Well, the site is taking shape, and I feel I can now pass a preliminary judgment. WAVE are a waste of time.
First off, some name clarification. WAVE are really just WAV, because they are certainly not working for equality. Any time someone asks them if they intend to gain meaningful leadership roles for women (the most obvious path to becoming equal with men) they backpedal and state that they do not want women to have the priesthood.
WAV’s features are somewhat wanting. I admit in advance that this may be just be my incredible level of cynicism, but the questions posed to Ask a (pseudo)Feminist in general seem like boilerplate questions devised by the site owners, not real questions from a meaningful readership or community. Their first “Call to Action” is to ask for a list of quotes by LDS leaders past and present that make ladies feel good about themselves. I hope when they post the collected quotes they don’t forget a lacy tablecloth and a painting of a woman in an ankle-length gown gazing serenely at puffy white clouds. The HOPE blog has no entries. Seems faithful active LDS women don’t want to admit that their lives aren’t perfect on an unofficial site. They must be too busy writing fictional versions of themselves on mormon.org.
Most embarrassing is the page on “Feminism 101.” WAV define Mormon feminism as something that “concerns itself with how feminist thought and practice intersects with the doctrine and organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” No, dearies. That’s Mormon feminist theory, as in observing but not acting. Mormon feminism means Mormonism plus feminism equals pushing for the abolition of gender restrictions on women within Mormonism. They also note “If you get together with a bunch of Mormon feminists, you’ll find mothers, professors, lawyers, businesswomen, and even some men.” Blimey! Men can be feminists? LOLWTF? There’s also an unintentionally humourous entry in the Words of Wisdom section. Their very first quote is from Gordon B. Hinckley, who declared “The whole gamut of human endeavor is now open to women.” Yes, but only outside the LDS Church. Oops.
News flash, o ye sewing circle of diet feminism: If you’re going to use the big fat E word, you should actually believe in it. Equality means equality means equality. To say that you are advocating for equality means that you believe women can and should pass the sacrament, give blessings, lead meetings, provide counsel, conduct ritual, shape policy, and supervise congregations. That’s not an opinion; that’s what women being equal to men in the LDS Church means. If the only thing you want is some kind of guaranteed platform for making Mormon men listen to what you have to say, you’ve already go that. It’s called a wedding ring.
I’m disappointed because I thought the idea had merit as a grassroots movement, but it now seems that all WAV wants to do is gild the pedestal Mormon women stand on. There’s already an organisation that exists to make women made neurotic by the grinding pull of cognitive dissonance feel relevant in a church that treats them like a second class appendage, or rather, auxiliary: The Relief Society. I was hoping for some genuine push for change here, not some overeducated Auntie Toms. But perhaps in the end I’m just beating my head against a wall. Perhaps it’s not really possible to make women equal within Mormonism. Maybe all that can be done is make the inequality easier to swallow. If so, we can count on WAV to git ‘er done.