Recently I read a fascinating article by Rosemary Hill. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n07/rosemary-hill/what-does-she-think-she-looks-like. It is about women, fashion, clothing, and uses a phrase, “frock consciousness”, which is deserving of its own discussion. It is well worth reading. A couple of sentences keep running through my mind. “Women have always had to be amphibious. No society has been designed for their comfort or convenience and as they move between the elements, the spheres of private and public, personal and professional, they must constantly adapt, assume disguise or camouflage.” We can add the sphere of church or religion to that list.
Has there ever been a sphere designed for the comfort and convenience of women? It is only recently that the comfort and convenience of women was ever considered in any element of society. It seems to me that advancement in gender equality has usually, at least initially, been grudging tolerance of women, as long as they act more like men. Adapting, assuming disguises and camouflage has been the way into previously male only spheres. Being amphibious is tricky for humans.
In our religious practices, with our very gendered roles, it seems that our female spaces, Young Women and Relief Society, should be designed for our comfort and convenience. Has that been your experience?
If we really, really believe that all are invited unto Christ, to partake of his goodness, we should strive to design our religious practices to be convenient and comfortable for all. What has been your lived experience? Is there any sphere in your life that has been designed for the comfort and convenience of women? Can you even imagine what that would be like?