A Woman in a Man's Church

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hawkgrrrl
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A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by hawkgrrrl » 15 May 2019, 13:11

I've been reading Robert Greene's book, the Laws of Human Nature. It's really interesting. One of the chapters is on gender roles and the psychological and social problems when people are forced to behave in ways that aren't true to them.

It also talks about the power of being more balanced as an individual in accepting your so-called "masculine" or "feminine" traits. It's not that these traits are actually more common in men or women, but that society and our relationship with our parents reinforce certain traits in our early-forming identities, and if those contradict our natural personalities, it can have negative side effects.

For men forced to repress their "feminine" side like expressing empathy, emotions, or forced to be more aggressive than they naturally are, if they are shamed by others for their "unmanly" behavior, the result can be toxic masculinity, a twisted version of masculinity in which violence, aggression and competitiveness are the yardsticks for success. Likewise, for women forced to repress their "masculine" side like hiding their intelligence, ambition or aggressive feelings, the result can be women who are catty, manipulative, using social power to maneuver or as weapons against other, being passive aggressive, policing other women, being seductive to control men, etc.

I also found it interesting that Greene describes masculine group dynamics, and it's pretty obvious that this is how the church operates:
“in a group setting the masculine style is to require a leader, and to either aspire to that role or gain power by being the most loyal follower. Leaders will designate various deputies to do their bidding. Men form hierarchies and punish those who fall out of line. They are highly status conscious, hyperaware of their place in the group. Leaders will tend to use some element of fear to keep the group cohesive. The masculine style of leadership is to identify clear goals and reach them. It puts emphasis on results, however they are achieved.”
This description is the main reason I did not join OW and haven't really wanted women to be ordained to the current PH structure. To me, the structure is toxic and goes against gospel ideals.

By contrast, female group dynamics are very different:
“The feminine style is more about maintaining the group spirit and keeping the relationships smoothed out, with fewer differences among individuals. It is more empathetic, considering the feelings of each member and trying to involve them more in the decision-making process. Results are important, but the way they are achieved, the process, is equally important.”
That's not to say female group dynamics are perfect either, but our male organization could sure use more of this.

https://wheatandtares.org/2019/05/14/toxic-femininity/

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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by SamBee » 16 May 2019, 03:26

if they are shamed by others for their "unmanly" behavior, the result can be toxic masculinity, a twisted version of masculinity in which violence, aggression and competitiveness are the yardsticks for success.
Instead men are regularly shamed for their manly side these days and handed phrases like "toxic masculinity", which is why their mental health is going down the pan and boys are being let down at school. "Toxic femininity" never gets a mention, yet I'm sure there is such a thing - it would probably include body shaming and psychological abuse.

I'm sick of being expected to account for other people's behavior. If I see men acting stupidly, sometimes I can intervene, but I am not responsible for their life choices. Nor am I responsible for everything white people have done or will do.

The way the church treats women sucks, I don't deny that, and I try not to perpetuate that, but I'm not to blame for what others do who share some physical characteristics with me.
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Roy » 16 May 2019, 09:02

I believe that this post could just as easily been titled "A woman in a Man's World".

The description of the masculine group dynamics seems to be how most businesses, governments, and corporations operate. I know that there are some theories that large group cooperation grew mainly out of warfare and group protection/defense and that this was largely in the male arena. According to this theory, almost all of our large organizations have this same root in male group dynamics.
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 May 2019, 11:35

Excellent post. Two things:

1) What Roy said. This is NOT an excuse of the LDS Church. Far from it.

2) Toxic masculinity is a real thing. If we look at the Sermon on the Mount, and especially the Beatitudes, it is overwhelmingly a Sermon about the need to be more stereotypically female to a society that was organized upon and valued a stereotypically male organization and approach.
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On Own Now
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by On Own Now » 16 May 2019, 11:50

I just want to make sure I understand.

Is it the opinion of people here that masculine traits are bad and feminine traits are good? That women should adopt some masculine traits in order to live in a man's world because that's what's been forced upon them and that men should adopt feminine traits in order to stop being jerks?

God, I hate labels.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by dande48 » 16 May 2019, 12:43

I'd go with the term "Machavellian". Calling it "toxic masculinity" is sexist; a woman can be just as much of a d*** as any guy.

And I'd put Robert Greene deep into the deep in the camp of "toxic masculinity", as well as anyone who applies his teachings.
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Roy » 16 May 2019, 14:41

On Own Now wrote:
16 May 2019, 11:50
Is it the opinion of people here that masculine traits are bad and feminine traits are good? That women should adopt some masculine traits in order to live in a man's world because that's what's been forced upon them and that men should adopt feminine traits in order to stop being jerks?
No, I think Hawkgrrrl is saying that people can be allowed to be themselves and bring whatever traits and assets that they naturally have to the organizational table. We are stronger when everyone contributes from a position of their personal strengths.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 May 2019, 14:48

dande48 and on own now: I recommend you read the whole post I linked (or much better, the book) so you can improve your understanding of what Robert Greene is saying. Both so-called masculine and so-called feminine traits exist in ALL people, and they are all good qualities (or not inherently bad). It's only when you tell men & women to suppress traits that are naturally theirs (that society and/or their parents have assigned to the opposite gender role) that toxicity happens. When you shame boys for being "feminine" or "not manly" (for traits that every child possesses) or you shame girls for being "masculine" or "not feminine" (for traits all children have), that's when these negative and extreme behaviors come out. The reason "toxic masculinity" and "toxic femininity" don't look exactly the same is because it's a patriarchal world we live in (built on traits deemed "masculine" like competitiveness, aggression, logic) and women have less direct access to power in our social structures.

It's not a matter of "adopting" traits one doesn't possess. It's undoing the suppression of our traits that we learned to hide as very young children. It's regaining some balance we lost along the way. Babies and toddlers of both sexes cry, fight, yell, are contented, snuggle, are selfish, are affectionate--until we start teaching them that only (roughly) half of those things are (more) acceptable for their gender.

Sambee: from the post:
So what, if anything, is toxic femininity? First, there are some Men’s Rights Activists who claim “toxic femininity” is a byproduct of feminism, that women want to blame men for violence while enacting violence themselves, then playing the “woman card” to get away with it. That’s not what Robert Greene’s book is talking about (and he avoids the term Toxic Femininity as well as the term Toxic Masculinity) nor is it what this OP is about. The negatives that we see leaking out when women are forced into a “feminine” role are:

“The hyperfeminine woman will often be concealing a great deal of repressed anger and resentment at the role she has been forced to play. Her seductive, girlish behavior with men is actually a ploy for power, to tease, entrap, and hurt the target. Her masculine side will leak out in passive-aggressive behavior, attempts to dominate people in relationships in underhanded ways. Underneath the sweet, deferential façade, she can be quite willful and highly judgmental of others.”

When you have to pretend to be nicer and less aggressive than you really feel, the natural byproduct is to weaponize your niceness. You can couch an insult as a compliment, for example: “Usually girls your size can’t pull off that type of outfit, but you really look great in it!” Manipulating men through childish behavior is the entire premise of the book Fascinating Womanhood, a book that was popular in Mormon circles in the 70s and 80s. In the book, women are encouraged to act helpless, use a baby voice to get their way, and to stamp their foot during an argument to seem more “feminine” and dependent which is supposed to boost their husband’s ego. It’s all a play act designed to help a man who is insecure feel more masculine.

This enforced femininity can also create other problems for women, such as eating disorders, depression, or even mental illness like Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy which disproportionately affects women and is also a form of child or elder abuse.
To me, there's a lot of that I recognized from the Relief Society.

Roy, exactly! Also from the post:
Second wave feminists know very well that to succeed in these environments, women must suppress their “feminine” traits and bolster their “masculine” traits to succeed and get ahead, and yet, they pay a price for doing so, both internally and also within the group because they are seen as acting “unfeminine.”

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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by On Own Now » 16 May 2019, 15:40

hawkgrrrl wrote:
15 May 2019, 13:11
[From Greene:] “in a group setting the masculine style is to require a leader, and to either aspire to that role or gain power by being the most loyal follower. Leaders will designate various deputies to do their bidding. Men form hierarchies and punish those who fall out of line. They are highly status conscious, hyperaware of their place in the group. Leaders will tend to use some element of fear to keep the group cohesive. The masculine style of leadership is to identify clear goals and reach them. It puts emphasis on results, however they are achieved.”
I find this to be a gross exaggeration of the way that men work within structured organizations as a way to advance achievement. It conforms with what I have heard on this site many times, that men "need" hierarchy.
[From Greene:]“The feminine style is more about maintaining the group spirit and keeping the relationships smoothed out, with fewer differences among individuals. It is more empathetic, considering the feelings of each member and trying to involve them more in the decision-making process. Results are important, but the way they are achieved, the process, is equally important.”
While I agree with this in general, I note that this statement is significantly more favorable about the "feminine style" compared to the accusatory tone of the prior statement regarding the "masculine style".

FWIW, this isn't much of a shock to me. As a white male American, I've spent the entirety of my adult life being told to feel bad for the way I am. Because of my age, I've been told I'm "afraid of technology". Because I'm successful, I've been told that it was "easier" for me than it is for kids now in their 20's. Of course, those same 20-somethings eat out regularly, and will never experience a diet whose two primary staples are 10/dollar "ramen" noodles and 5/dollar macaroni and "cheese". It's always amazing how easy it is to lob grenades at whole groups of people without even realizing we are doing it.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by dande48 » 16 May 2019, 19:42

Yeah, I've read Robert Greene. Great writer, highly amoral. I'm not interested in anything else he has to say.

"Masculinity" by definition is "qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men." "Femininity" by defintion is "qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of women." By using those words, in conjucntion with "toxic" you are applying negative characteristics to gender. It is inherently sexist. Toxic is toxic, no matter where it pops up.

The thing is, I WISH everyone were treated with more kindness and compassion, no matter what traits they posess. I wish virtuous people could achieve positions of power. I don't think anyone should feel disadvantaged because of their gender. I think cat callers are butts, and I think the rich men in power (or anyone else) who sexually harass anyone should all be run over by a truck. But I cannot support a movement that belittles another group in order to further their cause. It's not right when men do it, and it's not right when women do it. Period.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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