Saturday, December 15, 2012


So this past Monday i knew that my workweek was going to be a bit unusual, and also i was a little behind on laundry,* so i spent a little extra time that morning planning what shirts i was going to wear each day through the weekend.

The shirt i planned for this Sunday is a purple one.** I look good in purple, after all, and so i have a handful of purple dress shirts anyway, so the odds were in that color’s favor to begin with.

Well, unbeknownst to me a group of women on the internet had decided to tweak the noses of Mormon social conservatives† by wearing trousers to church instead of skirts or dresses. Well, this started to be a thing, until it then devolved into really, really intense vitriol to the point of death threats(!) against those putting the whole thing together. It got bad enough that Facebook, never really known as a hotbed of civility, took down the Facebook page about it ’cause the discussionarguments were getting out of hand. (Way to be normal, fellow Mormons!)

Also unbeknownst to me, some men decided to get into the act by saying that they were going to wear purple ties or even purple shirts (gasp and horror!) in support of the trousers-wearing women.

So, once i learned about all this late last week, i was locked into wearing a purple shirt today, since i was short on shirts to begin with and i’d already worn the other good-looking dress shirts i had available.

This leads to an interesting question: Am i wearing a purple shirt in solidarity with women wearing trousers (no, it’s just that i look good in purple—see footnote †), and will people view my action as such (i do, after all, not infrequently wear purple shirts to church anyway)?

More to the point, though, i guess the big question is whether i really care what other people think about this.††

A postscript: A Facebook friend of mine says she’s going to wear a purple dress to church tomorrow, just to play with the ambiguity. Cheers for her!

* Hey, cut me a break here—we have four kids, and two of them go to a school with a moderately tight dress code, so laundry is always an issue, ’kay?

** Me, wear a white shirt to church? Oh, please don't make me giggle so hard.

† A goal i stand thoroughly in favor of, by the way. I explicitly take no position on this specific tweaking, but the idea of tweaking Mormon social conservatives generally? More often, and more power to you, that’s what i say.

†† No.‡

‡ Though i will admit to a bit of curiosity in the sense of the sociological experiment of it all.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

Jamie and Daddy wear purple shirts to church a lot. Daddy wasn't at church Sunday and I don't think Jamie wore one of his purple shirts but I don't remember. Because of this pants thing I learner that all men must wear white shirts. Funny since Jamie does not even own a white shirt at the moment. About half the men in our ward wear colored shirts on Sunday, proof that they're not boring. Two women always wear pants. It just doesn't seem like it should be that big of a deal.

The group pushing the pants has some issues, though. They've got a definite agenda which includes women holding the priesthood and open worship of Heavenly Mother. They do not, however, think that porn addiction is an issue and that women are not hurt by it. Apparently, according to them, feminists don't have a problem with porn and objectifying women. Their next planned "step" is for people to bear their testimonies about Heavenly Mother in May.

David B said...

@Heather the Mama Duk: Kindasorta. As far as i can tell, the original idea behind the whole pants thing was simply to point out that women are quite certainly allowed to wear trousers to church, along with a note that some women simply look a lot better in trousers than in skirts/dresses. Also, it wasn’t a “group” so much as it was just that a bunch of women thought “Hey, that’d be fun”.

There were certainly some radical folks who latched onto the idea, but to say that the group behind pants day takes position X, well, i don’t know that that’s really a workable claim. Now, one could argue against the utility of the protest (for lack of a better word—i don’t know that that’s really an accurate characterization) because of how quickly radicals twisted it, sure, but that’s a different argument.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I had a friend in the private group run by the founders. So, yes, I do know exactly what their agenda is. In public they were saying one thing but in private it was much more clear.

David B said...

Call for references.

(I tend to be skeptical of friend-of-a-friend reports, and even more so of friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend ones.)

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Okay, how about it was my very best friend in the whole world who was on the private FB group so I totally believe her, plus she'd sit there and read some of the posts to me. She left the group because of some things that seriously bothered her. It's private group (All Enlisted) and then there is an extra private group that you have to digitally sign saying you agree with their "goals" (which includes women holding the Priesthood). She never joined the extra private group because she didn't agree with some of their goals so I don't know what was said in there, just in the regular private group up until she removed herself last the end of last month.

David B said...

Fair enough. I'd suggest, though, that the All Enlisted group (which isn’t even remotely a closed group—i mean, they have a pretty open and active public internet presence, for starters, and a more mixed composition than your friend’s description would have it) may have started it, but those who participated (or supported without participating) the whole pants to church thing included enough non-radicals that they pretty much dwarfed the radical elements.

That’s the ever-present danger in starting a revolution, after all—you can start one, but you can’t control whether you’ll like the ending.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I'm talking about the All Enlisted Facebook group. That is private and requires approval to join. It is run by the woman who was making the rounds of the news about the pants thing and at least gave the impression in interviews that she was in charge (Stephanie I think her name is).

The problem is while pants to church is not a big deal, some of their other ideas ARE and they want to change cultural and DOCTRINAL things in the Church. This is being run by the person who started the idea on FB and she is definitely one of the more radical element. Her next step: Bearing testimonies about Heavenly Mother in May Fast and Testimony Meeting.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Amusing... our Relief Society President basically wore pants to church this past Sunday. It was a traditional Indian outfit (as in India Indian - they used to live in India) with loose pants and shirt that comes almost to the knees but has slits to the waist so it is definitely a shirt. It was quite dressy and beautiful.

Many people in Ireland wore pants. Seriously, most people just don't care.