The New Mormon Feminism
Mormon feminism has had a big year. After being pronounced all but dead, it has been thrilling to see this renaissance take place in such a short period of time. The year started with the rebirth of the feminist literary tradition; the Our Visions, Our Voices tour put on by the Mormon Women Writers was amazing. And, of course, Exponent II magazine is back with a bang. Then there was the Patheos and UK Guardian articles written by fMh’s Reese Dixon, proudly proselytizing our cause.
I am not alone in recognizing a groundswell in the movement. The same publication that asked only six years ago where all the Mormon feminists had gone now declares that Mormon feminism is back. One of the most exciting developments has been the creation of the Mormon feminist activist organization, Women Advocating for Voice and Equality (WAVE).
This organization seeks to put action to all of the words, hope and pain that have been shared over the years by Mormon feminists on and off the internet. On our newly redesigned website there is a place to share your experience as an LDS woman, participate in social justice causes worldwide, access words of wisdom by LDS women to include in your lessons and talks, a resource and support section to answer questions about feminism in general and Mormon feminism specifically. Each month there will be a call to action, an opportunity to participate in something that will improve the experience Mormon women and men have in the church. This month’s action is a call for quotes by and about women for an LDS Women’s Quote Book.
There are some who believe that this new Mormon feminism will fail. They are wrong. Mormon feminism has already won. Despite the very public beating feminism took twenty years ago, the fruits of our foremothers’ labor can be seen every week at church. Women can give talks and prayers, they are invited to council meetings, changing tables are available in both women’s and men’s restrooms, Heavenly Mother’s name can be invoked without an automatic discipline meeting with the bishop.
There is absolutely more to be done and this time around it isn’t just a small number of intellectuals in Salt Lake City talking about women’s issues at Sunstone. It’s the young women of the Save the WRI movement, it’s Claudia Bushman and her Mormon Women’s Experience project, it’s WAVE, it’s the bloggers and commenters at Exponent, fMh and Zelophehad’s Daughters. The new Mormon feminism includes faithful women all over the world, of all ages and life situations, gathering on the internet, going to retreats and conferences and then going forth into their wards and branches and being the change they so desperately want.
Undoubtedly there will be some who throw about the old and tired accusation of apostasy. I can say from experience that nothing is further from the truth. When we first created WAVE, all of us had powerful personal revelation, a message from God that spurred us to action. Those of us who are participating in this movement are not out to destroy the church, rather we seek to strengthen it by aiding in the church’s retention of women. We love our daughters and know that they deserve so much more than crumbs from the table. All that we desire are the good gifts that Christ promised God has for all of Their children. With a desire like this, the new Mormon feminism cannot fail.