I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Grief, I'm Un-Marriageable?!

People like to tell me I'm different, not the "typical" Mormon, whatever that is. I was typical, up until the time that most women were married and I wasn't. I think it was about age 24.


Until then, I fit all the stereotypes and I didn't stand out much. When I didn't marry young, I continued in school. Now, that made me different. And, it continues to make me different. I've got more formal schooling that anybody really needs. This is hard to admit, given how much money I've paid for it all.


Anyway, this posting isn't about all that though. It is simply a gripe. I thought I was doing exactly what Heavenly Father wanted me to but it ended up making me un-marriageable. By increasing my knowledge, skills and abilities I was less attractive to men.


I was above average in looks, so my un-marriageability cannot be blamed on physical attractiveness.


Most men don't want a highly educated, intelligent female. Well, at least they don't want that the first time around. The second time around General Authorities generally choose exactly that. But, we won't go there right now. Back to my own experience.


I think Church leaders had a responsibility to tell me that if I did all these things, I would become un-marriageable. It was my choice to do them, certainly.


I figure I deserved a warning, that's all.


In the Church, I don't think we do a good enough job of encouraging the young men to value what we are telling the young women to become.


I found my man, though. And, he LIKES strong, competent women, always has. He is proud of me, my education, and everything I know and do. But, he's a rare bird. Most women cannot bank on finding such a gem.


I'm glad I did though.


Note: I was 35 years old when I did get married.


Update: Okay, I can't resist. Apparently, I am the topic of conversation on Zionlist. It is pretty amusing to read all the comments and speculation about ME and not about the point I was trying to make.


My main point is:  I don't think we do a good enough job of encouraging the young men to value what we are telling the young women to become.


I would suggest that the people discussing my post on Zionlist or elsewhere stop speculating about me and simply examine my statement for truth or falsehood.


The comment can stand on it's own. Examining who said it isn't really relevant to whether or not the statement itself is accurate.


But, in the interests of full disclosure I will reveal a little bit more about myself and where I'm coming from by telling a small story.


I graduated in August with my B.A. from BYU. Three weeks later I started graduate school and became a "graduate student." I was astonished at the effect this had upon men. All of a sudden I was getting very different reactions from them socially and the difference in me was only three weeks. This and other experiences have reinforced the statement I made.


Formal education was always Plan B for me. No one that knew me as single ever thought I was intentionally postponing marriage. This assumption only surfaced in people after I got married.


My hubby didn't serve a mission on the moon. He's a convert. He would never pose for underwear ads. I think he is smarter than me although I have more formal schooling.


He valued smart, competent women before he ever became Mormon. He intentionally dated them when he was young and after he got divorced.

6 comments:

  1. Well, apparently you were not, and are not un-marriageable after all. You just needed to wait for the right opportunity to connect with the right guy.

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  2. Amen! Pondering my own inability to find a 'helpmeet' I began asking a lot of questions, trying to gather enough data to see why there's such a disparity between temple recommend holding members of both sexes and marriages. Yeah, I'm a nerd.

    Anyhow, a blaringly obvious issue revealed itself in difference between the way young men are taught and te way young women are taught. The goals, though maybe similar, are presented and emphasized in such a way as to create a HUGE difference in ideals between the genders.


    To me, the solution is becoming more and more obvious each day: we need to base our instruction of gender roles and life goals around 1) The Family Proclamation, and 2) The Abrahamic Covenant. Those two teachings frame all of this in te proper light.

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  3. Hello Krista,

    I am proprietor of ZionList. I am curious, first of all, how you noticed the thread.

    Secondly, may I recommend that you sign up there and reply directly to the comment in question? It looks like you're mainly replying to the hyperbolic comment posted by Matt (now at -3 points, by the way, which means people don't like it). I don't think Matt will see the reply here unless someone tells him about specifically, which I will do after I post this.

    Also, I don't think that the rest of the thread really focused unduly on the personality behind the post. There is some speculation about misconceptions due to your personality, but there is also some harder discussion, and I would like if that were fleshed out a bit. For instance, I asked about the specific conflict between what men are taught to admire and what women are taught to become, but didn't get a response.

    While most of the replies aren't sympathetic, I don't think they're hostile either; people seem to be curious about the topic. I think a lot of good could be done if you dropped in and engaged the conversation there. If you feel like you're getting unduly flamed, let me know and I'll take care of it; we have an enforced civility policy at ZionList.

    Let me know if I can be of any help.

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  4. Hi Jeff,

    Very easily. Google tells me where people come from when they visit my blog. Most of my hits come from Google searches though. I seem to be a reference source.

    I appreciate the invite to join the dialog on Zionlist. However, I work 6 days a week and barely have enough time for my blog let alone other conversations.

    My blog is my bully pulpit. It exists so that I can record my ideas. Other people have their forums and they are welcome to them. Writing things down helps me clarify my thoughts and work out my frustrations. Others are welcome to examine my ideas but I don't have the time to moderate the discussion or explain my ideas more fully. If I do so, it will be in a new blog posting, not in a different forum.

    Thanks for the invite, though.

    Krista

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  5. Krista, I think the main issue may be that you were(are?) an exceptional young woman, looking for an exceptional young man (and both of you are, unfortunately, the exception).

    But I don't think the problem is as one-sided as it appears to you.

    I went to a top-ranked graduate program in the east, and 7 of the 10 LDS men there were single. Every one was looking for a wife (they would drive up to 6 hours every weekend to go to YSA dances), and every one complained about how hard it was to find a strong, intelligent, competent woman. After four years there, only two of the seven had gotten married, and one of them was to one of the three LDS woman in the program (interestingly, one of the other women got married as well, so that's 66% for the girls, 28% for the boys).

    I also think there's a more innocent explanation for your experience, so I'm hesitant to extrapolate from it. Your main argument seems to be that, once you got more education (and age), men weren't as interested in you. That's absolutely true. Here's my take:

    If most women want to get married, and, at the same time, most women who get married don't do graduate school, then what happens is that a much larger proportion of women in graduate school don't want to get married (this is true even though most of them still want to and are capable of getting married).

    Because of this, a man expects that a woman with post-grad education will be much less likely to commit. So he's going to spend less time trying to attract grad women, because he thinks it's not worth the time and effort, just to get shot down.

    This is what happens. If you meet a female Mormon doctor, especially one who's attractive, you assume she doesn't want to get married. And if you're wrong (which you probably are) it really stinks for her, and for the guys who would otherwise be attracted to her. But it's not the guys' fault, or the girls' fault. It's just the way things are. (If it's anyone's fault, it's the fault of the women who didn't want to get married in the first place.)

    And it works the same for men. I know a fit, handsome, single male doctor in his late 30s who has the hardest time meeting women, because they assume there must be something wrong with him: he's either gay, a pedophile, or looking for gold-diggers — none of which are true. So the women he's interested in won't give him the time of day, and the women who are interested in him are the ones willing to "overlook" all that just so they can marry a "doctor".

    Chances are, you've been on both the receiving and giving end of this.

    And, basically, it just stinks, and it's nobody's fault, but how do you change it? No "program" will do it. But maybe if enough people talk about how this happens, and how false these impressions are, they might realize what's happening.

    So I cringe every time someone puts any blame on either gender. Yes, some men aren't doing their part. And some women aren't, too. But most of them are! And the more we draw attention to the baddies, the harder it is for the goodies, who get tarred with the same brush.

    You can't fight prejudice by assigning blame; talking about the stereotypes only reinforces them. But you can fight prejudice by talking about why and how it occurs, and why the prejudicial judgments are so likely to be false.

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  6. I was just reading this blog, and boy, I think it is so correct in it's premise. Also, the comment just above mine is correct as well -- it probably is nobody's fault that women who go further in their education are viewed as "not wanting to get married." Probably highly erroneous, but true.

    I have a daughter who is in the early stages of going through this. She's a knockout, but she is interested in education and doing as much as she can. She just cannot do things any other way. She dates -- not a lot, but she does date. Her peers are getting married -- not all of them, but enough.

    I just think that our religion turns the concept of marriage into weirdness. We are working so hard to find a mate, instead of realizing that this person we are to live with for the eternities should be someone we like on all levels -- and the only way to go about finding that is by a very natural, slow, dating process. At BYU, it honestly looks as if the young men DON'T WANT A SMART GIRL. I think this is slowly changing, but the more old-fashioned young men seem to prize moldable young girls more than smarter older (aged twenty!!!) girls. I've observed this sort of thing for 30 years. It makes for a very weird society.

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