On December 16th, 2012, Mormon women from all over the United States participated in an organized, grassroots event called Wear Pants to Church Day. Thousands of LDS women decided to wear pants to church in order to bring attention to unnecessary cultural stigma surrounding the donning of pants by female members of the church. Church doctrine does not explicitly prohibit the wearing of pants to church by women. In a recent statement from the church, it was stated that:
“Attending church is about worship and learning to be followers of Jesus Christ. Generally, church members are encouraged to wear their best clothing as a sign of respect for the savior, but we don’t counsel people beyond that.” (official church statement December 12, 2012)
As the group’s Facebook page indicates, there was quite a bit of cultural kickback surrounding the event. Accusations and threats were hurled at participating women. Jana Reiss from Religion News Service stated that some women even had their lives threatened by an angry member. Much ado about pants. These more extreme responses were likely interpreted or dismissed as desperate efforts by certain, very conservative members to preserve and assert patriarchal control of LDS culture. This explanation may seem reasonable, but it doesn’t touch on the true heart of the issue- men are just jealous that women get to wear skirts AND pants. No active, LDS, male church member that I know would feel comfortable wearing a skirt or a dress to church. Perhaps that will be a crusade that will be fought one day, but not now.
This year, on December 15, 2013, thousands of Mormon women are once again donning pants to sacrament meeting, and many more men will watch in extreme jealousy. So, as a solution, I propose that the men of the church respond in support and solidarity with our sisters with our own grassroots, perfectly natural solution to the exclusion men may feel on Wear Pants To Church Day. The day will be called, “Don’t Wear Pants To Church Day.” As in, don’t wear any pants, dudes. Now is your chance.
You may say, “But Thomas, I can’t possibly go to church without any pants on!” To this, I will respond with three major points-
1.) Pants are restrictive. Why do so many men resort to their natural state of skivvie and t-shirt wearing when they are in the comfort of their own home? Because it is our most comfortable state. Men thrive better when our legs are not being confined by tubes of uncomfortable fabric. You may think, “I wear pants all the time and I am fine.” But seriously, keep a tally of how many wedgies you have to deal with on a daily basis, and you will start to see a recurring problem that you may have not even been aware of.
2.) To show support (or lack of, depending) to our beloved sisters in the church. Although pants-wearing is a non issue in many areas where the church exists, in a few places, it can be quite alienating. So, for men to truly feel the possible social isolation that women may feel wearing pants, it is only through not wearing pants of any sort that the social weight of pants-wearing can truly be understood.
3.) You can only see people from the waist up from the pulpit. Self explanatory.
So, many of you may have read this and felt a little bit of anxiety. It may be that you are just too self conscious to show off your legs. Or, you may think this an extreme way of showing support. Well, for all you with body image issues, I have thought about possible alternatives to Don’t Wear Pants to Church Day that may achieve the goal of the day without involving public indecency. I know at least a handful of men wore kilts and wraps to church in solidarity last year, so I thought of a couple of alternatives that may not have been thought of. Thank you, Google Search, MSPaint, and unwilling male models, for contributing to this petition.
Wear Hammer Pants to Church Day
Wear Jean Shorts (Jorts) to Church Day
Wear JnCos to Church Day
Wear Sweatpants to Church Day
I’m sure you men who aren’t too keen on not wearing pants can come up with a variety of other ways to join in with those sisters that are wearing pants on December 15th. Just remember- this is your chance to make history, too!