not in Primary anymore

sunday spotlight: debra

Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their story and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narrative. This week we talked with Debra.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m 27 and working for UVU (most time-consumingly receptionist work and editing, but other stuff too). I will finally be finished with an English degree in April and will, hopefully, start grant writing until I decide on a grad school. My hobbies include reading, crocheting, and obsessive attention to detail… in stories at least. And I’d really like to get back to building pillow forts. 😉

2. What makes you a Feminist?

As a kid, I always played with the neighborhood boys, because, well, few girls were in the vicinity. Then fifth grade came trundling along, and suddenly I was sequestered away with others of similar reproductive innards. It became downright untoward for me to make roads for my Matchbox cars in the dirt. That was the beginning. I was being herded into a stereotype by not only by adults, but by other girls too, who teased and bullied when I expressed “boyish interests”. And it kept happening. And it keeps happening.

3. What makes you a Mormon?

My mom is a convert. She and her family moved to Utah when she was twelve and had the discussions just to get a handle on the culture. She had no intension of ever—EVER—taking the plunge. But… she was sitting in a college religion class and the teacher made an off-handed remark about how vanilla ice-cream (her favorite flavor) better be in heaven or he wasn’t going. She always describes it a book hitting her head and she just knew the Gospel was true. I’ve often felt that kind of tongue-in-cheek revelation from Heavenly Father, on such a personal I-knowyou-like-really-know-you level. Having that kind of relationship with Someone is of paramount importance to me.

4. What makes you a Mormon Feminist?

I believe whatever stands in the way of articulating God in human language (be it misogyny, other forms of spiritual corruption) is a human failing. I strongly feel that God loves—really loves—all his children with the same depth, though knows us individually. I feel Feminism, as it functions now, embraces that individualism beyond gender lines, and that Heavenly Father is proud as we struggle toward loving each other, on our own or together.

5. What’s the biggest obstacle for you in being a Feminist?

People are really good at justifying and dismissing red flags. I always hold back, and listen too much to others, attempting to give people the benefit of the doubt. I have to constantly remind myself that misogyny is built into the culture and while some people are just using the culture at hand with a dash of ignorance to communicate, some people know they can cover their prejudice with feigned ignorance and be aided in their attempts. It’s a balancing act to sort the earnest from the impertinent.

6. What’s the best part of being a Feminist?

People are so interesting! And I get to know so many different ones!

7. What’s your favorite hymn?

“Abide with Me.”

8. Anything else?

I’m so happy to have a place where I can talk about both Feminism and Mormonism using the language of one to examine the other!

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