16.12.12

Pants Pt. 2

I don't always wear pants. (okay, I pretty much never wear pants. I hate them.) 
And I haven't been going to church for the past few months.
But today, I did both. 

Why?

For me, it was to stand up for gender inequality.
To fight our incredibly gendered culture that is Mormonism.
To welcome any who feel different.
Who don't fit the cookie-cutter social norm, perpetuated by our culture, not our gospel.



I sadly only found out about it this sunday morning, but I knew immediately I had to finally get back to church.

There was a fire lit in me for a cause greater than me. 
To stand up for discrimination.
To break out of the norm. 
To create a more inclusive space.
To foster a safer and more accepting culture that will readily accept a diversity of saints.

"even a gentle break with Mormon social convention, even a modest effort to help progressive Mormons feel less alone in the faith is enough to engender a national reaction, as Wear Pants to Church Day organizers have since discovered." [x]

I'm an activist. (can you tell?)
When I am learning about the injustices and in equality that still plague our society I feel a fire begin to burn inside me. One that can't be put out unless I do something about it. That thing is often blogging. It's what works for me. 
I get filled with this light that tells me "this is what you are here to do". 
When I'm in a Women's Studies (or Sociology or Philosophy) lecture, I feel it.
So I act on it.
Today, I felt it.
So I did something about it.


On my good days, I know that Heavenly Father sent me here at this time to be a fighter.
To help garner change to make it a better place for others. 
I have my bad days, when I feel like I shouldn't be here and don't want to be and can't find any motivation to stay here. (which is why I haven't been attending church lately)

But taking action like this helped get rid of those doubts.
It reminded me that I am here for a reason.
That I can fight. 
For love, and acceptance.
Which is what Mormonism is about.

I stopped going to church in my teens.
The biggest motivation for this was to get away from the bullying I was experiencing from the girls my age. (And our assigned leaders.) I didn't fit in, and they let me know it. I wasn't like everyone else, and so I wasn't welcome there. But I didn't want to be like everyone else. 

Sunday lessons in Young Women's only taught us how to be the perfect wife and mother, that doing so was our only reason for this life. That it was the only option.This never sat right with me. That couldn't be all there was. I didn't want to be that. I was different. 

I looked different. I was fat. I experimented with my appearance
Dying my hair black convinced everyone around me that my soul was black, and they all treated me like a criminal. In reality, I was doing nothing wrong. My tormentors, the other girls, were the ones breaking the Word of Wisdom, going against church teachings. But they kept their hair either blonde or brown and dressed preppy and smiled and agreed with the leaders, so they were adored. 

I don't want it to be like that for my future children.
So today's action was the perfect (tiny) step to achieving that.
In the simple act of wearing pants, I hope to have shown that women have other roles besides in the home. That it's okay to be different. That we are all Heavenly Father's children, and that we all deserve the love and acceptance He gives us.

Our religion is one that should not have "Others". 
And the gospel doesn't.
But the Mormon culture does.
And we need to stand against it.
We need to stand for our difference, celebrate who we are.

But hiding our differences and questions has costs as well -- to those who maintain silence and to the larger faith community. It fosters fearfulness, timidity, inauthenticity and intimidation. It fosters the assumption that all Mormons think and believe alike, and with this is fosters unintended thoughtlessness and carelessness. Not only toward Mormons concerned with traditional gender inequalities but to anyone who doesn't fit the cookie-cutter Mormon model: from the stay-at-home father and the gay teenager to the new convert and the interracial family.[x



My good friend James showed solidarity by wearing a purple tie.
We were the only ones who really knew what was going on, but it was nice to have an ally! It's important for members to stand together to fight for a cause they believe in. 

I stand for a more inclusive space for women, transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth. For saints of every colour skin to be accepted. For anyone that feels like they don't fit in at church. For all of these disadvantaged groups to be given the autonomy and choice over how they will go about this life.

I wore pants for them.
I wore pants for myself, to remind me that I can be different and still feel God's love.
I wore pants so that women (and men, and inter sexed) won't be forced into such narrow social roles.

After all, Heavenly Father gave us agency.
Why not use it?



10 comments:

  1. I don't think we should be making such a big deal about what wearing skirts or pants to church. Wearing a skirt or a dress to church doesn't make me feel like any less of a person. It shouldn't, it's clothes. If anything skirts give more physical freedom than pants will. Also wearing pants is making the statement that we want to be equal to men. Who wants to be equal to men? Lets be better than men! It also just further what's being said about the role of men. Men are losing their place. They want to nurture and care for the women, which we're not letting them do because we're just morphing into the male roles. Sorry if this is ranting, but I just think it's not necessary.

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    1. It's really not about the article of clothing, it's about what it represents. It's about deviating from the norm (of wearing skirts) to create more room for those that don't fit into the cookie cutter idealized mormon woman.
      I don't believe that men or women should be "better than" one another. Being a feminist isn't about hating men and wanting to beat them, it's about wanting equal opportunities for both genders. To be treated the same regardless of it.
      That's great if you don't feel disadvantaged for being a woman, that means there is hope! Like I said, I have struggled with it, and I have several friends that have had the same feelings just by being different. This action was for them. And it wasn't a fashion statement.

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  2. I'm glad that this made you feel empowered :)

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  3. Thanks for your thoughts and in return, here are a few of mine 

    I think I understand the point you’re trying to make with this post but I don’t really agree with it. You’re (and not you in particular, but all those who are in the “pants” movement) going to let wearing a skirt to church determine your worth and value? Really?? God has never said that men are better than women. We have different roles, yes, but even nature proves that. I’m an overweight, Hispanic woman who can’t have children. I’m pretty much never going to reach the Utah Mormon Culture’s view of perfection. I’ve had people come up to me and blatantly ask me when I’m going to stop being selfish and have children. It hurts and people can be cruel. But that’s not the fault of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s imperfect people being ignorant. Now, I can stop going to church and give up on trying to perfect myself. What’s the point, right? I can’t fulfill my role as a woman here on Earth so why do I even keep living? A little dramatic, I know, but I’m trying to make a point here. I know I have worth. And I credit that to the teachings I have received and personal study and revelation. I served a mission to teach people of their worth, not just in the eyes of God but as human beings.

    I guess if wearing pants makes you feel better, that’s great. But I’m going to stick to my old fashioned, discriminatory, “disadvantaged group”. Skirts are so much more comfortable anway 

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    1. I think you misunderstand my position, I definitely don't let a skirt determine my value. (If you look through my archive, I almost exclusively wear skirts and dresses!) It's not the article of clothing that is important in this movement, but the reasons behind it.
      A woman wearing pants is out of the norm. Just like being homosexual is out of the norm. Or being any "Other" in the mormon world, is having an immense difference.
      The fact that you get comments like that is why we are doing this. Women wore pants for you! Yes, it's not the doctrine of the church that is at fault, we weren't saying it was. It is the culture that is at fault here. The overwhelming pressure of prevailing social norms that have overruled the doctrine.
      I say power to skirts, AND power to pants! There is room for everyone in our religion!
      Thanks for engaging in the discourse, I appreciate hearing your story. :)

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    2. Gracefully said.
      Sorry for being kind of a stalker! But I am so interested in this subject...

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    3. Wow, Erin, I love this post. My relationship with God is something I struggle with everyday. I'm different in so many ways, but I doubt that my "otherness" is any reason for God to love me any less. Yet I hate going to church because of all the looks I get. I grew up Catholic and some women do wear pants, but we are still looked down upon for so many other reasons (not getting married, not wanting to have children, wanting more than to just be a mother/wife, being gay, etc), and it's just not right. All of this rubbed me the wrong way and I just ended up avoiding it, even though I fully recognize that I took the easy way out. Good for you for doing something symbolic to stand up for equality.

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  4. Good posts Erin, you're very eloquent. Just thought you should know there were in fact many people who "knew what was going on". I agree with a lot of what you have said. It was so nice to see you on Sunday!! Again, love the hair :)

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  5. They want to nurture and care for the women, which we're not letting them do because we're just morphing into the male roles.
    Birkin Bag

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Thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcome and very much appreciated. :)

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