Small-Town Elitist

May 21, 2009

John Boehner resembles a certain cat named Howdy Doody; plus more linkage.

Filed under: Abortion,Accessibility of Feminism,Activism,Aging,Anti-Abortion Extremists,Anti-Violence Activism,Arnold Schwarznegger,Barack Obama,Beauty Myths,Biblical History,Body Image,Books & Reading,Bush Administration,California Elections,California Politics,Catholicism,Christian Fundamentalism,Church/State Separation,Cindy McCain,Civil Disobedience,Crafting/DIY,Dane Cook,Darfur,Dick Cheney,Dominionism,Don't Ask Don't Tell,Economics,Evangelical Christians,Feminism,Gardening,Gender Issues,George W. Bush,Gitmo,GLBT Issues,GLBT Military Vets,Goldman Sachs,Good Ol Boys Club,Goth,Greedy Fuckers,Happiness,Healing from Rape,History,Homophobia,Imperialism,Indefinite Detention,Iraq War,Islam,Jesus Christ,John Boehner,Karen Hughes,Keith Ellison,Lies & Political Spin,Linkage,Men and Feminism,Middle East,Minnesota,Minnesota Women,Misogyny,Muslim World,Newt Gingrich,Obama Administration,Objectification,Opus Dei,Organic Foods,Organic Gardening,Plastic Surgery,Poetry,Priviledge,Protests & Demonstrations,Raising Awareness,Rape and Sexual Violence,Regulation,Religious Right,Reproductive Health,Republican Men,Republican Party,Robert Finn,Separated at Birth,Sexism,Sexual Violence Myths,Sexual Violence Prevention,Silencing Behaviors,Standards of Beauty,TARP,The Daily Show,Theocracy,Torture,Troop Withdrawal,U.S. Banking Industry,U.S. Economic Crisis,U.S. Economy,U.S. Military,U.S. Supreme Court,Uma Thurman,Vaginoplasty,Veterans' Issues,Victor Fehrenbach,Victory Gardens,War,Well Duh!,Well I'll Be Damned,WTF — by smalltownelitist @ 8:44 pm

First off a couple of links sure to give you a chuckle. Christian Liberal is back to posting, and he points out that John Boehner kind of resembles Howdy Doody. Blue Gal also points out that Cindy McCain and the latest Mrs. Newt Gingrich kind of look like each other too.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars’ Mike Finnegan: Opus Dei declares war on moderate Catholic clergy and the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, Blind in Texas has an important question for Evangelicals and other religious wingnuts on the question of torture.

Marcella of abyss2hope writes about a report on rape and sexual violence in Minnesota, and has some suggestions for Minnesota and all of us on how to stop rape. Tobes writes about something very interesting. It seems Dane Cook had a rare moment of awareness and spoke out about wrong it is to throw the word “rape” around gratuitiously, and how the experiences of rape survivors are *nothing* like losing at a video game, and throwing the word around will rightfully offend survivors.

Arrrrrrgh! HuffPo reported that a judge ruled that Gitmo detainees can be held indefinitely.

Double Arrrrgh! Crooks and Liars report that the banking industry is rushing to repay TARP funds so prevent government regulation stepping in.

Women’s Glib has a poem about how we women will never measure up to impossible beauty standards. Cara has a post discussing a misogynist tabloid cover that took an especially vicious umbrage towards Uma Thurman’s body. And Renee wrote about a 75 year old woman in the news right now for getting a vaginoplasty, and talked about what that means to all women.

Feministe has a link and a little comment about the reports Rumsfeld’s office sent to GWB that played up an evangelical view of the Iraq War.

Speaking of war, Think Progress reports that we’ve lost another great member of our military to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. *sigh*

Jonathan Turley reports on a study that showed that some of the happiest people are older Republican men. I am thinking “well duh,” since they benefit from the oppresion of the rest of us!

Susie from Suburban Guerilla reported on Karen Hughes’ sudden announcement that she was opposed to the Bush Administration’s torture policy the whole time. MOMocrats debate the torture photos issue.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Governor Schwarznegger’s propositions all failed at the voting booth. h/t to Tequila, who comments at Crooks and Liars. 😉

RH Reality Check posted a roundup of links, including an article on the abortion rights aspect of the Supreme Court nominee fight.

Majikthise explains what’s really going on with Obama and troop withdrawal.

Congressman Keith Ellison was arrested at a Washington D.C. protest of the Darfur situation. h/t to Racialicious.

Crafting/DIY/Gardening

Flip Flopping Joy has a fun video post, a clip of the The Daily Show, which lampooned opponents of organic gardening and farming.

Etsy’s Dark Side posted Kaleidoscopic Romance’s handmade haunted dollhouse witch’s cabinet complete with pet snake.

And WhipUp did a book review of Boutique Knits, a great book with a lot of lovely hat and accessory knitting patterns with a flapper/Roaring 1920’s feel.

That’s it for this link collection, have a great day! 😉

January 31, 2009

The Patriarchy Movement: Submission, subordination, danger, and attraction.

Well, I am glad to see that the complementarian and patriarchal movements are starting to get attention from liberal and progressive sources.

I think that it is important that these movements be examined, and that everyone reach their own conclusions about them. I feel they should not go ignored.

I would like to use my personal space to explore where I stand with this movement, which is not exactly knew to me.

Nearly seven years ago, I became a born-again Christian. I still consider myself a follower and daughter of Christ, but I am transitioning to a place where I can’t stand by evangelicism. That is another story for another time, but this post should begin to shed some light on my exit from conservative Christian settings.

Long before I became a born-again Christian, I was a feminist (and have never truly crossed over to anti-feminism, to be honest). When I entered the church, there was shaky and scary new ground for me to personally confront. My attraction to feminism was an outgrowth of how an overtly religious school counselor treated me when I confided physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child. Now as a new Christian, I was essentially admitting that I felt my position on gender relations as a feminist were wrong. What was going to take its place?

This was when I began my education into the various stripes of complementarianism and patriarchy in the 21st century church.

Because I knew of the teachings that one must submit to her husband, I intially had determined for myself that I would never marry and never have children because I’d grown up in a home where there was domestic violence. I was terrified by giving a chunk of my autonomy over to a future husband, I was setting myself up for further abuse.

Eventually, I came to the decision that I would read about “biblical femininity,” and, how to put this politely…martial obligations, specifially, I wanted to know what was required of husbands.

Good luck finding that. In the past, internet searches had trouble finding sermons and essays on these obligations, and even now, you will still find more sites yammering on about what women must do and must not do. When you do find a man’s obligations, it does sometimes seem like a good game. For someone who’s lived their life with abuse, protection does sound great. But a certain realism has to set in, and you realize that there’s a huge danger in giving your personal autonomy over to a mere mortal who is just as messed up as you are, if not more.

Everything seemed so daunting, so painful, and as a survivor, it was so triggering.

One thing that is indeed very triggering about complementarianism is that not all of its proponents like women all that much. Many of them are actually misogynists who are content to blame women for society’s problems. Some take vigorous offense to any thought that God might actually be Goddess, or that a woman could be a leader in a male God’s church.

And worst of all in my experience, I found lots of blame for victims and survivors of abuse in a complementarian structure. Once, at women’s Bible study, I was given a little booklet of quotations, some biblical, some not quite, on issues that women face. I was horrified and disgusted to read an admonishment not to wear skimpy clothes under the “rape” section. Years after that, Michelle McKinney Hammonds book The Power of Femininity horrified me with its suggestion that men abuse women when their authority is challenged.

I ask you, is that a view of men you want to have? That they are cowards and bullies?

The EWTN network had a series with Alice von Hildebrand and Father Benedict Groeshel which I actually liked, which stressed a reconciliation between man and woman.

In light of that idea, how does showing complementarian men to be bullies and cowards work towards this reconciliation??

I don’t have any idea of what to replace complementarianism, including egalitarianism, but I do know that as it stands, complementarianism has some flaws and vulnerabilites that make me wary of it.

January 30, 2009

Vatican to the world’s women: Yer pee is ruinin’ teh enviroments!!!1

Ok, so perhaps that is the non-eloquent way of summarizing this bombshell from the Vatican.

Of course, it needs to be said before anyone busts a gut laughing, that pharmacuticals making their way into our water supply *is* a concern. However, the agenda behind the Vatican’s little announcement is very transparent to anyone who has been paying attention.

The pill “has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature” through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report.

Clearly, this is an attempt to paint a portrait of women’s usage of hormonal birth control as the cause of our problems with pharmacuticals in the water, and naturally, the Church convieniently ignores the fact that pregnant women are peeing a similarly copious amount of female hormones into the water supply.

A couple of good questions to keep in mind when you read this stuff from the Church are when will the Church call out pregnant women for also contributing to the environmental deterioration, and damaging men’s fertility, and also, if women taking the pill are damaging men’s fertility, how is exactly that we have so many pregnant women also adding feminine hormones to the water supply?

It’s also a rich and sad thing that the Church is blaming women’s urine specifically for the hormones getting into our water and food supplies. Pharmacuticals are finding their way into our unsuspecting bodies in a variety of ways, but I guess women’s urine is the “dirty” way it is contaminating food and water supply. *sigh*

September 10, 2008

I might not be canonized anytime soon, but I survived and I don’t regret it!

Time to open up a little bit up and talk about myself in a post, I guess. I’d rather it not be a heavy topic, but Feministe has a very good post on St. Maria Goretti, and in light of the discussion that is coming up from that post, I’ve decided I would write about how I feel about the canonization of Maria Goretti as well.

(Full disclosure: I come from a Protestant background, and will do everything I can to express myself respectfully in light of the centuries of conflict between Protestants and Catholics; besides, the first person to really show the love of Christ to me in my life was my late Catholic Grandma, if I made this post inherently anti-Catholic in nature, I would be disrespecting her memory and legacy too.)

For those who don’t know anything about Maria Goretti, you can read the Feministe link, or visit Wikipedia to read her story.

I first learned about the attempted rape and eventual murder of Maria Goretti in Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. I was reading the book because I was starting out to educate myself on feminism as teenager/young college student, and…I was trying to make sense of my experiences. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse, incest, and teenage sexual assault. At about the age of 18, I got involved in anti-rape and anti-abuse activism, locally and online. Brownmiller’s book is an education in itself due to it’s detailed history of sexual violence in human society.

When I read the part about Maria Goretti, I definitely was left with a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak. Survivors often struggle to have a sense of self-worth after losing their sense of dignity to sexual violence. The impression I got of the Maria Goretti canonization as a young survivor was the same impression I’d been getting from many other sources in society, that women and girls who’ve lived through sexual violence are not as valuable, that we are damaged goods, that we are somehow a problem. Why else, I thought, would women who died rather than be raped appear to be more valued spiritually than women who survived rape or abuse, and lived to fight and advocate passionately for the healing and restoration of the women and girls who would follow after them?

I don’t blame Maria Goretti for show she handled the situation that had been forced upon her. She was a child, and she shares no blame in this. I do worry what messages some in the Body of Christ, whether they are Catholic or Protestant, are sending to any and all survivors, whether they profess Christ or not. No one deserves victim blame, and victim blame has no place in the Church. So that any Catholic readers may understand that though this post was inspired by Maria Goretti, I am not singling out Catholicism, I experienced a painful situation with my previous church. I had been given a little booklet at my women’s Bible study, which had verses relating to certain topics that concern women, and I was horrified to discover that under “rape,” this booklet was admonishing me to not dress provocatively if I don’t want to be victimized again. Ummm, hello! Being covered up does not protect women from abuse, tragically. That too, left a bad taste in my mouth.

The “better dead than raped” adage is painful to be reminded of, as someone who, over the years of abuse and its aftermath, has struggled with PTSD, depression, and suicidality. I am still here though. I could have died during the abuse years, but I didn’t, and I am happy about that. I doubt anyone will be rushing to have me canonized once I do pass on, but that is alright with me. After counseling, finding the right medication, and making peace with God, it was worth it surviving the actual abuse, it was worth it to survive the crushing, suicidal depression. It was all worth it because I am here now, and I can find beauty and promise in life, and purpose. My life is more than what happened to me, and I am not damaged goods because of what has happened!

I would not trade places with Maria Goretti. I mean that as no insult. It’s simply how I feel. Sin has still been triumphed against because those who brutalized me failed to destroy me, and because it has helped me to look at my own conduct. And because I am still here, I will be able to help others ensure the sin of sexual abuse and assault will not destroy them either.

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