Dear Progressive Mormon Man,
We share this space.
This space where we engage in the wrestle; where the struggle is real. This space of curious learning coupled with hopeful healing. This space that offered a soft landing for those affected by the great and spacious abyss. We are thrown here violently for some, our veils freshly shed, seeking solace.
We share this space.
Imagine the surprise, when we realize this space of progressivism is full of pain. This space of enlightenment is shrouded with darkness. This space of hope still carries hate.
You claim to champion the cause of the oppressed, but use your privilege to persuade. You will support our plight, but only when it increases your appearance. You say you are allied with victims, but then discredit their pain. You condemn power and control, but are quick to employ them when it suits your needs.
Progressive Mormon Man, do you see how you have just repackaged rape culture?
Progressive Mormon Man, do you see how you have just reorganized aggressivism?
Progressive Mormon Man, do you see how you have just made ignorance shiny and new?
Where are the laurels you claim to embrace in your image? The values you tout in your temperament? You’ve traded one community of privilege and patriarchy only to rebuild another with you at the center.
In this space you find comfort, while we find confusion. You find accustomed acceptance, while we find internalized oppression. You are afforded unaccounted credit, while we are in the red before it even begins. Our tithes meaningless. Our insight less than. Our input not worth your time. Our thoughts discounted. Our pain deleted.
Its whitewashing at its best. Again.
This space of progressivism prides itself on safety and security, but you only bring shaming and self-preservation. Your lack of probity is paralyzing. Although you may fear a fall from atop, please realize we have never been there to begin with.
In this space, you fetishize female vulnerability. You joke at our expense. You mock us to our face, but then say “just kidding” to make it ok. And you use eternal gender roles and black-and-white binarism to justify it all.
But the biggest tragedy is that you fail to even realize it.
You downplay our pain, our stories, our experiences. Then you upvote the ones that confirm your bias. You breed enablement with your words and permissiveness with your actions. You sustain submissiveness and empower inequality. Your legacy is doublespeak, pioneered with disregard.
Author, Louise O-Neill states, “They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”
We are not proven. And still not believed. We are also cast off. Even here in this space. You instantly have an Army of Helamen at your side, whose ears perk up when a female questions your authority. Your disposition doctrinaire and your aim to affront. You would rather be an idol than an ally. You choose your Rameumptom instead of choose the right. This space of cultural hall call-outs can include anyone but you.
You perpetuate hegemonic patriarchy with your careless discrediting. You enable toxic masculinity with your easy dismissing. You willingly and readily pass your privilege, without even a pause to consider how it damages others. You claimed to have unpacked your baggage of overt sexism, when in reality you’ve smuggled covert misogyny into your carry-on. You cannot see androcentrism because your blind spots remain unexamined. Your archaeology is incomplete resulting in a male gaze that marginalizes.
You don’t just get to leave this conversation because you lose interest in it. Again, we are not here for your pleasure.
Could the reason be, that there are skeletons in your closet? The kind that don’t die, but gain new life with bad behavior.
Gavin de Becker, states “Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated while most women fear rape and death.” The parallel evident: You worry about satire, while we worry about safety. You fear ignomity, while we fear abuse. We seek refuge while you provide rigidity. We seek sanctuary while you provide chauvinism.
Progressive Mormon Man, I am not a muse for your column.
I am not a meme for your page.
I am not entertainment for your fodder.
I am not a zinger waiting for your laugh.
Progressive Mormon Man, you’ve figured out that our salvation is still dependent on you.
And you are taking full advantage.
This was painful to read. I’m going to stick my neck out as a politically progressive man and apologize for those among us who have wronged you.
I’m left without any idea what the answer is, or even if there is one. It isn’t clear to me if you are saying that being progressive is somehow worse than being conservative, or if it is progressive values that breed the kind of oppressive patriarchy that has wounded you, and maybe none of that matters and you aren’t looking for any solutions, or problems, you just want to be heard. Well, I heard you. I hear you. I can’t fix anything, but I can listen…
(Feel free to use me as an example of a progressive Mormon man if you need someone to be mad at. If it makes you feel better go ahead and jump on me for posting a comment on this. Sorry if that means I just invaded a safe space by being here, etc.)
i guess it would have hurt you too much
to actually see some truth.
Jacob says he had anxiety and anger
at how the delicate minds of the women were being treated.
maybe you can’t understand women like jacob.
What on earth is this? I am genuinely puzzled. Are you ranting about an individual or a categorical representative? Is he intolerable for being Mormon, or for being progressive, or for being a man, or is it some special combination of the three? Would it be better if he were a conservative? A Jehovah’s Witness? Or is the solution that he become a she?
Maybe I don’t get this because I am not a Mormon (I am probably what you would call an atheist) but this is a seriously self-indulgent blabbering of victim-hood.
Strength? Character? Courage? I have know Mormon women like that. Nothing like that here. Sorry Lesley but you need to stop blaming everyone else for your problems and go look in the mirror.
You are an idiot
One thing that bothers me about well-written posts on Rational Faiths is that they usually generate few comments, which naturally makes me think readership isn’t high. Could it be that many of us who are LDS simply devote X amount of time to gospel-related reading–perhaps giving a chunk of it to the Ensign and the Church News–and don’t feel a need to reach outside our comfort zone? Or perhaps we merely feel we are on the right path, that we already have all the answers and we don’t need voices out of the mainstream urging us to change?
In any event, this will be a long comment. Maybe it’s my way of dealing with the fact that I wish there were more comments about this post.
First, Lesley is a wordsmith, and I’d venture to say if a general conference talk offered this quality of writing, members would be gushing for weeks about the profundity of the address–especially if the speaker were in the First Presidency or the Twelve.
Second, as someone who grew up in an small, all-white town in Oregon, I totally get “But the biggest tragedy is that you fail to even realize it.” No, I don’t intend to be sexist or racist, but I’ve had experiences that have shown me that intentions aren’t good enough; we must examine our thoughts and actions.
Third, this past Sunday my stake held a three-ward meeting in which one ward was dissolved. On the stand sat the stake presidency and the bishoprics from the three wards. It didn’t occur to me until after the meeting that the presence of Relief Society presidencies would have been quite fitting. (My wife was the main female presence–she was the chorister.) Plus, I wonder how much involvement, if any, female leaders had in the decisionmaking process that resulted in eliminating a ward.
Fourth, “Progressive Mormon Man, you’ve figured out that our salvation is still dependent on you.” Yes, we teach eternal marriage and that we cannot be saved without our dead, but as I’ve grown older I have come to believe that the true tie that binds now and in the afterlife is love and that if people (married, single, gay, etc.) have a heart that is pleasing to Christ, it shall be well with them at the last day.
Oh, and BTW, per my comment above, I don’t get a lot of nourishment these days from either the Ensign (we no longer subscribe) or the Church News, which comes with our Deseret News. Last week’s Church News had 17 photos of President Nelson and not a single illustration or art of Christ–but that’s a subject for another day.
progressive mormon man,
will he actually do the painful thing
of defending all women?
This blog topic seems very fitting as I read that a high profile progressive politician thinks the most effective insult for a political rival is to compare him to a teenage girl.
Lesley, I appreciate you taking the time to call out hypocritical behavior of some that consider themselves progressives.
I do get some of what you are saying, such as those that perform in progressive ways, but mainly so they are SEEN as progressive. But in other ways they are not.
I feel lots of pain in your writing. I am sad to hear that. I read this again and I come up a bit short on understanding what behavior I should really contemplate if I am doing. I know I am asking the person that feeling oppressed to explain how I (or my gender) is oppressing you. As one that wants to try and understand better and the do better, I walk away from this feeling, “guys can be jerks”. I try to ask myself if there are areas I am doing this as I am sure I probably do.
Thanks again for trying to explain your pain. I really appreciate it.
Just after writing this I finally caught up to the Kirby story. If that is what this about, I actually understand. I am sad to see someone that I really liked do something so wrong to a woman and not seem to get it after it is pointed out to her. Wow.
Thank you, Lesley, but woman is not one iota more dependent on man for salvation than man is on woman.
It’s a team thing–a family thing.
I take no advantage.
Your hyper chihuahua is named Chaos? Cute.
My laid-back Great Dane is “Harmony.” Also cute.