Every couple of months, I pick up the latest issue of Bust magazine (“For women with something to get off their chests”) from the local Borders. Sometimes I get weird looks from the cashier, like I’m mistaking it for Maxim or some other soft-porn monthly. Anyhow, I was especially excited to read this issue because of this:
It’s difficult to see in this blurry image, but my Mormon feminist friends made the cover: “MORE THAN A MORMON: feminist mormons speak out.” I grabbed the next image from the Bust website. It shows the two page photo spread that leads into the article. The headline — “Desperate MORMON Housewives” — is a bit sensational, but the rest summarizes the article perfectly: “Often regarded as mutually exclusive, Mormonism and feminism are making strange bedfellows as church ladies take to the Internet to reconcile the two for themselves.”
Considering all of the directions she could have run with this topic, the author, Priya Jain, was evenhanded. Her focus is primarily on women who take on the feminist mantle and choose to remain within the fold (though I was surprised to learn that one of my favorite LDS bloggers, Kiskilili of Zelophehad’s Daughters, had left the Church). Jain’s facts check out, her portrayal of both the Church and its internal feminist critics is respectful, and the article serves as a personal and pithy introduction to Mormon feminism (to Bust’s target demographic, which is hip, younger feminist women) and to feminist wing of the bloggernacle. This four page article packs in continuing revelation, Heavenly Mother, Mormonism’s positive view of Eve, the concept of motherhood as parallel to the priesthood, the founding of the Relief Society, and LDS support of the suffrage movement. She lets fMh‘s Lisa, Janet, Artemis and EmilyS speak for themselves, and they sound smart. Laura Thatcher Ulrich and Margaret Tosacano are quoted as well.
Here’s a couple of excerpts:
Jain’s reaction after lurking on LDS feminist blogs:
To a secular lurker, their discussions are at once familiar…and foreign, because they are couched in conservative Mormon culture and manners…every viewpoint is treated with respect.
She also makes this comparison:
Although it may seem that, in this regard [that women don’t hold the priesthood], Mormonism is no different from, say, Catholicism, the big difference is that all Mormon men have the power of the priesthood.
I feel that the blog is building a community of people who are aware of these questions and who are less and less afraid to ask them. And if at any point in time there is to be a change, I think enough people need to be asking the question that prompts the prophet or whoever is in charge to ask, ‘What should I do with this?’
On a personal level, the article made me proud to be a supporter of the feminist presence in the Bloggernacle, and I was delighted to see the names and pictures of my favorite bloggers in print. If you don’t have the copy, get thee hence to the local magazine stand or big bookstore. Yell at them if they don’t carry Bust. Better yet, subscribe–it’s less than $20 for six feminism-filled issues.