This may or may not be entirely related to the PBS documentary, but I've been thinking things. As most of us do. But the thing(s) that keep coming up is (are) all about how I fit in the church as a woman, as an artist, as a dancer, as a mother, as a calling-holder, etc. It's all about me! But honestly, it's interesting to think about how we fit in to our ward families, our home families, and the roles set forth for our sexes.
As a woman: I feel like there is a combination of things happening in a ward. There is what I feel a good part of the time, which is acceptance and love. But then there's the feeling of the most obvious gender exclusion, which a woman on the documentary talked about: I don't have the priesthood and am therefore not as important in decision-making, nor do I have power that is equal. I don't get as caught up in this as Margaret Toscano (the documentary woman), but I think it may affect a lot of women in the church. Women who might be thinking that there's got to be a better answer to the question of equality.
One thing I will say: women in the church cannot be expected to accept the simple distinction of "men have priesthood, and women have motherhood" as a catch-all for any feelings of doubt or inferiority. For some this is enough. But for others it might not fully address all the questions. Is it wrong to go further? I mean, men do have the priesthood, and women do have motherhood. But not all women are mothers. And men have fatherhood. So we only have part of an answer.
I'm not sure what the whole answer is myself. But I would like to feel comfortable enough in a ward where we could talk about it free from the fear of sounding ungrateful, non-spiritual, and stupid for wondering. Personal feeling: I love being a mother. It's hard, boring, heart-wrenching, wonderful, scary, meaningful, and generally the most important thing I will ever do. I respect the priesthood, I think it's important, my husband is worthy of it, and our family can have a blessing if we ever need one. But even though I believe these things, I would still hesitate to openly discuss gender role issues in the church, for fear of ridicule. And that is the problem.