not in Primary anymore

all the hoopla: survey results!

A few weeks ago, I posted a link to an anonymous survey for members of the YMF community to fill out with their thoughts and suggestions for how YMF can be improved. Here are some of the results, with explanations and context where I thought it was relevant.
July 19th will mark the one-year anniversary of this blog. I hope that by going over these suggestions and thoughts together, we can implement ideas in helpful ways, encourage more people to become involved, and promote healthier dialogue. Improving YMF is an ongoing endeavor, but I hope to push to make specific needed and/or useful changes in time for its birthday.
General info:
People who took the survey: 85
Members of the facebook group: 569
Total views on the blog since 7/19/12: 157,573
Total followers of the blog (people who have signed up to get an email every time there’s a new post): 81
Twitter followers: 392
Demographics of the people who took the survey:
Belief and activity in the church
Active and believing: 52%
Active and semi believing: 14%
Active and non believing: 8%
Semi active or inactive but believing: 9%
Semi active and semi believing: 7%
Inactive and non believing: 2%
Exmormon (resigned membership or planning to): 4%
Life situations
Students: 41% (2% grad students, 24 % undergrads, 15% of the overall total are working while going to school)
Working: 38%
Graduated and job hunting: 13%
Stay-at-home moms: 4%
Working moms: 4%
In high school: 4%
Age
23: 18%
25: 12%
22: 9%
19: 8%
27: 8%
26: 6%
21: 4%
29: 4%
18: 2%
28: 2%
31: 2%
Ages 16, 17, 20, 39, 40, 42, 45 each had one person take the survey
The average age of the people who took the survey was 25.
Stated gender of survey takers:
Females: 71%
Males: 29%
General locations of people who took the survey:
Provo: 33%
Salt Lake City: 13%
Elsewhere in Utah: 9%
Washington state: 5%
The following places each had three people from that location take the survey: Virginia, the U.S.
The following places each had two people from that location take the survey: Ohio, DC, Texas, Oregon, California, Alberta Canada
The following places each had one person from that location take the survey: North Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, Idaho, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Louisiana
——————————————————————
Now I’ll share some of the content results. PLEASE, if you see a suggestion or an idea that you would like to help with (especially if it’s writing a guest post on a particular topic), contact me by email at youngmormonfeminists@gmail.com!

General things people want to see more of:

Polygamy
Church history
Broader feminism, feminist theory, and feminist movements (not Mormon specific)
Posts about making MoFeminism work
Sharing feminism at YSA stuff
Sunday school series
Interviews with scholars/professors/academics
Humor/satire
Privilege
Consciousness raising
Variety in authors
Heavenly Mother
More theology
Choosing career vs. motherhood
Dating
Hearing from young MoFems who are married/married with kids
Outreach to high school MoFems.

Quote excerpts of comments about the blog: 
*Please note that I purposefully skewed the excerpts below towards including survey comments that mentioned negative things/things people wanted the blog to improve on. There was actually about an even amount of praise and constructive criticism shared, if not more praise. But most of the praise was represented by the comments I did include below, whereas the criticism was more varied. And also I want to focus on improving stuff.

“I like that we are encouraged to find where we fit in the whole mormon feminist movement.”

“One difficulty men face in participating in feminist groups is that patriarchy is sometimes associated too closely with men as actors. It is easiest to participate when both men and women are recognized as needing to overcome patriarchal attitudes, beliefs and practices.”

” I’d love to see more from people with both non-standard and non-Mormon-feminist-standard views.” <note from Hannah: what does non-Mormon-feminist-standard views mean?>

“I don’t like the sarcasm that some of the posts display. I know a lot of these topics are really frustrating and that it’s cathartic to write in an angrier tone, but it rubs me–and other people–the wrong way. People are unlikely to listen to what we have to say if we start the conversation in a confrontational manner.”

“Less guys. No offense dudes, but in a feminist space, the majority of voices should be female. You’ve got the mic everywhere else.”

“No swearing. I mean yes, I’m an adult I can handle it, but it’s the Young MORMON Feminist page. Be classy.”

“I’ve had trouble trying to introduce friends or family members to the blog when it’s hard to find posts that are more middle ground, or connecting with conservatives. Not saying, we need to buckle down and be quiet, but perhaps a way to reach out to those who are not yet feminist and a little turned off by liberalism.”

“I think some of the things are very inflammatory in that the subject matter and do more harm than good by trapping many Mormon feminists under a negative umbrella. For example,  I think that the subject of female ordination shows a fundamental mis-understanding of the gospel and doctrine of the gospel. I resent YMF for implying that my status or importance is based off of something as trivial, yes trivial, as the priesthood.”

Excerpts of comments about the Facebook group:
*(Same disclaimer- I purposefully skewed the representation of comments from the survey towards the constructive criticism so that we know what to improve on.)

“Sometimes I feel like it’s a sausage fest. I’m guilty of adding my sausage to the fest, unfortunately.”

“I love that it feels like a place where I belong — moreso than any other Mormon facebook group that I am part of.  I like them all but here is where I actually feel like I am part of the group.”

“I think the echo chamber criticism is relevant. It just seems like a place for mofems to high-five each other.”

“I do think some of the participants need primer courses on feminism. I don’t want to be elitest or anything, but I do think it’s important for people who align themselves with feminism to be exposed to SOME theory. Otherwise, do they even know what they’re getting in to?”

“I enjoy that discussion is not censored. I believe that it is important for everyone to be able to freely express their opinions.”

“Everyone who regularly participates seems to be acquainted with each other, and it’s a little intimidating to think about trying to break into it.”

“The only thing that mildly bugs me sometimes is the duplicate links that people post from time to time.”

“I dislike that some of my friends who I’ve introduced to the group feel like they are on the outside, that they are not “cool enough” (feminist enough, smart enough, liberal enough, it works in several ways) to participate. ”

“I love the YMF FB Group!  I don’t participate much, but I joined after coming across the blog.  It’s so refreshing to see that there’s a group of mormons who are open-minded, looking at issues, addressing them head on, and discussing them!  It is something that I had never been exposed to before.  There’s ALWAYS something new being discussed, multiple issues everyday.  The group has a good dynamic, it definitely doesn’t sit still and get boring!”

“I personally dislike that so much focuses on critiquing things. This is perhaps a greater tiff I have with feminism in general—there is so much to tear down, to be sure, but I become weary of it. I want to put more effort toward constructing something better.”

“Some operate as if they know how everyone of a demographic thinks. ”

“I appreciate the policy of nonmoderation, but the practical downside is that sometimes it becomes a dumping ground for venting, arguing, culture whining and not always friendly to a broad range of participants. I am not orthodox by any stretch of the imagination, but I occasionally dislike some of the language or topics – NOT because of the content, but because I get the impression they are being used for shock value, to score “badass points,” or to out-extreme other points of view. ”

“The age group is sometimes distressingly young. I think YMF under the age of 18 should not be allowed to be in the group as they demonstrate a lack of understanding of most things and do more harm than good.”

<Interjection by Hannah>

Several people also mentioned the lack of faith of contributors to the blog. You might want to not assume stuff like that. Just because someone writes one critical thing on the internet does not mean they have no faith. You are falling prey to the exact same trap that you seek refuge from when you categorize someone as inactive and/or unfaithful based on comments they make, without stating their affiliation or belief, on the internet. It is possible to be incredibly critical and intellectual in one’s approach to the Church and still be active and believing (I would place myself in that category, with asterisks). It is not a contributor’s responsibility to make sure that what they have published on this blog is varied enough or accurately represents ALLLLL of their beliefs and feelings. They write about what they want to write about and publish it, and they have no obligation to broadcast their activity or belief to pacify judgmental readers.

Further blog posts to come on what it means to be “Mormon” and who decides (if you’re interested in writing about- with any viewpoint on the subject- please email it to me!). But for now, be aware that YMF approaches those two questions in the broadest possible framework, and this community is for anyone interested in discussing Mormonism and feminism while focusing on younger-generation issues in a respectful manner.

<end of Hannah rant, back to survey now>

Random quotes I enjoyed/appreciated:

[“What are you doing in your life right now?”]
“working full time, already graduated, playing with the idea of babies but that sh*t is terrifying”

“i love the gospel, the church gives me hives”

“I found your website through Google. I love Google.”

“[I live] in my parent’s basement. And Reddit. Mostly Reddit.”

[“How’d you find YMF?”]
“’twas led by the Holy Ghost”

“Blerg. Thinking about the church usually makes my brain melt out of my butt. […] But I still go, fulfill my calling, make sure I only teach what I believe in Sunday school, and then go home.  Oh yeah, is this the proper format these days- I’m gay, I have a cat, I try to ignore calls from the Sunday school presidency, and I’m a Mormon. Cheers.”

“[I’m] in school, working, all distractions from the knowledge buzzing around my ears that I will inevitably die and cease to exist.”

“I choose to believe in God and the gospel of Christ, but I know longer think the LDS church has an exclusive claim on anything really. My proverbial shelf broke a long time ago.  But I stay because I am will be culturally mormon for the rest of my life–Mormonism will always be my home. But I also want to be there for the other people that are struggling. I don’t want them to feel alone like I did.”

Specific comments made to Hannah:
*Sharing because I want everyone to feel like they can speak to me directly about any issues, suggestions, or questions people may have. You can also always leave anonymous feedback about YMF by going here.

“I honestly think you don’t know how harshly you come across at times.  I don’t mean that as a sanction because you are a strong and opinionated woman–I really admire you and I hope that’s not what I’m doing. But I sometimes worry that people that are put off of Mormon feminism by its association with you. It’s their loss, on both counts, to be sure. I don’t have a particular suggestion, just an fyi, I suppose. Sorry.”

“i liked joanna brooks’ initiative to figure out if women who were menstruating could perform proxy baptisms by having participants call up temple workers and get answers, thus leading to an actual church leadership response. i also like the mormon alliance’s case reports. basically, i like the idea of everybody being a watchdog and potential resource in a grassroots campaign to expose fucked up situations across the church demography. maybe coming up with participatory schemes like that would be neat. also great job thus far, rock on, yolo”
“Three things. 1. Can we please either recruit or become hacktivists? 2. Also, for those planning FemFhe, some resources or a Google doc or something where people can swap ideas would be awesome. 3. Also also, thank you for all that you do. Let us buy you a cupcake or something sometime.”
Specific initiatives either suggested in the survey or that Hannah just wants to have happen and everyone should hold her accountable to make sure they do:
Have a primer series on the blog on feminism- this is in the works 🙂
Get currently serving feminist missionaries to write in from the mission field to post on the blog
More humor/satire
A specific post about having a baby early in life
Investigative Mormon mom post about BYU moms
A specific post about how just because you identify as a feminist doesn’t mean you are never sexist
More posts about the evolution of male mormon feminists
Make a google doc of FemHE ideas
Start categorizing posts so that people can search by topic (done)
Make a FAQ for the Facebook page (done)
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4 Responses to “all the hoopla: survey results!”

  1. Ziff

    Wow! Three quarters of respondents are active in the Church. That really runs counter to the narrative constructed by the self-selected orthodoxy police who stumble on the blogs and dismiss everyone here as ex-Mormons.

    Thanks for doing the survey and putting up the results!

    Reply

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