Perspectives from an embarrassed Mormon feminist

By Brittany Plothow
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There’s A Better Way, Sisters

*Editor’s Note: The views of contributors to This Week in Mormons do not reflect the opinion of the site.

The Ordain Women movement is stupid. Wearing pants to church in protest is stupid. As a Mormon feminist, I’m embarrassed by all of this. Now I normally have to follow up my self-assertion as a feminist with a qualifier. I’m not that kind of feminist. Feminism has been twisted and molested from what it once was.

The feminist movement originally aimed for equality between the sexes, especially when it came to voting, land ownership, sexual objectification, and oppression. As a liberal woman, I’m very grateful for my forbearers and their passion which has granted me many opportunities I would not have had one hundred or even fifty years ago.

Today’s twisted feminism is one of a scowl and brash voice that all but forces men into a corner.

We ladies cannot simply demand things of the Church and its leaders and expect to get the desires of our hearts.

Recently, I was sitting in a classroom talking about gender issues. The male student presenting stated that he refuses to open doors for the ladies, even on a date. He also said that if his date waits outside of the car for him to open the door he will do the same next time they are getting into the car and make her open his door.

My blood boiled. I raised my hand and  argued that he was being disrespectful. He shot back at me that he was simply treating everyone equally. I came back with the argument that holding the door for someone is a sign of respect, so he was in fact disrespecting his date. Therefore, there was no equality at all.

Now, I understand what this guy is trying to argue, I just don’t agree with it. I’ve seen with my own two eyes women who scoff or bark at a man holding the door for them, sneering that they can hold their own doors. Which is true. But just because we can doesn’t mean we need to.

The reason why I allow men to hold the door for me isn’t because my limp noodle arms can’t do it themselves, because they can. It’s because I view it as a kind gesture and a sign of respect for my womanhood. Which, as a feminist, I adore.

Yes, there is yet much to achieve when it comes to equality in the job market and in sexual objectification. Just read Fifty Shades of Grey or listen to “Blurred Lines” and you’ll see sexual equality has a long way to go. On second thought, please don’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. Ew.

I recall the first time I heard about the Ordain Women movement and all the sillies wearing pants to church. I laughed out loud and then asked myself “Have these women never been to the temple?” If these women are paying any kind of attention in the temple they would realize they are arguing a moot point.

alfoxAnother issue that makes me chuckle a bit is those groups petitioning to attended the Priesthood session of General Conference. Ladies, it’s online. Live. You can watch it whilst sitting next to your very own priesthood holder. Or alone.

By drawing attention to yourselves and creating a distraction, you basically sealed your own fate on not getting into the priesthood session.

The famous turn of phrase of catching more flies with honey than vinegar is appropriate here. We ladies cannot simply demand things of the Church and its leaders and expect to get the desires of our hearts. Look where that got Martin Harris.

These groups should know better than to go in, guns figuratively blazing, and then be upset when they get a strong response.

This is not similar to all worthy males getting priesthood privileges. They are two very different beasts and to compare the two is hyperbolic.

I argue that gender equality does not mean gender sameness. As a feminist and someone who is extremely proud to be a woman in the Church and the world, why on earth would I want to be a man, act like a man, and have the same responsibilities of a man on top of the responsibilities of being a woman?

That’s not to say that I can’t change the oil in my car, pump my own gas, fix broken pipes, cut the grass, or anything else stereotypically masculine in nature.

I can understand where these women are coming from, I truly can. I am a twenty-eight year old single Mormon woman living in Utah County. Oh, do I get it. I have struggled with the culture in Utah for eight years. Being a woman in the Church can be incredibly difficult, but more due to inept or myopic local leadership than to a lack of actual women’s “rights.”

Where I separate myself from these groups is in my ability to remove the culture of Utah and the Church from the actual organization of the Church and doctrine of the Gospel. I can tell you honestly and very boldly that I have never once felt marginalized, belittled, shamed, or anything like unto by the authorities of the Church.

I have felt nothing but love, support, compassion, and kindness from the theology and Gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thus, I do not feel the need to protest or picket. I know how the Lord views women and womanhood. And as a feminist, that’s all I need to know.