Meet the "Hot Mormon Muffins" calendar, which plays into everyone's secret love of hot Mormon moms. And muffins. (I guess some of the following is NSFW, in a PG, it's-called-Mormon-muffins sort of way.)
You'll all recall Chad Hardy's "Men on a Mission" cheesecake calendars, showcasing LDS beefcakes in kitschy poses. The calendar, Hardy says, was designed to alter misconceptions about the church and show they could have a sense of humor about themselves. Apparently not such a sense of humor, though, that Hardy wasn't excommunicated.
Perhaps inevitably, he's launched a distaff version. Here's what Amazon's description has to say:
From the creators of the popular Men on a Mission Calendar comes this hot addition fresh from the oven: Hot Mormon Muffins: A Taste of Motherhood. The debut 2010 edition features twelve beautiful Mormon mothers posing in kitschy vintage pin-up style. Much like the missionary men before them, these sexy moms have dared to step into the spotlight to breakdown stereotypes and extend a hand of friendship beyond religious and social boundaries. Shot in a centerfold format with oversized imagery, the calendar features the ladies' favorite muffin recipes with a portion of the proceeds going to Breast Cancer research.
Hardy adds, "For Mormons, the most holy calling next to missionary work is motherhood...But they're not all the subservient housewives that people think they are." No, some of them are sexy housewives!
Apparently, Mormon muffins are kind of a thing - the Examiner tells us they have a "buttered sugar coating," which does indeed sound delicious. One of the calendar's pinups explains her rationale for posing: "I want [my children] to be open, accepting of other people, know that everybody is not the same and that it's OK to make your own choices." She was upset by Hardy's excommunication, too. "That made me mad, I did not agree with that...The pictures are tasteful, and it's fun. I don't see why people can't have a sense of humor, I just don't think it's a big deal."
Well, that's great, but it's disingenuous to pretend that a female pinup calendar is the same as "Men on a Mission." Let's face it, the strapping, innocent male missionary is a "thing" in pop culture, albeit a goofy one. When you think "Mormon wives," it's not exactly Bunny Yeager that comes to mind. I get it, that's the point. But it's also what makes this dicier. And then you get back to the old burlesque argument: because it's "ironic," is it empowering? Does it really change the way anyone looks at the images? At the end of the day, the whole things starts to swing dangerously close to fetish (making the whole Bettie Page aesthetic particularly apt!) The cheesy, double-entendre-laden "video spots" are especially puzzling. Also, lame.
The calendar's uber-slick website says,
The Mormon mothers who "bare their testimony" on the pages of the Hot Mormon Muffins calendar are women who are comfortable enough in their own beliefs, and independent and brave enough to take a stand for what they believe in regardless of what others may think. There are many stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding women's roles within the Mormon faith. By slightly stepping away from Mormon traditions, these women boldly show the world they can express themselves as being HUMAN along side of their faith - and be proud of who they are, both with a sense of individualism and a sense humor at the same time.
Well, okay. But, here's the thing: there's nothing wrong with wanting to espouse modesty if that's what you believe and are comfortable with. You don't need to do this to show us you're not Big Love. You don't need to mock LDS terminology. In fact, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: women in the the rest of the country don't go around posing for cheesecake calendars to show we're progressive. And yup, it's a double-standard, but in a traditionally male-dominated society, it is different when a guy does it. Am now off to make Mormon muffins. Unironically.
Hot Mormon Muffins Calendar Causes Controversy [Examiner]
Resurrect Your Muffins - Episode 4 [YouTube]
Hot Mormon Muffins'Hot Mormon Muffins' Calendar Pokes Fun At Church Stereotypes With Pinup Photos Of Mormon Moms [NY Daily News]