During my college years (which are almost over!), I met a variety of feminist men and women. Coming from a religious background, I never thought I’d meet a man who was feminist. The men in my religious community were loyal to patriarchy and the strictly traditional gender roles. As my life outside of religion began evolving, I began meeting new types of people. I was surprised to meet men who weren’t macho or the supposed leaders of everything they did.
My dating life improved tremendously as I started meeting men who were feminist. It became sort of an unwritten requirement for dating: feminist, atheist and not macho.
The more feminist a guy was the more often he may have deviated from traditional masculinity–at least in a few distinct ways. I’ve dated men who were nervous about approaching women, men who liked sewing and cleaning, and men who ranted about equality for women as much as I did. In meeting these men who weren’t hyper-masculine, I’d finally reached a point where I was truly happy with the types of people I was dating. In part, that was because I’d begun to find myself outside of religious definitions and was becoming happier as a result. But that wasn’t the only reason. I’d grown up knowing one type of man, the hyper masculine, adventurous man; yet, I knew I didn’t want to settle down with that type of man. I’d finally begun meeting men who I could see myself with for life, rather than men who would fit the “role” of what I should look for in a husband–a provider, a protector, etc.
So those men who love to cook and clean and sew need our support as much as women who despise cooking and cleaning and sewing and feel oppressed by such duties and resent them. The world around us tells males they should be interested in certain activities and not interested in others that are “girly.” And they get attacked for diverting from hyper masculine activities.
Feminism is changing; maybe just in my eyes and maybe because I was confined to patriarchy for years and missed some of the major changes that occurred while I was “gone.” Regardless, this isn’t your mother’s feminism. This is your feminism and your boyfriend’s feminism. And as much as feminism still does and should fight the oppression of females, it fights the oppressive gender roles for women and men.
Yesterday I magically found something called the Feminist Mormon Housewives Society which is a group of progressive Mormon housewives whose mission is to provide: “A safe place to be feminist and faithful.”
This isn’t a joke. These women are Mormon housewives who are feminist and progressive. They’re rethinking the way their Church talks about women and women’s roles in the home and the world.
I’ve only observed their discussions for a day and talked to a few of them, but they struggle with the same things that any mom’s and housewives struggle with. For example, one mom was feeling resentful over all the housework, cooking, and chauffeuring she had to do. The other wives (and a husband or two) chimed in and most of them had incredibly progressive ideas about what she could do to solve her problems. They were all thinking critically about what their Church told them, versus what worked and didn’t work.
I’m so intrigued by the community here. I’m also so intrigued because I know many Mormons and some of them hold very tightly to traditional gender roles. I even dated a Mormon who explained to me that I’d need to convert to Mormonism in order to marry him and I’d need to give up writing about sex, religion, and well, virtually everything I write about.
These fMh women are questioning gender roles and they’re encouraging their church to be more progressive. One woman posted a link to an LDS Basic Manual for Women: Developing Employment Skills. The woman said that the church needed to step up and become more progressive–this isn’t the 50’s. I completely agree with her. It was intriguing to hear her say that.
I think what’s fascinating about the Internet is that it provides for many of us a community we may never have had living in our own cities, working at our jobs or going to school. The reason fMh Lisa started this community was because she didn’t have anyone she could talk to about certain issues. She was more liberal and progressive than many of the people she knew, so she turned to Google and typed in “liberal Mormon.” She then found a few blogs and after awhile decided to form a community specific to her own needs.
Blogging has done that for me–helped me form a community that’s specifically met my needs (and hopefully the needs of some of you). We’re a more progressive, liberal crowd here which is different from many of those who are recovering from Spiritual Abuse. Sometimes those other communities got too “Jesus-y” for me and I needed a place to be open and honest and candid without being judged or reprimanded. I’m interested in being me first and foremost and I don’t like a lot of the spiritual talk. And I hate being told what to do or what to think.
So cheers to Feminist Mormon Housewives! You’ve made my week. <3