a serious problem infiltrating society today.
In the second paragraph of the Proclamation it reads, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Initially when I read this line of the Proclamation I always thought it was interesting that they included it in there. Of course gender is important. Recently however, I have come to see (of course) their divine wisdom in including this in a manifesto on the family.
I am amazed at the changes racing through our society. When we go to "town" my children often remark, "Is that a boy or a girl?" It is becoming harder and harder to tell. We are on a collision course in the world of a people that are unisex. This is manifested in many ways. Men are feminized and women are masculine. Women can work in any job, including front line combat while men are transitioning to stay at home nurturers. Women are crude and men wear make-up.
I see this "unisex" world having two parts. The first is that we are unisex is dress and the second we are unisex in action.
Speaking of the first the Lord told the children of Israel in the Law of Moses, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do are abomination unto the Lord thy God." (Deuteronomy 22:5)
I have been pondering on this scripture for a long time. I have realized that we are dressing like men today! I have thought about my jeans, my pony tails, my tennis shoes, my baseball caps, my t-shirts, my sweatshirts….Ugh!!! In my state of 'frump' I have dressed like a man. Why? That's what they sell first and that's what everyone else wears.
Another tidbit is the slogan of, "Tough enough to wear pink." I know that breast cancer awareness is important. However, I don't think that feminizing our men is the right way to do it. Very subtle.
I'm sure the junction to not dress like a man only applied to the Law of Moses and the Children of Israel anyway. The law of was fulfilled so it doesn't have anything to do with me today. Whew! (Yeah, I wish that was true). Something to think about.
So besides the fact that we are dressing like men (or the men like women) we are not teaching masculine and feminine roles. We are teaching our children that they can do anything and be anything. The church understood the need to make sure parents teach their children correct gender roles by creating a section specifically aimed at this in the booklet, "A Parent's Guide," published in 1985. Here are some of their thoughts:
"Considerable controversy has been aroused of late around such terms as sexism, feminism, and machismo, as if there is something wrong with being too male, too female, or too virtuous. President Kimball said, 'I sincerely hope that our Latter-day Saint girls and women, and men and boys, will drink deeply of the water of life and conform their lives to the beautiful and comprehensive roles the Lord assigned to them.'
"But members of the Church must not be deceived about one immutable truth: there is eternal significance in being a man or a woman. The history of the gospel from Adam to this final dispensation documents equal respect for the roles of men and women and the need for all men and women to develop their gifts to the utmost through living the commandments of God. But within that same gospel framework are some realities about differences between the two genders. This means that there are some exclusive things men are to do and some that women are to do. A most appropriate time for this development is the interlude between early childhood and adolescence. President Kimball clarified the eternal significance of gender identity when he said:
"'Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them.'
"Girls ought to be taught the arts and sciences of housekeeping, domestic finances, sewing and cooking. Boys need to learn home repair, career preparation and the protection of women. Both girls and boys should know how to take care of themselves and how to help each other. By example and by discussion, both sexes need to learn about being male or female, which in summary, means becoming husbands and fathers or wives and mothers, here ore hereafter." (Pages 25-29)Here are some general goals we have been working on:
- For the women/girls of the family to dress feminine.
- For the men/boys of the family to dress masculine.
- Create a culture saturated with men acting like men.
- Be around other families where the men/boys act like men/boys.
- Read books (and other media choices) where there are strong, tough men who protect women. We enjoy the the books of the author Louis L'Amour.
- Men/boys expected to work and protect women including open doors, helps with coats, and talk respectfully around women.
- Learn masculine skills.
- Create a culture saturated with women acting like women.
- Be around other families where the women/girls act like women/girls.
- Read books (and other media choices) where women are feminine from books written by Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, etc.
- Women/girls are expected to feed, clothe, and encourage their men.
- Learn feminine skills.
- Learn and study what nurture, preside, protect, and provide really mean.