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Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post: What Do Modern Mormon Men Want?

Kickstarter site: here
Film blog: here
Director's website: here

Since 2010 Handkerchief Films has been working on a documentary about Fascinating Womanhood, the 1960s marriage manual published by Helen Andelin, a Mormon and Arizona native.

In her book she argues that women really just want to be loved, cherished and adored. And men want to be respected. This is the main thrust of all five of her books, her classes (taught all over the world by volunteers) and her website (still maintained by her son). Her husband, Aubrey, also wrote a book aimed at male readers with the same message, entitled Man of Steel and Velvet.

We don’t even have to make a joke about that title, do we?

Her media empire, as it were, instructs women how to get their men to adore them by teaching them how to respect their men. And what does respect look like?

Andelin argues, as does her husband, that respect for men means making them feel manly and needed. And that one way to do this is to emphasize the gender differences between you and your spouse. For women this means cultivating dependence, submissiveness, and childlikeness. As she says near the end of the 2007 edition of Fascinating Womanhood, "… men never want women to grow up completely. Truly fascinating women always remain somewhat little girls, regardless of age” (377).

In the documentary we work to balance the perspective of many women who feel that using the manuals saved their marriages against the perspective of many others who argue that Fascinating Womanhood is destructive to men and women, that it encourages a state of marital affairs that was only popular for about 50 years in America, which we've gladly left behind.

So, Modern Mormon Men, what do you want? Are love and respect so different that one is appropriate only for women and the other for men? Have women lost the ability to show their men how important they are? Do men want girlish wives? What makes a woman fascinating?

Tell us what you think, and spread the news about our documentary.

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