Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mormon Feminist Day

Last night, while I was unable to sleep, I stumbled across this article in the Daily Herald.  It's about how a group of Mormon feminist women were trying to convince other women to wear pants to church this coming Sunday.

While I applaud the efforts of those who try to better society by bringing attention to potentially harmful  stereotypes, I have mixed feelings about the message of this "Mo Fem Day".

Here are a few of my thoughts...

First of all, I want to say that stereotypes have a time and a place.  They help us to understand how someone might act or react in specific situations.  They help us to understand cultures and values.  They help us to understand one another in a variety of ways.  Stereotypes begin to become dangerous when we use them to categorically undermine the abilities or feelings of others based on their gender, religion, ethnicity or any other similarity.

The LDS cultural norm that implies that women should always wear skirts or dresses to Sunday services is not dangerously stereotypical.  Why?  Because this idea is of our own making.  As women, we aren't being told that we are unworthy or irreverent if we choose to wear pants to church.  No Church leaders are telling us this.  Here is an excerpt from For the Strength of Youth taken from the Church's website:

No mention of skirts here.

I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman wearing pants to church.  If you wear a pant suit that is nice, clean and respectable, much on the same level as a man's suit, then I don't see a problem with it.  And aside from those few Nosy Netties who will always be all up in yo' bid'niss, I don't really think that anyone else would mind either.

What I do mind is when people start inciting inappropriate behavior over a non-issue.  No one is being oppressed here.

Excerpt from the Daily Herald article.

Women's suffrage?  No, girls.  Your little hissy fit over ladies' Sunday attire is not, in any way, shape or form, related to women's suffrage in the slightest.  Women's suffrage movements were trying to fix real issues, like, you know, getting women the right to vote or own land, not giving them the right to wear pants to church (which right you already have, by the way.  This is America.  Have I already mentioned this?)

A quote from the article by Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesperson.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are certainly still some lingering social inequalities between men and women in the Church.  While I believe that we should strive for an atmosphere within the Church where women and men both feel like their contributions are of equal value and appreciated, I don't believe that women need to try to "be like men" all the time, or vice versa.  I am not a man.  I don't think like a man, I don't look like a man, I don't perform tasks like a man.  If I did, I wouldn't need my husband for a whole lot more than baby-makin', now would I?  Men and women are meant to compliment each other.  Most couples might not fit rigid gender stereotypes, but they usually aren't identical in thought and action.  And except for the loony few, they certainly don't dress alike simply for the sake of "being equal".

If you have issues with something cultural, like whether women should be allowed to wear pants to church or not, then meet with a member of your Bishopric or with the Relief Society president and see what they can do to help you in your cause.  Sacrament meeting and Relief Society are not the appropriate venues for rallying the troops over non-Gospel-related causes.  Wearing pants or wearing skirts will make no difference in your eternal salvation.  Your dedication to the Gospel, however, will.  Your love for the Savior will.  Your service and your sacrifice and your giving of your life to building up the Kingdom of God will.  Stunts like this only distract from the real reason why we attend church, and that is to worship the Lord.

If your mind is on more superfluous things, like your clothes, then you won't be able to enjoy the many blessings that await you there.

So I say, rock those pant suits if that's your thing.  Or you can wear a skirt.  It really doesn't matter.  Just do what you feel the most comfortable doing and leave the crusading on the door step when you walk through the meetinghouse doors.

14 comments:

Megan said...

My Grandma wore a pant/suit jacket set. The pants were flowy, willowy? Can't come up with the right word. But you had to look real close to tell they weren't a skirt and that they were actual pants. She wore it for medical reasons and oh boy did people make comments out of the woodwork on it.

Jordan and Amanda said...

Tiffany, this post makes me miss you like crazy. Don't you want to move to Phoenix and be my best friend? Better yet, I would LOVE to move to Ohio (because I pretty much hate Phoenix). I need to go talk to Jordan about that.....

But really, I love reading your views on current issues. It's refreshing!

Tiffany Tertipes said...

Yes! Move here and we shall be best friends!

I love that you read and comment on (and agree with) my rants. It makes me feel validated. I miss you!

Michael and Mindee said...

Well said...being in Utah where this is brooming, I'm like really? Its driving me crazy! But I totally back your view! My opinion exactly!

Michael and Mindee said...

Well said...being in Utah where this is brooming, I'm like really? Its driving me crazy! But I totally back your view! My opinion exactly!

anneski said...

enjoyed reading your post

Ila Anne

Jessica Havican said...

Still can't believe they used, "women's suffrage". Are they for real? No one(of importance) said that pants are forever banned during Sunday worship or even said that they are inappropriate. I'm pretty sure women back in the day didn't rally for the sake of being able to get rid of their side saddle and join the world of men by straddling a horse. They just did it! I thought your closing comments were very poignant. Leave that kind of debacle outside. Church is for worship not for some lame rants on women's rights.

Eric Hinckley said...

Tiffany, this is a great post. You hit the nail on the head when you talk about how pants/skirts have never neen mandated and that this is more a personal gripe some ladies have. Two thumbs up for a very logical, frank and refreshing post.

Araignée said...

Thanks, couldn't agree more.

Culture affects clothes more than anything. In Africa, a topless person in a sacrament meeting won't get so much as a stare. In the US, they would, and rightly so. If someone cares so much about being different and standing out, fine, do it, but once again, wrong focus in the wrong place, and you're missing the bigger picture.

Brent said...

Excellent!

atarihomestar said...

Great post.

atarihomestar said...

Great post.

Megan said...

You hit the nail on the head. This whole thing is obnoxious. Women of the church are apparently missing the whole point of womanhood in God's eyes and how divine it is. I have never been bothered by someone wearing pants to church, there are several in our ward who do so regularly. However if you are doing it to protest or make a point reverence goes out the door. Thank you for writing this so well and using church quotes so well to prove how ridiculous the whole "movement" is.

Travis Miller said...

Fantastic post. I wish more people in this movement had your insight.