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23 November 2009

just a little light reading on questions of sex, gender, and culture:

  • on why “chick flicks” are not all that woman-friendly: “7 popular chick flicks that secretly hate women.” (be forewarned of some profanity)
  • on the federal court challenge to prop. 8 and the broader related issues: “gay on trial.” winning quote: “They [defenders of prop. 8 who oppose gay marriage] also argue that sexual orientation falls on a continuum and that sexuality is ‘fluid,’ a decidedly nontraditional view that has taken root in college queer-studies departments but not the sort of thing you’d ever hear from Focus on the Family’s James Dobson.”  i’d just love to see most conservatives who oppose gay marriage swallow that pill.
  • jessawhy’s personal articles of faith, a beautiful piece: “my articles of faith.”
  • on the romantic paternalism prevalent in the church and the desire to be taken seriously: “romantic paternalism.”
  • on the dangers of the twilight saga (and a great example of why we should think just a little more carefully about the entertainment we consume): “ew moon: why twilight continues to hurt america.”  winning quotes: “Young girls around the country are debating whether she should choose Edward or Jacob. Which abuse is better? He’s insanely jealous and stalks me or he can barely control his anger and may physically abuse me at any moment?” and ” The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does. You probably deserve it. You are nobody without your man, so don’t bother trying.” is it any wonder that the author of the series is mormon?
  • and, to be balanced, an interesting feminist defense of the twilight saga, which asks some very important questions: “another feminist defense of ‘twilight’.”
  • and my hero for the week: the ten-year-old boy in arkansas refusing to stand and pledge allegiance because gay marriage is not legal, therefore the nation does not provide “liberty and justice for all.” (no reading required, just a fast enough connection to stream video)
go forth, read, and comment.  i’d love to hear what you think.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 November 2009 8:23 pm

    Dearest A,I read the selections you highlighted, and I think I’ll post a response to the one about romantic paternalism. It’s the one that has my blood boiling.I don’t have the time or strength to write this out in an organized way, so here it goes, stream-of-consciousness style.1) Yes, women in the Spanish-speaking world keep their names when they get married, but they also tack on a little something extra. So if Maria Teresa Lopez Gutierrez marries Juan Carlos Martinez Campos, she then becomes Maria Teresa Lopez Gutierrez de Martinez, meaning that she is “OF Martinez.” Yeah. Great point. Because that’s so much more empowering.2) I think it’s too bad that the WRI is closing, too. But it’s not like it is closing in order to more fully fund BYU’s Men’s Research Institute, and it’s not like BYU has decided to no longer admit women at all to its hallowed halls. I think we women will survive. Those of us inclined to research, study, and what not will continue to do so. Nobody’s taking away anyone’s LIBRARY CARD, are they? Sheesh.3) You know who else opposed the ERA? My favorite feminist, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many other women leaders of the day, who busted their asses to help advance the cause of women everywhere. So please, let’s quit using support or non-support of the ERA as a litmus test to decide whether or not someone is anti-equality.4) This is the part that really has me lying awake in bed at night, thinking lots of angry, violent, and decidedly “unfeminine” thoughts. Somewhere in the world right now, there are husbands setting their wives on fire for her family’s inability to pay her dowry. There are women who aren’t allowed to have any public life whatsoever, who aren’t allowed outside their homes without being accompanied by their husbands. There are women whose genitalia are being mutilated for cultural or religious reasons. And perhaps right on your very street, there is a woman whose husband beats the living crap out of her and tells her every day that she is a worthless piece of trash. And you’re telling me that I’m supposed to get all hot and bothered because a Mormon man calls his wife “compassionate,” “kind,” and “beautiful?” FIND ANOTHER CAUSE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED AND HOLY! Is there a new edition of Webster’s in which the word “cherished” means something besides “LOVED” and “VALUED?” Are “courageous” and “compassionate” now antonyms? I hadn’t heard. And we now apparently don’t want to be physically desirable to our spouses? I’m sorry, but if this woman and I were having a face-to-face conversation, I would walk away from it congratulating myself on my strong and courageous display of compassion for not punching her in the throat.***I get it. Women don’t want to be idolized. It isn’t fair, or doctrinal for that matter. We make mistakes. We don’t want to be part of a religion that expects us not to make any, ever. I’m with you on that, really I am. I don’t want to brush anything under the carpet. I don’t want to be dismissive of something that obviously is an issue to this woman and many others. But I’m sorry. If this is what feminism is today, then count me out. This brand of feminism is second rate, as far as I’m concerned, and does nothing to further The Cause. You’re pissed because you make 75 cents to your male co-workers dollar? Then write down a list of reasons why you deserve a raise, and march your ass into your boss’s office and make your case! And if you still don’t get a promotion, then go find a different job! Quit being a freaking VICTIM! Isn’t that what we’re trying NOT to be? I can think of no other way to be true to my REAL feminist forbearers then by going out there and living my life to its fullest rather than sitting around writing articles complaining that my husband called me “beautiful.” You’ve got to be kidding.And that’s what I think about that.

  2. 27 November 2009 8:32 pm

    P.S. You know that when I use the word "you" I don't mean YOU, right?

  3. 28 November 2009 12:14 am

    i hear you on the lack of strength to write something coherently and carefully organized. so i’ll use stream-of-consciousness, too.1. i don’t much care about this point. i don’t much care about taking or not taking one’s husband’s name. i think there are equally powerful arguments on each side of the question. whether or not the tradition of the Spanish-speaking world is more empowering is, i think, not the point Kelly was making. i think her point was simple: for whatever reason, members of the church in the u.s. don’t really know how to deal with a woman who doesn’t fit in their perception of a woman’s place. speaking as a woman who does not fit in many mormons’ view of a woman’s place, i tend to agree with that assessment.2. no. no one is taking away women’s library cards or denying them entry to the university. but that’s not really the point, is it? the point is not that there is an outrageously egregious violation, but rather an understated, two-faced one—one that allows the university to claim one thing while doing another. which is precisely what happens in the church where women’s roles are concerned all the time. and, i would argue, the quiet violations of equality matter as much as the more egregious ones. more on that in a moment.3. i don’t much care who did and did not oppose the ERA. it’s not really my litmus test of whether someone is a feminist. what i do care about is the underhanded and unfair tactics the church used to mobilize LDS women against the ERA and the way it threw around its political weight in a way totally disproportionate to its size. just as i care about the same issues regarding prop. 8 and before it prop. 22.

  4. 28 November 2009 12:14 am

    4. i get this argument. it’s an old one, one that has often been lodged against the women’s movement in the western world. “how can you complain about your life when there are women who are starving and mutilated and beaten?” and i understand the logic. the things you site—they’re atrocious. they should not happen. anywhere. 
and absolutely—we should do what we can to change these things. but that does not mean that we should not deal with the inequalities of patriarchy as they manifest themselves in our own lives. you see, i understand that when you say “you” you don’t mean me. but the fact is that i can’t help but identify with the problems this woman names. not the specific problems. i’m not married, and were i married i really don’t know whether i’d change my name or not. i don’t have a husband introducing me in any way, whether as beautiful or as strong. but i’ll tell you what i do have: i have a paralyzing, utterly destructive case of self-doubt because i am not married. and that, my friend, is a direct result of the kind of bullshit paternalism that happens in the church all the time. i’m sitting here crying as i type this because it hurts so damn much. i agree with you. we shouldn’t let ourselves function only as victims. we should seize the opportunities and blessings we have because of our feminist forebearers and use them to demonstrate our own strength and ability, rather than sitting around crying that we don’t want our husbands to call us pretty. but you know what? we are victims. not of husbands who brutalize us. not of a culture who says honor killings are okay. but of a culture which diminishes us in small subtle ways every single day. and i say that we need to acknowledge that if we are going to do anything about it.and you know who else are victims? the men in the system. for many reasons. for the way they are minimized as they are pigeon-holed into their own set of gender norms. for the way they’re put down everytime someone says that women are more spiritual by nature. i could go on, but i think you probably get my the meantime, i’ll keep trying to deal in as productive a way as i can with the debilitating image of womanhood that was ingrained into my mind and soul so deeply that i can’t shake myself free of it. and as i do, i try—i try so very hard—to see the good about the church and most definitely about the gospel. but i can’t help but see the harm it has done me. and who’s to say that the battery to my soul and to my identity as a person of worth is less than other forms of battery? is it less apparent? yes. is it less spectacular in its form? yes. but it is still there, eating away at my ability to do what you say i should do—to go out there and live my life to the fullest. should this woman complain about being called beautiful and compassionate? maybe not. but i think she is simply trying to express the truth that i live every single day—that the church’s system of training women to be women (nevermind its efforts to claim that gender is eternal, which would imply that we don’t need to be trained to be women), that that system does real harm to the women of the church. maybe not all women feel it. maybe some of us are strong enough not to suffer because of it. but that doesn’t change the reality that some of us do suffer because of it. ending that suffering is a good enough reason for me to be a part of this feminism.

  5. 28 November 2009 9:26 pm

    A-I wish I had more time to write, but I'm on my way to see Twilight 2. Judge if you must.I seem to always ignite a firestorm when I write on your blog. It is not my intention, but it happens anyway. I apologize for that.I am also sorry for the insensitivity in my response. I know that you feel the way you do, and I didn't mean to make the wounds any deeper. It's not that I haven't witnessed the offenses you mention. I don't deny that they exist. There was a jackass elder on my mission who said he didn't want to marry a returned missionary because he didn't want his wife to know as much as he did. You and I could both make lists a mile long of shit we've heard in church.I don't know why it doesn't bother me. I'm sitting here wondering to myself…am I naive? Brainwashed? Desensitized? Numb from continued exposure? I consider myself a smart woman. Have I been fooling myself?I don't know. I don't have the answer. It just doesn't bother me. Whenever I hear something that sounds off, I run it through my filter of what I know the gospel and the doctrine of the church to be, and if it doesn't jive, I don't give it a second thought.But just because it's not a fight I would fight, doesn't mean it's not valid and important to others. People I love. People like you. And I'm sorry if I was flippant about something that is so personal to you. OK, must run. Again, wish I could be more articulate. Should have stayed in school.Love,me

  6. 28 November 2009 9:54 pm

    enh. staying in school isn't all it's cracked up to be. trust me–i know. i'm not sure i could even count all the years i have under my belt.and you have no reason to apologize. i understand your perspective. and there was a time when i was in the same place you're in with regard to the problems. i'm trying to get back there but i don't know if i ever will. i suppose all i can do is keep, seeing twilight 2–that's something to apologize for. though i did hear there's lots of hot shirtless men to ogle. :)

  7. 4 January 2010 4:31 am

    hey…even i love to read…are you on shelfari??? c my shelfari widget on my blog (…from there, you can create your own shelf on shelfari…it's for voracious readers…

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