Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their stories and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narratives. This week we talked with Dana.
Who are you and what are you up to?
I’m currently studying Sociology at BYU, but am in the process of transferring to a non-church school and moving to Salt Lake City. I’m a bisexual woman with invisible disabilities. In my free time I binge-watch Netflix, cook, make dinosaur noises, and cuddle with my cat, Impa. My greatest talent is my grumpiness. I’m basically a 70-year-old woman in a 21-year-old’s body.
What makes you a Mormon?
I was raised Mormon in a poor family. I developed a testimony of the church at a young age. My testimony and the members of my local ward got me through my rough childhood. Now, health problems prevent me from attending weekly church meetings, but I was so involved with the church as a child that a small piece of me will always be Mormon.
I love the concept that I am the only person I need to trust in order to receive revelation. To me, Mormonism is a religion of undying optimism, which I find admirable.
What makes you a feminist?
I’ve been a feminist since the moment I looked at myself and realized that most of my struggles in life have been aggravated by my femaleness. I became a better feminist when I looked at the women around me and realized the same was true for them. Since then, my entire life has been focused on how to right the wrongs that misogyny has dealt on the lives of women everywhere.
As a kid, I was taught that I would attend college so I could find a husband, not to earn a degree that would enrich my life or allow me to support myself. I was taught that everything I did was in preparation for the day I would get married and have children, and the rest of my life would be dedicated to taking care of them. Now, every ounce of my energy goes to looking for ways to show young girls that their lives don’t need to be justified by someone else. They are an investment worth making.
What makes you a Mormon feminist?
Mormonism’s doctrine of a divine feminine will always inspire me and buoy me up. The idea that I can grow and develop as much as I can in life, and then continue to learn and become better in the next life gives me hope that by working together, women, queer people, and people of color can truly make the world a safer place for those who come after us, whether we’re able to make that progress in this life or in the next.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’d like to be finished with graduate school with a Master’s of Public Administration. Ideally, I’ll be working for a women focused nonprofit (my first choice is Planned Parenthood), either as a volunteer coordinator or in a management position. By then I’m sure I’ll have married my current boyfriend, and we’ll be living with an absurd number of cats.