outrage

if you know me, you may know that i have a little problem–a small addiction, you might even say. to outrage. and this week i seem to have found more than a handful of sources. so i thought i’d share them, just to get it off my chest.

the very thought of a mother taking her eight-year-old daughter for not only an eyebrow wax but also a bikini wax had the outrage mounting instantly. a bikini wax?!! what exactly was to be removed from the pubic area of an eight-year-old?! i wanted nothing more than to sit these women down and smack them, demanding that they wake up and let their poor daughters grow up seeing the beauty of their bodies as they are. and i realized again how very lucky i was in my parents’ attitudes about beauty.

speaking of artificially achieving the ideal, i was horrified to discover that there’s such a thing as a ‘G-shot’ to enhance the G-spot (if you’re sensitive about treating genitalia casually, don’t read that one). really!? i mean, i’m all for women enjoying sex. but the idea of trying to augment something like the G-spot strikes me as more about imposing ideals from outside than truly enjoying one’s body.

and then there’s this little gem from the london leader of the british national party (admittedly a far right, all white party which looks to me like it’s racist, sexist, and extreme nationalist. but still):

Rape is simply sex (I am talking about ‘husband-rape’ here, for those who deliberately seek to misunderstand me). Women enjoy sex, so this type of ‘rape’ cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal. To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that force feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.

another candidate for a sound smacking.

these were moments of outrage that, although genuine, were not very personal. i mean, i care deeply about each of those issues–the immense potential for psychological harm our society’s beauty myths hold; women’s sexuality not being an object to be manipulated, but rather being a source of natural pleasure; and rape being taken seriously, whether it’s the kind of violent encounter we most often imagine or the much more common acquaintance rape this politician makes light of. but while i care deeply, this was the kind of almost-pleasurable outrage that comes with conviction of one’s moral superiority. it’s a distant kind of outrage.

my most recent moment of outrage was much more personal. this afternoon i logged into google reader (something you should all use if you read blogs as obsessively as i do), and found fmhLisa’s post about being young and mormon and pregnant. and what i felt was less outrage and more sorrow. and i know that such stories should be taken with a grain of salt. but still it made my heart hurt that a girl could ever be so outcast at a moment when she needs to be loved. and that there could be policies in place (even the more benign one quoted from the church handbook in comment 22) that mandate this kind of treatment. i know the realities of the church are much more complex than could be captured in one anecdote or in quoting a policy. but i recognize the truth in the anecdote and the potential for serious harm in the policy and i want to weep.

but to end on a lighter note: i was taken in so completely by the IRS policy of sending some rebates in the form of goods instead of money to ensure people didn’t ‘waste’ their rebate by paying bills instead of shopping, that my outrage didn’t let me remember the date. until the host of marketplace reminded me. at which point i had to laugh at myself. a healthy reminder that my outrage is often fed by my own gullibility coupled with my obsession with pet issues (i hate that our government encourages spending rather than fiscal responsibility as a means to deal with our current economic problems).

Amelia

Amelia has recently relocated to Salt Lake City for her new job selling college textbooks (a job she loves). She's a 9th generation Mormon redefining her relationship with the church (the church she both loves and hates). She's passionate about books, travel, beauty, and all things cheese.

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  1. Mathew says:

    amelia (hi there),

    Re the potential for the church’s policy re unwed YW to inflict serious harm:

    Since the potential for a policy to inflict serious harm exists no matter how well thought out or crafted, the question is either 1) is that potential lessened witha different policy or 2) is that potential lessenedw th no policy. In my opinion in this particular case having no policy would probably be much worse than having the current policy. Any thoughts on what a better policy would look like?

  2. amelia says:

    you make a good point, mathew. i agree with you that it’s better to have some policy than no policy. which means the real question is how to improve on the existing policy. i suppose i would like to see a stronger articulation of the centrality of mercy and love. i know that as members of the church we should always remember that love and mercy and forgiveness are central in how we respond to and treat others. but i think so often we forget. it’s so much easier to think in terms of the simple, clear policy than to enter the messy gray of equity and circumstance and mercy.

    so i think a better policy would perhaps look much like the policy currently does (which does, after all, specify some need for discretion in individual circumstances), but would end with a few sentences reminding the reader of the necessity of mercy and love and forgiveness.

    and i think we could do so much more as a church to shift emphasis away from conforming with simple guidelines of behavior towards the more difficult but much more vital ideas of love and equity and forgiveness. i was happy to see a couple of talks yesterday (i’m thinking of Elder Wirthlin’s specifically) that seemed to do that a bit.

  3. Ziff says:

    Amelia, this is tangential to your main point I know, but I love your descriptions of your outrage:

    the kind of almost-pleasurable outrage that comes with conviction of one’s moral superiority

    my outrage is often fed by my own gullibility coupled with my obsession with pet issues

    I can totally sympathize. I sometimes enjoy reading about things I disagree strongly with just so I can enjoy feeling morally superior. And I’m also prone to getting mad about the same pet issues over and over again. I’m glad I’m not alone. 🙂

  4. happytobeamom says:

    The mother of the 8 year old should be slapped. That is so scary. No wonder my 7 year old daughter comes home and tells me how all the girls are teasing her because she has hair on her arms. I don’t recall worrying about hair legs etc until 12 or 13 and the eyebrow thing until 15 or 16. I have 3 daughters and don’t even plan on makeup until 12 or 13 and even then very little. I want them to learn where their real beauty lies and that they don’t need all the crap to be beautiful.

    It is scary and I imagine will be hard when all the little girls around them look years older then they are. But then mothers already dress their 8 year old girls like they are 16. It is getting harder to find my little girls clothes that don’t make them look easy at 10.

    Sorry to rant. This stuff just makes me crazy. Why do these women want their girls to become eye candy instead of helping them learn some real value.

    For a society that pushes women’s rights what are we teaching our girls about themselves?

  5. happytobeamom says:

    I also wanted to make a comment about the pregnant and mormon article.

    How sad. My mother got pregnant and 15 and married my father. The were certainly shunned etc. They went on to have 7 more kids and where wonderful parents.

    Still my mom 50 some years later is still afraid to share her past. Her struggles etc. because to this day people judge. I wish rather they would see a wonderful strong women who made a mistake but took what came of it and made a wonderful life out of it.

    So many years ago they had to leave school. She finally got her HS diploma when I was in high school. (by the way I was number 7 of 8 kids). She also went on to college and got her bs and teaches school.

    We all make mistakes. some are just more visual. How different would it be if when we see those we put are arms around in love instead of shunning. We don’t have to love the sin to love the sinner.

  6. Caroline says:

    happytobeamom,
    Thanks for sharing your parents’ story. It’s inspiring to hear that parents who get off to a difficult start can be such successful parents.

  7. Ana says:

    I have a toddler daughter with some serious Frida Kahlo eyebrows. She’s beautiful, and if you want to say otherwise, we will have to do more than talk. But I have already had people ask me when I am going to start plucking or waxing them. Unbelievable.

  8. Kiri Close says:

    yes, our world sucks.

  9. AJ says:

    Hey Im a beautician and I have performed waxes on some very young girls because, as unbelievable as it sounds, some girls are extremely hairy from a young age. If my daughter was one of these girls whose bodies produced hair like this, it would be cruel to not help out in some way, otherwise when their in gym class or swimming, it may cause an embarrassing situation for them. I cant see a parent encouraging a young girl to do that for no reason, let alone the young girl wanting to have a bikini wax for no reason, Im an adult and I dont like going and enduring the pain. Just thought you might like to know.

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