I haven't stopped over there much recently, but I do find the blog interesting, even though sometimes reading can be like watching a train about the bear down on the car, and you're hoping the car is going to move out of the way before the train hits, but then it doesn't. They seem to be women who recognize the value of feminism and then try so hard to make it fit into an organization that doesn't even pretend to be anything but patriarchal. I feel like they're fighting a losing a battle, but part of me is still rooting for them. Because the LDS Church is not going to go away and I think it will be because of women like them that it will eventually (like in a century or two) evolve into something more equitable. I'm not going to be a part of it anymore, thank goodness, but other girls are still going to be born into that organization and I can only hope that they'll grow up with a little more mental breathing room than I had.
So many of the posts over there delineate everything that's harmful toward women and girls (and humans in general) about the Church, but then still conclude that, "Well, but since the Church is after all true, what can we do about it?" I can sympathize. The stronghold the Church can have over a person's psyche really is like an abusive relationship. Intellectual dissent can be grounds for excommunication, which is essentially being cut off from the presence of God in this life and eternal salvation in the next, being denied the privilege of being with your family in the eternities. For a woman who believes in those doctrines and who loves her husband and children, that's a completely understandable motivation to toe the line, in my view.
Amy asks very legitimately, why spend so much energy countering the messages your daughters hear at church? Why not just not expose them to those messages anyway? I feel the same way. So many of the complain-y articles over there make me ask, "Well, why don't you leave? You can clearly see flaws in church culture and how the doctrine supports these flaws. How can you retain a testimony?" It truly baffles me, but for whatever reason, most of them are staying, and I really wish them luck for the sake of upcoming generations of girls born into the Church. The Church has changed a lot since its founding. It's always behind the curve when it comes to positive change (Blacks didn't get the priesthood till 1978? Hello?!), but it does change and will continue to do so.
But are they "real" feminists? Amy says not, on the grounds that they're not "doing" feminism, but merely "bitching" feminism. The other commenters on her post definitely had interesting things to say. Cognitive Dissenter says definitely not. You must go over and check out her post because the accompanying comic was perfect. I'm torn. I feel like they're doing as much as they can in their circumstance, which is being under emotional blackmail if they step too far out of line. Bitching on a blog is about as far as they can go if they want to retain their membership, and therefore salvation.
Let's appeal to the dictionary.com entry on feminism:
–noun1.the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rightsof women equal to those of men.2.( sometimes initial capital letter ) an organized movementfor the attainment of such rights for women.
So belief in equality for women and/or an organized movement to attain that equality. How are we defining "equality"? I think all of the FMHers would say that they believe in equality for women, and indeed, the party line among even the highest ranking male priesthood authorities is that men and women are equal. But the equality they offer looks a hell of a lot like the "separate but equal" bullshit of the pre-Civil Rights American South. The women are designated their domain from which they are not to stray. Noticing this when I came back to the Church after being away for two years was one of the factors that led me to question:
I realized that the bishop or one of his councilors would often sit in on the women's Relief Society meeting, checking in and presiding, but knew that it would be unheard of for the Relief Society president to visit the men's Elder's Quorum meeting. Women were only allowed to preside over other women or children.
The priesthood always has the final say on interpreting doctrine or issuing judgments. So you can't preside or make any decisions of consequence unless you have a penis. And when only the people with penises have a say in whether something is equal, that doesn't strike me as equal.
I think the FMHers have flawed ideas about what constitutes equality, which I think are founded on flawed premises, but I don't presume to know better than they do what their path to happiness in this life should be.
CD points out that taking a Women's Studies course at BYU doesn't make you a feminists. Incidentally, taking a women's studies course was one of the lynchpins in sealing the fate of my "testimony." It was six months after being re-baptized and trying desperately to fit myself back into this mold that I hadn't even realized was confining me. All my life, I'd been taught that feminists were evil, bitter, spiteful, men-hating women who spit on stay-at-home moms and have abortions for fun. Taking that class was like coming up for oxygen after having my head held under the ocean by some very heavy hands. Everything I learned in that class seemed so much more compassionate and sensible than anything I heard at church, not just about women, but about homosexuals and other marginalized groups as well. This was all stuff I had wanted to think and believe all along but was continually told I shouldn't. Ever since learning what feminism was about from feminists themselves, I've been proud to call myself a feminist.
And Mormonism in its current state, completely incompatible with feminism.