Sunday, October 7, 2012

This is Not a Triumph for Mormon Feminists

Yesterday the LDS church made a big announcement in General Conference. The age of LDS missionaries has been lowered. Men can serve at 18 and women at 19. While this is an interesting change, many in the bloggernacle are treating it as a triumph for Mormon feminists. I see how they can see it that way, I can't. I can't see this as anything but another slap in the face to Mormon women.

The problem that many Mormon feminists had with the previous missionary set up was that there was an age gap for no apparent reason, and well as a difference in length of time served, again for not apparent reason. Both of these differences still exist. Women are still serving at a different age than men and for a different length of time. That status quo has not changed at all.

The reason given for this change was that it would make getting an education easier. In many places, you cannot start school than leave for two years or eighteen months. You lose credits, your place in school and even your chance to attend school in some cases. When men left at 19, they had a year to either screw around in school or waste time before going on a mission because they couldn't or didn't want to start school. Now, they wont' have that year, and will be able to start school easily when they return if they wish. Now it's the sisters who get put in that position. They are the ones whose education is in jeopardy just as the men's used to be.  So it's not okay for men to hang around or mess up their education, but it's fine that the women have to do that. How is that any kind of equality?

What makes this worse to me is the fact that church leaders had a chance to make things right. They had a chance to prove that they do in fact value women in the same way the value men. And the intentionally chose to keep the status quo to keep men and women different. It would have been so easy to make the age the same in this instance, but they CHOSE not to. The pain of this is incredible for me It's not just old policy or unexamined tradition. It is a deliberate choice in brand new policy.

I"m tired of this. I'm tired of this church not giving a crap about the women who are members. I'm tired of fighting and hoping for change just to have garbage like this happen. To me this is not a step forward; it is proof that the church does not think women are as good as men and has no intention of making changes to give women more of a voice.

1 comment:

  1. I should add this does nothing to address the fact that women still can't hold leadership positions in missions, that they cannot baptize converts and that they must listen and answer to men in ebery situation, often men who are younger than them and have been out on missions less time than they have. So how is this a step towards equality?