Saturday, October 8, 2011

How can you be a feminist and a Mormon at the same time?

My feminist Mormon family (2008 - San Francisco, CA)
The title of this post is a question that a friend asked me recently, followed by "they seem to greatly contradict each other".

First of all, I'll address what kind of feminist I am.

I am the kind of feminist who hates that women didn't have a right to vote until 1920 in America.

I am the kind of feminist who hates that women get paid "only 77 cents on the male dollar [...]. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.)"(Reference from TIME mag, based on stats from 2009.)

I am the kind of feminist who wants women to have equal rights, but don't want to turn my bra into a pile of ash. I don't look at it as a "harness", I look at it as a tool to improve my posture (as well as other practical applications during the winter season).

I am the kind of feminist who values her role as a mother, but who doesn't want to teach her daughter that the only satisfaction in life comes from being a mother.

Gavin at 3mon. Authentic Mohawk.
I am the kind of feminist who wants her daughter to be educated and have a rich life, not necessarily dependent on the status of her womb.

I am the kind of feminist who wants her son to respect women, not only in the natural way in which all people should respect one another, but also respect the fact that women are pretty much superheroes for being able to grow a human being in the gut for 9 months, and when they aren't doing that they bleed for a week outta every month.That doesn't mean they deserve "special treatment", just respect and compassion for these unique traits.

I am the kind of feminist who wants to kick sexual predators of any kind in the balls/ovaries.

I am the kind of feminist who recognizes the innate biological differences between men and women, but who doesn't let those differences stop me from reaching my goals.

I am the kind of feminist who can open and close her own damn door, (unless I'm pregnant at the time, and in that case, I still can open the door, I just am probably too lazy or tired.) but I respect that "chivalrous" tradition, and I guess you can open and close my door on special occasions. But in daily life if I wait for you to open/shut my door that means we're two-and-a-half more minutes late to work/school/church. UGH.

Tackling obstacles already!
I am the kind of feminist who likes to work outside the home, but respects that some women don't and that they stay home because they want to. I'm not the kind of feminist who feels that my religion forces me to be a stay-at-home mom; although Mormonism does get flack for that by people who assume for a woman Mormonism means being a slave to motherhood. But really stay-at-home mom-ery is just a major suggestion for the benefit of the children. They need daily care from someone who genuinely loves them.

I am the kind of Mormon feminist who thinks it would be fine it women had the priesthood. Sure, why not?The universe wouldn't explode. (Oh and while we're at it, go ahead and let the gays marry. What's the hold-up?) But, for now, women will remain "priesthood partners" shoving our husbands out the door to do home teaching, waving a lesson manual between the flat screen and our husband's eyes, and planning major events, functions, fund-raisers. We do it with flair AND in heels. We're the Hillary to our Bill. The Buffy to our Angel. The Zoe to our Wash.
Zoe and Wash from Firefly

And if this isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, maybe you should consider your motives for asking. All religions are faith-based. I have faith in mine. You have faith in yours. We can still be friends.

But anyone out there who thinks Mormons can't be feminists or believe in equal rights, you are mistaken. The proof is in the prose-spective.


  1. *standing up...clapping...
    Well stated, well stated!

  2. I know that some will disagree with this post as their experience and definition of Feminism will be different. But I wholly agree with Rena. A woman can be an active Mormon and believe in equal rights for women and men. The reality in my house is I wear the pants, but Lisa chooses the size, style, color, and material. I am married to a very independent woman and very proud of it. G

  3. nice.

    You already read my opinion on your FB page. But here's the important part about what I didn't write (at least I don't think I did): You're an adult. You are responsible for the way you live your life. If you're fine with how mormonism relates to your feminist beliefs then that's all that matters. Period. My opinion is irrelevant. That's fine with me because there are things about my beliefs that you disagree with. If it works for you that's cool. If it doesn't that's cool too.

    I tell my husband all the time that I don't judge people about the big issues. People have to live their lives however they can get by. It's the insignificant, superficial things like bad nail polish or eating at crappy restaurants that I judge people about.

  4. I am in total agreement, Texy. We can all get along without the judgmental Eye of Sauron burning a hole in each other's foreheads.

    And my nail polish is called Glam Gams. Judging?

  5. I found an OPI color called 'Do you think I'm texy?' I didn't buy it but now I wish I did.

  6. I am glad you can open your own doors,physically and metaphoricly.



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