Why I feel it’s anti-feminist to poke fun at Miss Utah’s failed response

NPR placed this clip of Miss Utah bombing her question about what having a growing minority of female breadwinners while women still earn less than men says about society. She gives a jumbled response about education, and something about men leading the way, but basically it’s a just a big fail.

The NPR post was followed up by numerous posts in Mormon-ish facebook groups, including feminist ones, making fun of not her response, but the woman herself. Several assumed that because she attended BYU, she had never thought about women working for money for their families (ahem, I went to BYU and have been the primary breadwinner for 12 years for my family). Many responded in ways that suggested that there’s an inverse relationship between her beauty and her brains. Several responses about having no brain, or being an airhead. I guess my problem is that I saw many of these responses as markedly sexist and playing into stereotypes about attractive women, as if it’s feminist to rip on attractive women who are seen as publicly failing.

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Sixty days in the life of a Mormon feminist

After being inspired by a TED talk and a mock film festival at my ad agency, I decided to record a second a day out of my life for a limited time. I began on March 20th, 2013, and decided to end after recording sixty days, or sixty seconds worth of film. These are mostly just random moments, but I believe personal history is valid, and this became a kind of video journal project. So much had happened in the previous year: a new job for my husband, followed by a new job for me, a new house for our family, our son starting therapeutic school, and the passing of my father. I began to realize that our lives are made up of these big milestones that sometimes sneak up on us without our realizing how one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re dealing with nearly a whole new life for your family. But that life is also made up of tiny moments of simple beauty and the mundane.

It may or may not be apparent, but this project includes film some milestone events, including:

  • A clean MRI for my son with epilepsy, followed by a clean EEG, allowing us to begin to taper medication he’s had since infancy
  • A sisterhood ceremony after the unexpected death of a friend I knew through Mormon feminist circles
  • Meeting my newborn niece for the first time
  • The last days of my time at my ad agency job, as I begin a new job next week with more work-from-home flexibility
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Withholding for You, My Foremother

Dear Foremother:

As I hold this card and read your name, I think about your country, your century, your life you left long ago. Your existence in a world without antibiotics, with no choice but unmedicated child birth. Because I have this card, I know you have been baptized by proxy, released from a prison that held your spirit and welcomed into the fold of the faithful. You’ve been confirmed a member of the church, my church, a church you didn’t even know existed when you walked this earth, should you choose to accept this ordinance done for you in your name. You’ve been washed and anointed, a proxy body gently blessed with words that are specific, delicate, and surging with power.

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Superboy and the Invisible Girl

I saw the musical Next to Normal last fall. It’s not a perfect musical, but covering mental health can be tricky. While I don’t agree with all of the messages the musical sends about mental health and healthcare, I thought the musical score was absolutely amazing.

The song, “Superboy and the Invisible Girl,” captures exactly what the daughter, Natalie, experiences in her family. It drives her perfectionism, it drives her music, it drives her unhappiness and her dive into drug abuse.

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Poem: A Pierced Heart

Poem: A Pierced Heart

"Nativity" by Brian Kershisnik, currently on display at the LDS Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

“Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

I know I’m not the first mother to have a child with special needs, but sometimes my heart breaks over my baby who was born so perfect and later, at eight months old, developed a catostrophic form of epilepsy with a benign-sounding diagnosis of ‘infantile spasms.’

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