Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Girl Power (November 19, 2009)
Sometime during the fall 2009 semester, it was announced that BYU would be dismantling its Women's Research Institute. It wasn't going to go away, though. Its programs and resources were to be dispersed among multiple departments. The spokesperson for BYU said that "the reorganization is taking place to strengthen the program and not to save money. We hope students and others will look closely at what is happening and note that this will significantly expand resources for research."
Even though BYU wasn't getting rid of women's studies at all, a few protesters took it as a symbol that BYU (and, by extension, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is downsizing the importance of women and returning to a pre-suffragette era.
I guess at a glance it might look that way. But to accuse the Church of persecuting and prejudicing women makes me queasy. It's fine to wish the WRI were still around, but I would second guess myself before outwardly criticizing the Church and BYU of mistreating and mishandling women. I know that not necessarily every BYU rule or action is eternal, doctrinal truth (beards may be against the BYU Honor Code, but not against scripture). But I trust that BYU and the Church knows what they're doing.
Anyway, I'm not really sure what this cartoon is supposed to say. Interpret it as you will.
"To ennoble the House and the Family by raising woman to her true position was essential to the future stability of His Kingdom, as one of purity and spiritual worth....He proclaimed the equal rights of woman and man within the limits of the family, and, in this, gave their charter of nobility to the mothers of the world. For her nobler position in the Christian era, compared with that granted her in antiquity, woman is indebted to Jesus Christ." - Elder James E. Talmage in Jesus the Christ, quoting Cunningham Geikie.