Monday, January 28, 2013

Second Class Citizen

When I was about 5 years old my mom staged one of her protests with a church leader.  It was Mother's Day and the bishop of our ward (that's Mormon speak for the lay leader of our congregation) a real misogynist, got up in the adult Sunday School class and told those in attendance that women were second class citizens in the church.  That men, because they hold the priesthood, were better than women and that he'd been able to get a general church leader to admit to this.  On Mother's Day!! This was back in the day when we'd go to church three times on Sunday.  My mother had time to ruminate on this all afternoon so when it was time to get ready to go back to church that evening for Sacrament Meeting (which used to be 2 hours long) my mother put on her loudest pair of polyester pants and got into the car to go.  I. Was. Mortified.  One did not wear pants to church!  My dad was in the bishopric at the time and was already on the stand.  My mother waited until the service was just about ready to start then marched my sister and I up the aisle to the front row and plunked herself down in front of the bishop.  He was pissed!  And my poor passive father just sat there....what could he do?  And I lay across my mother's lap trying to hide her shame.

Funny story but it goes to prove a point to a jerk:  Don't mess with a strong woman.  You will not win.

It's because of examples like this and others my mother (and others) have made over her lifetime that I have NEVER felt like a second class in the Church or life in general.  I just don't.

A month or so ago some unmarried "feminist Mormon" woman in Salt Lake decided to post a protest against the Church getting women to wear pants to church on a specific Sunday.  Because that'll learn 'em for sure!  Stupidest.  Protest.  Ever.  I think Utah is the only place women wearing pants to church would be an issue.  On my mission in Minnesota and Wisconsin women wore pants to church because it was cold.  And in my husband's ward in Michigan his Grandmommy wore nice pants suits quite often as did other women in that ward.

The day after this protest I was at work (I do housekeeping at the Mt Timpanogos LDS Temple) and one of my volunteers, a young man, said he didn't understand this protest and why women would feel like this.  My answer to him was, "Not all girls have had the same upbringing.  Not all women have had the same experiences in life.  Some were brought up to feel like they were less because they were born a girl.  Everyone's experience in life is different and those experiences are what shape our minds and our ideas.  This is why some women would feel this way."

I, however, like to wear skirts and dresses.  I feel more reverent when I'm wearing a dress or skirt to church.  Plus, I have great legs so......

A few minutes ago someone on Twitter said something about an article she had read and that it hadn't changed her mind.  You can read it here.  It's entitled "I Am a Mormon Because I'm a Feminist".  Go ahead and read it.  It's scholarly and some of it is a little iffy to me but the message is a good one that men and women have joint responsibilities in the whole scheme of God and creation and one is not better than the other.  I have always believed this.

I have never had a problem with plural marriage (polygamy).  I have never had a problem with women not having the priesthood.  I have never had a problem with women not being bishops.  I have never had a problem with not having a penis.  As Elaine Bennes once said, "I don't know how you walk around with those things."

I enjoy being a woman.  I enjoy nurturing my children.  I enjoy being the one to be pregnant and lactate for them.  I enjoy being the one who wears the dress on Sunday.

I do have a problem with men trying to make women look and feel like second class citizens.  I have a problem with companies not paying women the same as they pay men for the same job.  I have a problem with men leaving women to take care of their children that they both created and not paying for it.  There is a lot of inequality out there on the part of women.  It's true.  I'm not denying this. But I DO NOT FEEL LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN.

 Maybe because it's the way I was raised.  Maybe it's the personality I was born with.  (dangling participle there.)  Maybe it's because I choose not to feel this way.  But I'll tell you one thing: I'm glad of it.  It sure does bring me peace and it's one less thing to fight myself and others over.

The end.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, I feel the very same way, about it all!=)