My husband told me a story while we were planning to have our first child. I had told him a concern that I had about maybe not being able to have children (my sister has had problems along those lines, but we had no trouble having a baby despite my concerns). He said that one of his leaders growing up used to live in Utah, and early in their marriage they did have quite a bit of trouble concieving. They didn't keep it a secret, so a few people in the ward knew that they were trying, but weren't having success. During a lesson in relief society the topic of child discipline came up. The wife mentioned that she didn't think spanking was a good idea, and that she didn't plan on spanking her children. An older lady in the ward spoke up and said, "Well, maybe when you correct your views on child rearing then the Lord will open your womb." I understand that after that the couple seriously questioned whether or not they wanted to keep going to church there.
Besides making me ill that someone would actually say that, it bothered me more that no-one else spoke up. I hoped that if I had been there I would have been willing to call that lady up on the carpet and rebuke her.
This discussion at FMH, and Annegb's response to my comment made me think. All of the loud-mouthed women I've ever met at church were more like the thoughtless cruel woman in the story than like Annegb. Why is it that the loud women are normally the sort to tell you what a bad mother you are, how ugly you look, how you're life would be better if you were more righteous, how anyone who disagrees with them is a sinner? What is worse, is because these women are loud and bossy, they get noticed, and are often given callings like RS president.
Why aren't there more women that will counteract these mean women? Why aren't there women who will speak up for fairness, and good treatment? It seems clear to me that we need them desperately. Women who will speak up, but still be nice. Women who will defend the Gospel when the culture threatens it. Women who won't be shamed into silence. Women who will dissent when dissent is needed. Women who have respect because they earn it, and demand it. Not women who have respect based in fear.
Our world seems to teach us that if you're a woman you must be nice, or loud but not both. I'm making it a personal goal to have the Moxy, the Chutzpah, the Huevos* to say the things that need to be said.
*if you really need to know you can email me.