Nice PantsIn case you missed it, pants are big in Utah this week. As in wearing pants to church. By women. In Mormon churches.

I'm not going to rehash the entire issue. You can click through to read it. And, to be clear, I'm not joining the pants wearers because:

  • I don't think it makes much of a point
  • I don't have many pants that are very nice
  • I'm already marginal enough
  • I'm too chicken

Overall, however, it's not the movement that surprises me. It's the reaction to it that is getting to me.

Common Sense Says Wear Pants in Winter

Just last Sunday, I sat in the truck right in front of the church doors. I was on the phone with a college daughter and the rest of the family had gone in for the meeting. As I sat there I saw woman after woman walk into the church shivering (fully coated) due to the wind, light snow, and uncovered legs. Point being how dumb it was that we had to wear dresses when it's below freezing.

When I was in college, the BYU student employee dress code required women to wear dresses at all times. So while I hoofed it around campus in my skirts, blouses, pantyhose, and heels (read that “serious pain”), the guys I worked with wore their regular clothes and pulled a semi-matching tie out of their backpacks when they got to work. However, that winter (1986–1987) the policy changed to allow women to wear nice slacks during a particular dated window of time. Point being, they figured out it was dumb to force women to wear a dress when it was below freezing outside.

Someone did a service project a number of weeks ago in our ward. The end result was a stack of blankets to put out in Relief Society to keep us from incurring frostbite. Point being, someone else noticed that women were required to dress in a way that caused us to risk harm from exposure.

A woman on Facebook yesterday said that if women were cold in their dresses in the dead of winter, it's because they weren't “dressed properly.” Actual suggestions included wearing sweats and/or thermals under our dresses — in church. Point being that apparently wearing sweat pants under a dress is OK, but wearing nice regular pants is wrong.

LDS women in most countries are expected to wear dresses to church — even when it's completely impractical. I suggest we recognize that women can be respectful and appropriately dressed in dresses or pants and that we officially recognize a willingness to let them choose without stigma.

Important or Not?

I've seen two (really lame, fallacious) arguments repeatedly leveled against the women of the pants.

  1. The issue isn't important
    Apparently there are a gazillion people (mostly women) who think the idea of wearing pants to church is the most insignificant issue imaginable. It's “stupid,” “silly,” “lame,” “useless,” “pointless,” “ridiculous,”knit-picking” [sic], “petty,” and “trivial.”
    And yet, it's important enough that they are compelled to spend their precious time and energy making fun of it.
  2. The issue isn't important enough
    As one caller said on the Rod Arqette show on Thursday: “Pants on Sunday? How silly! There are so many important things. Why doesn't she organize a pro-life rally or do a project for the homeless?”
    This is the fallacy of relative privation. And I'm just waiting with bated breath for this caller to have this conversation:”Caller: Johnny, I asked  you to pick up your room. Now march back up there and get it done.Johnny: Mom! Clean my room? Are you serious? How silly! There are so many important things to do. Why don't you stop hassling me about my room and go organize a pro-life rally? Dude!”

I suggest those who disagree with the idea and/or approach use reasonable discussion instead of nonsensical arguments.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

You know I'm not much into being nice, but the vitriol I encountered in response to this movement was everywhere. Mormon women — who are even “nice” in the face of repeated child molestation — suddenly couldn't keep the invective from flying. Here's a sampling:

Maybe next week, just to prove that I am a women, I will go to church wearing my bra on my head and flippers on my feet…that will show them!!

If people are going to start knit-picking little things like this, they are not truely converted , it just shows satan is alive and well when he starts putting members against members, sad day!

It could not me more off the mark!!!!

Is she NUTS?

Disappointed at the short-sightedness of some to try and hijack it for personal agendas.

What is she thinking? and who does she think she is? Seriously.

Foolishness never ends

What happened to “sacrificing all things”? We can't even ask you to wear a dress? Good thing nobody needs to cross any desert plains in one these days! Good Grief.

And it gets worse. One of the founders of All Enlisted, Stephanie Lauritzen, even received a death threat. A death threat for wanting to wear pants.

One man, a former state legislator, posted this:

I can not believe it! I was banned from the “Wear your pants to church” facebook group! Hilarious! I only made one tiny, little facetious comment but I think they took offense 😉 All I said was:

“Just so long as you are home to cook me dinner, do the dishes and bring me a beer, feel free to wear whatever you'd like to church ladies.”

Golly some people…LOL!

Women in the church are subordinate. (Please, let's not deny the obvious and argue semantics.) And because they are, disparaging comments have an extra bite they might not otherwise have.

Do comments like those shown above help? In my experience, they simply reinforce the stereotype. If men in the church aren't capable of hearing concerns from women without minimizing and mocking — to whom do we turn?

Listen, Love, Learn

I didn't post anything about this on my wall, but in another Facebook discussion, a guy I've known since I was a kid said this:

This group is wearing pants because they feel women are not treated equally in church. This is ridiculous. I have been raised to always treat women with the utmost respect and admiration. The Relief Society, Young Women and Primary are routinely run more smoothly than Young Men and Elder's Quorum. I just don't see the need to protest. If you don't believe in the Church, then don't go.

Let's parse this quote.

This group is wearing pants because they feel women are not treated equally in church. This is ridiculous. I have been raised to always treat women with the utmost respect and admiration.

These women feel unfairly treated. They are idiots. And anyway, I always treat women with respect and admiration, so they are obviously boneheads.

The Relief Society, Young Women and Primary are routinely run more smoothly than Young Men and Elder's Quorum.

Because women work their backsides off to serve and men are slackers, it's obvious that everything is totally fair and women have what they need.

I just don't see the need to protest.

And if a man with the priesthood said he doesn't see a point, that's the final word. Go home, ye faithless!

If you don't believe in the Church, then don't go.

That's pretty much exactly what the first presidency said. Just leave, you stupid women. And anyway, wearing pants means that you don't believe…what the church said…about pants…which was…nothing at all…but…whatever. So take your name off the records and go be an atheist or something, you skirtless heathens.

Pantless Posts Worth Reading

If you're interested is some other views on this topic, check out these posts by LDS women:

What do you think about the response to the pants issue?