Saturday, April 6, 2013

i believe in women.

via.

This weekend I've been watching General Conference.  I invite all of you to watch some or all of General Conference, which will also be going on tomorrow.  It's good to hear uplifting messages.  So far, I've been especially appreciative of messages about the importance of women.

I do not want to be treated exactly the same as a man, and I do not need to do the exact same things they do.  But I do believe that I deserve to be valued just the same as a man.  The work I do should be treated as important and as necessary as the work that a man does.  And I believe that we as women have a lot to offer and that too often we sell ourselves short.

I believe in women and I believe that we can be powerful sources for change in our communities.  In one of my classes, we spent some time talking about Lleymah Gbowee (pictured above), an incredible woman.  She is a peace activist from Liberia who headed the Women's Peace Movement ending Liberia's Second Civil War.  I would highly recommend the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which is about her story (It is an incredible documentary, but I will warn you that it is very sad and the treatment of women and children is unimaginable).

Gbowee saw a need in her community and saw that as a woman, she could do something to make a change. She saw that her country was falling apart and that something had to be done to stop it.  She saw that as  women, she and others could influence men and cause them to take action, make a change, and end the war.

This is the kind of power I believe women have.  We are not men, but we are strong.  We have a role to play in this world.  As mentioned by Elaine Dalton in conference today: "Heavenly Father knows me and has a plan for my life...and my part matters".

As Gordon B. Hinkley has said (paraphrased): "We must never lose sight of the strength of women.  Their influence is paramount. How great is their role. How marvelous is their contribution."

And so I say to all women: You matter. Do not allow yourself to be degraded and objectified because you think that is the best way to be noticed and appreciated. Do not allow the media to convince you that you are nothing more than an object of desire.  Do not allow yourself or other women to fall into a trap believing that you are too fat, too ugly, or too stupid to do anything great with your life because that is not true.  You are more than your body and you are not stupid.  You are beautiful and you are strong. If there is one thing I know, it is that you can do great things and that you matter.

Dream big. Do not let the fact that the president is not a woman stop you from trying to be the president. Do not let the fact that you do not see many women as doctors or lawyers or CEO's stop you from trying to be one if you want to.  But do not think that you have to take on stereotypical male positions. If you want to be a schoolteacher, a nurse, or a mother, then be one. Because those positions are just as--if not more--important than being a doctor or a CEO. And if you do become a doctor or CEO, I hope that you and others (including men) will remember to respect and value the teachers and mothers just as much as you do your high-powered colleagues.

If you do not see many television shows or movies or books with strong female leads, that shouldn't stop you from believing that you can create shows or write stories with women who are strong and powerful in difficult and important situations. Or better yet, BE a strong and powerful woman in difficult and important situations.

Do not settle for limited education.  Make a contribution to society in whatever way you feel is best.  Stand up in opposition to violence and unfair treatment of women. Find a need in this world and do what it takes to make a change because you can. Young girls need women to look up to.  They need to know that they can be valued because they are a woman.  They need YOU to be that example.

I believe in you and I know that you are more than just a body. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are beautiful. You are a woman and you matter.

It is not always easy to be a woman. But oh, how great it is to be a woman.

4 comments:

Brittany Erin Nelson said...

Amen.

Nicole Waxman said...

Thanks for the wonderful insight Stacy.

Shannon Mashinchi said...

Thank you Stacy for your words...It is true that women have a lot of power that i often left untapped because they are stopped by external factors...Great post!

Mykel said...

Sing it! Well said Stacy. I think all women need to read this - to know that they matter regardless of what career aspirations they may have, regardless of how many degrees they've obtained, their shape and/or size, or where they're at in life. We are loved. We are different, individual, and unique, but we ALL matter.