FaithWorld

U.S. Mormon feminists? Yes they exist — and they’re for Obama

By Reuters Staff
October 19, 2012

(Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds a binder of papersĀ  in Hudson, New Hampshire December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

One group was not surprised to hear Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s comments about “binders of women” at the presidential debate this week – Mormon feminists.

Yes, there are Mormon feminists, and no, they do not think it is impossible to believe in women’s rights and be devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion that once allowed polygamy and places a heavy emphasis on the role of women in the home.

But Romney’s phrase, delivered in the presidential debate on Tuesday and which quickly went viral on social media, underscored the tensions over the role of women in the church.

Aimee Hickman, co-editor of the Mormon feminist magazine Exponent II, said Romney’s remarks in which he said he looked at “binders full of women” while searching for staff as governor of Massachusetts suggested he was comfortable having powerful women around him, even if he put it awkwardly.

Yet when he then described setting up a flexible schedule for a senior aide so that she could go home and make dinner for her family, he was speaking in the church’s paternalistic language that casts women ultimately as mothers, she said.

“The emphasis on them (women) being seen as leaders or them being seen as breadwinners is still really missing from our rhetoric,” Hickman said. Romney’s response put that “on full display,” she added.

Read the full story by Peter Henderson here.
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