What is Mormon feminism?
Mormon feminism is a strand of feminism that primarily concerns itself with how feminist thought and practice intersects with the doctrine and organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Who are Mormon feminists?
There is no one right way to be a Mormon feminist. If you get together with a bunch of Mormon feminists, you’ll find mothers, professors, lawyers, businesswomen, and even some men. What brings the diversity of these women together is 1) their commitment to the LDS Church, and 2) their commitment to bettering the lives of women both inside and outside of the church.
What do Mormon feminists believe?
Just like there’s no one right way to be a Mormon feminist, there’s no one single thing that Mormon feminists believe. However, here are the beliefs that we tend to share:
*Communities and organizations are stronger when women’s talents are fully utilized and when there are many strong, visible female leaders for young women (and men) to look up to, admire, and emulate.
* Patriarchal organizations where women do not have a voice in important decisions do not allow for women’s unique perspectives on their and their families’ lives to be fully utilized. Communities and organizations are stronger when women’s voices are central in decision-making about important issues. When women’s voices are fully heard, everyone benefits.
*Historically, women have faced sexism, discrimination, etc. While things are slowly changing for the better, there are many ways women still face these difficulties, including in the LDS church. It’s important to continue to acknowledge the ways that women still face sexism and discrimination and work toward change.
Overall, Mormon feminists are committed to working for greater gender equity, both inside and outside of the LDS church. While we often disagree about the best way to do this, all of us want to help improve the lives of women.
Why use the term “feminism”? Why not just say you’re working to improve women’s lives?
Perhaps you may be suspicious of the term “feminism” because in your mind it brings of images of angry women burning their bras and renouncing motherhood. Feminists have done some crazy things over the years, but they’ve also done a lot of good. If it weren’t for first wave feminists, women in this country would not be able to vote. Second wave feminists advanced gender equity in arenas like higher education and the workplace. Third-wave feminism (present-day feminism) is reaching out to the diversity of women around the world, getting involved in issues from sweatshops in third world countries to problems with Western media culture to protecting women from domestic violence. We call ourselves (Mormon) feminists because we want to be part of the larger movement that is working to better women’s lives around the world.
Later questions to be answered in our feminism 101 series:
*What do you mean by “gender equity”? Do you want to make women more like men?
*Does being a feminist mean that you don’t value the important work that women do in the home?
*How do you define feminism?