Saturday, September 13, 2014

I'm tired, too

I feel like I'm just tired. I'm a little battered and bruised. No matter how much time I take off to recuperate from being on the front lines in mormon feminism (in my own way), I get bruised by misogynistic, sexist attitudes in american culture (FYI #Condi4Commish).  So I come back to the mormon community, and no matter how much we try to share that we think modesty will sink deep into our daughters' hearts if we teach the doctrine instead of application via hemlines; we still get that blasted harmful, inaccurate Jessica Rey video repeated in our newsfeeds and hundreds of white shirted young men telling us they NEED our modesty or trendy-wannabe-viral bloggers begging us to consider their husbands! The general response for my plea for doctrine based teachings is, "I can't believe those feminists don't believe in modesty!"

No matter how much I share about the things I have questions about, or that I would like you to try to walk in our pink moccasins (this even applies to women who disagree with my questions, read that plz); nothing ever changes.  Well one thing has changed. We're getting more pep talks! ZD blog has a great post that went up this week, Tired of Pep Talks, Zelophehad's Daughters:
For the last 5 years or so, I think we have seen a definite uptick in the number of pep talks us LDS women have been getting. We’ve been told how incredible (!) we are. How needed we are. How moral we are. How important we are. And it seems to me we can’t go even one General Conference (not to mention a single Sunday) without being told how equal we are 10 times. It is clearly a priority that we be buttered up.
Hoo-rah, sis-boom-bah, goooooo WOMEN! (My mom was a Rigby Trojan Pep Team Girl, in case you're wondering where my mad cheer skilz come from) You know I do think this church values women. It cherishes them. Holds them near and dear.  But there is only so long I can listen to people talking AT me telling me how incredible I am in one sentence and in the next to make sure I don't talk too much in meetings.  Part of the reason I can't just let this slide as the jovial harmless joke of an octogenarian is the paragraph he wrote in last month's ensign:

So Elder Ballard has shown a pattern of consistently saying: women speak up, we need your voice, but ONLY in an advisory capacity.  We are decision makers and we will decide if and when to listen and encourage your participation when we choose to and then we make the decisions.  That was what his joke was about. If men and women really ARE different, our thoughts and experiences and perceptions are different and should be considered as equally as the next.  (remember, I am not an advocate for female ordination. this issue could be remedied in a number of ways).  Men and Women are different.  And we can't have one in an appendage/advisory role without one gender's perception carrying more weight.

So there are women out there like me saying, "um I love this restaurant but I think there's a fly in my soup!"  And the response we get is, "God's purpose is for you to have that fly in your soup.  And oh, by the way women are the best customers at this establishment and we couldn't exist without you!  You play a special equal role in the running of this restaurant, and you are INCREDIBLE!"

Back to the ZD blog:
What I personally don’t think the church office building is aware of is how ineffective their pep talks are to the people they are trying to pep talk– the people who see problems and inequalities. They have a very effective echo chamber up there. Consider the time the church PR counseled with the women behind Mormon Women Stand to “discuss” women’s issues. I picture the PR team asking in concerned voices “Does the new book about women and the priesthood by Sheri Dew alleviate your concerns?! What about our talks in General Conference? Did they make you feel equal?!” Of course those women said yes, they were fine and felt totally equal and we can prove it by putting quotes about womanhood on pastel chevron backgrounds. They are a group that already agreed 100% with the status quo. They didn’t represent those that leave. 

So here’s my point: the clip of Elder Ballard is an absolutely perfect example of the problem. And I hope that church leadership watches it a lot and realizes that all the pep talks have got to stop as long as the follow up message to them is going to be *but not THAT equal!
Amen, amen, and amen.

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