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outrage.

4 April 2008

if you know me, you may know that i have a little problem–a small addiction, you might even say. to outrage. and this week i seem to have found more than a handful of sources. so i thought i’d share them, just to get it off my chest.

the very thought of a mother taking her eight-year-old daughter for not only an eyebrow wax but also a bikini wax had the outrage mounting instantly. a bikini wax?!! what exactly was to be removed from the pubic area of an eight-year-old?! i wanted nothing more than to sit these women down and smack them, demanding that they wake up and let their poor daughters grow up seeing the beauty of their bodies as they are. and i realized again how very lucky i was in my parents’ attitudes about beauty.

speaking of artificially achieving the ideal, i was horrified to discover that there’s such a thing as a ‘G-shot’ to enhance the G-spot (if you’re sensitive about treating genitalia casually, don’t read that one). really!? i mean, i’m all for women enjoying sex. but the idea of trying to augment something like the G-spot strikes me as more about imposing ideals from outside than truly enjoying one’s body.

and then there’s this little gem from the london leader of the british national party (admittedly a far right, all white party which looks to me like it’s racist, sexist, and extreme nationalist. but still):

Rape is simply sex (I am talking about ‘husband-rape’ here, for those who deliberately seek to misunderstand me). Women enjoy sex, so this type of ‘rape’ cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal. To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that force feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.

another candidate for a sound smacking.

these were moments of outrage that, although genuine, were not very personal. i mean, i care deeply about each of those issues–the immense potential for psychological harm our society’s beauty myths hold; women’s sexuality not being an object to be manipulated, but rather being a source of natural pleasure; and rape being taken seriously, whether it’s the kind of violent encounter we most often imagine or the much more common acquaintance rape this politician makes light of. but while i care deeply, this was the kind of almost-pleasurable outrage that comes with conviction of one’s moral superiority. it’s a distant kind of outrage.

my most recent moment of outrage was much more personal. this afternoon i logged into google reader (something you should all use if you read blogs as obsessively as i do), and found fmhLisa’s post about being young and mormon and pregnant. and what i felt was less outrage and more sorrow. and i know that such stories should be taken with a grain of salt. but still it made my heart hurt that a girl could ever be so outcast at a moment when she needs to be loved. and that there could be policies in place (even the more benign one quoted from the church handbook in comment 22) that mandate this kind of treatment. i know the realities of the church are much more complex than could be captured in one anecdote or in quoting a policy. but i recognize the truth in the anecdote and the potential for serious harm in the policy and i want to weep.

but to end on a lighter note: i was taken in so completely by the IRS policy of sending some rebates in the form of goods instead of money to ensure people didn’t ‘waste’ their rebate by paying bills instead of shopping, that my outrage didn’t let me remember the date. until the host of marketplace reminded me. at which point i had to laugh at myself. a healthy reminder that my outrage is often fed by my own gullibility coupled with my obsession with pet issues (i hate that our government encourages spending rather than fiscal responsibility as a means to deal with our current economic problems).

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