There is an interesting discussion at the blog site Feminist Mormon Housewives here.
This is a comment President Beck was purported to have made at a recent women’s conference in South Georgia”
“…women shouldn’t be ashamed of being Home Makers- literally making homes where our families want to be; that we should use the times we gather our children around the dinner table (with tablecloths and nice dishes) as times to teach and share; that when our homes and lives are free of clutter and chaos, when we organize and prioritize we will be happier.”
After reading that comment, I reflected back on the talk President Beck gave at General Conference in October 2007. I believe most of my LDS readers will remember the talk Mothers Who Know.
Here is a portion of what President Beck said:
Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers
Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women. [Emphasis added]
I did some research on President Beck today. I found she was born in 1954. I feel I can better understand now why she focuses on homemaking. She is a product of the 1950s. Read this and you’ll understand where President Beck’s thoughts originated:
Being a Wife and Mother in the 1950s
During the 1950s, there was a revival of placing homemakers on a pedestal, with homemaking and child rearing being touted as a woman’s highest calling. The message was everywhere — from pulpits to politics. Television was coming into its own during that decade as more homes purchased TV sets; and programs like Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave It to Beaver were popular. The image projected on television and in magazines was one of a woman who, while her husband was off earning enough to support the family on his one income, stayed behind to make their suburban home a refuge to which her husband and school-age children returned late each day from the demanding world outside. She was always impeccably dressed as she spent her days cheerfully cleaning, cooking, and caring for their youngest children in a suburban home equipped with the latest appliances and household products. The corporate world which offered those products adored her.
The model housewife, in this 1950s view, lived to serve her family and keep her husband and children happy, meeting their every need. Any aspirations or needs she had for fulfillment of her own beyond this model were considered “selfish.”
Work-Family Balance: 1950s and Now
Yes, President Beck is a Retro-Woman. I do believe we should cut her some slack. Don’t you?