12.14.2012

mormon women, equality, and pants?

I remember seeing people go crazy all over facebook, twitter, and blogs when they announced the new ages for young men and women to be able to serve LDS missions. Sure, I thought it was pretty cool, and a very smart change - but did I feel like it was some huge step for women in the Church? Not really. But people really felt this was big news, I mean, even the New York Times wrote about it.

I did feel like it meant women would have more of a reasonable choice to serve a mission, and that it wasn't just something you did because you weren't married yet. Girls could make the decision at such a critical age and time in their life to have an amazing life building experience where they could deeper their testimonies and learn more about themselves, others and Christ.

The excitement over the new age for missionaries, especially the new age for women, sparked a conversation about equality with women in our Church. I know this has been an ongoing conversation, but I feel it has become more prevalent recently. 

I like to read C. Jane's blog because I think she is a great writer, but I also think she sparks good conversation. I don't always agree with her, but that doesn't matter, I like how she makes me start thinking. The second I heard about this whole Mormon Feminists wearing pants on December 16th, I knew people would be talking about it. I knew C. Jane would write about it, and I knew people would be posting about it.

To be honest, my first thought was... "that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard." I had this reaction for two main reasons...

1. Church is a place of worship, it is not a place to make a point or demonstration.

2. There is absolutely no Church standard that you can't wear pants to Church, and if your point is about equality, then make it about that, not pants. 
 
Yes, yes, culturally the norm for women is to wear dresses and skirts to Church in LDS congregations, but the Church's counsel is to wear our best out of respect, and that can be defined by us individually as members. If you are judging someone based on what they are wearing to Church, then maybe you need to pay a little bit (or a lot a bit) more attention while you are at Church! If most women find dresses and skirts to be there best, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and the same goes for pants.

I guess I am just bothered that this is how people are going about making the changes they want, by feeling the need to make a "demonstration" on a day that should be about faith and learning. I just don't think Church is the appropriate venue.

Stephanie Lauritzen a member of this group said, We're doing this not because we think women have to wear pants or should wear pants but that women can wear pants.” No one has ever said that women can't wear pants to Church. To me having an issue with this, is more of an issue with the culture of members in the Church, and not the Church itself. 
 
Another quote I saw was that this group was formed to "give a voice to and express support for women who don’t conform to traditional gender roles and those who seek gender equality in the LDS church."

I have never felt unequal in my religion because I am a woman, and I wouldn't necessarily consider myself "traditional" either.

I was raised in a home where there were no "boy" jobs or "girl" jobs, just jobs that everyone needed to do and get done. In fact, I remember trying to make the argument that I shouldn't have to take the trash out because that is a "boy's" job, and my Dad wouldn't have it. I had to mow the lawn, and do the grungy stuff just as much as I had to do the more "womanly" jobs - this went for my brother's too. As a family we did everything together, and no chores or activities were separated because of gender. Everyone was expected and invited to participate in what everyone was doing.

You are always going to have people in your life that view things differently then you, people who are more conservative, liberal, traditional, a mix of both. I have honestly never felt unequal in my religion or at Church because of my gender because I don't let other people's opinions rule over my life. I also respect other people's decisions.

Sure I have had very conservative Mormon's make remarks to me because I am almost 24, have been married for about 3 1/2 years, am done my education and am working full time and they think I should get started on having a family. Does it bother me? Not really. 

We all experience judgement every day in every aspect of our lives, not just at Church, and if you feel like you need to say something or want to make a change, then say and do it, don't make it about "the pants."
 
Do I consider myself a feminist? Well yes, yes I do. I advocate social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Does being a feminist mean I can't wear my girly fun dresses, put make up on and relish in the fun aspects of being a girl? Um, no. Does me loving those things mean I don't like to have intellectual conversations, or that I couldn't hold the same job as a man, or mean I don't like to go hunting? Um, no, it doesn't.

I believe we can have equality while recognizing and respecting our differences among our own genders, the opposite gender, as well as recognizing and respecting our similarities.

Let's not worry about what people choose to wear to Church, and focus on why we are at Church

 
*my apologies if you are not Mormon and are super confused by this post, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
 
 

53 comments:

  1. You hit my thoughts exactly. I still think, "that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard." :D It's one of those things that I see so illogical that I don't even know where to begin.

    Especially during the Christmas season, when our thoughts, focus, and actions should be even more so centered on the Savior; what a senseless, selfish waste of energy.

    I love this quote: “We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.”

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    1. Amazing quote Kendra! I also love your point about the time of year, I mean, shouldn’t we be focused on those things all year round esp. while we are at Church?! I am not saying they don’t have the right to express how they feel, but doing some form of demonstration during Church services is what bothers me.

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  2. I 100% agree with you. Church is not the place to be making any sort of statement. And I have never felt like a second class citizen in the church or like my roles are less important because I am a woman. I am just living my life, trying to follow the gospel. It's when people get stressed out trying to figure out all of the "gray area" is when doubt sneaks in. I've been there and I find myself a much happier person when I focus on myself and my testimony than when I focus on others and theirs.

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    1. Focusing on yourself and your personal testimony, AMEN!

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  3. i really loved reading this post! you made some really awesome points.

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  4. yes! i can understand it being a bigger deal for people that grew up in utah where the culture (not doctrine) is more "strict" because i knew people that wore pants to church all the time in california. if you want to wear pants, thats fine! i dont care! but don't do it as a protest in my sacrament meeting where i come to worship and feel the spirit.

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  5. Soooo I had a pair of "skants" in 6th grade (a skirt connected to capri's- poor fashion choice). I think I'll just wear those on Sunday and call it good. Call me Switzerland.
    joke.
    no i think it's kind of silly to target the pants. I'm all for women's rights and equality. It's TOTALLY a cultural thing to wear skirts to church so by doing it, it only goes against the culture??? I just feel like the target is off. hmmm maybe next time it could be hats or snuggies. :)

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    1. haha I love you Lindsay, you wear that skant! haha I agree, we should bring back Church hats... just sayin' :)

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  6. AMEN! These are my thoughts exactly. The thing that disturbed me the most were the comments from some of the participating women saying that "Thomas S. Monson is just an old guy. It's obvious that he's not leading the church like how the Lord intended." Who are these people that they think they know what's better for the church, more so than the prophet? I guess I was incredibly blessed with parents who taught me that it isn't about what we wear, but what we feel and think.

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  7. Amen and amen! You said exactly how I felt about all this. Thanks for talking about this! Even though I'm Mormon, you're one of the few Mormon bloggers I follow so it's so fun to see it getting spoken about on the blogosphere.

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    1. haha thanks, I used to be so hesitant to blog about my faith, but over the last month I have decided, forget it, I am writing about what I am thinking and care about on my blog :)

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  8. Well said- not a Mormon but many friends are and I am fascinated by it. Thank you fro this post it was really well written. Thank you
    Amanda
    www.insuranceoutlaw.com

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    1. Mormons can be oddly fascinating at times! Haha if you every need a clarification just let me know :)

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  9. I'm not a Mormon, but I'm Christian, and a lot of your points rang very true to me. Excellent and thoughtful post, Alycia. :) Also MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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    1. MERRY CHRISTMAS BETHANY! :) I would like to think that the idea of focusing on ourselves when it comes to our spirituality rings true throughout all faiths!

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  10. I'll continue wearing skirts to church because that's what I consider my Sunday best and that's what I choose to worship in. I don't think it has a dang thing to do with equality. You're right, the whole thing is dumb.

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  11. The group of women advocating the pants have deeper/bigger issues with church doctrine or personal issues they need to work out... It usually always comes back to the priesthood, patriarchal rights, etc.. and their need to not feel like they come secondary to a 'man'.
    I find it frankly silly to use pants as an outlet for their frustration. It turns sacrament meeting more into a 'look at me!' moment than actually paying attention to the meaning of the meeting.

    I act more lady-like when I'm wearing a skirt and dress - easier to be reverent - easier to get in the mindset of the Sabbath...

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    1. So true Deveny! I completely agree that when you boil it down past the "pants" you get to the partiarichal aspect of our religion. The funny thing is, if people would just really study and pay attention to what they teach in the temple, no women should have any issues with patriarichal rights.

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  12. Amen! I don't get this either and I was so taken back when I heard about it today. Maybe I just don't fully understand what the group is trying to achieve, but I don't believe that wearing pants is going to achieve it!

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  13. I happen to know a lot of ex-Mormons who will be attending church for the first time in a long time due to this movement. Now, I can't say I know their exact motivations, but hey. It's getting people to come to church who wouldn't otherwise be there! To them, I say, "Please wear your pants. Wear whatever you want! Just don't forget to accessorize with a broken heart and a contrite spirit."

    I think a lot of the times, we hear what isn't being said more than what is. It is very unfortunate. Anyone who has gone to an LDS church service knows that "we talk of Christ, we preach of Christ" more than anything else! Our faith is about worshiping God and serving others, regardless of who they are. The message has been one of equality since the world began.

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    1. I am all for people coming to Church, in whatever it is they want to wear! I love your saying to them :)

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  14. I am not a mormon and had no idea what you were talking about. However I did want to learn and followed the links you provided to understand better and I agree with you. I don't consider myself a feminist but maybe more of a "humanist" as I feel all humans deserve a right to be treated fairly and equally while respecting our individuality! I loved what you said about wanting to make a different and not making it about the pants! great post!

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    1. I LOVE THAT! A humanist :) I think I will start calling myself that!

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  15. Love that you just put it out there! I've been reading up on this event and the whole thing is just crazy to me. I totally agree with your points and I'm glad to see others on your blog agree as well. :)

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  16. This is so well said! I am not LDS but I do have some mormon friends so I am familiar with this issue a bit. I love how you pinpointed that it shouldn't be about the pants themselves... This is also so true for many other issues in life where people focus on one small thing instead of the bigger picture. I love following your posts!

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    1. thanks Brandi, and yes, it never seems to be about the "real" issue someone has now is it!

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  17. I totally agree with you. Derek had to give a talk on Sunday and Temple Attire back in our ward in Detroit and he emphasized wearing your "BEST" clothes. Sometimes, your best is jeans and a football jersey. Sometimes it's a suit. I wish people would just get over this and understand that the church isn't about putting ANYONE down....especially at Christmas and when we are trying to make the world a better place. It just sounds like a way for people to feel left out or "not trendy". Makes me sick!

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    1. I feel you! People need to just be happy people are at Church!

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  18. I agree. It makes me really sad that this is even a thing that is happening.

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  19. Just because I feel like I need to say this (not 100% on topic)...

    I realized a few months ago that somehow I had started following a number of Mormon bloggers. I was raised Lutheran and spent a lot of time in college studying a wide variety of world religions but have never learned much about Mormonism. Sadly, many of my notions about what Mormons are or are not was from probably bad portrayals on television and all of you are quickly changing that.

    Thank you (and thanks to the other Mormon bloggers I'm following who totally won't read this) for giving me a new insight into your world, for changing my mind about things, and for just being so out there. It is appreciated.

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    1. Hi Rikki,

      If you want to learn more about mormons and their beliefs I really recommend mormon.org. I'm a mormon, and I've gone there looking for answers to things I didn't totally and understand and I found it really helpful. Thanks for giving mormons a chance :)

      Rebekah

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    2. Rikki, It is interesting how many Mormon bloggers there are huh?! &yes, I feel like it is a very misunderstood religion, but I am happy you feel you are getting a better more realistic picture of the religion. Rebekah gave you a great site if you are interested, I also have it linked on my nav bar, as I am sure you are used to seeing it on a lot of different mormon's blog haha. If you ever have any questions or clarification, just ask me!

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  20. Very well put! I am so annoyed at this whole thing! Way for them to focus the attention on themselves and not the Lord, or the real reason we go to church. Especially after todays events I hope they can chill out and go to church and focus on things like praying for the families who are in pain this holiday season.

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  21. Thank you so much for your opinion. I agree with you completely. I get so frustrated with women, or anyone that feel like women are secondary to men in our church. I feel that women are so respected and honored in the church.

    I agree that church is a place of learning and worship and I am so glad to see that someone else agrees!

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  22. Whoa! Thanks for posting about this. I've shared it with friends on facebook and have found out what others think about it. It's very interesting to hear others opinions on this matter. While I understand the point that Mormon feminist want to make by wearing pants to church tomorrow, I see this as more of a protest, and I think it would be irreverent to protest on the sabbath, on a day of worship. But others may see this as an opportunity to show others, especially converts, of our "open-mindedness" (in a sense). We need to remember that our church buildings are full of people from different backgrounds and respect that.

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    1. That sad thing is, that we have always been "open-minded" and we shouldn't have to do a demonstration to get that point across. I honestly feel bad that there are women who feel this way and need to do something like this to make themselves feel better or show some kind of community, I wish they just had the community in their own ward.

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  23. I think this was a fabulously written post- I completely agree with what you said. I have never felt like women are treated unequally in the church and I didn't understand what wearing pants was going to do to help those who did feel unfairly treated. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this.

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  24. I'm not Mormon, but I am "religious" from a different religion, and I couldn't agree more. You can take out the word Mormon and replace it with any religion, and take out the word church and replace it with any other house of worship, and this still reigns true. Thanks for the insightful post!

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    1. Agreed Jennifer, I think this idea translates itself well among all religions!

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  25. Get it girl!

    You are so good at explaining certain topics, I hope more people read this and really take your opinion to heart!

    Loveyou!

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  26. Not Mormon, but very well written!

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  27. I agree completely that what someone wears to church shouldn't be a big deal. But, judging by the Mormon backlash from this event, it is still a big deal for a lot of people, as baffling as that seems. The organizers of the event received plenty of negative feedback over an event that should have been a non-issue. Obviously, you can't judge the whole church based on the actions of a few internet trolls but I do think the reaction to this event is indicative of a culture in which many women feel like they don't belong at church. And trivializing those women's feelings and motivations because their story doesn't match your own experience just pushes them away more.

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    1. I was just discussing my opinion on why I didn't think this event was appropriate, or how it didn't really make sense if they were wanting to talk about equality in the Church. Then I went on to write about my experiences in my own family and being raised in the Mormon religion and my view points on my own personal idea of equality.

      I think if they have received a "backlash" it was because people didn't find Church an appropriate place to make a statement. It doesn't mean people don't want to help or understand their concerns. My explaining my view point on how I was raised does not mean I am trivializing their feelings and experiences that were evidently different then mine. In fact, I said if they want to make a point, they should, and have every right too, but that I didn't think Church was a good place to do it. I think it would be ill received to do it at Church, and apparently it was.

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  28. oh so this is what the whole pants hulabaloo is all about. i heard someone mention it but i was clueless so what they were talking about. yeah i think its pretty rediculous that women would think wearing pants would make a difference. the ward i am in people wear their best, it may be jeans and a t-shirt, but it is their best and we love them and fellowship everyone the same. church is for worship, not a political stunt. so sad to see that some women don't feel equal. i have never felt unequal in the church and i would never question Gods plan for things.

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  29. thank you! this was exactly what i thought about this whole thing.

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  30. I'm not Mormon and I understand/agree completely.

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  31. So I'm not Mormon. And I've had very few interactions with Mormons. All I've ever heard (even though I live in San Diego with a BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Mormon temple) are stereotypes about Mormons and stereotypes about Utah. Now, I'm open minded enough to realize not all Mormons are like this. In fact, probably a lot of them are not like the typical stereotypes. Blogging has given me a fondness for Mormons. Mormons have THE BEST blogs! There are so many things I love about Mormons. Thanks for writing this post, I found it really insightful.

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    1. Hollie, I grew up in San Diego! I also LOVE the San Diego Temple, I got married there! Loved this comment, you can ask me anything you want about Mormonism! haha it can seem like a hard religion to "get" haha

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  32. Alycia!

    I am so grateful you were brave enough to address this topic. I have this problem where I try to see the opposite side of my own opinion so strongly that it just paralyzes me. I am so grateful to you for reinforcing my feelings on this movement. It is frustrating that the Church as a whole is getting sucked into this. I don't think the women who are promoting it realize what a disservice they are doing to the Church. The Church has NEVER been a church of women oppression, and these women are sending out the message that it is. I personally have no idea where I could feel more empowered as a woman than in the Church. I don't think there is an organization more devoted to honoring the divinity of women than the Church. I am so grateful for the understanding that I have of Gospel truths, and for how liberated I feel because of them. I feel bad that the women of this movement don't have a sound understanding of what the Gospel provides in and of itself, because they wouldn't feel the need to do this if they did. It also makes me wonder about the kind of men in their lives. I just know that there is no better place to be a woman than in the Church. I'm just so grateful that I understand that!

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    1. This was such a great comment Jessi! I feel the same way about understanding my divinity of being a woman through the Church, and it makes me sad to think there are women who don't feel that at Church. Sometimes I wonder how much of it is their insecurities, or letting other people's judgements get to them? I am at a loss. If you feel and believe the Church is true, then it shouldn't matter if the girl a couple rows infront of you gives you the side eye that your wearing a nice pants suit to Church that Sunday. People need to focus on their testimonies and not everything else going on.

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  33. can i just say thank you!!! seriousy sad day when people try and make a silly little point like that! i honestly havent heard to much about that heard it once by my sister (and we live in the rexburg bubble) but any who your thoughts were ours exactly!

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