Your contempt betrays you

12.18.12 | Being Mormon, feminism, LDS Church, mothering daughters | 6 Comments

The pants thing is done and gone ad nauseum. In our house, too. But I have some thoughts.

First of all, imagine this: A friend, a sister, comes to you and tells you that she is hurting and that she has found a way to feel less alone, to feel more understood, to stand up for what she believes in and show solidarity for those who have made her feel less alone, a way to show God what is in her heart, a way that God has told her is an okay offering of her broken heart and contrite spirit, a way to feel more herself in God’s presence, in the community of believers that she aches to be a part of even as she too often feels marginalized, misunderstood and misused. She has decided to wear pants to church.

What is your response? And how would Christ have us respond to such a friend and sister?

a) Your contempt betrays you.

b) Your hurt for her hurt and your massive indifference to her attire is the best possible evidence that all is well in Zion.

c) Your compassion and desire to understand what is incomprehensible to you, your yearning to reach out in fellowship even when you are righteously convinced that you are right and she is wrong, your humility and love, your turning of the other cheek against such (insolent!) provocation is magnificent.

When I was nineteen I shaved my head. At the time I had no thought of gender social norms. I was in Europe for the first time, I had left a heady, consuming and ultimately wrong-for-me relationship, and I wanted an outward expression of my inward change of heart. I shaved my head.

Sunday I wore pants to Church.

Both times I felt like I was right with God again, that I had re-adjusted my course to walk more fully with Him, and that Jesus knew, loved and accepted the offering of my heart. That I was, and am, okay with God, and that what anyone else thinks or thinks they know about me, is immaterial.

And now some posts and articles to answer your questions (I don’t agree with everything in these posts, but they are marvelous food for thought and worth your time):

But I’ve never felt marginalized or hurt. Does anyone really? (And here is that contempt again, as the subtext is: Does anyone who matters feel hurt by patriarchy? Does anyone who is righteous feel marginalized? Does anyone with a testimony think that gender inequity is a problem?)

Neylan McBaine at FAIR, CJane Pants Part I and Part II, Joanna Brooks in Huffington Post, Wearing Pants

Why pants? What is a social norm?

Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Women Who Wear Pants to Church: A Manifesto

But our church, like our country is one of the most progressive about women, can’t you be happy with that? (i.e. it could be worse!)

The dignity of your womanhood

But why must you protest in Sacrament Meeting?

The Politics (say it ain’t so) of Pants

Why do men feel so threatened by women doing something that the Brethren have specifically NOT counselled against?

How to Silence a(n LDS) Woman: You’re Doing it Wrong

People didn’t really respond so viciously, did they?

Women Wearing Pants at Church Bingo (this is a humorous aggregation. The text of the death threat on the original Facebook event page was “every single person who is a minority activist should be shot .. in the face . point blank . GET OVER YOURSELVES ..” I was also appalled at comments such as: “these dumb bitch feminists don’t understand what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is even about.”)

But you started it, haven’t you brought this response on yourselves?

Less than 1200 words on on pants

If you don’t like the church, why don’t you just leave?

“If you don’t like it, leave” and Religious Pluralism

How do women look in pants at church?

Wear Pants to Church Day


What is wrong with feminists? Why can’t they just accept the church?

How Mormonism Changes and Managing Liberal Expectations,

If women have agency, the same as men, how are they not equal in church?

Women in the Mormon Church: The Limits of Agency

(And even though the pants thing was really about culture and not about challenging doctrine, here’s a bonus post. Do any (faithful, intelligent) men think women should have the priesthood? Gender and Priesthood)

Did any women consider themselves feminist and choose to wear a dress?

How I feel about pants

Doesn’t God hate it when we ask questions?

 Joseph Smith — HistoryHear me