Below was a question on Andrew's blog about the talk I gave at Urban Youth Workers' Institute http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/brendas-powerful-talk/ (you can see the entire blog post here with other comments)
I wanted to take a moment to write my response. There were no transcripts and it was not recorded so I have to go off of memory and my own thoughts. I understand also that Andrew's audience is a bit different then mine on this blog, but I think for women we need to love each other where ever we find ourselves.
Rachel June 10, 2010 at 2:46 am
I’d really love to know what Brenda’s referring to by ‘traditional beliefs’. Any place we can get the whole transcript?
When I say traditional beliefs I am validating the idea that if you find yourself as a wife/mother (specifically talking about a heterosexual relationship here, but I think it would work in all relationships) I am okay with being one with the concept that in a Christian home the man is the head of our household. Now let me clarify that in no way means we are subservient to our husbands rules and we have no say within the direction of our home, our values, our worth, our goals, and our desires as women. I understand from my experience in business and within the field I am that there has to be a structure to your organization and in some ways from a very organic/big picture perspective a family is like an organization there has to be a structure. I believe that until we as women understand and strip away the negative meanings behind what traditional values and beliefs mean we will never be able to embrace the concept that we are equal partners in the decisions we make within our relationships. Men require certain (lets say need) encouragement from women in order for them to be successful. Maybe it was one of God’s humorous attributes to make men insecure and in doing that God recognized in His divine wisdom that men needed a “help mate” an equal partner to be there along his side to make sure chaos does not occur. We are to be a balance to one another. We as women need to celebrate our uniqueness and the attributes we bring to a relationship in order to balance it.
My best friend taught me how to humbly appreciate the stay at home mommy who studied a traditional female field (education). I never personally looked down on her because I loved her and knew her worth as an amazing women who has touched and blessed many lives, but I will admit I would place her out of the category as an exception because she was my best friend and judge the rest of the women within this non-career, non-feminist, category as women who did not understand the struggle and fight we as strong, feminist, career oriented, highly educated women must do in order to pursue equality. But watching my best friend and her interactions and the lives she touches every day in her place of significance I realized that we as women simply beat each other up over definitions and meanings of what is traditional beliefs or traditional values.
I believe we look so negatively on these words because we have allowed a male dominated society and patriarchal "Church" culture define what these words are supposed to mean and we as women have turned them into negative messages which we thought were supposed to unify and inspire us to keep fighting for equality but reality we have played right into the hands of the male/patriarchal society and "Church"and allowed it to divide us as women. The unifying message that was supposed to make us angry and push us forward has actually played into our insecurities of judging one another and trying to place all women into categories of who is better than the other.
As single women, women within in relationships and partnerships we still must find our strength in understanding the uniqueness we posses as women. That we must encourage one another with one single unifying voice that we are talented, we are beautiful, we were all created in God’s perfect image to play a significant influential role in where we find ourselves. We need to encourage women in all walks of life and not find ways to divide and judge. We as women have allowed ourselves to become over sexualized in the name of a new found femininity, but our femininity should not be defined but what our bodies look like or what we can do sexually to our partners. We need to teach this next generation to embrace what makes us different from men, what makes us successful as women, and it’s okay to follow and have traditional beliefs or values of what a partnership is within scripture. We need to understand what our legacy will be to the next generation of young women. No you do not have to be married or follow what is deemed “appropriate” by church or society and you can still be used in great ways to where ever you feel God has called you.
All this to say that I am secure in who God made me, what He has called me to do and be, the talents He has blessed me with, the goals I have accomplished, the professional success I have had, the high education I have received that I am okay with saying I am a feminist with traditional values and beliefs. I embrace the concept that within a relationship there is a partnership where you have one general and one second in command (I don’t know the military term for the second in command). They have equally important positions vital to accomplishing the mission or task at hand in order to guarantee its success. They equally discuss the plan of action and challenge one another for the best outcome. The general may deliver the message but the two of them together lead there team. That team maybe your family, your mission, your office, your calling, your relationship, your partnership, etc.
I am strong, I am beautiful, I am talented, I have been on a long journey to be able to love all women in all different places which all have equal significance and influence. We need to love one another for what we were created to be and not believe those are hindering descriptions but rather uplifting celebrations of how to live this life in the most significant and Godly way.
So women I am curious what are your thoughts?