Fat Girl,

The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture and Shame.

April 1, 2016 7 Comments

I had a very eye-open­ing con­ver­sa­tion with my mom recent­ly.

We were talk­ing about my mar­riage to my ex, and she asked me if her hunch was cor­rect that I’d have mar­ried him any­way if my par­ents hadn’t giv­en us per­mis­sion. (You see, in our iter­a­tion of puri­ty cul­ture, even as a 22-year-old adult, I need­ed my par­ents’ per­mis­sion to mar­ry.)

I thought a moment and answered hon­est­ly: yes, I would have still mar­ried him. Then I clar­i­fied, “I hon­est­ly thought I had to.”

You didn’t get that from us!” Mom respond­ed in aston­ished con­fu­sion. “You don’t have to mar­ry some­one just because you slept with them.

Let me state up front: that’s an entire­ly true state­ment. I agree with it 100%.

And yet it was my turn to be shocked.

Because that state­ment flew in the face the entire nar­ra­tive of my first 20+ years of life..

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Of masculinity & abusive breeding grounds.

June 8, 2015 0 Comments

This post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on Ply­mouth Brethren Dropout on May 26, 2014. An updat­ed ver­sion appears below. It’s been just over a year since the tragedy at Isla Vista that prompt­ed the orig­i­nal pen­ning of this post. So many things have hap­pened since then that illus­trate the points made here­in, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to: the large­ly…

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Observations about relationships in Christianity.

May 8, 2015 2 Comments

What kind of foun­da­tion forms a last­ing friend­ship, then? I mean, friend­ships are a pret­ty per­son­al thing. There’s lots of aspects that are dif­fi­cult to pin down, usu­al­ly includ­ing com­pat­i­ble per­son­al­i­ties, shared expe­ri­ences, out­looks on life, mutu­al­ly enjoy­able activ­i­ties, etc. I think those things are a giv­en, no mat­ter whether you’re a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian or not. But in my expe­ri­ence, the ingre­di­ents that point to longevi­ty seem to be a pret­ty equal mix­ture of mutu­al admi­ra­tion, respect, and trust. The Chris­t­ian friends I have now who have been friends of mine for years weren’t my friends just because of our once-shared faith. We became friends through dis­cov­er­ing and indulging in shared inter­ests, sure, but we did it while demon­strat­ing respect for each other’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and per­son­hood. Our per­son­al­i­ties do click, but we also work hard to be empa­thet­ic, trust­wor­thy, respect­ful peo­ple. We care about each oth­er, what demon­stra­bly makes each other’s lives more mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing, no ulte­ri­or motives.

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Sherlock Holmes, Vulcans, and how logic isn’t everything.

August 22, 2014 2 Comments

I men­tion it because one of the defens­es of his insen­si­tiv­i­ty (to put it mild­ly) was that his argu­ment was log­i­cal­ly sound. And that’s a point that gets brought up an awful lot in dis­cus­sions of social jus­tice and in gen­er­al when some­one is called out for doing some­thing harm­ful. It’s espe­cial­ly a point brought up from men against women, usu­al­ly as a way of gas-light­ing us and say­ing, “You’re too emo­tion­al to get this, let me log­ic at you in a man­ly fash­ion.” It’s sex­ist, it’s dis­mis­sive, and it focus­es on one aspect of a sit­u­a­tion to the exclu­sion of all else.

As I said on Twit­ter in my orig­i­nal thoughts about Dawkins’ ass­hat­tery:

This is the kind of argu­ment I see quite a lot from those who tend to hold a lot of priv­i­lege & expe­ri­en­tial igno­rance of the top­ic at hand. Honestly…it makes me think of that scene in the RDJ/Jude Law Sher­lock Holmes. Holmes is hold­ing some­thing in his hand, the end of which is mere inch­es from Watson’s face. Wat­son: “Get that thing out of my face.” Holmes replies, “It’s not in your face, it’s in my hand.” That’s what these log­i­cal men are like. That’s their argu­ment. TECHNICALLY, they’re right. But the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion & obser­va­tion of the sit­u­a­tion shows that one can be cor­rect but still wrong. In this sit­u­a­tion, the argu­ment can (& has been, repeat­ed­ly) made that Dawkins wasn’t min­i­miz­ing when he was mak­ing the com­par­i­son. TECHNICALLY, he wasn’t. But func­tion­al­ly, he was. Just like the thing TECHNICALLY was in Holmes’ hand but FUNCTIONALLY was in Watson’s face.

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The stories we tell: using narrative to make sense of our lives and surroundings.

August 19, 2014 1 Comment

Exam­in­ing and cri­tiquing cul­tur­al nar­ra­tives as they appear in “real life” and enter­tain­ment is impor­tant work. It’s life-chang­ing and empow­er­ing work.

It’s impor­tant for women to know that they aren’t crazy when a man is stalk­ing them and demand­ing atten­tion and affec­tion.

It’s impor­tant for women to know that if a man — even a man they love — attacks them, it’s not okay.

It’s impor­tant for black girls to know that they can grow up and go into space.

It’s impor­tant for trans peo­ple to see them­selves accept­ed in soci­ety.

It’s impor­tant for peo­ple to know that they are more than a car­i­ca­ture, that the sto­ries of their lives mat­ter.

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Oklahoma! and the missing stair.

August 15, 2014 4 Comments

I’m notic­ing a lot of prob­lem­at­ic things sewn into the sto­ry of Okla­homa — things I didn’t notice as a 19-year-old reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive — and it’s incred­i­bly frus­trat­ing.

The main sto­ry is how an abu­sive man ter­ror­izes a woman, and an entire com­mu­ni­ty treats him like the prover­bial miss­ing stair.

(If you’re unfa­mil­iar with Cliff Pervocracy’s miss­ing stair anal­o­gy and don’t want to click the link above, he basi­cal­ly out­lines that often com­mu­ni­ties gloss over abusers in their midst the way that some­one who lives in a house with a miss­ing stair just becomes accus­tomed to skip­ping that step rather than fix­ing it.)

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