Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pants vs. Skirts

There's been a lot of discussion going on lately regarding a facebook event created by a group of Mormon women that call themselves "feminists". (I'll get to why I put that in quotation marks in a bit. :P) Anyway, this event was made to encourage LDS women to wear pants to church this Sunday to "promote equality" in our faith.

Personally, I find this a little... bizarre. Here is a statement from the Church from 1971 on the subject:

“The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing. We have always counseled our members to be modest in their dress, maintaining such standards in connection therewith as would not be embarrassing to themselves and to their relatives, friends, and associates.

“We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or miniskirts, or otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our Church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly.” (Priesthood Bulletin, June 1971.) (source) 

Ever since I was very young, I was taught to wear my Sunday best to church, and for me that meant a skirt or dress. Being the tomboy that I was, I remember thinking often about how much I wished I could wear pants and tennis shoes to church. Once I voiced that to my mom who told me that the reason why I can't wear pants to church is because church is different. Church is special. Church requires a different kind of behavior and choice of clothing than I would wear every other day of the week. Church is a place to show reverence and worship my Heavenly Father. I believed her then, and I still do now. I wear a skirt or dress to church because that is how I, personally, show that church is special to me. That's why I wear church clothes when I am teaching seminary as well. Plus, I like wearing skirts and dresses because they are girly, and I like being a girl... a lot. :)

However, I don't believe you have to wear a skirt to church. When I was in Russia last year, I had the opportunity to attend the Voronezh branch every week and really get to know and love the wonderful members. There are some things that are a little different about attending church in Russia than attending church in America. The gospel that is taught and the Spirit that is felt is the same, but there are many cultural differences. One of the big ones is that probably about half (or maybe a third) of the women wear pants to church. They aren't trying to protest against inequality or make some kind of statement; their Sunday best just happens to be pants. And that is okay.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that what you wear to church should reflect your desire to show reverence for where you are and what you are doing. You want to wear pants to church? Go right ahead! No one is going to kick you out.

However, I don't think it is appropriate to wear pants to church as a statement or to protest. To me, that is disrespectful and irreverent. 

This is becoming longer than I intended, but I just have to add my two cents about the motivation behind the whole pants issue and the "feminist" women that are propelling it. You know, I consider myself to be a feminist, but I find I disagree with the beliefs of almost everyone else that does. To me, true feminism is embracing the unique, God-given qualities women have been blessed with, and using those qualities to better the world in a way that only women can. Most feminists I have ever read about or talked to are so focused on becoming more like men, or at least trying to adopt the unique, God-given qualities of men instead of recognizing and magnifying their own. 

Today, my husband and I were talking about how deceptive Satan is, and how he has convinced so many women that they have to become like men to make any difference in the world. He convinces them that they have to have careers to be successful and that having children and raising them in righteousness is somehow inferior to going far in a professions. 

What? Are you kidding me? How could there be anything more important and fulfilling than to be a righteous mother in Zion?! I mean, I'm all about women getting as much education as possible and becoming engaged in a meaningful career if they want to, but family should always, always come first. Nothing should ever be more important that a righteous family, which we know is central to the Plan of Salvation and the reason we are here on earth in the first place. That's what it's all about. 

It just goes to show how Satan truly is the master deceiver. He can convince people that the things that are most important are inferior, and even undesirable and detrimental

He knows why God created men and women to be equal, yet different partners.  

He knows why women have certain gifts, abilities and responsibilities and same with the men. 

And he knows that if he can keep them from building upon those divine qualities and fulfilling their gender-specific roles, especially by convincing them that gender roles are a bad thing, then he's got them. They cannot progress and reach their full potential. It just can't happen. 

I think this issue has a lot less to do with whether you wear pants or a skirt to church, and more to do with confusion about the purpose of womanhood and why it is supposed to be different than manhood. Like my husband so eloquently said, "If God wanted all of us to be the same, he would have made us hermaphrodites." We're different for a sacred purpose, and those differences should be seen as a blessing, not a punishment.  

Well, that's my two cents... tell me what you think!