10 Practical Ways Feminists Can Contribute
(art is Dance of Peace by Abro)
A few months ago, Jessawhy talked about the role of the faithful Mormon feminist, and asked about ways feminists can contribute to the Church as they balance their faith and feminism.
I firmly believe there is a place for feminists within the Church. As Jessawhy references in her post, we are all the body of Christ. My role might be different than someone else’s, but we all, no matter our divergent politics or social concerns, have ways we can contribute to the Church and help make it the welcoming, loving institution Christ would want it to be.
Here are 10 practical ways feminists can make a positive impact on their local congregations. Some of these are difficult – I know I don’t always have the nerve to speak up – but whenever I do, I invariably find people who have appreciated my perspective.
1. Make smart, insightful, and progressive comments in SS and RS.
2. Volunteer to teach lessons and give them an empowering, subtly feminist twist. (quote Chieko Okazaki as much as possible and use examples of great women throughout. Mother Teresa works great.)
3. Be proactive when something offensive is done. On a family history bulletin board in my church there was a disturbing sign which said that our goal was the ‘patriarchal order’ with a picture of a newly wedded couple right under it. They clearly meant something like celestial marriage, so I quietly changed the sign to say that. It’s now been there for 3 years. No one knows who changed it or why.
4. When something offensive is said or done in lessons and talks, kindly address either the speaker or RS president and voice your concerns. Chances are people will be more careful in the future.
5. Be open about who you are. If you are a working mom and loving it, be open about that and talk about why that works for you. Mention it in discussions.
6. Write. Blog. Learn how other smart feminists are navigating the waters and contributing in a positive and progressive way.
7. Start a book group with open minded women in your ward. Discuss these issues. Raise consciousness. Read and discuss some of the classic feminist Mormon articles.
8. Tell people about things like Exponent and Feminist Mormon Housewives. A lot of women have these concerns but have no idea that stuff has been written about it.
9. Volunteer a lot in your ward. If you build up credibility as a generous giving person, people will give you the benefit of the doubt when you speak up in RS in a feminist way.
10. Don’t be afraid to do things a little untraditionally. My husband and I blessed our baby at home rather than church so that I could hold the baby with Mike. Not only that, I also wrote the blessing, which Mike read.
For me, the bottom line is talk. Write. Be open. Applaud when things are done well. Kindly address when things are done badly. And go with your own conscience, even if it goes against church policy or tradition. Just my two cents.