Our Experience with Wear Pants to Church Day
We’ve gathered the experience some of our permabloggers had with Wear Pants to Church Day. We’d love to hear what your experience was, no matter what you chose to do that day!
DefyGravity in Utah:
On Wear Pants to Church Day I wore gray slacks and a purple shirt. This wasn’t unique for me; I’ve been wearing pants in my Provo ward for about a year. It started with being cold and not wanting to shave my legs. But that Sunday it was about showing support for women who feel different and left out and solidarity with those who feel, as I do, that there is a need for greater gender equality in the LDS church. I also wanted to stand with the women who started the event who had been harassed and threatened for that involvement.
I was the only woman wearing pants in my ward. There were a lot of people in purple, but I don’t know if any of them knew about or supported Wear Pants to Church Day. I did not get any kind of reaction at church to my pants, which did not surprise me. I’ve only gotten two comments on them in the past year, and both were fairly positive. But I found support in my friends and family, and that support meant the world to me. My husband wore a purple shirt to church without my asking him to. A good friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of the purple sweater and tie he was wearing. I teared up as soon as I saw it; knowing exactly what it meant even though he didn’t caption the picture. My dad told me after church that if he had known, he would have gotten a purple tie, which surprised me. My dad is one of the kindest people I know, but he is incredibly non-confrontational. His willingness to stand with me, even though he does not totally understand or agree with all of my concerns about gender inequality in the church, speaks volumes about him and his love for his family. It was nice to be reminded, in the face of death threats and cruelty from some, that there are loving and supportive people in the church.
Suzette in Virginia:
I wore pants to church on Sunday, December 16. I was surprised at how many people in my ward knew about “pants to church”. At least 6-7 people came up to me in support. Many said, “I was going to wear pants too, but xxxx” – and one said, “good to see at least one person is wearing pants today.” Three women did wear purple dresses.
I was asked to give the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting, which I did. And I met my Bishop afterward for tithing settlement. He was in full support of my pants. He told me that he considered wearing a purple tie, but since it was the Christmas program and he was on the stand, he thought it was too much. But he related to me that he told the entire ward counsel that if anyone wore pants today that she should be made to feel very welcome. It thought that was a great sign.
I did, unfortunately, have one man who was upset about my pants. He told me that I was being ridiculous and that the when the church divided on this issue, I would be on the wrong side.
EmilyCC in Arizona:
I have to wear pants when I play the organ (those foot pedals!), and I had asked in November if I could perform an organ Christmas piece on December 16th. Though I gladly would have participated in the wearing pants event on any Sunday, I was worried that my appearance on the stand this particular Sunday would look more calculated and provocative than it actually was intended to be.
All I heard were effusive compliments over my organ playing (maybe a little more effusive than usual?). I taught Primary so I didn’t see everyone, but I think I may have been the only one in dress pants. I did see a few other women in purple dresses, including my feminist friend in the ward. A few friends have asked if that was why I was wearing pants, and I’ve been lucky–they’ve all been gracious and supportive.
Also, I didn’t ask any women to wear pants, knowing that it is such an individual choice, but I did ask a few men in my family and others who I know are feminists. Every one of them gladly wore their purple ties. (My dad wore his wife’s purple scarf, too–“just so there’s no mistake about what I’m doing.”)
April in Utah:
I wore a pantsuit to church for the first time in my life on Pants Day. I live in Utah and I have never seen any woman wear pants at my local ward before, so this action was quite out of the ordinary. Yet, I am not sure that anyone noticed I was wearing pants except for my own husband, who supported me by buying himself a new purple tie and handkerchief to wear. No one treated me any differently because I was dressed differently. No other woman in my ward wore pants.
Dora in California:
I attend a rather conservative mid-singles ward. I routinely wear pants to church whenever it rains, which is not all that often in Southern California. When I first heard of Pantspocalypse, I didn’t feel strongly either way. However, the nastiness that ensued from opposers cemented my decision to wear pants on the 16th. As it turned out, it was lightly drizzling as I left my house, and I wasn’t sure that anyone would take notice of my statement.
As I entered the building, another woman held the door for me. She was wearing pants. She smiled at me, and said, “You look so beautiful today!” I smiled and replied, “So do you. I especially like your pants!”
Another women in my ward, that I am friendly with, was also wearing pants. We had a brief chat in the hallway, and I felt like I had discovered another kindred spirit in my ward. One of the politically neutral guys in the ward remarked, as me and my friend walked in, “Oh, you’re both in on the pants thing!” We all smiled.
On the whole, I think it went well in my ward. I don’t know how many people were even aware of the whole thing, but it was nice to be able to tell who was in-the-know, as well as signal to other women that I was someone who they could talk to, if they had questions about Mormon feminism, and equality within the LDS church. Generally, I think they already know this, but it was good to reinforce the idea for myself as well.
Caroline in California:
Last Sunday I was one of five women wearing pants to church in my ward. Some of these women who wore pants did so to express sympathy with women who have felt pain about women’s status and in the church and show that they support conversations about gender issues. One of my friends wore bright red pants. Her philosophy, as she said to me, was “Go big, or go home.” I think she mainly wore them to express solidarity with me, and I’m touched that she and one or two of the other women primarily put on their pants for me.
There were probably five or six men who wore purple. The handful of people who approached me about my pants were supportive, and several had heard of the movement. One older convert to the church pulled me aside and told me about how after she was baptized, she wore nice dress pants to church for a couple of months until a woman pulled her aside and told her that everyone was talking about her because of her pants. This was hurtful to her, so she roundly endorsed people trying to break this taboo.
I was disappointed to see no men in leadership wear purple, particularly since I know they were aware of the movement. But overall, it was a good day, and good conversations were sparked because of it.
Rachel (visiting) Utah:
My husband wore an unmistakably purple tie. I opted for a skirt and purple shirt for various reasons, but wore slacks immediately after church, including to a family gathering in honor of a nephew’s blessing. Both of the baby’s parents (a brother-in-law and sister-in-law) asked me if I wore pants to church. The brother-in-law’s eyes lit up as he asked. When I explained that I didn’t, he told me that he wished that I did, and that had he known about it more than a few days earlier, he would have encouraged his whole choir to wear pants during their Christmas program. My sister-in-law told me that I Could have worn pants, and that she would have supported me. It meant quite a lot, particularly because my husband’s family is rather conservative, and I did not expect any member to look kindly on this expression (however small).
Spunky, NSW Australia:
I wore bright, colourful pants. No one really noticed- but I have worn those same pants to church before. I was the only one wearing pants. It seemed to me that this was more about an American movement; I am unaware of anyone else in New South Wales who was aware of pants day. Though I am normally critical of the American-ness of Mormonism, (it is academically dubber “The American Religion”) I still see the pants event as a positive statement wherein the church and its members might better conceptualise overall equality in the institutional (and cultural) church in embracing concepts and practises such as priesthood for women, and a true, worldwide (not just American) religion.