10 thoughts on “Week 3 Day 2 Discussion Question 3

  • February 28, 2022 at 2:18 pm
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    Phyllis Schalfly aims to to recognize the capability and power of women in her book, ” Power of the positive women”, but in reality her stance seems to be that women should be complacent with prejudice and finds ways to embrace the inequality they suffer from. While the text has no positive connotations, I believe that the idea of a “Positive Woman” was supposed to be a supportive idea – to allow women to recognize their power and influence and view themselves as figures of power and capable of great change. However, as I continued to read the piece, I noticed that Schalfly’s idea of a ‘positive women’ is a woman who has no desire to fight against a system of oppression and choose to participate in outdated traditional roles. Schafly states, ” Because caring for a baby serves the natural maternal need of a woman. Although nearly not so total as the baby’s need, the woman’s need is nonetheless real. The overriding psychological need of a woman is to love something alive.” This is in line with the logic that Schafly propagates throughout the chapter – the need for women to fit into to a stereotype and fulfill archaic gender roles. In this example, Schafly believes that woman’s life is not complete without motherhood and all women have the need and desire to care for a child. While we may know this logic is flawed and features great generalization, Schafly was a firm believer that men and women were not equal, and that women should simply adapt to the unequal society that they were born into. Ultimately, in line with the rest of her career, Schafly was completely against equal rights. She was against feminism, immigration and abortion to name a few. Schafly’s ideas are what society should not aspire to be – we need not be complacent in a society with injustice, as that is the same as giving up the fight entirely.

  • February 28, 2022 at 2:03 pm
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    A quote that really stood out to me was Bryant’s assertion that “the devil can disrupt many a would-be Christian household via the woman’s tongue” (47). I can’t imagine living with such contempt for your own gender. On page 49, she goes on to say, “By applying the Word of God to my life, knowing I’m born again, being lifted from sins through the blood of Christ, I see I can be delivered from the power of Satan, through Jesus. Miracles are possible.” This call for self-improvement stands in stark contrast to her earlier assertion that a woman must “accept [her] husband as he is” (46). In Bryant’s view, a wife must accept sole responsibility for any martial problems that may arise. This attitude reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve, in which Eve is blamed for the pair’s fall from innocence despite their shared culpability.

    Furthermore, Bryant asserts that “some women, especially those who lost their fathers in childhood due to death or divorce, really want a daddy more than a husband. Their search for lost childhood robs the husband” (47). I find this assertion hypocritical because, throughout the article, Bryant seems to be pushing her female readers to serve as “mommies” to their husbands. Bryant states that a good wife is endlessly supportive, affectionate, doting, and free of criticism. These are all attributes that men expect from their mothers. Bryant isn’t advocating for equitable relationships; she wants wives to mother their husbands.

  • February 27, 2022 at 9:50 pm
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    The Positive Woman’s logic on anti-women’s liberation runs parallel to Sigmund Freud’s explanation of male superiority on the basis of genitalia. Schlafly states,
    “The Positive woman looks upon her femaleness and her fertility as part of her purpose, her potential and her power. She rejoices that she has a capability for creativity that men can never have” (105). Reinforcing the divide between women and men based on biological differences strengthens misogynistic societal structures and expectations. For example, the piece also speaks to breastfeeding and child bearing as a woman’s primary function in society – again, deducing female worth to reproductive functions, while still highlighting other functions like flexibility and stability, which stem from her procreation (112). I found the arguments for anti-feminism to be Freudian influenced, primarily from the several examples of biological and psychological differences between men and women.

  • February 27, 2022 at 9:39 pm
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    All of the texts that we read this week were certainly shocking, as it has been a while since I have been exposed to such conservative and unashamedly sexist readings. A passage I found worthy of note in The Feminist Majority by Falwell:

    ‘They want to give the homosexual and the lesbian the same dignity as husbands and wives. They want to give the women who have an illegitimate baby the same dignity as one who has had one in holy matrimony.’

    This stood out to me not only because of its homophobic implications, but also the blind faith placed in the institution of marriage. The discussion of ‘dignity’ is interesting because it suggests that people engaging in non-heterosexual relationships have something to be ashamed of. The use of ‘the’ before each label also emphasises this ostracization of those members of the community as it remains particularly impersonal. Furthermore, the use of language whilst discussing ‘women who have an illegitimate baby’ suggests that it is wholly the mothers who are responsible for having ‘legitimate’ children and thus Falwell revokes any male figure from the responsibility and implied ‘shame’ of having a child out of wedlock. This is thus a sexist and very conservative view that women hold the entire responsibility for their families and promotes a rhetoric of shame surrounding female sexuality. This perspective does not only reenforce Falwell’s own beliefs about marriage but also shames anyone else who chooses to live their life in a way that does not abide by Falwell’s own moral code.

  • February 27, 2022 at 7:34 pm
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    In Phyllis Schlafly’s “Excerpts from The Power of the Positive Woman”, I was immediately struck by this idea of the women’s liberationists being against, or the opposite of, the “Positive Woman”. The Positive Woman, as Schlafly states, “starts with the assumption that the world is her oyster”, whereas the women’s liberationist “is imprisoned by her own negative view of herself and of her place in the world around her”. This idea of the “Positive Woman” immediately suggests and imposes that it is just completely up to women and their outlook on life to succeed, which is in some ways true, but overall is not realistic or reasonable.

    The Positive Woman “understands that men and women are different, and that those very differences provide the key to her success as a person and fulfillment as a woman”, whereas the women’s liberationists are hindered by the differences. The Positive Woman sees these differences as “a capability for creativity that men can never have”, which really resonated with me. I feel as though women doubt their worth a lot and have low self-confidence, probably due to our male-dominated society, and that leads us to think of our differences as inhibiting rather than things to celebrate and be proud of.

    Another passage that stuck out to me was the third teaching of the women’s liberation movement which is “that there is no difference between male and female except the sex organs…all those physical, cognitive, and emotional differences you think are there, are merely the result of centuries of restraints imposed by a male-dominated society and sex-stereotyped schooling.” I agree with this dogma and think that it is true but it is up to women on how we react to this. The Positive Woman knows what she can and cannot change, whereas Schlafly states that the liberationists are stuck hypothesizing “what if…” and do not actually get anywhere.

  • February 27, 2022 at 5:09 pm
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    A passage that stood out to me was from Anita Bryants, “Lord Teach Me to Submit”, where she says:

    Think of today’s unhappy women who struggle to usurp men’s authority. Their efforts can only be fruitless and result in self-defeat and misery because I can’t see where they’re supported by God’s Word.
    Though most of us women don’t consider ourselves activists in that sort of struggle, we may actually end up in the same camp–if we nag, bicker, criticize, and undercut the man God gave us to love, Arther than submitting our lives and hearts in perfect trust and support.

    What I found so interesting here is simply this author’s views on marriage as well as the feminist movements at the time. She criticizes other women for seeking to “usurp men’s authority” and speaks to her readers with the assumption that her readers are not of that breed. I suppose that surprised me as her assumptions lay so vividly here. Additionally, the idea of submitting to your husband as if it God’s plan for her makes me really hope she chose a quality man who isn’t misogynistic because with her views the implication is that the wife is never to criticize her husband. What if her husband need someone to push him to become a better person? Well that would be against god’s plan, according to Anita. Criticism can most certainly come from a place of trust and support, though it doesn’t appear this author believes so.

  • February 27, 2022 at 4:07 pm
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    A passage that stood out to me was Marabel Morgans, “Excerpt’s from the Total Woman” (1970). This passage relayed the message that a husband’s needs must be fulfilled, and to do so a wife must admire and accept her husband. Morgans points out that you cannot attempt to change your husband, as accepting him for who he is, is supposedly one of the most important aspects of becoming a good wife. Morgans preaches this concept of satisfying your husbands needs, as she says “whether it be in salads, sex, or sports. [The wife] makes his home a haven, a place to which he can run. She allows him that priceless luxury of unqualified acceptance” (55). Once this sense of acceptance is achieved towards your husband, Morgans believes that the wife no longer needs to have a role in decisions nor give advice to her husband. It was very interesting to me the way she gets her message across, as it glamorizes a wife not having real responsibility in her own marriage. Morgans speaks about such trivial authority of a wife as if it is a reward for women, which this minimal role can only be attained once they fully submit to their husband. She cautions the outcome of what happens when a wife does not properly do so. “You may have a husband who does not do anything but stay home drinking beer in his underwear. The responsibility of the family may rest on your back because somewhere along with the link you usurped his role” (66). The mere fact that instead of referring to the husband as lazy and unmotivated, she puts the blame on the wife for not accepting her husband fully. This immediately reminded me of the scene with Janine in The Handmaid’s Tale. Janine said that she was gang-raped at age 14, and the Aunts asks the group whose fault it was. The group immediately blames Janine, for her so-called leading them on. And soon after this scene, Janine begins to claim that it was indeed her fault. This disturbing example of woman-blaming is prominent throughout Morgans ideals. There is a direct correlation between what a woman’s role should be when they are with a man in Morgans passage and in The Handmaid’s Tale.

  • February 26, 2022 at 4:23 pm
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    Anita Bryant’s “Lord, Teach Me To Submit” was an extension of the gender expectations covered by Marabel Morgan in “Excerpts from The Total Woman.” Bryant expands the idea that women must learn to prioritize their husbands and admire them for preserving a happy marriage. One passage that stood out to me in Bryant’s piece was:

    “There’s much, much more to Marabel’s amazing story. In her very first lesson, she makes an extremely significant point and reiterates it often: “You must accept your husband as he is. The reason you can is that God loves you and accepts you as you are!” That’s exactly the principle God showed me. I realized I must stop criticizing Bob’s lack of spiritual development and work only on my own. I could see my carping literally undercut my husband’s confidence, desire, and ability to grow in Christ. Of course, I mentally defended that nagging as something I had to do for Bob’s good, but that’s because I didn’t know the Bible very well. I’d never try to get away with that now. The Bible doesn’t uphold a nagging wife anywhere — and Bob knows it. The devil can disrupt many a would-be Christian household via the woman’s tongue” (Bryant 46-47).

    I find it interesting that women are willing to put their desires and needs aside to ensure their husbands are taken care of. Instead of having a healthy marriage where both parties can speak freely, Bryant argues that women must wholly accept their husbands with all their flaws and not speak up about matters that may irritate them. This sentiment shames women who stand up for themselves, implying that the Devil has a hold over them. Religion also plays a significant role in establishing how a man and woman should act in a marriage. Instead of chastising men who don’t seem to change, religion is used to look down upon nagging women. Even a failed marriage is always the woman’s fault since they “constantly” criticize their husband. The only God-given responsibility in marriage is to provide for his family. These ideas may seem comedic in the present, but maintaining a nuclear family was the utmost priority for women.

  • February 25, 2022 at 2:57 pm
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    The reading that stood out to me most was Marabel Morgan’s ,“Excerpt’s from The Total Woman (1970).” The passage from this reading I found to be most interesting was,” Psychiatrists tell us that a man’s most basic needs, outside of warm sexual love, are approval and admiration. Women need to be loved; men need to be admired. We women would do well to remember this one important difference between us and the other half” (57). This was an interesting argument. In the several paragraphs that follow, the difference in a men needing affirmation and women needing love was due to the different societal stigmas and up brings that shaped these differences. For example, Morgan notes that men were raised to not show emotion and not be in tune with their emotions, while women were raised to “throw tantrums” and cry and put on full display their emotions and how they were feeling at times. Because of this societal stigma and upbringing, it ultimately plays a role in the coming together of a man and a woman in marriage or relationship. Morgan shares a line, “Just the other day a woman told me, ‘My husband doesn’t fulfill me. He never tells me his real feelings; he never expresses his love. He’s about as warm as a cold fish” (57)! The way men have operated with their emotions over the years have seemed to be a reason for explaining why men are the way they are and oftentimes why women in marriages feel unfulfilled. However, I was not fond of how Morgan separated who needed love and who need admiration in the relationship. It should be a blend of both parties bringing both attributes to display. Morgan somehow indirectly puts the blame on the wife in a marriage to explain why the husband does not act the way she would like and how by admiring her husband and allowing him to do as he pleases, he will somehow “change” for the better.

  • February 24, 2022 at 9:56 am
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    One passage in the readings that stood out to me from Marabel Morgan’s “Excerpt’s from The Total Woman” is:
    “Duty is stern; love is winsome. The loving wife always has more fun in marriage because God planned it that way. He really does provide us with joy and abundant life if we’ll just follow His blueprints.
    When we as wives decide to submit to the man we love, that means we are truly willing to change our natures. First, we need insight as to the places in life and marriage where we don’t meet God’s criteria. By reading the Bible we discover where these places are. Then we must learn, through reading the Word, how to overcome – which only can be done by the grace of God, diligent prayer, and faithfulness.”
    It became evident through all of the passages for today that antifeminists at the time believed that feminists essentially lived in disobedience to God’s laws. Morgan, along with the other antifeminists, base almost all of their arguments on God and the Bible. They heavily reference that the Bible tells women to love their husbands which in turn means to admire them. It was honestly quite frightening to learn from Morgan’s work that she believed that if you are unhappy in your marriage as a woman, that this is entirely your fault. The only reason that you are unhappy is because your faith with God is not strong enough and to resolve this unhappiness you just need to admire and accept your husband for everything that he is, even the most terrible parts. It was scary to read that a woman essentially has to “bow down” to her husband at all costs and this is what will make you as a woman happy and fulfilled in your marriage.

    Another passage that stood out to me was in the Chapter “Adapt to Him” where it says:
    “‘You wives must submit to your husbands’ leadership in the same way you submit to the Lord.’ God planned for woman to be under the husband’s rule…It is only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres worships him, and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him. She becomes a priceless jewel, the glory of femininity, his queen!”
    She states the biblical remedy for conflict in this assertion by saying that in order for a woman to be totally Total that she will have to come in second to everything, and that this is the inherent nature of a man and woman’s relationship. A wife is expected to adapt to her husband in every which way, no matter what and this will lead to her husband loving her and for a happy marriage. Morgan’s work puts absolutely all blame on women for any sort of troubles in their marriages, and that a woman’s path to happiness is dependent on being completely submissive to their husbands.

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