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Created: November 6, 2012 14:09pm - Last Modified April 22, 2019 15:58pm

I am breathing a big sigh of relief today. Election day is finally here, and we can all move on from the political poop storm. Do you agree with me that Facebook makes election season so much more obnoxious? All the opinions you never wanted to know your friends held are there for your eyes to feast upon. Good times.

Marginally funny story from my voting day:

My voting line was divided into A-L and M-Z. The A-L line was long and slow, and next to no one was in the M-Z line. As one particular couple walked past our ginormous line, the wife said to us, "Sorry guys, I'm White." Her husband, realizing how that sounded, clarified. "She means she's the letter W." Don't worry guys, she wasn't announcing to strangers that she has white guilt, lol.

And then there was a guy behind me trying to keep his three rowdy kids in check while we waited. He was evidently a Democrat with a chip on his shoulder as I kept hearing him say to his kids, "I'm a democrat. Are you gonna vote democrat when you grow up? Everyone in this line is going to cancel my vote, but that's America for ya." Feeling passive aggressive much? I know it sucks to be Democrat in a red state, but dude, don't use your children to monologue about it in the voting line as if the rest of us can't hear you. Be cool.

A bit later, this man's son hit his sister who started to cry, and my three year old who apparently was watching this indignity, shoved the son out of nowhere. Bored children have their own politics to grapple with.

Even though I reprimanded him and apologized to angsty democrat man, I couldn't help but inwardly smirk. My little dude is fearless and feisty and stands up for the oppressed! Future president material right there. ;)

Song Time:



Slut Walk in SL, UT

Created: September 22, 2012 00:24am - Last Modified April 22, 2019 16:24pm

There are those who say of the Slut Walk, "Of course we don't wish to blame victims, but there is nothing wrong with good prevention."

Modesty as good rape prevention is a myth. And that myth is your e-ticket to judgey town wherein slut shaming and victim blaming are the two main streets.

Take this female judge in Arizona for example. (Because women perpetuate patriarchy too!) This judge told a woman who was sexually assaulted at a club that had she not been there, none of it would've happened, and she hoped the victim learned a lesson. The message is clear. The burden is on us. We should cover up, stay at home, and expect to be treated this way by men if we don't. We should accept this as our reality.

I don't accept that. And neither did many others who have petitioned for the judges' resignation. She has since apologized.

I attended the Salt Lake City Slut Walk mostly because I loathe the "modest is hottest" culture that is so prevalent in this state. If you've never heard the phrase "modest is hottest" you're probably not from around here or you aren't LDS, so here's a little taste of what I'm talking about. I live within a few miles of a boutique called "Sexy Modest." The billboards greeting you as you come into my county usually have one that says, "Welcome to Mod-bod country," advertising another boutique that sells knee length shorts and cap sleeved shirts. There are "Modest is Hottest" clubs in our local highschools. There are mothers writing into their local papers about how their sons feel soooo bummed about the way girls dress at school. On BYU's campus, a girl dressed in perfectly normal clothing was given a note by a male peer informing her she looked inappropriate. On that same campus, they have stressed about one strap book bags because the strap might snuggle in between a female's breasts and accentuate them. Female angels in classical paintings by Carl Bloch are given photo-shopped sleeves. Leggings, jeggings, and skinny jeans are much maligned as a tricksy evil that must be fought. One strap dresses will get you kicked out of prom. A friend of mine who works downtown next to the LDS business college was on the receiving end of a snide comment from a passing male student referencing the length of her skirt. I could go on.

So there's your context for why I was totally up for this Slut walk, and confronting modesty as good prevention was definitely part of the agenda. But I came away humbled by the stories of survivors. They deal with so much more than just being questioned for what they were wearing, as if that should matter. People want to find fault with them so they can feel safer themselves. And in the process, they inflict more pain on these victims when what they need is our support.

The organizer of the event, Tiffany Thorne, bravely told her story on the steps of Utah's capital. You can watch the whole speech here, but these were my favorite bits:

"Modesty is not good prevention. Victims are selected for their vulnerability, not because they are sexually provocative. The fact is, according to Utah State University Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information, most convicted rapists don't even remember what their victim was wearing. According to the US Department of Justice, 60-70% of rapes are premeditated, and most survivors were wearing regular clothes like blue jeans or pj's when they were assaulted, not provocative clothes."

"When we tell people to prevent sexual violence by covering up their bodies, we do the bidding of rapists. Because not only do we send the false message that rape can be managed by invoking a degree of invisibility, we send the message that you must be afraid of how vulnerable you are, how little power you have, and if your power is taken away with an attack, we'll be too distracted by the way you covered up your body to achieve justice."

The Slut Walk, with its attention grabbing name, is a call to free women from these bonds of fear and shame. It's about raising consciousness, empathy, and putting the blame for sexual assault where it belongs. You may be saying to yourself, "Simmer down, feminists. You're trying to conflate a sound principle (modesty) with something entirely different (victim blaming)."

But I don't think so. At its most benign, modesty culture is just people harrumphing about how women dress because you don't personally approve. Or it's wives blaming other women for their husbands roving eye. It's cute boys singing cheesy songs on youtube to charm us into believing that covering up our bodies to a males satisfaction is just a cool thing to do. If you don't think the path of this logic leads to some warped thinking, you're living in cognitive dissonance land.

Because at its worst, modesty culture teaches young men that a woman in a sleeveless shirt or short skirt must have lower standards and lower self worth. That she is willfully inviting his sexual attention. He may even feel contempt towards her for this perceived attempt to put "impure" thoughts in his head. He may have bought into the idea that a woman's body is a thing to be feared, a thing that can make him lose control of himself. He'll blame her for the guilt he feels. He may well treat her as less than according to these judgments. At its worst, girls will be told they deserved to be disrespected, to be sexually harassed or assaulted. They will be told they are to blame for a boy losing control of himself. If they are raped, they'll be judged as having not practiced "good prevention" by wearing whatever *you* think might've spared her from being raped. They will receive the message that their body is first and foremost a sexual object, and a shameful one at that.

Yes, there are some girls and women who do indeed dress for male attention, and a lot of them do so because they have been taught their self worth lies in being pretty and attractive to a man. We're administering the wrong medicine by going all modesty police on them, because we're just reinforcing the idea that they should dress for men. But that's a whole other discussion.

I hope you'll attend your local Slut Walk in support of survivors of sexual abuse, or at least check yourself to see if maybe you've engaged in a little victim blaming/slut shaming of your own.

Just for fun, here's the link for the segment a friend and I were interviewed for. The night it aired I tried to get my 6 year old son to watch it. "Mama's gonna be on the television," I told him, thinking he'd be super impressed. His response: "I'm gonna go watch SpongeBob Squarepants." Someday I'll be cooler than SpongeBob. Some day.

And now, song time. =)



End of Summer Summary

Created: September 16, 2012 15:29pm - Last Modified April 22, 2019 16:12pm

I have egregiously neglected this blog, and yes, I realize no one likely cares besides me. But here I go to catch you up anyway on my end of summer activities.

I was fortunate enough to see Mumford & Sons in concert at a beautiful little venue called the Saltair, which sits on the edge of Salt Lake. It was easily the most magical concert I've ever been too. The combination of sunset, sail boats on the water in the distance, twinkly lights strung over the crowd, and fantastic music with lovely friends was simply wonderful. Here's some video Greg took of their song "Little Lion Man."

Greg's commuter car died right before school started back up, so I've been towing my two kids to school in a kiddie trailer on my rarely used bicycle. The school is a mile away, and the roads are fairly flat, but when you're pulling those kiddie trailers you keenly feel even the tiniest of inclines. I thought I was going to pass out or just tell my son he couldn't go to school anymore. And then there's the matter of my derrière. After one week, my bottom was so sore that I wanted to cry every time I sat down on that bike. It's also still very hot, so I would be covered in sweat by the time I got home. And since I had to make the trip twice most days, there wasn't much point in showering only to get all sweaty again, so I'd just sit at home all grubby and smelly until it was time to pedal back to the school. That's the smug life of a green hipster: being perpetually sweaty with a sore @ss. Super good exercise, but did it help me lose even a pound? Hahahahahaha............of course not. Let this be a lesson to my children: BY HER VERY SWEAT, BLOOD, AND TEARS DID YOUR MOTHER GET YOU TO SCHOOL.

We did finally get a new car, and it's beautiful. I call it the Romney because it's white and feels rich. I can now join the legion of SUV mommies in the over crowded drop off lane.

I also participated in the Salt Lake City slut walk, ate some amazing thai food with my slutty friends, and was on tv for about three seconds. I'll be writing a separate post for the slut walk so stay tuned for that, you hoochie mama's. ;)




Created: August 20, 2012 15:01pm - Last Modified April 22, 2019 16:31pm

This last weekend I hiked Timpanogas. I went as far as the Emerald Lake, which is not the summit, but it's waaaay up there. The hubs tells me I went about 10 miles and 11,000 feet high. So I feel pretty proud, seeing as how I kind of wanted to fall down and do the ugly cry several times.

Honestly, I don't really get the appeal of hiking. I like being in nature, but I don't particularly enjoy suffering in nature. I just wasn't physically prepared so it was kind of hard to appreciate the beauty around me. But at least now I can brag about it, right?

And to Greg, Becky, Trevor, and Keri: thanks for being patient with my snails pace and for cheering me on. Especially Keri. She was like my life coach on that mountain, and she only owes me like....half a pony. BELAY ON!

To that guy who called me a heathen: well that was just offensive. ;)

But seriously, there is a nice sense of community on the mountain. The people on the trail look out for each other. People were friendly, courteous. Food is shared with strangers. Some dude gave me and Becky water when we ran out on our way down. It was nice to see.

This song seems appropriate. Plus, I am seeing these dudes in two days! Woot-woot!



Uncouth Youth

Created: August 14, 2012 16:30pm - Last Modified April 22, 2019 16:06pm

I met this guy when I was 14ish. He lived in Canada, was a couple years older than me, and of Italian descent. He had a beautiful Italian name, and a beautiful Italian face framed by curly brown hair. He looked like Robert Downey Jr. in the movie "Only You", and that movie was like crack for me when I was a teen. Anyway, I was utterly smitten with this boy. He was also rather charming, though it didn't take much to charm me as a 14 year old. I was supremely capable of making up for what he might've lacked with my imagination. I harbored a crush for this guy for years, building him up to be quite the romantic hero in my mind.

He served a mission for the LDS church, and the missionary training center (where all new missionaries must go) was near our home in Utah. So he came to stay with us prior to his going into the training center. I remember the day he was to go, he and my family came to pick me up at school so we could all send him off together. I can still see him, leaning casually against the wall, dark suit and shades, the large glass window behind him rendering him a dashing silhouette. I was breathless at the sight of him. Later, sitting next to him at said training center, I got one of those itchy throat attacks right in the middle of some religious schpeel meant to warm the hearts of the new missionaries and their families. I tried to suppress the coughing fit, but if you've ever had an itchy throat attack, you know that's like trying to stop an avalanche. Your eyes water, you sneeze, you feel a bit chokey. It's really not cute. All my mom had to offer was a large gum ball. It's a mystery why she happened to have a gum ball in her purse, but in my desperation I wasn't asking questions. So imagine me, large wad of gum in my mouth, tears streaming down my face from the coughing fit, trying to act cool. Not exactly how I wanted him to remember me,and thus I learned that life is not like a romantic movie; more like a tragic comedy.

Fast forward a few years, he'd come to visit my family, and he looked different. He was fuller, older...just different. I'd also gotten the sense that his mission had made him a little self-important, though I don't hold that against him now. Most 19 year old boys feel pretty self-important, especially when spreading the good news of "Christ's restored gospel." So I sort of forgot about him after that, but I've always wondered what happened to that guy. My Italian dream boat with the lyrical last name. He'd probably laugh to know that there is a rock somewhere in my backyard with his initials painted next to mine. I've kept the thing around because it tells me a whole story of my past on one little rock. Oh, youth. So uncouth.

(Hat tip to my friend Cydnee for reminding of the word uncouth. Such a good word.)


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