If you’re thinking that one of the coolest people you know is named Jessica Jensen, you’d be right. She originally blogged with us last year, resulting in the epic Jonny Lingo .gif post. She lives in Phoenix and has been married 9 years to a perpetual student. She supports him by doing office support for an engineering firm but she plans on those student/provider roles reversing in the future. She also blogs when she feels like it at her Bloggity Blog.
I wore pants to church last Sunday for the first time. My main reason for doing it was very simple: I just plain wish women felt comfortable wearing pants to church. They’re more practical than skirts (especially for mothers of young children), they’re often dressier than, well, dresses, they warm your legs in the arctic temperatures of the Young Women’s room, and what year is this again? And while I do hope for greater visibility for female members of the church, I specifically chose not to participate in the designated Wear Pants to Church Day because I didn’t want to heighten the controversy. So I waited it out a few weeks instead.
Maybe this is a non-issue in your ward, in which case can I come visit you? I do love my Phoenix ward but generally speaking it’s at best ultra conservative and at worst glaringly sexist. Several weeks ago, the Gospel Doctrine teacher asked, “How does Satan attack our families?” and the proffered answers managed to malign each of the following groups: Older single women, divorced women who don’t remarry, women who think they’re “the same” as men, women who asked for entry to the Priesthood session, women who erase their femininity (an allusion to pants?), moms who work, women who aren’t moms, and The Gays.That’s the closest I’ve ever come to walking out of Gospel Doctrine. I decided to stay and live-tweet it instead, because that room deserved the shame of the entire internet, and if not that, then the shame of my many tens of Twitter followers.
To further illustrate, I recently discovered that my Young Women won’t be able to organize their annual silent auction this spring to raise funds for camp. When I pressed for an explanation at a planning meeting, I was told, verbatim, “Well, the Young Men are low on funds, so if the Young Women try to raise money, too, it will be a strain on the ward.” All the other leaders nodded and accepted it with no resistance. I sorta made a scene and the shaking didn’t subside until I’d been home for thirty minutes, but as far as I know the decision stands. It’s really a shame, because I would have crocheted a truly kick-ass baby blanket to contribute to the cause.
For these above reasons, which are just a small sampling of the treats my ward has offered over the past two and a half years, I wasn’t quite sure how people would react to a display of feminism. I’m sure plenty of people in my ward would conflate women wearing pants to church with Ordain Women and by extension Satan (see second paragraph), so maybe I should have been nervous. I wasn’t; I was mostly just curious. I made the conscious decision to really dress up my wide-leg trousers with a floral blouse, velvet blazer, pearl necklace, and heels, so that it would be abundantly clear I was A) not trying to erase my femininity, and B) dressier than Sister Denim Jumper, and off I went. (Nothing against denim jumpers. They can be lovely. My mom had one when I was young that I really enjoyed. My point is that a Mormon chapel is the only place on earth where a denim jumper is considered more appropriate than a nice pantsuit).
I received a lot of down-and-up-and-down-and-up-and-down looks from both sexes, and the man who inspired this tweet, written long before I wore pants to church, gave my lower half a six-second-long unblinking stare. And while I didn’t discover any secret feminists emboldened by my outfit, I wasn’t called into the Bishop’s office, either, or worse, the Extraction Room. (Do church buildings still have those? As a kid, I used to give that door a wide berth and wonder about the horrors that must take place inside.) I didn’t hear a peep from any of my Laurels, and I’m hopefully optimistic that it’s because it was no big deal to them, and not because they were shocked into silence.
All things considered, I give my pants-to-church experience 4.5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended. My favorite part of the entire day was when a Mia Maid regarded me with interest then asked her advisor, “Can I wear pants to church?” The advisor replied, “Yes. There’s nothing official that says you can’t, as long as it’s your Sunday Best,” but then her own daughter asked, and she said no. So. One miracle at a time.