Recently, my friend from upper east-side Manhattan came visiting for a BYU conference, and she remarked that Utah is unique in offering special parking privileges for pregnant women. “Even New York hasn’t made such an advance in equality,” she said.
“Well, the toxic old white men who rule this state hate it, I assure you,” I replied.
“Of course. But it is still very problematic, because people here treat it like a courtesy. Like they are giving women something they don’t deserve out of the niceness of their hearts.”
This is something I hadn’t considered before. The craven men of this state are only giving women this privilege of parking to solidify their position of power. So at the end of the day, pregnancy parking really just bolsters the patriarchy. It is another toxic abuse of old white men. In California, a place which is far advanced in social justice, they proposed special parking permits for pregnant women so they could park in disabled parking spaces. This bill failed in legislature because it insinuated that pregnancy is a disability, which I find unfortunate. Having a parasite growing inside your body is certainly a disability, is it not? The least men could do for women after having impregnated them, risking their lives, and dumping all responsibility on them, is recognize their right to park in disabled parking?! Good grief.
But the bill failed in legislature. But I see this as an opportunity. It means we can spread this right to all women. After all, all women are victimized and deserving of having their rights recognized, not just pregnant ones.
Where should we start? How about the church parking lot, where the Bishop and his counselors get prime parking spots, because they show up two hours early for their secret male-only leadership meetings, while women in their minivans full of kids have to park in the back of the lot and schlepp their thirteen kids all the way to the foyer and then all the way to the chapel pews? Why not start with that? Let’s start with these mothers who are pushed to the back of the bus. And then let’s talk about the women who are mistreated with horribly invasive and inappropriate questioning in the male-dominated Bishop interviews, beginning at a very young age. Women who are not allowed to be leaders. Women who are forced to sew buttons and play with Barbies while the boys get to go on hikes and exciting scouting adventures. Women who are stuck with uncomfortable rickety old rocking chairs in the mother’s lounge while men get lush comfy chairs. Women who are stuck with misogynist scripture and teaching material that perpetuate the toxic culture? How about them? Are they deserving of equal rights too? Aren’t they entitled to special parking spaces at the front of the building?
This is just one of many problematic areas that the church must address if they want to make their church buildings safe for women. Courageous female leaders are working to push through laws that will force churches to practice equality. But in the meantime, all women need to pressure old white men to update to the current century and stop pushing women to the back of the parking lot. We owe it to our daughters. We owe it to ourselves.
Once this cause is accomplished, then we can push on to further equal-rights issues, like making all men show up at least two hours early to clean and prepare the building, and making all men prepare rice crispy snacks.