Mormon Feminism: A Patheos Symposium
It's a good time to stop worrying so much about who's a feminist and who's not, and instead focus on how women who care about gender issues can better cooperate by emphasizing similarities and respecting differences.
While we once were a people who repeatedly risked everything, we now have to cheer tiny moves, marveling that such things can come to be.
The church will not be cajoled into change, but leaders have proven to be sensitive to the needs of the members. I am firmly of the belief that if we ask to have our needs met, they will be. And when that day comes, I don't think I'll care much what you call it.
Giving birth and nurturing my children at the breast are the most empowering, fulfilling, and radically transformative acts I have ever engaged in. It doesn't really matter whether these choices are feminist or traditional, conservative or radical. What matters is that I could choose.
It will take earnest work to become informed about the theological issues at stake, and to articulate them in a way that makes sense to Mormon women with widely varied political and ideological commitments, and then to stay engaged in the conversation which will inevitably be painful.
Just as the biblical metaphor of the body of Christ insists on the place and importance of everyone in the Church, I believe in the importance of a multiplicity of Mormon women's voices.
I have a feeling that if the goals of a mainstream Mormon feminist movement were clearly delineated, Mormon women generally would be surprised at how closely the answers line up with their own ideals, even if we still disagree on how to achieve them.
I would suggest that among educated, white, Mormon women of a certain socioeconomic class and age, it is actually very fashionable to self-identify as a feminist.
Third-wave feminism's emphasis on "choice" presents a theological problem. We need to develop a deeper understanding of subjectivity and agency if we are to move the feminist conversation forward and reach a broader audience.
I believe the clearest path forward requires Mormon women to look inward as well as outward, and I'm heartened by the evidence of this I see in each of the responses to my article, as well as the myriad of conversations in progress elsewhere.