Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Feminist Mormon's Bucket List

Several things have led to this post. First, a friend's blog that had her "Bucket list," things she wants to do before she "kicks the bucket." I've always liked the idea of a bucket list, but never got around to doing one. But I lately I read an article on Feminist Mormon Housewives about what you would do if you weren't Mormon. While it's hard to answer that question, I've been pondering the direction my life can take now that I no longer consider myself Mormon in the doctrinal sense (though I will likely always be a cultural Mormon.) And then I got myself a copy of "From Housewife to Heretic," Sonia Johnson's autobiography about her excommunication because of her pro-ERA activities. I'll probably write a post just on that book, since there is so much in it and most of it enrages me. But the reason it matters here is because it has galvanized me to start making changes in my life in a way that nothing else has.

So here's my list of things I want to do to move forward as myself, and as a feminist: my Feminist Mormon Bucket List.

1. Get a second ear piercing. I've always thought they were cute, and I no longer give the church the right to dictate what I do with my body.

2. Go to grad school or law school. I've always planned on this, but now it's in the forefront of the plan.

3. Do something to end my ability to have children, or at least something more permanent then the pill I'm currently. I've always felt guilty for not wanting kids, but now I'm going to follow my revelation about not having them.

4. Dedicate my time to the church on my terms. Currently I have a calling in Primary. I generally teach what I believe to be right, but occasionally slip into church talk I don't believe. That's not going to happen anymore. I will teach only what I believe.

That's the list for now, although I'm sure there will be more!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I've been married for 2 1/2 years, which has been wonderful overall. My husband brings out sides of me I don't normally show, like my silly and fun-loving side. He is not bound by opinions about gender roles, or at least as unbound as any of us can be. He's a better cook and likes cooking more then I do, and has taken over doing the laundry. He is behind the things I want to do. If something will make me happy he's fine with it. There is nothing in our relationship that make me feel as though I need to ask for permission to do things or place his needs before my own. My parents never modeled that kind of mentality. But I always feel that I need to ask his permission to do things that don't involve him, and that his needs should supersede mine.

I don't really know how to describe the conundrum I find myself in. I love my husband and want him to be happy. And he loves me and wants me to be happy. But we both find fulfillment and joy outside our relationship as well as within it. I go to various feminist and liberal Mormon events without him. We work on separate theatre projects. We read different things. Neither of us have a problem with this. We also spend time together and do things with each other. I guess the problem is with how and when we do things is determined. Sometimes if K wants to do something together and I want to be by myself, I will spend time with him to make him happy. That is part of marriage in my mind; paying attention to the others needs. So, in theory, as often as I spend time with him, I should also be able to say that I'd rather have some time to myself just as often. And that's where we hit a problem. I don't feel ok saying that. I feel guilty, like I'm failing in a responsibility. I know if K know that I felt that we he would be very sad. He would tell me to do what was going to make me happy. But even when he says it I feel bad. I am choosing to put his needs before my own because I feel that his needs are more important them mine. So I get angry at him when he hasn't done anything wrong. I don't express how I feel or what I need from him. I don't take what I need into account, or feel guilty when I do. How do I move past this?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Feminist Christmas

My in-laws don't know much about my feminist sensibilities. They are pretty conservitive Mormons, so there are lots of things that I don't say around them to keep things from getting awkward. We only see them twice a year, so it's not hard. But I feel inauthentic; I want them to know me, know what is important to me, especcially as it becomes clear that I'm exiting the church. But how do you let people know what you believe in a way that doesn't make conversation drift into uncomfortable silence?

I had something of an epiphany last night about one way to share my feminism in a none-threatening way. At Counterpoint this year, LDS WAVE was selling copies of their book Words of Wisdom. It's a book of quotes, separated by topic, focusing on quotes by female church leaders and quotes directed specifically towards women. My mother-in-law is in the Relief Society presidency in her ward, so I thought this would be a good gift for her. We won't be there for Christmas, so I want to include a note telling her about WAVE and that I'm involved with it. It might give her an idea about who I am in a positive light, since the book is to help people embrace female leaders and the information addressed directly to women. It's a cool book, and an easy way to give women more of a voice in church meetings. I downloaded it free for my iPad.

It struck me as a really awesome idea, so I thought I'd write about it.