Mormon Feminism is still, predictably, a very unfunny joke. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Mormon Feminist blogosphere is its absolute state of unchanging. In this post your friendly apostate correspondent gives you a snapshot of the Mormon Feminist web as it stands.
Opened in 2011, as of publishing this site has managed to get fewer than 400 signatories to their list of people supporting the ordination of LDS women. Its primary contributor is a person with the surname “Wiener” (insert penis envy joke here). Most of the sparse, undated blog entries have no comments at all, and the ones that have something resembling a discussion going have usually been threadjacked by a mainstream LDS misogynist. Despite the best of intentions, it would seem that enthusiasm for faithful agitation for women’s ordination within Mormonism is about as lackluster as one would assume it to be.
Whenever I need a convenient punching bag to present to friends trying to understand the level of smug delusion that affluent white anti-feminists are capable of, I send them to this site. They even present themselves as being guided by a “board” in an attempt to sound as if they were some proper public benefit foundation instead of just another bloody website that nobody pays attention to.
Reaching its apex when one of its contributors managed to get this piece of rubbish printed in the Guardian, LDSWAVE has since crashed and burned on the rocks of reality. Profiles of the so-called “board” haven’t been updated in years and the blog itself, confusingly divided into arbitrary sections, hasn’t been added to in months. With sparse comments and a stagnant community, this site, as it did when it was launched back in September 2010, still seems better at displaying stock imagery of thoughtful-looking white women than in presenting useful information, or any information, for that matter. Given the cheap cost of web hosting it seems unlikely that the site will simply pack it in, although that would be the most sensible and face-saving option at this point.
This podcast site is a venue for women to bitch about patriarchy whilst simultaneously acknowledging that being a Mormon means you simply must submit to it. The backbone of the sight is a BLOODY FORTY-EIGHT PART podcast titled “The Pain of Patriarchy.” If you need a place to talk about yourself for hours on end, by George this is the place for you. If you don’t enjoy being depressed by the sound of women who are aware of the invisible chains that bind them but refuse to break them and walk away into a freer life, give this site a miss.
The most significant thing to report in this standard-bearer of the Mormon Feminist blogosphere is a makeover. How . . . typical. After ditching its long-standing art deco theme the site is still hopelessly frilly and unironically pink. The content is still, after all these years, full of the sort of quibbling that proves the site is nothing more than a pressure release valve for the terrible cognitive dissonance that builds up in the mind of an intelligent woman trapped in the confines of Mormonism by marriage and motherhood. Desperate to make their lives have meaning underneath the layers upon layers of utter bollocks that Mormonism heaps upon their lives, the denizens of this community offer support to one another as they find ways to neurotically cope.
Well, done, ladies. Nothing says Feminism like naming your site after a patriarchal figure and his nameless female offspring. The most positive and useful aspect of this site is that, unlike almost all of the rest of the so-called Feminist Mormon blogosphere, there is an active community composed of both men and women who discuss a variety of topics as if they were adults. If they could just shed the hand wringing and steering clear of upsetting any doctrinal apple carts they might actually get something done one day.
Out of the cast of surreal characters that colours the MoFem scene, The Exponent has remained the one that is easiest to take somewhat seriously, although given that the majority of its contributors are in varying degrees of apostasy the site should more properly be categorised as a post-Mormon site rather than something that could be accepted in the mainstream.
Its latest gem is a half-hearted defence of the bubbleheaded Mormon beauty queen whose brain seemed to have asphyxiated beneath too many layers of hairspray. News flash, Exponent: Eliza R. Snow would not have wasted precious cyberspace defending a woman who had dedicated her existence to the most shallow and narcissistic of professions who was then unable to answer a serious question regarding women and the economy put to her by an articulate black woman.
It is terribly easy to be dismissive and simply say that the people who cling to these online communities are fooling themselves if they believe they can come up with a way to reconcile modern secular humanist principles of gender equality with the Victorian relic that is Mormonism.
It can take some people a very long time to admit this truth to themselves. Some people never can, for a variety of reasons. The primary reason Mormon “Feminists” force themselves into a soul-crushing compromise between equality and oppression is that they have simply come to a Feminist awareness too late in life to do anything about it. They are married. They have children. They occupy positions of relative importance within their petty, insular communities. Leaving Mormonism is about as easy as pulling your internal organs out through your nostrils, and about as painful. Once a Mormon, especially a woman, is locked into the system through her husband and children, leaving is nearly impossible. A couple would have to do it together, and that leaves them twice the number of siblings and parents and cousins to fight against in an effort for personal integrity.
So I get it. You people need these sites. Your family connections and social lives are being held hostage and will be promptly executed if you don’t obey the demands of the Church holding a gun to them. It’s also unbelievably traumatising to realise that you’ve wasted so much of your life on so much nonsense. Acknowledging that Mormonism is an evolutionary dead-end in human society is just too frightening. So you putter along trying to make the best of it, grumbling quietly under your doctrinal load because you are too smart to truly believe in it. This is not the place where you will be given patronising placations congratulating you on your impressive balancing act between reality and dogma. I have transitioned beyond that. All I can say is that I understand why people do this to themselves, although I think the amount of self-harm inflicted by forcing an uneasy compromise between Mormonism and Feminism is hardly worth it.