Kirby: Mormon dress code restricts men, too
The LDS Church faces a huge threat Sunday. More than 2,000 Mormon women across the country claim they will attack the faith's unfair dress code by wearing pants to church.
I'm serious. "Wear Pants to Church Day" undermines the salvation of millions. It strikes at the very heart of Mormon theology-correlated apparel.
Pants Day was organized by a group of Mormon feminists more than a bit fed up with dress codes that only serve to perpetuate "rigid gender roles that bear no relationship to reality."
The church was quick to respond. In a statement I made up entirely, LDS Church spokesman L. Ralph Stickler said, "They're gonna do what?"
Yeah, and that's not all. These feminists also want my help. Me. A guy.
They're asking me (OK, any Mormon male) to support their cause by wearing purple pants to church. If you don't have purple pants, a purple tie, shirt, socks, armband or hat will do.
I've always been a supporter of equal rights for women. For years I advocated their full inclusion in such professions as the military, police work, fire fighting, and dog catching things that as a man I was already doing.
My support was based entirely on math. I figured the more people doing all of those things the less chance I'd be the one who got hurt.
Never mind. Back to the heart of the matter: correlated dress codes. We have one. Don't let anyone tell you different. If we didn't have a stereotypical look, we wouldn't need all those "I'm a Mormon" commercials.
We enforce our dress code, too. If you don't think so, try showing up for priesthood meeting in a Pink Floyd T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and see how fast you get encouraged to leave.
We have perfected the white-shirt-and-necktie look. Granted, it's not completely obligatory, unless of course you're an apostle, a missionary, a deacon passing the sacrament, a church employee, someone with little imagination or imitative to a fault.
We start this white-shirt-and-tie obsession early by making it mandatory for young men who want to participate in church ordinances. You see them passing the sacrament dressed in their general authority starter kits.
Even so, LDS men have a lot more latitude than LDS women. Nobody says too much if I show up without a tie or wearing a colored shirt. It perhaps marks me as lazy, rebellious, uncooperative or simply indifferent, but I'm OK with that.
It's worse for women. Sure they aren't limited to only white shirts, but whatever they show up wearing for church it better be a skirt or a dress.
For two years I wore a white shirt and a tie around South America riding a bicycle over horrible roads, worse trails and impossible cow paths.
I hauled my bike across railroad tracks, muddy ditches and up flights of stairs. A couple of times I threw the %&*#@ over fences. I pushed it home when it got flat tires.
I did all of that in pants because the rules said I had to. My future wife did the same thing in a skirt because the people who made the rules didn't wear them.
Hmm. I better go find some purple pants.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.