Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bare Shoulders

This week is the curious case of the bare shoulders incident. For those of you not familiar with this Wasatch High School in Heber City, Utah edited girls photos in the yearbook that were deemed inappropriate. Mainly those showing shoulders, my god those sexy shoulders, and low cut shirts. Many of the girls were upset because it was done poorly and if they had known they would have changed their outfit and retaken photos. The school claims to have announced this before the photos were taken. The students also say that no photos of males were altered and the school didn't edit all the photos that were "inappropriate."

When I looked at the before and after photos I didn't see how showing your shoulders is so terrible. In the low cut shirt photos, because of where the photos are cropped to fit in the yearbook, there wasn't any cleavage. It is just a way of controlling the youth in our culture. It honestly promotes the rape culture. Women have to dress a certain way so men can control their urges.

What is this really teaching our youth? Why the fuck don't men have to control themselves? It's not like every time I see a woman in a mini skirt or hot pants I want to rape her, but this is exactly what I was taught all growing up. We dress ourselves modestly so we can help repress the urges of those attracted to us. Even boys were told to dress modestly, which was never enforced like it was for the girls. Men can get away with just about anything because the excuse is always, "boys will be boys." On the other hand, for girls, they have to stay pure for the future husbands and always dress and act modestly, because "modest is hottest." But is it really?

Everyone should be able to dress how they want without the fear of thinking someone will want to take advantage of them. You always hear how the victims are demonized in rape cases. That if they didn't drink so much alcohol. If they hadn't worn those clothes. If they wouldn't have changed her mind halfway through... First of all, in any case, NO means NO. It is NEVER the victims fault and until we fix this, we will never fix the rest of the issue.

Women are people. They are not lesser than man. They are not man's servant. They are equal and deserve to be treated as such. If a woman is comfortable in her mini skirt in public or showing some cleavage is it really harming anyone? If we can teach our children that the human body is beautiful instead of something that we should be ashamed of we would be much further ahead in our attitude towards people in general than we are now.

Unfortunately we live in a male dominated world. A big chunk of that comes from religion. It started with Eve. The blame has been on her since she ate the apple. Let's not forget that Adam ate the damned fruit too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Second to the last step in my journey to absolute ex-Mormonism.

Yesterday I got my final letter from LDS Faith headquarters. I am officially no longer Mormon! It's been a long journey to get here. I have lost many friends, but gained many more. I used people as my crutches and turned around and helped them as they did for me. I have leaned against others who are going through the same process and I am currently helping others who are further behind than I am.

The small, but growing group of ex-Mormons is more of a family than anything else. It is not easy to take this step. We lean on and learn from each other. We pull and push. We give each other support in a world that gives none back. Most of us have hardships with family. Most of us lose friends. And some of us even lose family. People who once loved us turn on us because of faith. That is why we create a family of our own, but enough of that. I've written about that road, and there may be more to come with that subject.

I write about why I think this is the second to last step. I call it that because even though I am now no longer a member on the records there are still things tugging at me. There are still times I catch myself thinking about things as if I was still Mormon. The final step will be to rid myself of that thinking. It's hard when that has been beaten into your head for 25 years before you finally yell, "BULLSHIT!"

When I got my letter I couldn't believe it. I opened my mailbox and saw the letter from church headquarters and thought, "there is no way this is what I have been waiting for," and yet it was! I fought my local bishop for just over 2 months. He never answered my phone calls. He called me back once, but I was unable to answer at the time. I think he just got sick of my weekly voicemails.

When I opened and read the letter a flood of emotions went through me; unbelief, freedom, happiness, more unbelief. I was now part of a group; a group that showed more support for me being who I am than my family did at many times of my life. Not that I wasn't already part of this group, but this letter made it real, tangible. I could feel it in my hands. I could see it with my eyes. It gave me something I have been hoping for for some time.

With this letter I look forward to continuing my journey and taking that last step. Who knows it may take another 20 years, but I have a growing family that supports me in my journey. A family that I learn from. A family that learns from me. And most importantly a family that supports me being ME.