Mormon Feminists Face Criticism For Encouraging Women To Wear Pants

mormon feminist pants

You know how it feels when you show up to a party and you realize you’re underdressed? Like, everybody else is wearing little black dresses and suits and you’ve got on skinny jeans and some comfortably pretty, off-the-shoulder shirt. You love your outfit, but they’re all giving you the same, “Uh, have fun at the rodeo” look, so you wish you hadn’t bothered to dress that way at all. It’s not that you look bad by any means; you just don’t look like everybody else, and that can lead to the people around you behaving judgmentally. That same feeling goes for women in the LDS Church regarding the wearing of pants, but a Mormon feminist group is challenging that old-fashioned standard.

Though women are technically allowed to wear pants, most choose not to. Because their culture views pants as a less dressy and thereby less respectable, as though you can’t love God without wearing a skirt, many women have felt societal pressure to continue wearing dresses, so they simply decide to do so. As a result, a group of Momon feminist women have been encouraging more women to wear pants. In fact, this Sunday is now “Wear Pants to Church Day,” an event that over 1,100 women on Facebook are RSVP’d as “Attending” that will hopefully bring about solidarity to women who have previously felt uncomfortable wearing, well, more comfortable clothing for themselves.

According to the Facebook page:

“The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses shoul

d be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing.”–LDS Church Presidency (1971)We are feminists. We do not seek to eradicate the differences between women and men, but we do want the LDS church to acknowledge the similarities. We believe that much of the cultural, structural, and even doctrinal inequality that persists in the LDS church today stems from the church’s reliance on – and enforcement of – rigid gender roles that bear no relationship to reality.

We subscribe to the Book of Mormon teaching that “all are alike unto God,” and hope that our choice to wear pants to our Sunday worship services (a choice sanctioned by our spiritual leaders over 40 years ago!) reminds our families, congregations, and leaders that we have not forgotten this gospel truth.

Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Women can wear pants, so they should. Case closed.
…Except, no. Of course it’s not. As Jezebel reports, there’s been quite a backlash against women who want to wear pants, including Facebook comments insulting them for challenging tradition because there’s “no need,” that of course women are unequal under God or else “there would be either just men or just women on the earth,” and that this is somehow the equivalent of a “little girl rebeling against her parents because she wants things done her way.”
So, chiquitas, it’s obviously your bad. There is no patriarchy, and if there is, it’s nobody’s faults so shut up and stop trying to change things.
While I totally understand that tradition is tradition, I also believe in worshipping in your own way. If you want to wear a skirt or dress to church, by all means, do so! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and nobody is saying you’re unprogressive or backwards for doing so. But if you’d like to wear pants, you should certainly be able to. Haven’t we gotten past the idea that gendered clothes such as skirts = some sort of respectful modesty? Pants cover more of your body, anyway, so that argument makes very little since to me. For goodness’ sake, it’s 2012. If men get meggings, women had better be able to wear pants whenever the hell we want.

[via Jezebel]

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    • Wayne Dequer

      Thankfully the world is significantly different than it was in 1971. However, I am saddened by the turmoil over “Wear Pants to Church Day.” The threats and anger against the “Wear Pants to Church Day,” are so misguided, wrong, and out of harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      I don’t know about all wards (local congregations), but at least in our ward (I was recently released as Bishop after 5+ years) all women who expressed a desire to me for more responsibility or a “higher calling” (there were a few who had such concerns) in due course received one. Most callings only last for a couple of years. There are plenty of responsibilities to fulfill and service to give in most wards to fulfill the aspirations of most everyone. Most members (male and female) feel somewhat inadequate in their calling. With humor and significant truth, we say as soon as you get comfortable in a calling or assignment it is time to be released and called to a new position. (See Ether 12:27)

      Every week we met in Ward Council (with 3 women Presidents) or Priesthood Executive Committee (to which the Relief Society President was always invited), discussed the needs of the ward and the families and individuals therein, and made decisions together. The women always spoke-up, usually gave the best counsel, and decisions were made by consensus as we all sought the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

      I just returned from Church and the “Ware Pants to Church Day” was a non event in our ward. The same beloved sisters who always wear pants did so and the same beloved brethren who never wear ties were still tieless. As we walked in I asked my wife why she didn’t wear her purple pants today and she gently elbowed me in the ribs. It shouldn’t be about how we dress or about our gender: it should be about becoming more Christ-like.

      The gospel teaches that: “Neither is the man without the woman, or the woman without the man in the Lord.” In our own family my wife and I always make decisions together after discussion and prayer. I do not have the final word: We have the final word in consultation with God.