Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Discussion About Pants

I am thinking about wearing dress pants to church on Sunday.  I have actually been toying with the idea for several years now, but I have feared that my intentions might be misunderstood.  I’ve been afraid that people might think that I am an “angry” feminist.  The truth is that I am a feminist, though “an amused” feminist might be more accurate. 

I tend to laugh my face off (in a reverent, head-bowed sort of way) during the Mother’s Day church meetings.  This past year, our Mother’s Day Relief Society meeting was truly one of the most awkward of all time.  It started off with a member of the bishopric telling jokes about the emotional differences between men and women.  It painted women as volatile and bossy and made men look foolish and submissive (at least the political incorrectness was equal opportunity). The meeting ended in a spirited, though one-sided, discussion about the evils of women in the workplace.  The general consensus seemed to be that it is okay for a woman to work, but only if she HAS to—if the family’s very survival depends on her bringing home a paycheck.  One woman went so far as to say that basically all human dysfunction, specifically obesity, is caused by mothers who do not love their children enough to stay home with them.

At this point I was trying very hard to keep myself from snorting.  This was the weirdest, most uncomfortable lesson ever.  And funny.  But one woman—a workingwoman, I gathered—was not amused.  She stood up angrily and stomped out of the room. 

Which leads me to my second reason for being afraid to wear pants to church: that people might think that I am only trying to stir the pot—to cause controversy and stir up drama.

After the “obesity” comment my hand itched to shoot into the air.  I had much to say on the topic and wanted so badly to right the wrong of what this meeting had become.  Here is what I wanted to say:

“I came from a home where my mother worked.  She did not work because she HAD to.  She did not work because my father couldn’t pay the bills.  She worked because she wanted to.  She was good at it and it made her happy.   However, she did not take the decision to work lightly.  She and my dad made it a matter of deep and sincere prayer.  They felt the Lord’s approval and felt his hand guide them in every step of her successful career.  And because she was fulfilled in that aspect, she was able to be a sensational, nurturing mother to her three children.

“And, even though my mother worked, none of her children turned out obese.  In fact, we are all functional, happy, relatively skinny (wink) people who are striving to make good choices and raise righteous families.  We are all grateful for her example of being a strong woman, and because of that we know that there is not just one way to be a faithful woman and mother in Zion.

“I, myself, choose to be a stay-at-home.  The career lifestyle does not appeal to me and I am blessed with a husband who provides so I can be at home full-time.  But I am also blessed to know that I have a choice in the matter and that if I follow the will of the Lord, I cannot go wrong.”

So that’s what I wanted to say, but didn’t.  I didn’t want to rumple feathers and be thought of as a revolutionary.  I didn’t want to stir the pot.

But maybe I kind of did.

Lately, I have been doing a great deal of thinking about cultural traditions verses actual doctrine of the Mormon Church.  How much of what we do in church is what the Lord mandated and how much of it is because of Mormon, and even human, tradition?

I agree that when we go to church we should dress appropriately and reverently.  We need to be clean and in our best, showing respect and love for our Heavenly parents.  But I don’t know if women wearing dresses is the only way for us to show that respect.  Are dresses the only way for women to be “feminine”?  Did God create dresses for women?  Or did man create dresses for women?

These are interesting questions and I think there is room for discussion.  Also, my sister-in-law posed a great question to me:  “Maybe you would wear pants to church, but would you wear dress pants to the Temple?”

So I am not one hundred percent sure what my Sunday attire will be, but I am going shopping today to see if I can find some suitable pants just in case.

(Much more on this topic to come)


Janssen said...

I feel ugly in dress pants. Always have, probably always will. So, you know, my real issues in life are vanity, apparently.

I love this post - you always write so thoughtfully about things.

Kristy said...

Love it. So thoughtful and thought-provoking. Keep it coming!

Brittani said...

I have worn dress pants to the temple. no one said one word to me. I was also 8 months pregnant.... so maybe they thought telling a crazy pregnant woman that she couldn't enter the temple because of her pants would be really bad form.

christi.higham said...

Love this, I've been thinking a lot about it too. Let us know what you decide and how Sunday goes, please!

christi.higham said...

Love this, I've been thinking a lot about it too. Let us know what you decide and how Sunday goes, please!

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