Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Thoughts on Pants in Church

First off, if a woman wants to wear pants to church for whatever reasons (practical, philosophical, emotional, whatever), it's really none of my business and I'm not going to say anything about it. In fact, my MIL is a temple worker at our local temple and a few years the temple presidency made it a policy that if a woman showed up to the temple wearing pants, no one was to say anything about it. They decided that it was more important that everyone feel welcome and come to the temple than to hassle people about what they are wearing. Pants are becoming more accepted as nice dress for women in the rest of the world, but traditionally skirts and dresses have been the accepted type of best dress amongst Mormons.

All that being said, I don't think my equality with men has anything to do with what I'm wearing (or my major in college, marital status, masculine and feminine deities, or <gasp!> whether or not I hold the priesthood). For me, being equal to men has nothing to do with dressing like them or having the same types of callings. Yeah, I'll never be a bishop or elder's quorum president, but Malamute is never going to be Primary or Young Women's President. (And for those of you out there saying, "Well who's excited about serving in Primary or nursery?" Let me say this: I'm not that broken up about never getting to be bishop or stake president. I'm more than willing to let someone else take that on. All callings have a special challenge in store those willing to go the extra mile.) Not to mention that Malamute will never have the chance in this life or the next bear children, something I feel is a special privilege. If Duckling wants to take ballet lessons and his sister wants to study astronomy, we're not going to get them both ballet slippers and a telescope. We'll get ballet slippers for Duckling and a telescope for his sister. We love both of our kids, and want them both to have what they need to succeed. That's equality to me. (As a side note, this is NOT an announcement of gender for the next baby. We're guessing a girl, but those of you who are dying to know will have to wait until spring to find out!) =)

I personally don't think equality has anything to do with what I wear and everything to do with where my head is at. If I consider myself an equal to men, I don't think it truly matters what anyone else thinks. I disagree that the Church has a history of oppressing women. Utah Territory was the second territory in the US to give women the right to vote- something we had to forfeit to get statehood. Women were granted divorces when asked, even from polygamous marriages, and education was strongly encouraged for women amongst the early Saints. Being a midwife was actual considered so important that it used to be a calling. We are a people of women poets, scholars, and health professionals, long before it was considered mainstream for women. Long before Ms. Magazine, affirmative action, the Worldwide Organization of Women, government subsidized contraception, and the widespread wearing of pants among women, people of both sexes and all races made astounding scientific discoveries, wrote amazing works of literature and music, and inspired great social change. They didn't do these things because everyone else thoughts of them as equals, they did them because they thought of themselves as equals. If you view the world as hostile to you, it won't matter what you're wearing. You'll never feel like an equal.

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