Sunday, December 16, 2012

LDS Feminism

Last year I became aware of the blog of Joanna Brooks, a self-described "national voice on Mormon life and politics." And over the course of the year her posts have bothered me more and more.

She seems either unwilling or unable to separate the cultural norms of the members from the doctrinal teachings of the leaders (especially when the members with the norms are the leaders). She seems overly willing to foster feelings of separation expressed by those who write for advice. "I don't know how I can stay Mormon when [misconstrued and over-magnified cultural practice] is happening all around me," they write, and she often responds, "Yeah, you're right to feel that way." She seems like a woman who would jettison the whole thing if only for her pesky conscience, a woman who would rather explain the peculiarities of Mormonism to her non-believing friends as outdated cultural relics than have that awkward moment when she has to testify of the truthfulness of things her listeners don't want to believe are true.

My sister-in-law brought to my attention an article written by a different type of Mormon feminist, Valerie Hudson Cassler. Interestingly (and convincingly) she doesn't try to justify her feminism with a seemingly-incompatible Mormonism, but rather argues in favor of feminism on the basis of Mormon doctrine.

I have a 10-year-old daughter who has been a militant feminist all her life. As she matures I will be very grateful for voices that will tell her that feminism and Mormonism are compatible rather than conflicting ideologies.


Alanna said...

Thanks for sharing this article-- I think I'm going to have to re-post it on my own blog, I loved it so much. (Let me know if you want a hat tip or whatever that's called for it!)

The whole wearing pants thing to church seemed so stupid to me, and I consider myself a feminist (albeit not an angry one). Especially in light of the tragedy in Connecticut, I just sort of wanted to yell that there were more important things in the world to worry about fixing. But I guess that's just my opinion...

Jen Evans said...

Amen to all of this.