Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Great Gatsby

I am super excited for Baz Luhrmann's upcoming version of The Great Gatsby. The novel has always been one that I've liked (though I haven't understand why it represents the American Dream, and other such stuff that English classes teach you about it) and now it is being done by one of my favorite directors. YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!

The poster lies, however, because the release date changed to May. Major bummer.

The movie, from what I've heard, is inspired by art deco (as seen on the poster) and Kanye West's song "No Church in the Wild" (which I think is featured in both of the movie trailers).

The trailers are gorgeous and heart-wrenching. I am very excited about the soundtrack. Thus far, it sounds amazing. And remember Moulin Rouge? The music in that movie was SO GOOD.

Of course, it'll be a typical Baz Luhrmann. He's done the star-crossed lovers many-a-time. BUT THAT'S WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT IT!!! Because in the novel, you don't get the emphasis on the decadence of the roarin' 20s. These trailers alone are a VISUAL FEAST.

Guys, I'm not really even that much of a film nerd. BUT SERIOUSLY.




This one has the infamous line "You always look so cool" in it. I love that line. It's so ... paradoxical. Because Daisy says that line, and that's the line that gives away her affair with Gatsby to her husband. It's such a banal line, yet causes so much danger.



Enjoy. (You will). 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perfect butts and Pinterest

So on Pinterest, I have this one friend who is constantly pinning different exercise pins. Every single day when I go on, she's got about 30 more. This may be a slight exaggeration, but only very slight.

Needless to say, she probably has an eating disorder. Especially since the occurrences of these pin rampages always seems to coincide with difficult breakups.

The theme of pins I seemed to notice today was how to exercise to get the perfectly shaped butt. For her, the perfect butt is the "bubble butt."

This is the bubble butt:  
Also, she's probably sticking her butt out, making it look bigger than it really is.

For others, the necessary butt workout can be the "bikini butt," the "Jessica Beil butt," the "tight" butt, the "LeAnn Rimes bikini butt," and so on. She even pinned this ridiculous-looking chart: 

Please, no one take this seriously.

There are so many good reasons all of these pins shouldn't exist, and my poor friend is the exact example of why. She is 22, and despite what she thinks, gorgeous. She is never lacking for male attention or compliments from others. Yet, she doesn't understand that she is perfect the way she is. She spends hours a day at the gym, puts herself on many different kinds of unnecessary diets, including the "military" diet, and never ever feels good about herself. After she moved out of the house we were sharing, I threw away a few years' worth of about three different health magazines. But she doesn't seem to realize that all of this, on top of about 300 Pinterest links to workout websites, can be seriously dangerous and harmful to her. 

And really, who wants to live their life that way? She is of average height and weight. There is nothing "fat" about her, especially given all the muscle she gains by exercising such an excessive amount. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but I've always called the "bubble butt" the "black butt," because the only people I knew who had them were black (or Greek, actually). The point I'm trying to make by saying that is that butts are genetic, natural, biological, whatever. You probably can't get the bubble butt, or Jessica Beil's butt, or whomever's, because your butt is your butt. 

I'm currently trying to work up the courage to tell this friend that I am worried about her. But in the meantime, I wanted to tell you all how sick I am of "thinspo," and of hearing women call themselves fat. Please, everyone, work on loving the body you are in. Trying this hard to achieve a body that you are not biologically made for is only going to make you unhappy. Changing yourself will not make you happy - only accepting yourself and loving your body for all of its supposed imperfections can do that.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Another artist I like ...

... is Michael Summers. Colby and I went to San Diego for our honeymoon (woo!), and found this artist in a gallery in the Seaport area. Which is gorgeous, by the way, and I want to live there forever now.

Here are a few of the pieces we saw:

"Right as Rain"

"A Mother's Love"

Pretty cool, right? He's got this awesome surrealist thing going on. I love the contrast of colors.

My favorite one is this robot one: 

"Be Still My Heart"
It really isn't surprising that this is my favorite one, considering my love of sci-fi. But still!!! I love the contrast of nature with technology, as well as the colors again. Plus, the pitiable robot is so appealing.

Also, it may not surprise you that I like this artist if you saw my other artist highlight on Takashi Murakami. They are kind of similar in a way. Do you see it?

So Merry Christmas and go to San Diego, my new favorite place!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More sexism on Pinterest

It is no secret that Pinterest is dominated by women. The nature of Pinterest has become pictures of dresses, hairdos, cleaning tips, decorating advice, wedding planning, cutesy pictures of babies, sewing, etc. - all interests dominated by females (whether they should be or not). The few men on this social network are sadly, though understandably, outnumbered.

Which is why you end up getting many pins like these ones:

There's nothing really wrong with this one, except that there's only a woman in the picture. 




... and on and on and on. I've seen gift guides for husbands, sexy 12 days of Christmas for husbands, etc.

And all of them give good advice and ideas. I don't think I could really argue with "a marriage is made up of two good forgivers" and "use kind words."

My issue really comes from the fact that all of these are advice blogs are for wives on how to treat their husbands right. Although the advice is generally very gender neutral, it gets directed specifically at the women. I don't think I've ever seen one directed at men (though I have seen this excellent one by a man that is not necessarily gender specific: http://www.danoah.com/2012/10/16-ways-i-blew-my-marriage.html).

I understand that it is generally women who are writing these blogs, so it makes sense to give advice as a wife to another wife. But I really wish they wouldn't. I believe that by directing this advice solely towards women, they are putting all the responsibility on the young women reading this to work on their marriages. If these bloggers never specified which person in the relationship the advice was for, maybe young women would be more likely to share the articles with their spouses after finding it on Pinterest.

So please, fellow bloggers who might be reading this: Make your advice gender neutral. After all, don't we want husbands to be respecting and putting forth as much effort into their relationship as wives?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking God out of things

I am home for the holidays!

My parents have recently moved to this very odd community in Southern California. I say it's odd because it's not far away from busy, thriving, ginormous cities, but it only has a population of about 22,000. It's two square miles large. And everybody seems to know everybody, either because they all went to high school together, their families have been in this area forever, they go to church together, or their kids go to school together.

Also, everyone here is super rich. The average family's house probably cost about a million dollars because housing is so expensive here. (Maybe that's exaggerating. But there are seriously a lot of wealthy people here. Tag Romney used to live here. Seriously.)

It's very strange.

And I HATE going to church here. I always go to the LDS church. And it seems like every single time, one of the extremely wealthy white privileged people (who are way more privileged than even your average white person) is making some sort of dumbass, ignorant comment.

This week, it was in reference to the Connecticut shootings, as well as other tragedies that they were glumping in there. A woman said that these tragedies are happening because we are trying to legislate God out of everything, and take God out of everything.

I was very angry at that remark, and then I saw this on my Facebook:

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this 
piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America . . . 


The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

First of all, Ben Stein only said about the first four paragraphs of this. Does the rest of this "pass it on or feel guilty" bullshit really sound like something a famous satirist would say in an interview? NO.

Second of all ... what the hell? Really, people? I'm kind of ashamed to have you as Facebook friends. (Slightly embarrassed that my mother liked it, but she's kind of a whore when it comes to liking Facebook things.)

The White House has many different people from many different cultures, customs, backgrounds, countries, beliefs, etc. visiting it every day. If they choose to be sensitive in what they call a fucking TREE, I find that commendable. Maybe the people who visit the White House don't think it's necessary, and maybe no one while be offended by a "Christmas Tree." But I believe that it is the thought that counts, and showing that they care enough to try to be sensitive is a good thing.

The comments of this viral post and the woman in church are both ridiculous. The world is changing and becoming more diverse, so it will never be as religious as their "good ole' days." People are going to be generally less religious as time goes on.

But none of that will affect individual religious families. If a family wants to be religious and have God in their lives and homes, they will ensure that it will happen, no matter what is going on outside of their door.

This is also what annoys me about "Keep the Christ in Christmas" and "Remember the reason for the season." I, personally, love being very spiritual around Christmas time. It's really the only time of the year that I enjoy it. However, I find that it is very wrong to try to force that on other people. If people want to celebrate Christmas without being religious, and with being shallow and spending hours playing video games, then let them. How does their behavior change your spirituality?

Also, I really disagree with the logic that God is going to punish us as a community. Or abandon us as a community. That kind of thing is what God allegedly did in the Old Testament, and I really don't believe he does that anymore. I guess that's kind of a matter of opinion.

But seriously, this Christian majority martyr thing is so pathetic. No one is persecuting Christians in this country (except I've heard that maybe in some parts of Utah people are being bullied for wearing cross necklaces. That is ACTUAL persecution). Christians do not need to be upset that the rest of the country is becoming more sensitive and belief-neutral.

Ugh. People. I hate them and all of their ignorant bullshit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Male Feminists

So in response to this article by a writer at Jezebel (http://jezebel.com/5966552/memories-of-my-misogynist-trolls?post=55118324), a male reader made this comment:

Which I think is great. I think it's wonderful that there are men out there who bother to read Jezebel and who aren't posting terrible things about how all feminists like to be victims (unlike someone else who had commented). For him to actually be supportive of Jezebel writers and feminists is kind of amazing. About half of the responders to his feed thought so, too.

But then there were those who bashed on him. Here:

I thought his question was extremely appropriate and thoughtful. I mean really, how can a man possibly know what to do in this situation? If he tries to take over the fight and be protective over her, he'd get yelled at. If he didn't do anything, that'd also be bad. Feminism can be a very touchy, sensitive thing (not feminISTS, you stupid trolls), and it's hard to know what is helping and what is overstepping boundaries.

The same sort of bashing on a male feminist happened in this article that argues against Hugo Schwyzer: http://www.womanist-musings.com/2012/01/hugo-schwyzer-redemption-and-jizz-heard.html. I'm not going to comment on the author's other points against his article (I didn't read his article). But she goes on to say at the end of her piece that Schwyzer, who is frequently featured on Jezebel, should not be a voice for feminism because the oppressors (men) cannot lead the oppressed (women) out of their oppressed state. That would just be more oppression.

I happen to love Schwyzer's articles, as they are well-written and delve into the reasons why men act in a sexist manner, which is a perspective you don't get from female feminists. But also, I think it's ridiculous to say that a man cannot speak out for feminism.

First of all, feminism is not just about women, despite the "feminine" root in the word and its reputation. A large part of its movement does involve women, but it is not limited to that. Feminists believe that men also suffer from sexism, as they are similarly subject to media that pressures them into a specific kind of masculinity, etc. Feminists believe in equality for everyone, which often includes gay marriage, another factor that affects men.

And also, assuming that sexism is only a problem that affects women ... so what if men decide to be a voice in support of feminism? Isn't that a good thing? Wouldn't converting others to our way of thinking and educating them be exactly what we want?

Seriously, I think you're being a bad feminist if you're trying to exclude men who genuinely want to support the movement. If you think they're in the wrong, you can try to educate them, but ostracizing them not only gives feminists a terrible reputation, but is also extremely hypocritical.

Edit: I have since found out that Hugo Schwyzer tried to kill his ex-girlfriend in a murder suicide attempt, and other not-so-flattering misogynistic things about him. (Here: http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/04/paternalistic-feminism-hugo-schwyzer/.) This definitely changes my feelings about him, and, at the very least, I take back my praise.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Modesty

I've seen a few people in my internet feminist community start writing about modesty this week, so I thought I'd join in. I think my experiences on the matter are especially appropriate, given that I grew up in a culture that highly emphasized modesty, and, whether or not they meant to, pushed some sexist thinking on us because of it.

All of the hype has started because of a modesty club in South Pasadena (an area I actually have family in, so I'm really not surprised) that has gotten big enough to start a modesty week at their high school. It's also not surprising considering that the 15-year-old girl who started the club is a relative of Orrin Hatch, the incumbent Utah senator who shot down sex education in Utah public schools. She also has a brother who started a no cussing club at that same high school, but currently goes to BYU.

Of course, feminists do not want to tell women what to wear. I see absolutely no problem with women who feel more empowered and comfortable with their body when they are dressing modestly. I come from a family of extremely busty women (the kind of busty that creates cleavage even in a turtleneck), and also, sometimes I do not want eyes drawn to my body parts, so I completely understand. I do believe that it can, in fact, be very empowering.

But the problem seems to come in with the rhetoric of how modesty is taught in the Mormon church. At least, in my experience (though I'm sure my experience is not unique).

As a teenage girl in the LDS church, I was taught modesty a lot. I was told stories about girls wearing strapless dresses to prom, which made their Mormon dates uncomfortable because they didn't know where to put their hands. Certainly even their bare shoulders are too erotic for such a thing!

I was shown pictures of girls in full-out goth getup and told about how your clothing reflects on you, and allows other people to judge you, so you should dress modestly.

Above all, I was taught that I needed to be modest for other people.

How many millions of times have I heard this? "Modest is the hottest." It felt like to me that my fellow female church-goers only said this to try to convince themselves of it, because, let's face it, we all grew up feeling different and left out because of this particular lifestyle choice.

All of that built character or whatever, so I'm not complaining about that. I'm upset with this phrase because it compares girls who make a spiritual choice to be modest to other girls and tries to put them above those girls who do not make that choice. Being modest should never be about being better than people who choose not to be modest. I believe this phrase was invented by some adult somewhere who was trying to convince teenagers that modesty is "cool." But really, they just succeeded in furthering the whole I'm-religious-and-judging-you attitude.

If a woman chooses to be modest for her own spiritual enhancement, this phrase or attitude should have nothing to do with how they feel about it. I hope I don't offend anyone here, but let's take girls with Muslim beliefs as an example. Many of them choose to don clothing that is not mainstream in American culture for the purpose of enhancing their personal spirituality (as I understand it). Although I have not known many Muslim girls, the ones I did never really cared if other people chose to be modest too. They never had expressions like this. For them, modesty had absolutely nothing to do with other people (at least as far as I know).

Moving on.

I was also taught quite a bit that I needed to be modest for the Young Men in my ward and stake. I was taught that men are weaker in that they cannot resist sexual temptations the way that women can. At the time, I liked this, because I liked thinking that this was some kind of sacred responsibility and that women are on a pedestal.

All of that is complete bullshit. No matter what I wore to stake dances, there would be a dude who "accidentally" had his hand on my ass while we were slow dancing because he was "awkward" with girls. I totally fell for that bit more than once (to be fair, Mormon guys can be really awkward around girls). It is never a girl's responsibility to try to protect men from sexual temptations, and nor should we coddle them like that. Men are perfectly capable of resisting if they want to (even horny and hormonal teenage boys), and believing otherwise contributes to rape culture. Also, we should be teaching teenage boys that there is nothing wrong with being "turned-on," and that sexual interest is a natural and good thing, no matter what your religion teaches about sexual actions. That can be a topic for another post, though, so I won't delve deeper.

While some of the Young Men in my ward did eventually give in to sexual temptations, so did I. And I probably beat them to it, too. Because GIRLS WANT SEX JUST AS MUCH AS GUYS DO. Despite what movies and TV shows depict, or what my parents and church leaders wanted to believe, that is the truth.

So if I ever end up teaching Sunday School or Young Women's lessons, I would never say a word about needing to be modest so that you can be better than other girls, or needing to be modest so that men can better resist you. I would tell them that modesty is something that has nothing to do with their parents, their peers, the boys the have crushes on, or their church leaders, or even me. Modesty is absolutely a personal, private choice.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A common misconception with Feminism

When I first started getting into Feminism, I was very excited to share it with my brother. He's a few years older than me, also an English major, and he loves critical theory. I thought he'd be very interested.

He wasn't.

It'd be pretty easy to write that off as another man who doesn't want to call himself a feminist because he feels threatened by them, or because it would bruise his ego to align himself with them.

But his explanation was that he felt the feminist movement would dominate women just as much as patriarchy does. That it would just replace the current patriarchy with matriarchy, with women telling women what to do instead of men telling women what to do.

Now this is not true. The first thing anyone ever needs to understand about feminism is that there are many different facets of it. Like any movement, countless people have put in their two cents, creating Lipstick Feminism, Stiletto Feminism, etc. Part of feminism is constantly asking questions. Is being a sex worker a feminist act? A stripper? A wife? A stay-at-home mom? Different feminists have different answers to these questions.

The main thing that every one of them would agree upon, however, is the feminism means equality. More specifically, it means everyone has the same opportunities. What they decide to do with those opportunities is up to them, but feminists do not want anyone making that choice for them either (such as the media, men, anyone).

So in a feminist's ideal world, even if she disagreed with another woman's decision, she would support her. Because in that ideal world, there would be no entertainment, advertising, media, politics, and other powers that be to try to make that decision for her.

Here are some awesome quotes I found by Bell Hooks, author of Feminism is for Everybody. They weren't the quote I was looking for, but that's okay. I still like them.

“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.” ― Bell Hooks
“Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and preactice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.” ― Bell Hooks 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blogger Highlights

Here are a few blogs that I LOVE. They're all Feminist, so ... they're awesome!

http://critiquingadvertising.wordpress.com/ This blog critiques magazine advertisements, like so:

Brilliant, right?
And this one: http://fiercefeminists.wordpress.com/. Written by a high school student in a feminism class, I gather. Which is pretty impressive. Why didn't my high school offer classes in feminism? Where is this super progressive high school?

But my favorite blog of all-time (at least for the past few months) has been The Pervocracy. http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/ Cliff Pervocracy is a wonderfully elegant, intelligent, and hilarious blogger. She also likes to point out the rampant objectification and ridiculousity in Cosmopolitan, but she also shares some very personal stories about her experiences with sex and the BDSM community. Although I'm not into BDSM myself, I feel like she's taught me a lot about being open and communicating fully about sex.

In fact, her viewpoint on communicating about sex has made me realize how ridiculous I've been in all of my relationships in the past. I think we all get this idea about sex that your partner should just be able to guess what you want, and that it's embarrassing to explicitly tell them. I'm not sure if that's just the Hollywoodization of sex, or because our society isn't into saying words like "penis" and "vagina," but I feel like it definitely exists. 

I also think that I've been doing that in situations that aren't about sex. When I'm angry/sad/insecure, I've expected exes to just figure it out themselves. I'm sure that frustrated them, and, on top of me being disappointed in them for falling short in an expectation I shouldn't have had of them, that caused problems. 

So, since reading Pervocracy's blog and being inspired by her openness, I've made habit of becoming more open with my current partner. Things have definitely worked out for the better in every situation.

This post became oddly personal ... oh well. Check out these blogs!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Angry Women

What bugged me - and a lot of other feminists - this week was this article written by Suzanne Venker for Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/11/24/war-on-men/#ixzz2DCqldWN8

Jezebel, one of my favoritest sites ever, already posted two amazing and hilarious replies. (Here: http://jezebel.com/war-on-women/ and here: http://jezebel.com/5963161/fox-news-publishes-shocking-expose-on-the-war-on-men?tag=war-on-women)

Even though they put it wonderfully, I still have a few things to say about this piece.

First of all, one statistic about how women want to marry more than men do does not give you the authority to claim that this is because women are fighting a war on men and men are pissed off about it. There's very little that you can speculate about it. You could maybe say that it's evolutionary, because women feel the biological need to have a man help support their offspring. You could say it is societal because women are spoon-fed this idea of fairy tale endings and that it is shameful to be an older woman who is not married. Or that men are given this idea of marriage being a form of slavery, and so they are afraid of commitment.

Other than that, Venker has absolutely no substantial evidence for her wild claims.

And second of all, none of it is true. All of her remarks are disgustingly sexist as Jezebel points out (and mocks), but they're also so unrealistic.

Men who are pissed off because they have to "compete" with women are not worth having or being around at all. Men who are upset because they are no longer the primary bread-winner, or the only bread-winner, are giant whiney babies who do not deserve to be married to a decent woman. None of those men that Venker is talking about are real men at all (if I could be hypocritical for a moment and claim that there is such as thing as "real" men).

No woman should want to be around those men, and I, personally, do not. I don't want to be all braggy or look-how-perfect-my-husband-is, but he seriously thought this article was bullshit, and most other guys probably do too.

So maybe the problem with our society is that women are taught that they need men, emotionally, financially, to kill the spiders, etc., so they settle for men that are obviously beneath them.

Although that is also wild speculation based on narrow, personal observation.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Swearing like a fucking sailor

I checked my Twitter today and found this:

And I don't have to blur out the names because it's already public!

So Retta is an amazing actress from the TV show Parks and Recreation, which I love for so many amazing reasons. Her character is also an awesome feminist character whose virtues also include just being different from every other fucking character in sitcoms and being funny.

Not that she needs any defending, seeing how she clearly does not give a fuck, but I'm still on the side of the ladies below. And not just in this instance, but in all of my life.

Because in case you didn't know, Mormons, and well, just people in general, are super against swearing. They, like the man in this feed, seem to think that it is a moral code that needs to be followed by everyone in every part of their lives, instead of realizing that some people do not feel the same.

I've heard it all before. Swearing is a sign of unintelligence. Of the swearer not having enough creativity or a wide enough lexicon of vocabulary to come up with some better word.

 I just want to point out that those people are using replacements like "flip" and "fetch." Wow, way creative, way different from "fuck." I mean, they're obviously not coming up with things like "dinosaur poops!" or something that would actually impress me. And make me laugh.

But seriously. I'm an English major. I've probably read more than the average person times five. I can pull out Shakespearean insults (not enough to win a competition, but enough). This isn't a matter of me being uncreative or unintelligent.

This is a matter of me just liking to swear. Same goes for people like Retta. And while I will respect your wishes to try not to swear if you politely ask me to while we are together, I'm not going to stop cussing in my spaces.

Besides which, it has been scientifically proven that swear words actually register in a different part of your brain than other words, and are given a much different meaning cognitively. That's why when old people get Alzheimer's disease or whatever, they're still swearing while they're forgetting other things.

So really, there is no replacement for swear words. FUCK YEAH!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My awkward engagment

I've mentioned before that I am engaged. It's been this really weird thing for me this entire time.

Even when I was deep in the throes of active Mormonism, I had never wanted to get married as young as 21. When I was less active and before Colby and I started dating, I hadn't wanted to get married at all. But I've also always believed that when you have found the right person, then why should you wait?

Of course, all of this is deeply influenced by Mormonism because of the whole no pre-marital sex thing. People who are having pre-marital sex wouldn't feel the same rush to get married, and so the answer for them would be different. Obviously.

But either way, Colby and I had known each other for 11 years, and it had just finally clicked for us. I'm not going to explain any further because I'm being anonymous here, but also because I really don't need to validate my relationship to anyone. I know it is right, and I'm being very logical and practical about this, so that should be enough for everyone. (In case you couldn't tell, it isn't enough for some of my skeptical friends.)

I am very confident in my decision. However, I still feel very weird about being engaged. I've never been engaged before. It felt weird to go ring shopping when I had never worn a ring before. It feels weird to tell people that I'm getting married, and I generally don't. My coworkers didn't know I was engaged until we had been working together for over 3 months. I just don't really feel like being all "HEY, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT MY RING, MARRIAGE MARRIAGE MARRIAGE!"

Basically, I feel like I'm not fitting in anywhere. I'm not getting married in the temple because I don't want to. Because of that, and because I'm not very active or very squealing romantic ahhhhh! about this, I don't feel like I'm anything like the traditional Mormon engagements I'm seeing. Or what these Mormon moms in my parents' ward are expecting of me. I mean, I'm not taking his last name. I don't think many of them would understand that.

But on the other hand, I'm also not fitting in with the super liberal crowd that I usually feel more akin to. They're all out exploring their sexuality and looking down on cheesy, sappy relationships, of which weddings are just naturally a part of (yuck). I feel weird wearing my ring, and I feel like I have to explain to them. HEY! I'M STILL SUPER LIBERAL. I'M STILL NON-TRADITIONAL. DON'T BE FOOLED JUST BECAUSE I'M 21 AND GETTING MARRIED IN UTAH.

I guess I just have to be like, FUCK YOU GUYS. MY LIFE, MY AWESOME HUSBAND, GO AWAY.

I'll work on that. Maybe more in my attitude and less in actual yelling.

Friday, November 16, 2012

When Republicans make sense

Every once in a while, I see a Republican argument that actually makes sense to me. Like as in logical sense, a good argument, not as in now-I-believe-that-too sense. I don't see many of those, and I see a lot more liberal arguments that are both logical and in line with my beliefs, which is why I'm a hardcore scary Democrat. Mwhahahaha.

But believe it or not, I'm actually very pleasantly surprised when I see this. I mean, I'm young and just barely caring about politics (within the last year or so), so I'm also at the point where I sometimes feel like my friends and family who are siding with "the bad guys" are either ignorant or also bad guys. Either way, it's really nice to understand more why people believe a certain thing, instead of just being presented with constant evidence that they are either ignorant or backwards in their thinking.

Sorry, Republicans. But you know you're thinking the same thing about Democrats. Or you're not and you're a better person than I am right now.

So here's what I discovered on Pinterest:


And you know what? I really don't have much of a response for that.

Except that insurance that doesn't want to cover birth control does cover Viagra, and that's ridiculously sexist.

Plus, it's better for the entire economy of the country, and the welfare of the country, that we have a smaller population. And it's been shown that in countries where women have more access to birth control, the entire economy/country does better.

So, I'm not changing my beliefs on this one.

But touche, random conservative pinner.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Annoying Facebook Things

Now, I live in Utah - and even if I didn't, I was raised LDS - so as a young women in her early 20s, a lot of girls the same age as me are getting married. For a lot of reasons, I'm uncomfortable with that, but there's too many to go into right now. Also, I'm getting married in 36 days ... so I don't really have a leg to stand on ...

REGARDLESS!

Like I said in a previous post about how unhappy I was with these newly-wedded wives being super ecstatic over her husband "letting" her buy a dishwasher, I completely understand how excited these girls are to start this new, different, happy chapter of their lives. I do! I've been getting Bed, Bath, and Beyond packages in the mail for weeks now! (Which has caused an intense vendetta with the UPS guy, but I digress ...)

But OMG GIRLS! DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS?



This bothers me for two reasons:

  1. Everybody eats dinner. It's really not a big deal. Nobody cares what you ate, or if you did a good job making it. Nobody wants you to take a picture of it, either. 
  2. I only ever see girls post this. Girls who tag their husbands in the status, or write statuses that say "made this for hubby!" Stuff like this really enforces back-ass-wards, 1950s gender roles, and is harmful to both members in your marriage. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

People who dislike Mormons

We all know that I'm crazy, right? Okay then.

So, there are a lot of Mormons I hate. Not because they are Mormon, but because a lot of Mormon culture is stupid and backwards.

But this post is about how I hate people who hate Mormons. (Or really, people who hate anyone based off of stupid stuff like their religion, race, gender, sexuality, abilities, etc.)

For people who are living in Utah but have not lived here their whole lives, it is very easy to see that a dichotomy exists between the Mormons (who have become more intense Mormons than anywhere else) and the non-Mormons (who have also become more intensely non-Mormon because they live here). And while Utah Mormons can always be annoying, it seems like the non-Mormons are more belligerent and stupidly angry about dumb things. They also try a lot harder to be not Mormon.

We'll start off with this Facebook interaction. One of my friends posted this lovely picture of a street in Downtown Salt Lake City:

This picture isn't mine, but telling you whose it really is would destroy all anonymity ... 

In case you can't read it, one of the comments is "See how there is almost no one on the sidewalk, no cars in the VERY wide streets ... SLC is not as much a city as it is a township with a lot of Mormon money."

What the hell?!

Well, okay, the very wide streets are the fault of a Mormon. When Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS church, first started to lay out plans for SLC, he did require that the streets be big enough so that a horse-drawn carriage could make a 360 in the middle of the road, or something like that.

But seriously, even if Mormons did, in fact, fund this modern-day street (they probably didn't, unless you're counting regular taxes) - how is that a bad thing?! Why are you even complaining about a street in the middle of a busy city being wide and not very crowded?

Similar to that is a comment made on this random list of top 100 sci-fi and fantasy books, or something like that: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843/your-picks-top-100-science-fiction-fantasy-books

We have to add that this person tried to sound intelligent, but still made grammatical errors. :(

Okay, more ridiculousness. While it is totally fine that this guy dislikes Ender's Game (I happen to like it, but I can see why other people don't), his other comments are baffling. I sincerely doubt that most Mormons even know who Orson Scott Card is, or what Ender's Game is. Maybe a few of the older ones do, or a few who read a lot. But like any religion, or really any group of people that are brought together by something in common other than intelligence, what percentage of them do you think actually enjoy reading novels?

Sure, it was a stupid list. But I can tell you all now, as someone who grew up LDS, there is no conspiracy. Ever.

Except maybe with Desseret Book publishing novels just because their authors were LDS. Like Leven Thumps and Fablehaven. Those books suck.

Ender's Game was not published by Desseret Book, or by any publisher that would care that the other is sometimes Mormon (he grew up in Utah, but I've heard that he isn't always active). Ender's Game has also won a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, two of the most prestigious awards for the science fiction genre, as well as other awards and nominations.

And to tell you the truth, out of the people I know who have read the book, only one didn't like it, and he was Mormon. He disliked it because he didn't like little children swearing so much.

So THERE.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Day Lady Died" by Frank O'Hara

I love this poem for all the reasons.


The Day Lady Died

BY FRANK O'HARA
It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton   
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun   
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets   
in Ghana are doing these days
                                           I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)   
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life   
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine   
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do   
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or   
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and   
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue   
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and   
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Star Wars Episode VII

I'm pretty torn about the news of Disney buying Star Wars. For one, George Lucas has been doing a terrible job with them lately. (Did anyone else notice how FUCKING TERRIBLE the acting was in Episode III? I hate to say that because I love Ewan McGregor, but still. If you don't remember, here it is:


It's kind of long, so only watch like, 4 minutes of it.)

But at the same time, we don't know if Disney is going to fuck it up either. There are some definite perks, like more Star Wars themed rides and stuff like that. More merchandise.

The newest news is that a screen writer has already been hired. Details here: http://pursuitist.com/arts/harrison-ford-open-to-another-star-wars-film/

And the fact that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are open to the idea of acting in the next trilogy is definitely very exciting. But how will that happen now that they are in their 60s and 70s?

I mean, they all look so different (pics from here):

Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker

Harrison Ford / Han Solo

Carrie Fisher / Princess Leia Organa

Billy Dee / Lando Calrissian
I added Billy / Lando in because I figured he's also a character that could show up, if we end up following the story chronologically. Although, I haven't really read the novels or played the video games, so I have only a basic knowledge of what happens next.

What I'm most excited for is Mara Jade. Mara Jade is my favorite character in the extended universe (my other favorite characters are Padme and Leia though, so I obviously have a thing for the kickass female characters of this franchise). Mara Jade's story is all here: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mara_Jade_Skywalker

This is my favorite picture of her from The Ultimate Guide to Characters or whatever the encyclopedic thing is called. I mean, look at her. She's a badass redhead Jedi, formerly a Sith, who wears the typical sci-fi women tight jumpsuit. So my favorite. My dream would be to have a Mara Jade costume.

I'm also looking forward to the Solo children, Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin Solo. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solo_family




Anakin Solo, the baby
Jaina Solo, Jacen's twin

Jacen Solo, who eventually becomes a Sith
See? There stories are chalked full of awesome and dark drama.

Except now Colby, who is more of an expert on Star Wars than me, is telling me that they aren't planning on using any story that has ever been told before. Nothing from any of the novels or video games or extended universe.

But they could still use these characters, right? I hope so.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Angry about photography stuff

I'm getting married in about six weeks, which is a pretty stressful process. Sure, it's wonderful and stuff, but I can talk about that later.

One thing I noticed when looking for a photographer is how many different types of photo shoots they all offer. And I know, since Pinterest is teaching everyone how to be an amateur photographer and everyone's phones can take pictures, we're all very picture happy. I do happen to love Instagram.

But when you're paying hundreds of dollars for these types of services, doesn't it seem a little ridiculous?

As far as weddings go, you have:

  • Engagements - you and your fiancee pose in semi-casual clothing in a way that is supposed to emphasize your personality. They're also frequently very artsy (or at least attempting to be).
  • Bridals - these do not always take place on your wedding day. They're just of you in your wedding dress looking super bridal.
  • Boudoir - this is supposed to be the sexy photo shoot that you do as a gift for your fiancee. Suffice it to say, I get this one least of all.
  • The Wedding Itself
  • Trash the Dress - this is the one where you dive into the ocean after your wedding, completely ruining the wedding dress that you spent thousands of dollars on it. Now, this one can also be artistic, and even though I have no idea why anyone would spend hundreds of dollars to take pictures of them ruining a very expensive dress, the finished product can be quite impressive.


See? That's really cool. Scary for the subject, but what an awesome product. 

Those are all the wedding photo shoots I can think of at the moment. If you can think of any more, please comment and share!

Then there are the more baby-centered photo shoots. 
I apologize to everyone to whom I linked to if they didn't want to be linked to. You can yell at me if you want to. Also, I apologize if I put you under a service I wasn't a fan of ... but hey, it's just my opinion.

So basically, the conclusion is that the wedding industry is trying to get as much money out of you as possible (because they know they can) and photographers have to participate in that, even if they don't want to. And sometimes, their clients come up with some really weird ideas. 

Don't fall for it! Do not pay for all of these pictures just because you think you're supposed to! You do not need all of them! 

Ally out.

Friday, November 9, 2012

YouTube(r) Highlight

One of my favorite things is this YouTube channel called "Feminist Frequency," by Anita Sarkeesian.

Feminist Frequency YouTube Channel

I think Anita is absolutely brilliant. She describes/teaches feminist principles in a succinct, clear, approachable, yet entertaining way. And then she does something that I've discovered I love since watching her videos: analyzes popular culture through a feminist lens.

She has definitely made me realize the importance of female stories, and how to treat female characters.

She inspires me.

So please, check it out some time.

Thoughts on First Presidency response to election results

It's here:

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/statement-on-election-result

Anyway, I don't really have a problem with this. The Church generally has bishops read a letter to their congregations a couple times a year about how they (the General Authority) are completely neutral when it comes to political candidates (but not California propositions), but members should vote and be informed and stuff.

The Church is very diplomatic. And with a Mormon presidencial candidate, it was probably good that they said something. (The Church - as a whole, not the individual members - LOVES the fact that Romney ran, even though he didn't win, because it means more people across the world are learning what Mormons even are.)

It's just this line right here:

"We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times."

I can just picture Mormons everywhere being convinced this is some sort of prophecy of things to come, like in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" where the Sorting Hat warns all the students that they need to band together.

But really, the General Authority has been going on and on for years about how awful things are in our modern day.

Really, I just think it's a bunch of old guys who are still shocked to death that porn is now available on the internet.

And there ends my very blasphemous thoughts.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tardar Sauce the Grumpy Cat

My new favorite thing is Tard (short for Tardar Sauce) the Grumpy Cat. Like all cats, she is an internet sensation. But she's different, because he was born with a face that always looks grumpy. And for some reason, that makes her a million times more adorable and hilarious.

See? Grumpy and adorable forever!
Seeing Grumpy Cat makes everything better and more happy for me.


OH MY GOD, COULDN'T YOU JUST DIE?!?!?!

I have a terrible weakness for cats. My sister and I laughed forever at his meow. 

On a more serious note, I've seen people complain that her name being "Tard" as in "retard" when she was obviously born with some deformities. Don't be ignorant, people. Her name is Tardar Sauce, which is just as adorable as she is.

For more, visit her website: http://www.grumpycats.com/about-grumpy-cat/

They're going to sell 2013 calendars of Grumpy Cat!!! I will be purchasing one of those!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-election things I hate

Now, I'm not going to lie - I'm super happy that Obama won the election and that Romney lost. I have lots of reasons for it, but I'm not going to tell you that now. Maybe later.

I understand that a lot of people are upset with the outcome of the election. For me, living in Utah and kind of being a Mormon, a lot of those people are extremely LDS. Some of them are saying things like,  "There's still lots to be grateful for," and "Let's just all pray for our president to be inspired to make the right choices," and I see those as very gracious, albeit sickeningly religious, responses. I don't know if I could be as gracious if things had gone the other way around.

But people posting this is something I hate:


Don't get me wrong - I love Gordon B. Hinckley (and for those of you who aren't LDS, I'll explain later why we feel a grandfatherly sort of love towards our presidents) and think he's very wise. 

But I really hate this idea that a lot of Mormons have that the President of the United States is basically a political prophet. I firmly believe in the idea of separation of church and state, and although it is okay for people to vote based off of their religious beliefs, why do they expect the entire country to be swayed by religion?

I don't know if this is what President Hinckley meant above, but I also really hate that a lot of Mormons tend to see the Founding Fathers as also sort of religious prophets. Mormon doctrine teaches that pilgrims settling America, the American Revolution, and the Constitution were all divinely inspired by God so that there could be a land of religious freedom so that all of the Joseph Smith story could happen. Which isn't a bad belief in my mind. To me, that just means that God influenced some events so that others that He really wanted to happen could occur.

To other LDS members, what that means is that the Constitution is unyielding scripture that cannot be touched and that the Founding Fathers are infallible.

Which is ridiculous and the cause of a lot of problems in our country.  

There was also this comment made on a picture of Obama that the Salt Lake Tribune (love them) had posted: 

I can't take someone seriously if they don't even know how to use punctuation marks correctly.
Now I also believe in the Book of Mormon (from which this scripture comes). But I do not believe that this scripture has anything to do with Obama winning the election.

And I really don't believe in the Old Testament superstitions that, if we do not all repent as a country, we will all be punished. Maybe that did or did not happen in Old Testament times. But I certainly do not believe that God will punish us as a country because we aren't repenting (and definitely not because we voted for the "wrong" person). 

The really frustrating thing about all of this, besides the crazies revealing themselves and the abundance of religion on my Facebook (where I sincerely believe it does not belong), is that you just know, based on all of this, that there are people out there who voted for Romney because of his religion and because they believed that him being LDS would make him more divinely inspired while running the country.

I guess the bottom line for me is, people really need to separate political stuff from religious stuff. Maybe not completely, but definitely with their gloom and doom prophecies.