Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife

liberal [ˈlɪbərəl ˈlɪbrəl]  
                  a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes,
                  views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
a. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
b. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
3. Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
4. Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.

feminist [ˈfɛmɪnɪst]  a person who advocates equal rights for women

Mormon [ˈmɔːmən]  a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints

house-wife [ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf]  a woman who manages her household as her main occupation.

Hi, I'm Lisa.  And I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife.  I'm also a knitter, a reader, a lover, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and an average tap dancer--but popular media outlets aren't discussing those labels in politics right now. 

As the political scene revs up for another year, there is much tossing about of generalizations about certain groups...recently, I've heard things like, "Those Mormons!" followed by "Those liberals!" chased by "Those Republicans!/ Gays!/ Women!/ Children!/ Mexicans!/ Greeks!/ Canadians!/ Cows!/ Chickens!/Unicorns!"-- each group pointing a finger of fault at the other, in anger or ignorance, but usually both.  

I haven't thrown out many of my personal labels on my blog much--besides identifying myself as Lisa, or a square toothed girl.  Of course, in a perfect world, there would be no labels, which would make it difficult to tell baking soda from baking powder and gala apples from the ever-so-scrumptious-in-season-now Honey Crisp, but at least we'd be free to live with the wild abandon of deflated muffins and occasional disappointment in our fruit.  

There's a lot of talk right now in the world about some of the labels that define me, and I'd like to give you my take.  I'm going to work backwards, so hang in there.
For the last 15 years of my life, I've worked full time as a housewife.  I receive no paycheck, no health benefits, no vacation time and no breaks.  I made a conscious choice to leave the work force and focus my attention full time on the two people whom I chose to bring into the world.  

I clean, I cook, I chauffeur, I volunteer, enjoy and love my career.  I am passionate about it. I love making my home.  I graduated from university with honors and I love to learn; because I am passionate about learning, my people are passionate about learning...they can even do math.  I can fix a bathroom sink, calm a crying baby and recite Chaucer all at once. 

I am also a Mormon.  I belong to  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I believe in Jesus Christ.  He brings me hope, happiness and peace.  I believe that there are as many ways to be a "Mormon" as there are Mormons.  I don't scrapbook, craft, or quilt and I have serious misgivings about the "errand of angels being given to women."  However, I can renovate a house, drive like a bat out of hell and teach just about anything...except math, because that's just wrong.

I also honor other beliefs.  I treasure, cherish and believe the truths taught in the Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao-te-ching, and many other holy books.  There are many belief systems I would like to learn more about.  My goal is to cast my net as far as possible and gather in all the light, joy, hope and peace I can find.  Mormonism is what works for me, and I honor what works for you.

I am a feminist.  I advocate for the equal rights of all women, everywhere.  Everyday, I try to extend respect, hope and dignity to every living thing I come in contact with--even that guy that perpetually cuts me off in traffic every morning. Unfortunately, women have been subjugated for centuries.  "Women hold up half the sky" says the Chinese proverb.  I believe that women are the greatest force for love in the world, and the world needs more love. This is why I am a feminist.     

But how can you be a feminist and a housewife? (You may be asking.)  Housewifery does not stand in contrast to feminism.  I choose to be a house frau, I was not forced to it by societal expectations, extremist authoritarian dictators, or my religion.  I chose it.  All of it.  It doesn't matter what I do, it's how I do it.  I feel that this short season of tending the garden of my family is a privilege and an opportunity. 

I am a liberal--or I try to be in every sense of the word.  
I try not to limit my thinking.  I question just about everything.  I attempt to seek.  I like to learn.  I am open to ideas that seek to improve the rights for women, the LGBT community and especially children.  I favor ideas and reform of programs that just aren't working.  I think there are some innovative ideas about the environment, term limits, women's health issues and many other topics that are worth looking at.  I'd like to learn more about as many of them as I can.  

I am tolerant of the ideas of others--ESPECIALLY if they do not agree with me, because therein lies the opportunity to learn and explore another way of thinking.  I am liberal with my contributions to charities, I'm liberal with the time I spend volunteering in the community where I live.  I seek to be  liberal with my praise of others, my encouragement and my love of all of God's children here on earth.  I am a liberal.  

I am also ample (liberal) in the backside, I'm pretty laid back as a parent (not strict/ liberal) and I went to a liberal arts school, which is neither here nor there, but it kind of proves my point.

And this is why I am writing this post today.  I'm not (said with contempt) "one of those Mormons/liberals/unicorns" I am a human being with thoughts and feelings as real and valid as your own.  There is nothing that can't be discussed if it is discussed in a spirit of love, kindness and true curiosity.  Come talk to me, and I will talk to you, and we will find a way to understanding each other.  

Instead of going for the easy generalization, I hope we can all try to see the child of God beneath the label we are casting about with such divisive abandon.  We don't have to be angry.  We can choose instead, if we disagree with someone's politics, to say, "I've never thought of that before," or, "That's interesting."  Let's discuss, without anger, our differences, rejoice in our common beliefs and honor the magnificent variety in every person we meet.
Then maybe send them some love...   

...and I'll send some too.


  1. Great blog; and it is certainly appropriate during this political season. In some definitions of "liberal", I'm right with you. I guess I think of myself as more "conservative" in relation to politics (I choose not to argue about it; though. I am not good with confrontation!*S*.) In the end we are all human beings just trying to do the best we can! And if we were all the same, life would not be nearly as interesting, right? :)

  2. You had me at honey crisp :)
    Missed seeing you today. Hope all is well - probably a good thing I didn't go as I spent the morning not being too happy about a new medication. I don't think I would have made it through the drive, let alone a session.
    Love you, in all your liberal Mormon housewifey glory.

  3. Bravo! I knew there was a reason I liked reading your blog *wink*...you are my kind of gal!

  4. It's always comforting to know there are more of us odd label people out there than the "those unicorn!" people would ever suspect.

  5. @Sharon, no, life would not be nearly as interesting!

    @Michelle, oh no! I hope you feel better, love you!

    @Cora...ah, the bonds run deep! :)

    @M, I know! Those unicorns are CRAZY!! :)

  6. Speak on, Sister! I'm happy to teach math to your people whenever you need it :)

  7. I am clearly only speculating as to the prevalence of people who self-identify with all the labels you do, but one might (affectionately) say you ARE a liberal feminist Mormon housewife UNICORN. :)

  8. @Deborah...ok, you're right...I AM A UNICORN!!! :)

  9. I keep thinking about this post and wanting to make some sort of intelligent comment... and I find myself at a loss. I think this falls under those "honest" posts that I was pondering the other day. Also... you sound like my kind of person. Rock on, sister!

  10. Dakota, I wonder if your post on fear and honesty inadvertently was a conception point for this post. I thought a lot about your question about honesty. My thoughts in this post have been rattling around in my head for years and I was finally pushed to the edge...and it feels good to be free and let it all hang out. I hope I don't get stoned (in the biblical sense only) at church on Sunday...:)

  11. I love this post! I'm a feminist and a Christian and that is already giving me some grief at times (especially in discussions with other feminists). I'm also the type of feminist that believes feminism is about choices, so it's perfectly fine to me if a woman decides to be a housewife! The whole attitude of 'feminists can't do that and this, and you're not a REAL feminist if you do that' is just awful to me. I also have relatives who live in UT and are Mormon, but support liberal ideas and feminism. People need to learn that life isn't just black and white!

    1. You are so right! And the older I get, the more shades of beautiful grey I see too....

  12. I stopped by for the A to Z challenge and when I saw this post in your sidebar I had to read it. I'm also a Mormon. I consider myself Conservative when it comes to politics but am tired of people assuming that because I am both of those, I'm anti everything else. I am NOT opposed to gay marriage. I'm NOT racist. Although I do scrapbook, and crochet!!

    I really enjoyed this post and my ramblings, hopefully, conveyed that. If they didn't, I really loved this post.

    1. Nice to meet you Alicia! I'm glad you stopped by!

  13. You're my kind of liberal. My kind of Mormon. My kind of Feminist. My kind of friend.

    1. Oh Angela! I just feel like we could get together for some tea and enjoy a long chat. I'm glad I get to know you--even if it is online!!

  14. I just shared this post with a friend on Facebook because of this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/mormon-women-seeking-midd_n_1815131.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

  15. And to think...we meet just as you are planning a thrilling life move out of our fair town!! Hi-Vicki here from your yard sale today....just had to stop by and say hi. Your words are swirling around in my brain. I was raised a conservative Seventh-Day-Adventist and do believe there are some strong "themes" that may run in both our lives. From my up bringing I have branched out, dug deep, been thoughtful in conversation, and asked many questions to come to the state knowing that I live in now...which is ever growing, evolving, twisting, turning. I would love to hear more about your thoughts on how your religion fits into your world view. How you have evolved to where you are today. Your words were clear, honest and heart felt. Much love to you on this day, during this time of transition for you and your family.

  16. I'm just starting to catch up with some of your blog entries. Are you still in Idaho? (If you don't want to disclose publicly, catch me on FB at danlester43 or dan.lester@me.com) We're now down her in St. George in the heart of LDS and FLDS country. Yes, I know the difference. :-) But do see the groups of women in their prairie dresses in Walmart and Costco all the time. Anyway, I'll continue to admire your wonderful writing and have subscribed to the blog by email.

    Cinna's daddy